Every one in twenty-eight Indian women is likely to develop breast cancer in her lifetime. As much as it is a toll on physical health, it is an even stronger trauma for the psychological well-being of the patient. Even after the passing of the initial shock of diagnosis, distress typically continues. This majorly results in anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. An analysis showed that mortality rates were 26% higher in patients with depressive symptoms and 39% higher in patients with major depression.
Patients with breast cancer often try to look for a new identity of themselves, which creates a harder psychological impact for them as well as their families. This extends the line of psychological damage to their families. In most cases, the road to psychological recovery is longer than physical recovery. Since breast cancer diagnosis severely impairs a woman’s psychological functioning, this jeopardizes their physical health. The increased risk of mental health deterioration is usually in the first year of diagnosis. There are side effects of the treatment, which include insomnia, mood swings and memory changes. In this phase, hormone level changes can influence emotions, as weight gain can happen commonly. This becomes discouraging for the patients to a substantial level.
Even after complete recovery, there is always a fear of recurrence. Even slightest of pain can make the patient think “is my cancer back?” it is important during these phases as well to ease yourself. Accepting your emotions plays a strong role in this phase. Talking to a certified psychologist, your friends or other survivors can help.Various activities such as meditation and introspection can help in causing relief to the patient as well as the family. The more an individual knows about him/herself, the easier it is to stay relaxed and calm in the phase.
It is important to take control of your health by your own, for e.g. following up with the doctor, having a list of symptoms to be reported to the doctor can be vital in having a relaxed mindset. Joining a support group and maintaining a healthy lifestyle such as exercising can lower depressing thoughts to a great extent.