Coping with the Psychological Repercussions of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is not a western disease anymore. Asian countries, such as Pakistan, cannot just close their eyes and cover a few cases of the disease leading to someone’s death anymore. Why? Because according to the latest research, 1 in every 9 Pakistani women is at the risk of becoming a breast cancer patient. Yet, the stigma attached to the disease is not decreasing.
As a nation, we need to answer THE question: when did the risk of losing her breasts become more of a problem than the risk of losing her life? As if being diagnosed with a dangerous ailment is not traumatic enough, our society does not spare the emotions of the affected women either. Therefore, to increase the awareness among the masses, this article deals with the psychological effects of breast cancer.
How does Breast Cancer Disturb the Victim Psychologically?
The physical repercussions and the aftermath of breast cancer treatments are complicated. However, psychiatric disarray and emotional distress tends to ensue in patients even after recovery. Such effects include feelings of sadness, depression, and hopelessness. There is a great chance of people reacting differently to the news of diagnosis and that can be hurtful for the patients.
Depression and anxiety in women suffering from breast cancer can have a negative impact on their relationships, both domestic and professional. Depression, anxiety, and the continuous feeling of helplessness can mess up with the cortisol level in the patient’s body. This can weaken their immune system thus, increasing the inflammations.
Meanwhile, in case of a mastectomy, women are at the risk of feeling depressed for losing their breasts. This is not well accepted by our society since breasts are considered a symbol of femininity and sexuality. Similarly, cancer treatments, especially chemotherapy results in hair loss. Hair is another element that defines the beauty of a woman in our society. The balding head does not bode well with women suffering or recovering from breast cancer.
Seeking Professional Help
This leaves us with what should we do to resolve this issue. First of all, people need to educate themselves and the others about it. Moreover, if the patient feels down or their family/friends see signs of depression, professional help should be sought. They should be provided with a healthy way to let out their feelings. Counselling can help the patient understand their situation. They can learn to fight the depression.
Another way is to join support groups. Other individuals who have or are still suffering from breast cancer can be of immense help. Finding someone who they can relate to might cheer the cancer patients up. This will give them the feeling that they are not alone, which in turn can be extremely healing.
Support from Family and Friends
Lastly, support from family and friends means a lot. For example, in the case a woman is depressed about mastectomy, her partner can reassure her about it. Family can help the patients find an outlet for their grief. Instead of treating them like aliens, we all need to help breast cancer patients live an emotionally stable life.