Each year, approximately 245,000 women and 2,200 men are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. A breast cancer diagnosis can be devastating and can affect patients in a variety of ways. Sometimes, treatments can change the way you look and how you feel toward your body. The demands of treatment can also affect personal relationships and can make it difficult to function in day-to-day life. If you’re struggling to cope with your diagnosis, here’s how to start feeling better.
After receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer, it’s important to surround yourself with the support of close friends and family. Expressing your emotions toward your diagnosis might seem challenging, but it can comfort you and the people who care about you. When you reach out to someone you love, you allow that person to support you. Find someone you feel comfortable opening up to about more serious issues to avoid bottling up your emotions.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for professional support if you’re struggling to cope. Coping with a breast cancer diagnosis on your own can detrimentally affect your mental health, and feelings of isolation can leave you feeling frustrated. The mental health experts at WithTherapy connect patients with personalized treatments and can help you develop methods to cope with your diagnosis.
Research Your Options
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can make it difficult to stay motivated. To take control of your situation, proactively research your treatment options. According to the CDC, the treatment of breast cancer depends on the kind of cancer and how far it has spread. Breast cancer patients often receive more than one type of treatment, and treatment options range from surgery and chemotherapy to hormone, biological, and radiation therapy.
If treatment leaves you feeling uncomfortable toward your appearance, talk to your doctor about available options, such as a breast augmentation by fat transfer. Breast augmentations by fat transfer involve using liposuction to remove fat from elsewhere in your body and relocating it to your breasts. According to the American Society for Plastic Surgery (ASPS), breast augmentations by fat transfer are great options for women interested in a relatively small and natural increase in breast size. If you’re dealing with complex emotions toward your body, make sure to give yourself enough time to adjust to changes. Additionally, don’t be afraid to try different solutions until you find what works best for you.
Focus On Your Health
Even if your diagnosis leaves you feeling defeated, focusing on your health and practicing preventive measures is imperative. Taking steps to live a healthier lifestyle will lower your risk of developing an additional form of cancer and can improve your overall prognosis.
To start being more proactive toward your health, start exercising regularly, eating a healthier diet, and working to maintain a healthy weight. If you drink alcohol, limit your consumption to no more than one drink per day.
If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in our BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, talk to your doctor about screening measures. Mammograms are considered the best screening measure to detect early-stage breast cancer, and having regular mammograms can lower your risk of dying from breast cancer. For women at high risk for breast cancer, breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, which use magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the breast, are often used in combination with mammograms.
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can give rise to complex emotions. Sharing your feelings with loved ones, learning more about your available options, and taking a proactive approach toward your health can improve your overall prognosis and leave you feeling more confident after your diagnosis.