Most women who are treated for breast cancer have some form of surgery. Regardless of your age or personal circumstances, it is understandable to have concerns about how you will cope with losing a breast. Whether this loss is partial or complete, any change to your body image can be a traumatic event. Many women who have been through this experience describe it as a kind of bereavement. If you have a partner or children you may have concerns about their reactions to your operation and to you wearing a prosthesis. You may worry that it is going to change the way they feel about you.
Recovering emotionally from breast surgery can take some time. Each person’s response is different so don’t worry too much if you feel you are not coping as well as someone else you know in a similar situation. If you are struggling or feeling isolated remember that there are people who can help you. Tell your family and friends how you feel so they can support you. You might want to talk to your breast care nurse.
You might find it easier to share your feelings with someone who has had a similar experience to you. Through their “Survivor Support” programme, the Irish Cancer Society’s cancer survivor volunteers provide emotional and practical support to newly diagnosed patients. If you’ve been diagnosed and would like to speak to someone, you can contact them here.
Many of our clients are members of a fabulous group of women on facebook called “Breast Friends”. Breast friends was started by the wonderful Teresa Costello following her breast cancer diagnosis in 2013. Since then Teresa has created a safe space for ladies to support each other and share their experiences. Breast Friends
We love the More Than a Lump podcast from Breast Cancer Ireland. You can listen to it here
In Ireland we are lucky to have a fantastic network of cancer support centres which provide help and support to women who have recently had a breast cancer diagnosis. Carefully selected and fully trained volunteers are available to provide advice and reassurance at a time when a woman is most in need of both. We work with some wonderful cancer support centres, links are below.
Suir Haven Cancer Support, Thurles, Facebook
Suir Haven & Suaimhneas – North Tipp Hospice
Mid-Western Cancer Foundation, Limerick
If you or someone you know has been affected by cancer, the Irish Cancer Society can support you. Find out about support services and programmes offered by the Irish Cancer Society and cancer support centres and groups across the country. https://www.cancer.ie/