Being diagnosed with any form of cancer can have a profound impact not just on physical health but also on mental health. A lot of sufferers will experience significant changes in their psychological well-being. A person’s and their family members’ reactions to being told they’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer can be incredibly emotional; depressive, anxious, and frightening emotions are often felt. It is essential to remember that opportunities for hope, support, and treatment options are available for all kinds of mental diseases. It is important to remember that mental disorders don’t affect the effectiveness of treatment for breast cancer, so it’s essential to seek assistance.
Everyone is aware that the early detection of breast cancer improves the likelihood of treatment success. This is also true of mental health. The problem is that many breast cancer patients aren’t aware that they might be suffering from mental health issues such as depression and aren’t provided with treatment.
How do you define breast cancer?
Cancer of the breast is a condition that is caused by an uncontrolled growth of breast cells of the breast tissue. It is a controlled process in the body, and the immune system controls the destruction and elimination of damaged and abnormal cells. When cancer develops, the immune system cannot eliminate the abnormal cells. Breast cancer is determined by the kind of tissue or cell it grows within.
The three primary parts of a breast are the ducts, lobules, and connective tissue. The lobules make the milk delivered to the nipples through the vents. Connective tissues aid in the creation of the organ and keep everything in the right place. Breast cancer is usually a result of either the ducts or the lobules.
The most common invasive cancer for women can be attributed to breast cancer. In the Asian states, Pakistan has the highest prevalence of breast cancer, with a chance of one woman in nine being diagnosed. Numerous doctors excel in treating and diagnosing breast cancer, allowing you to see the most renowned physicians in Pakistan for a routine check-up.
How can breast cancer affect your mental health?
Depression and anxiety may be among the symptoms that are triggered by the diagnosis of breast cancer. There are a variety of reasons people with breast cancer may have occasional depression symptoms or, at the very least, may be at risk of developing these symptoms. Cancer makes people confront the reality of death and all the associated fears and loss. It can alter the course of your life, disrupt your daily routine, and threaten the purposes, roles, and goals that provide your life with satisfaction and meaning.
The treatment for breast cancer may cause adverse side effects that are difficult to manage and, in certain circumstances, can cause damage to your body for life. The emotional stress you experience is because of being aware that the disease impacts you and those you love dearly.
Many cancer patients experience depressive periods. Depression reduces your strength, makes fighting cancer harder overall, and could hinder your ability to adapt to life. It can also reduce the desire to live and diminish the strength, determination, perseverance, and strength you must have to fight cancer and undergo the required medical treatment.
There are ways that breast cancer may impact mental health;
The majority of people think that it is a permanent cancer. This can lead to the development of a fear of dying, which can harm the psychological health and well-being of cancer patients. It is crucial to understand the fact that cancer of the breast is highly treatable when it is detected early.
Inadequacy of information
There is a vast ignorance about breast cancer, or cancers generally. Many misconceptions regarding breast cancer can trigger anxiety and guilt for those with cancer.
Breast cancer side effects treatment
The negative side results of treatment for breast cancer may include mood swings and memory loss, as well as the role that you can play and sleeplessness. Hormone level changes can affect your mood, and gaining weight can cause demoralisation when other women feel resentful while some blame themselves. Women who have breast cancer are vulnerable to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which can take them back to the moment they were diagnosed with the condition.
The process and results of treatment for cancer
The course of treatment for cancer is harrowing and can be prolonged depending on the type of cancer. The primary therapies to treat breast cancer are radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Beyond the impact of these treatments on the health and fitness of the human body, they can affect physical aspects, too.
Chemotherapy may cause hair thinning and, in many cases, may cause complete disappearance of the hair. It doesn’t just affect the hair on the scalp but also causes the loss of eyelashes and eyebrows. Long hair is typically associated with beauty and women, and losing this hair can have a significant impact on their health. Losing eyebrow hair could affect the physical appearance of the face. This can negatively impact women’s mental health.
Radiotherapy usually requires permanent marking on the body, which may cause patients PTSD for a long time after the conclusion of therapy. Radiotherapy may cause permanent damage to the skin, which could make women more conscious of their appearance and affect their confidence.
The effects that Breast cancer has on the mental well-being of females in Pakistan
Pakistan mostly lacks understanding and recognition of the existence of mental health problems. The primary reason the people of Pakistan suffer from mental health issues is the “it’s all in your head” mentality. Everything is within your head; isn’t it an incredibly significant organ in your body?
The fear of recurrence
The chance of a successful treatment for breast cancer is high, and the chances of recurrence diminish. However, recurrences can happen even after treatment, so there is no way to tell with 100% certainty that you have been cured. The fear of undergoing the process again can negatively affect the psychological well-being of women who have had breast cancer.
Methods to limit the adverse effects of breast cancer on mental well-being
Breast cancer patients must be more vigilant about their mental health because their determination to live up to their expectations is vital to cancer treatment success. Here are some strategies a patient with breast cancer could use to lessen the adverse effects of the disease on mental health
Acceptance from the heart
Recognizing the issue is the first and most crucial step in tackling any problem. To appear confident, many people avoid or minimise their feelings, which may affect their mental well-being. It is not the case that emotions are an indication of weakness. Try to stay positive, but it’s acceptable to have bad moments. Being honest about what you feel will aid you in understanding your circumstances better and ultimately help you obtain aid.
Meditation and mindfulness
Patients with breast cancer can consider using meditation to boost their mental well-being. Meditation is a great way to build calm and peace and enhance your psychological and physical well-being. While in meditation, by paying attention to your breathing, you can concentrate on one factor that can reduce stress. According to research, mindfulness practices can aid in managing stress and decrease anxiety and despair.
Controlling health and managing symptom control
Follow a regular schedule of follow-ups to manage breast cancer. This will assure you that you receive all your exams and diagnostic tests at the right time. Addressing your symptoms and having regular check-ups after treatment, you can remain calm and avoid the dread of cancer recurrence.
Self-education on the symptoms and signs
After being confirmed to be cancer-free, it’s crucial to know the signs and symptoms that are present as you continue to undergo treatment. This will assist your healthcare doctor in assessing the treatment’s effectiveness and assure you that the treatment you receive is on the right track.
Healthier lifestyle maintenance
Being healthier will help combat anxiety and depression in cancer patients if your doctor permits you to incorporate fitness into your routine under your health and treatment stage. Exercise can boost the synthesis of and release of hormones that stimulate your mood. Sleeping well every night is also an excellent way to reduce the negative impacts of breast cancer disease on your psychological well-being. Beans, lentils, seeds, legumes, nuts, etc., are all brain foods that can aid in reducing the adverse effects of breast cancer on mental health and aid with the fight against cancer.
Support groups can reduce the stigma and loneliness experienced by women with breast cancer. Meeting other cancer patients can give you hope and make you realise you’re not the only one in this fight. Support groups offer safe places for patients with breast cancer to vent their frustrations openly and honestly.
You can take on the role of enhancing the mental well-being of those who are suffering from breast cancer.
Do you have a friend who has breast cancer or was recently diagnosed? There are numerous ways you can make a difference in the lives of someone. What you say and how you act can influence the mental health of those around you more than you realise. Cancer patients suffer from anxiety, guilt, self-doubt, depression, fear, and shame and, consequently, require compassion, understanding, and compassion. Cancer treatment can put people in a weakened condition, which is why you need to be very careful about your actions, words, and the impression you convey to the person. Below are a few ways to improve the mental health of someone with cancer.
Hugs and kisses
Be sure to ask permission before going to them.
Let them have a laugh
Invite them to attend the appointments with them.
Don’t ignore uncomfortable topics
Provide to take any tough calls to them.
Make easy-to-follow activities using them
Keep your eyes on the prize.
Volunteer to care for their children or pets
Pray with them
Normally treat cancer patients.