A diagnosis of
breast cancercan be life-altering, and it's not uncommon for those affected to experience a range of emotions, such as depression, anxiety, fear, loneliness, and body image issues. In fact, one in four people with any type of cancer may have severe or clinical depression and require treatment. It's important to recognize the changes that come with a cancer diagnosis and get help when needed. Ashley Johnson, a nurse practitioner at the Vanderbilt Breast Center, has spoken about the psychological effects of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis.
In Arab countries, including Oman, research into the psychosocial impact on women diagnosed with breast cancer is limited. A study conducted in Oman found that women were particularly concerned about the emotional distress that
breast cancercauses in family members. For those with stage IV metastatic
breast cancer(MBC), lifelong treatment is often necessary. This can have a significant impact on body image and self-esteem.
It's normal to feel like certain aspects of breast cancer and treatment will be constant in life. The study participants were also worried about the possibility of the cancer spreading and the side effects of chemotherapy. Individual interviews were conducted with 19 Omani women diagnosed with breast cancer to explore the impact of the disease on their personal and social lives. Health professionals should educate and sensitize women to the risks associated with traditional medicine if they choose to pursue it.
The study population included adult women (≥ 18 years old) who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and were identified by the Hospital Information System (HIS). Recognizing the psychosocial impact of a breast cancer diagnosis is essential for providing psychosocial support. It can also help to remember that everyone has their own thoughts and feelings about what their breasts mean to them. With understanding and support, it's possible to cope with the emotional challenges that come with a breast cancer diagnosis.