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Your Guide to Mental Health After Breast Cancer Treatment

Your Guide to Mental Health After Breast Cancer Treatment

Are you experiencing symptoms of depression and other mental effects after breast cancer treatment? You are not alone! Breast cancer is not only physically but also mentally exhausting.

Recognize the following changes in mental health after breast cancer treatments and get help when needed.  

Raising Awareness

Understandably, women with breast cancer experience substantial psychological distress during breast cancer treatment. However, there is a need for greater awareness about mental health in the breast cancer survivor community.

Breast cancer survivors are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, sleep troubles, and other adverse mental health effects than those who have not experienced a breast cancer diagnosis or treatment.

For example, one study concluded that over 32.8 percent of breast cancer survivors who experience depression treatment could help survivors immensely by sharing coping strategies.

Impact on Psychological Well-Being

What is the impact of breast cancer on mental health? Being overwhelmed is a common symptom, but when should you be concerned about your mental health? Here are some common symptoms:

  • Constant negative emotions
  • Distress
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Lack of interest
  • Chronic stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sexual dysfunction

These emotions and mental health concerns can stop you from taking good care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Depression or severe anxiety can lead to more severe problems, making it difficult for most women to adjust, take advantage of support services, and make the most of their treatment.

According to one analysis, patients with depressive symptoms have mortality rates 26 times higher than those without symptoms.

Seeking Help

Early detection of mental health issues is key to treating common mental health effects of breast cancer that may arise after treatment. Errol J. Phillip, Ph.D., says that over “20 percent of survivors have symptoms that should be treated by a health professional.”

Individual or group psychological treatments are helpful for survivors. In addition, giving and receiving emotional support to other survivors may help women adjust and come to terms with breast cancer’s impact on their life. You can also reach out to your family and loved ones for support.

Treatments are available and will help you cope with distress. So how do you find options for mental health care?

There are support groups, psychologists, peer mentors, podcasts, meditations, and more to help you navigate your negative feelings. Reach out to your local health provider for referrals to psychologists and support groups.

Adjusting to Life After Treatment

After receiving therapy, you will be equipped with problem-solving strategies that will help you adjust to negative feelings and emotions. The goal of therapy is to help you cope with physical, emotional, and lifestyle changes associated with being a breast cancer survivor.

This breast cancer awareness month, your local ER in Corpus Christi aims to raise awareness about the impact of breast cancer. For more information on caring for your mental health, visit our blog.

Sources:

Tsaras, Konstantinos, and Ioanna V Papathanasiou. “Assessment of Depression and Anxiety in Breast Cancer Patients: Prevalence and Associated Factors.” Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 31 May 2018, https://doi.org/10.22034/APJCP.2018.19.6.1661

Satin, Jillian R., et al. Depression as a Predictor of Disease Progression and Mortality in Cancer Patients, vol. 115, no. 22, 2009, pp. 5349–5361., https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.24561

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