Taking Care of Yourself After Your Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Every person reacts differently when they are diagnosed with breast cancer. Many people feel a sense of fear, anxiety, anger, or disbelief. It can be difficult to concentrate and move forward with treatment decisions. Talk with someone you trust. Most people find it helpful to have someone they trust help them sort through the many feelings they experience and assist them to find information about treatment options and other resources.
You might want to talk with someone you trust who will listen to you and support you, such as:
- A relative
- A close friend
- A clergy member
- A breast cancer hotline
- A fellow cancer survivor
- An online message board or chat group
- A professional counselor
- Your doctor
- A support group
Support groups can have many benefits. Although you may receive support from friends and family, you might want to consider joining a support group to speak with others who have had similar experiences to yours. Support groups can:
- Give you an opportunity to talk about your feelings in a safe and comfortable setting.
- Help you deal with practical problems, such as cancer-related personal, work, or financial issues.
- Educate you about dealing with side effects of treatment.
Ask your doctor if your hospital has a breast cancer support group. Some breast cancer support groups, hotlines and other resources in New York State (NYS), along with their contact information, are listed in Section 11 of this booklet.
Get to know your health care team. One of the most important things you can do to make sure that you feel in control of your breast cancer treatment is to get to know your health care team. Find a member of the health care team who communicates with you in a way that makes you feel comfortable, who listens to you, and takes your concerns seriously. Make sure your health care team knows what role you want to take in your treatment decisions.
Take time for yourself. Take time for yourself doing things that make you happy and most importantly, create a positive attitude - for example, watch movies, pray, or exercise. Surround yourself with positive people who accept you the way that you are. Ask your friends and family to help with stressful things like balancing the checkbook or cleaning your house.