For a woman, being diagnosed with breast cancer is one of the most horrifying things that can happen. There are various treatments and medications that must be faced, not to mention the mortality rate if the cancer is diagnosed late. However, there are also other aspects a woman must face when she must live with breast cancer: emotion factor.
Breast Cancer and Negative Emotions
Fear, anxiety, anger and despair are common emotions women must experience when they have to live with breast cancer. Unfortunately, breast cancer management steps often fail to address this emotion factor properly; forcing women to “be strong” while in fact they feel afraid and fragile instead. After the initial shock of diagnosis, women with breast cancer often feel negative emotions such as self-denial, fear, despair, anxiety, shame, self-blame, sadness, and anger. In an urge to “be strong,” some women choose to suppress these emotions, which is not good in long term.
Aside from common negative emotions, women may experience pressure from concerns such as loss of sexual desire, loss of physical attractiveness, loss of social/professional life, and many more. Keeping all these negative thoughts without expressing them can lead to various consequences, such as:
- Physical strains such as headache, migraine, heart palpitation, sweating, and other physical ailments related to stress.
- Insomnia and eating disorder.
- Depression, irritation, aggression, crying bouts.
- Feeling of despair and even suicidal.
While it is true that women should be “strong” when facing breast cancer, it does not mean that they cannot express their negative emotions. In fact, acknowledging these negative emotions can have positive effects in breast cancer management.
Tips for Breast Cancer Emotion Management
First of all, do not suppress the negative emotions during breast cancer. These emotions must be acknowledged and managed, not suppressed. Here is how to do it:
- Accept that you can feel negative emotions. Don’t reject the notion that you can feel vulnerable, sad, depressed, or stress. Acknowledging these negative emotions is the first step for better emotion management during breast cancer.
- Reach out to people you can trust. They can be family members, spouse, or trusted friends. You can also talk to your parents, religious councilors, support group, or other people who can give you emotional relief when you pour your hearts out.
- Discuss everything with your doctor. Some women don’t talk about their negative emotions with the doctor and healthcare provider, but they should. Doctor and healthcare provider understand what a cancer patient goes through, and they can give valuable advice for emotion management.
- Find something that can give you relief and comfort during the darkest periods. This can mean hobbies like reading, drawing, sewing, cooking, listening to music or talking with loved ones. This can also mean activities such as meditation, yoga, light exercise or any religious practices you do that can calm you.
Feeling sad and fragile during breast cancer period is nothing to be ashamed of, as long as you find the right way to express them, so they can become new source of strength when undergoing treatment.