South Florida Hospital News
Saturday November 17, 2018
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November 2018 - Volume 15 - Issue 5

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Tips for Coping with Breast Cancer

“You have breast cancer.” These are words no woman wants to hear, but if you did, what would you do? If you react with disbelief, anger, anxiety, resignation and then acceptance, you are not alone. Many women experience these feelings, as well as shock, fear, guilt, sadness, grief and depression. Going through a wide range of emotions is perfectly normal and each person will handle them in different ways. The key to dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis is to manage these emotions, rather than letting them manage you. Here are a few tips for coping with breast cancer.
 
Learn about the disease
Learning about breast cancer can help you better understand the type of cancer you have, treatment options and chances for recovery. Knowing what you are up against can lessen fears and give you a sense of control over your treatment.
 
Talk about it
Many women find that talking to people, including family, friends or other breast cancer survivors, about their feelings provides much needed emotional support. If you are not the talkative type, try keeping a journal. Working through your feelings about cancer can help you maintain a positive attitude and better handle stress.
 
Take care of yourself
Find something you enjoy doing, like watching a movie, taking a hot bath or reading a book. Pay attention to your physical needs and get enough sleep, eat right and exercise (if you feel up to it and your doctor says you can). 
 
Ask for help
If you can’t get the housework done, ask a friend or relative to help you. Most people will gladly pitch in to help with specific tasks, so don’t be afraid to ask them to pick something up at the grocery store or watch the kids so you can go to a doctor’s appointment.
 
Seek spiritual support
Many women find that talking with a pastor, rabbi or other religious leader can provide comfort and guidance in dealing with the challenge of breast cancer. Reciting prayers, meditating or reading inspirational books may help you feel more at peace.
 
The emotional stress of dealing with breast cancer can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to manage it alone. Talk with your doctor or visit the American Cancer Society website at www.cancer.org for information about support groups and programs in your area.
 
Dr. Charles Harris is the Chief of Staff at North Shore Medical Center 
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