Recent advancements in breast cancer screening and treatment are helping more people beat this potentially deadly disease than ever before. However, a diagnosis of breast cancer, no matter what stage it is in, is devastating for that person and his or her family.
Luckily, there is more access than ever to organizations that can provide much-needed emotional support for those with breast cancer and their families. With renewed hope comes a better quality of life.
Coping with the Emotional Turmoil
Following diagnosis, most women struggle with feelings of isolation and even impending doom. Unfortunately, some health care providers can be insensitive to the emotional impact that a diagnosis can have. This only leads to more feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and depression for those with breast cancer.
Complementary therapies can help bridge the physical and emotional aspects of breast cancer treatment in order to help treat the whole person and not just the disease itself. A woman who has been told she has breast cancer is dealing with fear that strikes deep and can cause unyielding levels of stress. Studies have shown that this can lead to a worse prognosis, so it is important to include effective stress-reduction therapy as a part of any successful breast cancer treatment.
In fact, a research team from Harvard Medical School found that when people with breast cancer practiced a simple, repetitive prayer, phrase, word, or even sound and then worked to ignore their more intrusive feelings, they could evoke a stable relaxation response. These simple actions have proven to be quite an effective therapy for the symptoms of cancer.
Seeking Help from Support Groups
Various studies have shown that people with breast cancer tend to live longer when they have participated in support groups as opposed to coping with the emotional aspects of this disease on their own. Breast cancer survivors can serve as an incredible source of hope for women who are undergoing treatment. This allows them an opportunity to talk with someone who has experienced the type of feelings that they are struggling with. It’s the type of emotional support that only someone who has had breast cancer can fully understand and adequately provide.
Christine Druther’s Story
Christine Druther is the founder of Her2Support.org, which helps people who have been diagnosed with HER2, a particularly aggressive form of cancer often given a relatively poor prognosis. Despite recurrences, Christine was victorious in her struggle with HER2 breast cancer and now works to help educate other people with breast cancer about becoming an active member in their treatment. She wants them to be able to take charge.
Christine started her website after the turn of the millennium. At the time, people with breast cancer who were HER2-positive were mostly pitied by their doctors. At the time of her own diagnosis, Christine was not able to find much available information on HER2 breast cancer. Even more shocking was that most of the information she did find detailed survival in terms of only months, not years. This type of outlook would test the resolve of even the strongest people.
Still, she stuck with her cancer treatment and persevered through the debilitating effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Then, in 2001, she received incredible news from her oncologist: She was cancer-free!
It was at this time that she realized that there must be many other women who were coping with the same things she was and, like she had been, were in desperate need of help and support. Christine wanted to create a website that could provide these women with access to the information she had collected while battling breast cancer. This would become a peer-supported organization where people with breast cancer and survivors could share information or stories, while also having access to all the latest research. Today her site serves as an invaluable resource for people with breast cancer, regardless of what type they have.
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