The emotional impact of the news of a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) does not end when you leave the doctor’s office. You may be quite unprepared for the feelings you have. Your emotions may take you by surprise, and may happen at times when you do not expect them. You may not feel like your normal self.
We hope the information below will help you to seek the support you need to cope emotionally and physically with your illness. This is something you might want to take at your own pace and do once you’ve had some time to adjust to the news. In this section you will learn:
You may be asking yourself – what now? Your doctors are looking after your body and the progression of disease – but what about all the other aspects of your life? How do you even start to carry on and live your new life with cancer?
It is natural to need emotional and psychological support to help you cope with your condition and learn to live with MBC every day.
YOUR FIRST STEP is to ask your healthcare team about who can provide emotional support. This is a critical part of your overall ‘care’ and helps support the treatment your medical team can provide you with.2
YOUR BREAST CANCER NURSE may also be able to provide help in coping with some of the physical symptoms of your disease, such as pain and other side effects of the treatment.3
You may feel that you are betraying your family by asking for professional help. Don’t. Friends and family can be very supportive, but sometimes they are too close to you to be able to provide you with the help you need.
! Getting professional help is a sign
of strength, not weakness –
it means you are trying to help yourself
Every woman is dierent in terms of how she wishes to deal with her condition. You may prefer to deal with it privately, just with your close family and friends. But you may also appreciate the help of a patient support group
The right support group can give you a safe place to express all your feelings and fears. You won’t need to choose your words as carefully as when you are talking to your family and friends about how you are doing.
Finding a community of other women with MBC may also help you to feel less alone with your illness, its side eects, and the exhaustion. You can learn from the experience of other women, draw strength from them and share your own views to help other women.
In looking for the right patient support group, you will find that many are not specifically for women with MBC. If most women in the group have early breast cancer, they will find it dificult to relate to what you are going through. This is because your cancer is more advanced than theirs.
If possible, try to find a patient support group that has a specific group for women with MBC. It may take time to find the right one. You may wish to ask other women with MBC at your treatment centre where they found support. You can also ask your care team to refer you to a patient support group or contact Pink Caravan to find out more.
You can go online to look for support groups for women living with MBC. Many oer chat rooms or one-to-one support. These can be a valuable source of help and assistance.