Effects of coping with the after-effects of Breast Cancer on mental health

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Effects of coping with the after-effects of Breast Cancer on mental health

Recovering from breast cancer has long term physical changes such as chronic pain, phantom breast pain, axillary web syndrome and lymphedema. During this phase, patients often develop fear, sadness, guilt, helplessness and anxiety. This emotional turmoil can affect the physical and mental well-being of an individual. This leads to withdrawal from family and friends and patients may use alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine or other drugs to soothe themselves. It becomes important during this time to understand and listen to the body. Focusing on self-talk plays a key role during this time of psychological recovery. In unhealthy times, self-talk can either make the individual either feel helpless or strong. It's important to feel self-motivated during this time.  


One also must grow strong to command one’s senses. This helps reduce helplessness as one becomes more aware of their surroundings. Regular physical exercise strengthens the body physically and leads to a stronger mindset. Not drinking alcohol is extremely important here as alcohol is a natural sedative. It might initially calm an individual, but as the buzz is over, anxiety may return with vengeance. Meditation and proper sleep play a vital role in recovery.  

This would ensure that an individual is well rested and relaxed, keeping him/her away from insomnia, which is a common symptom of anxiety. Meditation removes chaotic thoughts and replaces them with a sense of calm and mindfulness.   


Aromatherapy also, like meditation, helps you relax and sleep well. This boosts mood and helps in reducing heart rate and blood pressure. overcoming fears comes out to be a tough task as most patients find it difficult to address their fears. The more an individual looks at his/her fears, the more it runs away. At this moment, it is important to look at your fears and imagine the worst that could happen. Visualization plays an important role in relaxing an individual.