Managing the emotional burden of breast cancer treatment

There are several treatment options for breast cancer including surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiotherapy.

These treatments inevitable side effects that are often devastating for the patient.

However, knowing what to expect and how to manage it can be an important tool to help patients and their caregivers handle the situation better.

The emotional burden of breast cancer treatment

Not only does the disease itself take a toll on a patient, choosing to undergo treatment can be a herculean task as well as the side effects are physically and emotionally challenging.

Unfortunately, being aware of the effects of the treatment on your immune system and other aspects of your health can be equally stressful, as is the realisation of the restrictions you will have to endure during and after each round of treatment.

Even anticipating the side effects of the treatment can be daunting.

You will also be dealing with a fair bit of anxiety as well as fear of uncertainty on whether or not you will be cured or declared cancer-free.

There is also fear of the future, and whether or not you will be physically and mentally strong to continue with the long treatment process and procedures.

What you should do to manage these emotions

The first step you could take is to consciously acknowledge the five stages of grief you may encounter when faced with illness.

Often, you will be faced with denial, followed by anger, depression, the need to bargain and finally, acceptance.

It is important to note that understanding the various stages of grief is about coming to terms with and accepting the anxiety and stress you will be facing after being diagnosed with cancer.

Only then will you be able to manage the emotional effects of the treatment.

Communicate and express yourself

Talk to others, people you trust and your loved ones. Do not keep your worries and fears to yourself.

Go out and live rather than sit and wait for things to get better. Express yourself via art and writing, for example.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Enjoy sports and try to be active. It might be difficult, but having company might help boost your motivation in this area.

Try and observe a well-balanced and healthy diet that will help your body recuperate and improve your immune system. Be proactive in finding out about what is suitable for your current health condition.

Get professional help

Get advice on which kind of diet and physical therapy can help your body cope with the treatment.

Go for a face to face consultation with a psychologist for emotional support and communicate with your doctors so you are well informed about your current health condition.

By getting treatment and seeking support from the people around you, you may improve your quality of life although you’re going through this ordeal.

This article was written in collaboration with Naluri and first appeared in The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.