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Dealing With a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

by Jessica B. October 30th, 2013 | Health Observance, Mental Health
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womanThis month is breast cancer awareness month, and like every month, there will be thousands of women who get the devastating diagnosis that they will have to fight this disease. Getting a cancer diagnosis can be a challenge to anyone’s mental health, but thanks to the rising awareness of breast cancer, there are many ways for patients to help make sure they are taking care of their mental health while they are fighting breast cancer. Here are a few steps to take:

1) Join a support group – Most hospitals run a wide variety of support groups, so you should find something that fits your specific scenario. Work with both your hospital and also look around online. Don’t let an online forum replace the importance of participating in a well-run support group with a professional guide.

2) See a professional – Even if you are working in a group, make sure that you are also talking with a professional that you feel comfortable expressing all of your emotions with. There are psychiatrists and psychologists who specialize in dealing with diagnoses. Try to find one that is a good fit.

3) Allow yourself to feel – Don’t buy into the ‘you have to think positive to get through’, but allow yourself to go through the full range of emotions. It is OK to be angry, sad and frustrated. Working through these feelings will help you be able to get to the positive, but it is a long road there and that is OK. You do not need to be positive all the time.

4) Find people that make you comfortable – Be comfortable in choosing the people you want around you during this time. Some people may need more energy from you to deal with your diagnosis than you demand of them. If this is too much for you, then let them go for a while. If this is a welcome distraction, then keep them close.

5) Meditation and medication – Depending on a diagnosis from your professional counselor, you can work on meditation to deal with feelings of anxiety and helplessness after a diagnosis, or medication if things are getting out of hand. Remember that there is nothing wrong with turning to medication to deal with anxiety brought on by a cancer diagnosis. The anxiety will not make your cancer worse, but it can make your life difficult. You need to treat it.

(Photo courtesy of Muriel M Sawicki)

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.