Any type of cancer is highly frightening and so is breast cancer. For most people, it is the end of a journey and creates an overwhelming experience that is incomparable. It causes fear, devastation, and hopelessness at one hand; while on the other hand it fosters love, care, and support.
Not every patient feels the same way. Each patient is unique and handles the disease in a particular way. Just as the diagnosis of breast cancer patients may vary, the emotional experience and feelings may also differ. Here are some top experiences we collected and got to know when speaking to breast cancer patients.
Fear – not ready to accept the diagnosis
Most women fear the idea of being diagnosed with breast cancer. They are not ready to accept the diagnosis. We spoke to 50 cancer patients and 90% of them confirmed that they did not believe in the beginning what their doctors and radiologists told. They looked for second opinion and got the diagnosis from multiple sources. For doctors and family members as well, informing about the diagnosis to the patient is not easy. It is an overwhelming experience for both family members and the patient herself.
“Are you saying, I have cancer? Are you saying, I have cancer?”. These were the first comments from a breast cancer patient when she was told that she had cancer by her doctor.
Being loved and cared
Some people say that diagnosis of the breast cancer brings a lot of attention and support from the loved ones. “Even remotely related people embrace you with love and affection”, a woman told us when discussing about her experiences of being diagnosed with breast cancer. “The feeling of being loved in a selfless manner by friends and loved ones comforts you and you find respite with them particularly if the diagnosis is done at a later stage of the cancer which cannot be treated”, another woman mentioned.
Unable to process the words
A large number of people are lost as they hear the words from their doctor. They are not even able to react as their brains cannot process what it even means to be like a cancer diagnosis. They can’t cry or show any reactions. “At least for the first few minutes, I was standing at the same exact spot and did not show any movement”, said a woman diagnosed with breast cancer.
A state of shock
Almost all women we spoke to confirmed that the diagnosis of their cancer had taken them to a state of extreme shock. Shock is a common feeling that comes with a cancer diagnosis. Not only the patient herself but family members are also driven with a sudden upsetting and surprising experience. Many women are not able to come out of the feeling for day and are in a state of denial.
Anger and rage are common if you are diagnosed with cancer. Some of the common feelings that may occur can be expressed like:
“This is not good”
“Why didn’t I go for a screening earlier?”
“When my family didn’t had it, how come I got the cancer?”
If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, it is perfectly understandable if you are overwhelmed with any such fears, anger, emotions etc. Speak to your doctor as well as other patients who have gone through similar experiences. You can join a local or online support group to help cope with the condition.