Each year, over 2.3 million women receive a breast cancer diagnosis, and almost 700,000 lose their lives to the disease (Schlein, 2023). Additionally, one in 833 men are likely to develop breast cancer (BCRF, 2023). With such record numbers, it is no surprise why most fear the worst when they receive the diagnosis. Breast cancer is a disease that not only causes your physical well-being to deteriorate but also your mental well-being. A diagnosis almost immediately throws you off balance and changes your very being from the ground up. Your self-esteem is knocked down due to the constant changes your body is going through, relationships with friends, families and significant others are put to the test and your emotional well-being is shaken. 

Breast cancer and its treatments can result in a range of physical changes in your body. You may face challenges like fatigue, pain, lymphedema, decreased bone density, fluctuations in weight, shifts in mood, hair loss, or the effects of early menopause in women (BCNA, 2023). These are changes that can happen gradually or immediately depending on the breast cancer stage and the sort of treatment plan being followed. It is only expected that these changes affect your self-esteem as it is like looking in the mirror and not recognizing the person staring back at you. 

Stress levels tend to escalate following a breast cancer diagnosis, as your entire life is reorganised to accommodate treatments, medical appointments, follow-ups, and surgeries. This shift may result in increased irritability as you realise your growing reliance on others, a stark contrast to your previous independence (Maggies, 2023). Consequently, those around you might feel compelled to assist with even the smallest tasks, potentially altering the dynamics of your relationships. 

Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can profoundly affect your emotional well-being. Emotions become tumultuous, and you may grapple with anxiety, depression, isolation and other mental health challenges. Statistics reveal that nearly 80% of women encounter Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms after receiving a cancer diagnosis. Even those who achieve remission still grapple with moments of anxiety and fear about the cancer’s possible return (Maroney, 2021). Breast cancer can cause you to become a shell of yourself and really change your outlook on life. 

In studies, breast cancer patients commonly employed various coping strategies. These included seeking social support, adopting positive reframing and reappraisal as problem-solving tactics, turning to religious or spiritual approaches, expressing emotions positively as emotion-focused strategies, and resorting to avoidance and distraction as avoidance-oriented strategies (Mehrabi et al., 2015). 

However as difficult as this topic is it is still crucial to emphasise and educate the masses. While a breast cancer diagnosis can be frightening and deeply challenging, it should never be seen as a signal to give up the fight or lose faith in the possibility of healing. A breast cancer diagnosis is a complex journey, but the truth is support and love are at the center of healing. It is important to always remember you are not alone and although the journey ahead is difficult, your loved ones, support groups, and the strategies you do to help yourself are the things that will help you through your healing.

Sources Cited: 

Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA). “Physical Wellbeing”. 8 Sept. 2023,

Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). “What to Know About Male Cancer”. 5 June 2023,,breast%20cancer%20in%20their%20lifetime.

Maggies. “Personal Relationships and Cancer.” Mar. 2022, Accessed 6 Oct. 2023.

Maroney, G. (2021, October 1). The emotional trauma of breast cancer: “can anybody hear me?” Curetoday.

Mehrabi E, Hajian S, Simbar M, Hoshyari M, Zayeri F. Coping response following a diagnosis of breast cancer: A systematic review. Electron Physician. 2015 Dec 20;7(8):1575-83. doi: 10.19082/1575. PMID: 26816583; PMCID: PMC4725409.,side%20effects%20of%20early%20menopause.

Schlein, Lisa. “Breast Cancer Is Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths among Women.” VOA, 4 Feb. 2023,  Accessed 6 Oct. 2023

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