It’s important for you to take good care of yourself before, during, and after cancer treatment. After all, this would be called Treatment & Beyond. If you’re a caretaker, this is equally important. Undoubtedly, the demands of care taking can take a toll on your physical and mental health. As always, check with your provider prior to starting anything new.
Of course, you’ll need regular check-ups after treatment for breast cancer. Clearly, check-ups help ensure that any changes in your health are noted and treated, if needed. Further, if you have any new health problems between checkups, you should contact your doctor.
Taking care of yourself includes:
• Eating well
• Staying as active as you can
• Finding an exercise routine that works for you
• Understanding your thoughts, emotions, and reactions
• Taking time for yourself
• Prioritizing your mental health
• Exploring meditation & mindfulness
Clearly, being diagnosed with breast cancer and having treatment & beyond can put pressure on your mental health. Hence, you could be worried about recurrence or struggling with anxiety or depression. For example, the majority of people with breast cancer will subsequently develop symptoms of PTSD, and these symptoms tend to last longer than a year. Despite successful treatment, fear of recurrence affects many women and can be so severe it negatively impacts their quality of life.
After a breast cancer diagnosis, a woman’s relationship with her body might change as well, for instance. Consequently, mastectomies can decrease women’s body confidence, impact their relationships to their sexuality, and have a negative effect on overall mental health. As a result, mastectomies are life-saving.
In addition, mental illness doesn’t just cause distress to breast cancer patients, it can actually impact their physical health, including their mortality risk.
Pre-existing mental health conditions can make it harder for a patient to cope after a breast cancer diagnosis, for example. Furthermore, negatively affecting their long-term physical and emotional health.
As the American Psychological Association points out, a breast cancer diagnosis is a traumatic event. For this reason, it’s normal to have a range of emotional reactions to the diagnosis. Meanwhile, mental illness can exacerbate these natural feelings, making it even harder for patients to do things that benefit their health, like eat healthy foods, exercise, connect with friends and family, and perhaps most importantly, comply with their medical treatment.
Certainly, if you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s a great idea to talk to a therapist. Ultimately, a therapist can help you cope throughout your breast cancer journey – Treatment & Beyond
Additionally, you may also want to connect with a breast cancer support group. Again, they can be both online and in-person communities, where you can talk with a group or one-on-one. For example, some focus on certain life stages, while others help you recover from specific experiences.