Cancer is a frightening and life changing diagnosis. Besides having a great impact on patient’s physical health, its effects on patient’s mental and emotional health are just as alarming. When it comes to breast cancer, there are so many other factors at play that affect women’s emotional health.
A range of emotions:
Cancer is a life changing diagnosis. One day you are going about your day, the next day you are scrambling around for doctor appointments and getting various tests done. The feelings of anxiety, panic, fear and despair are increasingly common in cancer patients.
Aggressive Treatment Regime and Costs
Diagnosis of cancer comes with a totally changed life style with aggressive treatment regime. Chemotherapy, Radiation and oncological surgery are various treatment options depending upon the diagnosis, site, stage and grade of cancer. All of these options come with very adverse side effects. Alopecia, nausea, vomiting, and immunosuppression hence leading to a multitude of infections are not uncommon with these treatment options. On top of all that, the costs of such treatments are very high which is why most women don’t have timely access to treatment which results in greater mortality. Financial assistance is very crucial in breast cancer treatment and lack thereof causes immense emotional damage.
Changes in Physical Appearance
Cancer has a great impact on one’s physical health. One of the biggest side effects of chemotherapy is alopecia which is a condition in which patient loses greater chunk of their hair at a faster rate. Aggressive metastatic cancers cause loss of appetite and cachexia which makes cancer patients look frail and weak.
Breast Cancer Treatment mostly involves Mastectomy which is removal of one or both breasts. This is an extremely devastating outcome of breast cancer.
Breasts are regarded as a symbol of femininity. These are hailed as the single best external identification point of femininity in our society. The loss of even single breast can have a devastating effect on women emotional health.
Patients with breast cancer often get isolated and ostracized in our society. Married women with breast cancer diagnosis suffer in their marriage which in many cases ends in divorce. Similarly single women with breast cancer are ostracized and treated as a liability. This taboo around breast cancer and ostracism that takes place as a result of it makes most women wary of coming forward with breast cancer diagnosis and getting early treatment.
Need for emotional support:
Breast Cancer is a life altering illness. No disease changes life quality like cancer does. Women battling this disease need immense emotional support right from the diagnosis till even after recovery. According to Statistics, 80% of women suffer from PTSD after breast cancer diagnosis. Only way we can fight this menace is by joining hands as a community and lending emotional and financial support to women fighting this battle.