Breast Cancer Support
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Every sick or ill person needs support, but breast cancer victims need special support due to the emotional impact of the disease. Many women, particularly in developing countries, feel that they are no longer women if they lose one or both of their breasts. Breast cancer can be a devastating diagnosis for any woman. A woman who hears the words “you have breast cancer” can experience a myriad of emotions such as fear, anger, betrayal, powerlessness, resentment and loneliness. In addition to medical assistance, these women need support, help and encouragement.
In addition to the medical treatments that the patient must undergo, one of the most difficult parts of breast cancer is mental stress. Patients are affected by the stress of the diagnosis, the fear that they might not survive, worries about finances, deciding on the right treatments, and worrying about the effect of their illness on those close to them. Doctors know that this kind of stress can be detrimental to the outcome of the breast cancer. The physiological effects of stress can lead to problems like insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, and headaches. There can also be more serious effects like ulcers, hypertension and stroke.
A patient who has received a diagnosis of breast cancer needs the support of their friends and family, but sometimes this is not enough. Friends and family may not really understand all the various problems intrinsic in breast cancer. A patient would benefit from the support of those who have been through the whole process and survived. The survivors’ first hand experiences can help the patient understand the process and decrease stress levels. This is where support groups can prove to be very useful.
Support groups are available on line or in local areas. Some support groups are structured and have a licensed therapist available. Some groups focus on answering questions about what to expect in the way of side effects from the various treatments. Other groups are less structured and simply encourage their members to share their feelings, and receive sympathy and the benefit of experience from others. There are even groups that can provide tangible help to breast cancer victims undergoing treatment. These groups can arrange in home help like volunteers to do the cleaning, baby-sitting and transportation to and from treatments and doctor appointments. There are also many different sites and support groups on line which can offer help with almost any part of the fight against breast cancer.
There is information on the internet regarding how breast cancer patients can take care of themselves during this difficult time. There are special relaxation techniques that can lower stress levels like visualization and breathing exercises. There are social workers and counselors who can offer support, and also financial advisors who can help find ways to ease the financial burden of medical expenses and treatment. There are also legal advisors who can give advice about preparing a standard will, or a living will, which confers power of attorney to someone in the event that the patient is no longer able to make decisions about their own health care.
Another way to relieve stress is through diet. There are certain foods which have been proven to contain the vitamins that one needs to lower stress levels, such as spinach, fish, oatmeal, oranges and dark chocolate.
Support is available everywhere and in any form needed to help a patient deal with breast cancer. There is also support available for the family and friends of the patient. There are online sites with a lot of helpful information, and support groups to help the families know what to expect. Caring for a person who is going through the difficult experience of breast cancer can be stressful, too, but there is help and support available for everyone who needs it.