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Feelings

Feelings

It is normal to have a wide range of feelings- from the time you suspect you may have breast cancer through diagnose, treatment and recovery and in the unlikely event the cancer comes back somewhere else in your body. These feelings are perfectly normal and you may need help to cope with them. Some of your feelings and emotions may be made worse by the treatment you are being given, for example you may get more tired or may experience changes in hormonal levels.

This section attempts to discuss some of those feelings and provide help in dealing with them.

Because this website is very new, you may not get all you need from this section or the other resources we point you to. Also you may feel that you can help others deal with their feelings by sharing your experiences or giving tips on how you dealt with your feelings. Please give us feedback on this by clicking on the relevant link below:

How might I feel?

When you find you have breast cancer, you are forced to confront your own mortality. For many women this means working through a range of feelings and emotions, from denial to fear to anger and then to acceptance. What is importance is to understand that this is perfectly normal, to seek help if you need it and to ensure that you work through your feelings without guilt. Many women spend much if not all of their time looking after others. This is a time to look after yourself.

Denial

Some women are not able to admit that the cancer diagnosis is happening to them. I am too young. I have always led a healthy life? There is no cancer in my family. This is normal. It is important to understaffed and accept your diagnosis and work out what you want to do about it. Denial may also mask other feelings which you need to get out.

You can use this feeling to fight back. A healthy aggression will be useful in helping you recover more quickly.

Anger

It is not unusual to feel angry that you have got cancer. As you go through your treatment, many things will make you angry. People may not always be honest with you. People may feel uncomfortable with you and say things you don't want to hear, or say nothing when you need them to talk.

Often society does not accept anger in women. It is seen as destructive. Many women suppress their anger so they will seem more feminine and be better accepted. Sometimes you will have so conditioned yourself to this that you won't even know you are angry. Anger can show that:

  • we are ignoring something that is important
  • we are still giving too much
  • other people are treating us in a way we don't like

Often we are just "putting up with this" but we end up seething inside. We need to deal with the cause not the symptom. Women use this anger to start being more assertive. Many women find that, for the first time, cancer gives them the freedom to say no, to do the things they want to do, not what everyone else expects.

It is not wrong to be angry. You don't have to bottle it up. Anger can give you energy.

If you are having problems dealing with and working through your anger you may want to seek counselling.

Fear

You are likely to face fear on a number of fronts. About the possibility of dying. About losing your sexuality and being less attractive to your partner or if you have no partner to potential partners. What often doesn't help is that many people are afraid of cancer in the community. Sometimes you will find it hard to speak to people about it, because you feel uncomfortable. You may also find it hard because other people just don't want to know. It is important to talk about your fears and find people who will listen.

If you are having problems dealing with and working through your fears you may want to seek counselling.

What are normal questions for me to ask?

Leading up to diagnosis
  • Is there really a lump?
  • Is it malignant?
  • How can I be sure?
Diagnosis
  • Why me?
  • What have I done to deserve this?
  • Who can I tell?
  • Will people still talk to me?
  • How different will I look?
  • How will my partner feel?
  • Will I ever find another partner?
  • Will I keep my job?
  • What if I make the wrong decision
  • Will I die?
After the operation
  • Will I ever look the same again?
  • Why doesn't it look like it did before?
  • Did I make the right decision?
  • How will people respond?
During treatment
  • Why did I have this treatment?
  • Will I ever feel the same again
Before your checkups
  • Has it come back?
  • How will I cope a second or third time?



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