Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with breast cancer? You aren’t alone.
The U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics (USBCS) stated there were over 3.1 million women with a breast cancer history alive in January 2019. The USBCS estimates that about 269,600 women and 2,670 men received a new diagnosis of invasive breast cancer in 2019. On a positive note, deaths from breast cancer have continued to decrease since 1989.
What Do You Do After Hearing Your Diagnosis?
Cry. Breathe. Scream. Breathe. Do what you need to do. Then make a plan.
Step one, keep living. Discuss the treatment options for your individual situation. Learn about the benefits, risks, and side effects. Knowledge can decrease feelings of helplessness. You can become an active participant in your care. Keep asking questions.
There’s a story of a man diagnosed with AIDS that spent every day saying, “I’m dying, I’m dying.” After a while, he found that he was still alive. He then started saying, “I’m living, I’m living.”
Who Can You Talk To?
A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming not only for you but also can be overwhelming for your friends and family as well. Many people want to make you feel better, but don’t know what to say or do. You may be reluctant to share the information because you don’t want to make others sad. Sometimes, sharing this news can help you accept this new reality. You also develop a support network which is essential as you learn how to cope with cancer.
If someone offers to help, let them! This is not the time to be too proud to accept help. Help can come in all forms whether it’s accompanying you to a doctor’s visit and taking notes, making meals, providing childcare, or even cleaning your house. There are free sites like LotsaHelpingHands or CareCalendar which can help keep everything organized.
Talk with nurses or counselors at your oncologist’s office. Joining a breast cancer support group can help you see that you aren’t alone. You will find role models in others fighting the same fight. Those battling cancer are often the most inspirational people. One breast cancer survivor was asked how far she made plans for her future. She spoke about living with cancer every day. Then she said, “However, I still buy green bananas.”
What to Expect During Treatment?
Many people fear the cancer treatment experience. Your doctor may prescribe surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and/or other pharmaceutical therapy. The side effects vary among individuals and their specific treatment regimens. As treatments evolve, many of the expected side effects may not occur. While nausea and exhaustion are common, they are not a given. Depending on your treatment, you may or may not lose your hair.
Dieticians and other breast cancer specialists can help you with nausea or loss of appetite. You may be given medications for nausea. Changing your food choices or mealtimes may improve these side effects.
If you do experience hair loss, you have options. Women choose to wear wigs, scarves, hats, or even get henna tattoos. See if your community has the Look Good Feel Better Program. This program focuses on helping individuals with cancer feel beautiful.
Are You Wondering How to Cope with Cancer?
Most people fear receiving a cancer diagnosis. Yet, many people are living with this reality every day. You and your family can use some of these tips to learn how to cope with cancer.
At PINK Breast Center, we are proud to be Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence. You will receive testing with state-of-the-art diagnostic and imaging equipment, now with the first FDA approved Artificial Intelligence capability in New Jersey. Our comfortable and relaxing setting welcomes you to ask questions and share feelings. Contact us today!