Effects of Breast Cancer
Despite breast cancer being the second cause of morbidity among women in the United States, modern treatment methods have significantly increased the number of cancer survivors. The survivors however have to live with short or long-term effects of breast cancer, which range from physical, emotional and psychosocial effects. While the effects of modern treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy may fade away with time, physical scars left by the complete removal of the breast tissue may be difficult for most women to cope with. Emotional scars are also among the most prevalent breast cancer effects among women.
Most effects of breast cancer are evident as the survivors try to adjust back into normal living as part of the larger society. This is especially so because most women consider breasts as an important part of their femininity. When they are affected therefore, some women embrace denial as a way of ignoring the curious stares. Others react by constant feelings of anger, extroversion or introversion, hopelessness, depression and some may even develop psychiatric symptoms. Coping with their changed physical looks also poses challenges to most women. Without support from friends and family, the experience can be quite traumatic. Luckily, technology and innovation have developed breast prosthesis, which fits just as normally as a real breast would. Alternatively, and at a little more cost, survivors can have breasts reconstruction surgery, in which case the removed breast tissue is replaced using artificial fillers.
In some cases, the effects of breast cancer impinge on one’s ability to relate with the opposite sex. Married women can even suffer low sex drive, especially if they are uncomfortable about how their bodies look. At this point, the partners of breast cancer survivors need to play a reassuring role. Joining support groups is also among the effective ways that contemporary breast cancer survivors can find support among themselves. In such groups, they get to share their different experiences and coping strategies, thus making it easier for most of them to handle their emotional and physical feelings of inadequacy.
If the cancer treatment involved the use of chemotherapy or radiation, the survivor may experience effects of breast cancer ranging from hot flashes, excessive sweating and hair loss. Some of the conventional treatments offered to the cancer survivors in order to relieve these symptoms include anti-depressant drugs or steroids. However, these too have some undesirable side effects which include weight gain, constipation, fatigue, decreased libido, dizziness, insomnia and nausea. When such occur, breast cancer survivors may consider alternative therapies such as acupuncture, which have fewer side effects.
Overall, effects of breast cancer are mostly manifested in the survivor’s emotions. Even after self acceptance, most cancer survivors suffer anxiety, where even a little pain on the scarred tissue may have the survivor panicking that the cancer may be coming back. This in turn may lead to other effects such as difficulty in sleeping, depression or feelings of isolation. One of the effective ways of reassuring oneself is getting constant tests and get