Coping After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis: Tips for Emotional and Physical Well-Being

Receiving a

breast cancer diagnosis

can be overwhelming and frightening. It is important to take steps to look and feel your best, both physically and emotionally. Let yourself feel loved and cared for, and talk to your spouse or partner about the physical closeness you need. Discuss your concerns with your doctor or nurse, as everyone's experience with cancer is different.

Your values and beliefs can affect how you think about cancer and how you cope with it. Some people may feel the need to be strong and protect their friends and family, while others seek support from loved ones or other cancer survivors or rely on their faith to help them cope. Some may seek help from counselors or other outside sources, while others may not be comfortable with this approach. Whatever you decide, it is important to do what is right for you and not compare yourself to others.Even after

treatment for breast cancer

is completed, it is important to attend all follow-up appointments.

During these visits, doctors will ask if you have any problems and will examine you. Laboratory tests or imaging tests are usually not needed after treatment for most early-stage breast cancers, but they may be done on some women who have symptoms to see if they are due to the return of the cancer or to treatment-related side effects. The levels of tumor markers increase in some women if the cancer recurs or has spread, so if the level of a tumor marker is high, the doctor may use it to monitor the results of subsequent treatment.Many women feel relieved after completing

treatment for breast cancer

, but they are also concerned that the cancer will return and may feel lost when they don't go to the cancer care team as often. Many survivors have found that activities such as exercise, talking to friends or family about their feelings, seeking help from therapists, connecting with other survivors through support groups, and making healthy lifestyle choices can help them cope with their emotions after treatment is over.

As time goes by, many survivors report that their fear of the cancer coming back decreases and they find that they think less often about their cancer.If you're finding it difficult to cope with the emotional situation, you may want to talk to your friends or family about how you're feeling. Breast Cancer Now's Someone Like Me service can connect you with someone with a similar breast cancer experience. You can also reduce the risk of cancer by making healthy choices such as eating well, staying active, and not smoking. Exercise is a known way to reduce stress and feel less tense, whether you've had cancer or not.

Breast Cancer Now's free Becca app also features stories of people who have had breast cancer.

Tonya Sharrai
Tonya Sharrai

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