Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Finding out your breast cancer has returned can be equally or more upsetting than getting the initial diagnosis. The prospect of more disruptions, treatments and uncertainty is stressful. But, after the initial blow of the diagnosis, many women find their outlook improves.

As you sort through your emotions and make decisions about treatment, the following suggestions might help you cope.

  • Be informed. Learn what you can do for your health right now and about services available to you. Talk with your doctor, family and those you rely on for support about your treatment options and how you want to approach decision making.
  • Get support. Talking with other women who are dealing with recurrent breast cancer can help you on both a practical and an emotional level. Find a support group near you through your doctor, a medical social worker or an organization such as the American Cancer Society. It can also help to express feelings of fear or uncertainty with a friend or counselor.
  • Take time for yourself. Plan ahead for times when you may need more rest. Cut back on time commitments, and don't be afraid to ask for help. Find ways to relax.
  • Learn to live with uncertainty. Try to take in the present moment rather than dwelling on an uncertain future. Use your energy to focus on wellness and finding ways to be peaceful.
  • Look for a connection to something beyond yourself. Having a strong faith or a sense of something greater than yourself helps many people cope with cancer.
May. 24, 2011