Finding out your breast cancer has returned can be equally or more upsetting than your initial diagnosis. As you sort through your emotions and make decisions about treatment, the following suggestions might help you cope:
Jun. 05, 2014
- Learn enough about recurrent breast cancer to make decisions about your care. Ask your doctor about your recurrent breast cancer, including your treatment options and, if you like, your prognosis. As you learn more about recurrent breast cancer, you may become more confident in making treatment decisions.
- Keep friends and family close. Keeping your close relationships strong will help you deal with your recurrent breast cancer. Friends and family can provide the practical support you'll need, such as helping take care of your house if you're in the hospital. And they can serve as emotional support when you feel overwhelmed by cancer.
Find someone to talk with. Find a good listener who is willing to listen to you talk about your hopes and fears. This may be a friend or family member. The concern and understanding of a counselor, medical social worker, clergy member or cancer support group also may be helpful.
Ask your doctor about support groups in your area. Or check your phone book, library or a cancer organization, such as the National Cancer Institute or the American Cancer Society.
- 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.
- Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 12, 2014.
- Breast cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed March 12, 2014.
- When cancer returns. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/when-cancer-returns. Accessed March 12, 2014.
- Distress management. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed March 12, 2014.
- Hurria A, et al. Patterns of relapse and long-term complications of therapy in breast cancer survivors. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 13, 2014.
- Rock CL, et al. Nutrition and physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2012;62:242.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 17, 2014.
- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 25, 2014.
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