5 Common Feelings You May Have After Your Breast Cancer Treatment
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5 Common Feelings You May Have After Your Breast Cancer Treatment
If you’re about to undergo breast cancer treatment, it’s important that you know as early as now what to expect. Cancer treatment can affect patients tremendously in so many ways, and physical changes are not the only ones we’re talking about. Besides your body, the treatment may also distort the way you think and feel, and it might even cause you to act differently.
However, you must know that every patient has their own way of coping with their cancer diagnosis and treatment. For instance, one might need the constant support of their loved ones or join a cancer support group, whereas another might reach out to a counselor who specializes in helping individuals with the disease.
5 Common Feelings Cancer Patients Feel After Treatment
Breast cancer patients tend to experience similar feelings after receiving treatment. Don’t be surprised to encounter any of these five common feelings you may have after your breast cancer treatment:
Feeling terrible, worried, and helpless is normal among breast cancer patients following treatment. However, these feelings may wane as the days go by. For those who experience recurring emotions—which would only worsen over time—as well as self-defeating thoughts, they’re likely to suffer from depression.
You’ll be diagnosed with depression if you have at least five of these symptoms within a two-week period:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that you used to enjoy
- Apparent weight loss without exercise or diet
- Weight gain
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
- Feeling tired almost every day
Keep in mind that depression can also be caused by the treatment itself. There are certain medications that can alter how the brain works, thus affecting your thoughts and actions.
If you believe that you have the disorder, let your doctor know about it. They will refer you to a highly trained therapist with expertise in treating depression and helping individuals recovering from breast cancer.
2. Fearing the cancer will return
It’s common for patients to think that their cancer might come back, especially in the first year following treatment. It’s also not unusual for many to dread the thought of getting cancer again even if several years have already passed since they were declared cancer-free.
In extreme cases, there are survivors whose fear causes interruptions in their daily routine. Not being able to live contently anymore, these individuals neglect their responsibilities and see no more use for enjoying life.
Fortunately, not everyone experiences the same unpleasant feeling. Others find themselves letting go of the thought as time passes by.
So, how can one effectively deal with such fear? Here are some useful tips:
- Learn about your cancer. Research says that recovery is much quicker for individuals who are well-informed about their cancer and treatment as they tend to follow their treatment plan religiously.
- Be active. As much as possible, distract yourself with activities that make you forget about your cancer. Shift your focus to your hobbies or just get productive.
- Be open with your emotions. Don’t be afraid to let out strong feelings of anger, sadness, or fear. If you have trouble talking about it, you can always write them down or express them through art.
- Keep a positive mind. No matter what you’re going through, try to remain optimistic and hopeful, instead of overthinking. The more you see things positively, the better you get to feel.
3. Body changes
Many breast cancer survivors often feel embarrassed by their new appearance, especially now that they’re missing a breast or have lost their hair. Aside from a low self-image, they fear that others will reject or make fun of them. Some might also experience a drop in their libido, feeling that the changes in their body would make them look undesirable to their partners.
There are several ways to handle body changes. These include the following:
- Choose a prosthesis that fits you well.
- Practice positive self-talk. Always remind yourself that your look does not define you.
- If radiation has changed your skin color, ask your doctor how you can care for your skin and if it will go back to its normal color.
- Look for other ways to make you feel better about your appearance.
- Give yourself time to mourn.
- See the change as something that will make you stronger.
4. Impaired memory and concentration
Studies showed that one in four cancer survivors experiences attention and memory problems after receiving chemotherapy. In most cases, the effects surface right after treatment ends, though there are instances when survivors encounter them a few years later.
For older survivors, it’s more difficult to identify whether the changes are due to their age or are caused by the treatment. Nevertheless, many find it harder to concentrate and recall certain things. Those who have had higher doses of chemotherapy are more likely to be at risk for memory problems.
If you’re experiencing cognitive issues after treatment, talk to your doctor or nurse about it. Consult with them if any of these situations apply:
- You think your medicine could be the cause of the mental problem.
- You believe you have depression or anxiety. Both can affect concentration, memory, and attention.
- You are already going through menopause. Apparently, menopause can lead to problems in memory and concentration.
The good news is that there are tons of ways you can do to improve your memory-retaining and concentration skills. Below are some ideas:
- Make it a habit to repeat things that you want to remember later on. Telling yourself something over and over again will allow your mind to keep that information.
- Maintain your focus by talking yourself through what you need to accomplish. As you’re doing a certain task that involves steps, guide yourself by whispering each step to yourself.
- List your daily chores on a notebook. It’s always a good idea to keep a notebook around to make sure that you remember all the tasks that should get done during the day.
- Learn simple relaxation skills. Being in a relaxed state will put your mind at ease, making it easier for you to focus and recall things.
- Use post-it notes in your house. Besides a notebook to remind you of your tasks, post-its are also handy.
5. Feeling alone and angry
Many survivors feel as though they’re completely on their own after treatment. Without your cancer care team to support you anymore, you may find yourself emotionally fragile several days following treatment. You may feel angry with what you’re going through, and you might even be cutting off important people in your life, believing that only cancer survivors can truly understand your situation.
To make yourself feel better during these times of distress and loneliness, consider joining a cancer support group. That way, you get to meet and talk to individuals who are also facing similar issues as you are. Not only will you be able to get advice from them, but you’ll also form friendships and expand your circle.
Transform Lives with Us Today
If you’re not a breast cancer patient but one who has a soft spot in your heart for these patients, you can show your support by donating an unwanted vehicle to us at Breast Cancer Car Donations.
Doing so gives you the opportunity to help save lives. We’ll auction off your donated vehicle and use the proceeds to support the programs of our IRS-certified 501(c)3 nonprofit partners that are dedicated to providing comprehensive breast health services to various communities throughout the country. These services are centered on breast cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and research.
You will also personally benefit from your vehicle donation since this will entitle you to claim a top tax deduction. You will also get to dispose of your unwanted clunker quickly and conveniently and enjoy our FREE towing services as well.
For more information on our car donation program, check out our FAQs page. For inquiries, you may call us at 866-540-5069 or send us a message online.
You can donate to Breast Cancer Car Donations by filling out our secure online donation form. We accept donations of nearly all types of vehicles wherever you are in the United States since we have car donation programs in all 50 states.
Your Satisfaction Is Guaranteed with Us
Patients may have common feelings after their breast cancer treatment, but car donors who have teamed up with us generally have just one feeling, and that is satisfaction. Call us at 866-540-5069 and help save lives with your car donation!