Breast Cancer in women

Living with breast cancer

Although most women were shocked and upset at the news of their diagnosis, many said that, after treatment and recovery, they were able to lead life as normal. Women explained that they resumed activities they had enjoyed prior to the illness, including sports, exercise and work.

Some women, who had been diagnosed less than two years ago, explained that they were slowly getting back to normal or feeling more themselves again. Other women said they now felt well enough to go back to work or start a new job.

Many women discussed the check-ups they received after treatment. Some described feeling anxious before these check-ups, and many mentioned their fears and concerns about recurrence. While several women stressed that these anxieties reduced with time, others said that they were a constant insecurity.

One woman, who had been diagnosed with secondary cancer, discussed her uncertainty about the future.

Women also discussed the financial impacts of having had breast cancer, particularly if there had been a loss of earnings or sickness benefits. Several women also discussed the financial or other bureaucratic hurdles they might have to deal with because they had experienced a serious illness.

Many women felt that their breast cancer experience, while difficult, had led to several positive changes or outcomes. Women often said that they now valued life more, and some described how their breast cancer experience had enriched their lives. Several women discussed travelling more since recovery, and a few mentioned exchanging full time employment for part time in order to pursue new hobbies or to relax more. One woman described having a child after breast cancer.

Some women explained that confronting their own mortality through illness had led to a reappraisal of life and appreciation of each day. Several discussed how they now enjoyed life more, and one described valuing her relationships with people much more since her illness. Women also talked about the effects of their illness on their personality. Some said that they now worried less or were more laid back, while others noted being more independent, assertive, sociable and confident. A few women felt that they were now more able to discuss their feelings with their partners and other people.

Some women discussed the healthier diets and lifestyles they now led. Women also talked positively about the new friends they had made through having breast cancer, and some women had become involved in breast cancer fundraising or support groups.

Last reviewed May 2015.
Last updated June 2012.

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