It goes without saying that receiving a breast cancer diagnosis has a seismic impact on a person’s life and, possibly, their outlook on life. The personal impact of breast cancer on someone’s personal and professional life can be too much to fathom at one time. What happens in a family when a loved one is diagnosed? The ripple effects of such a diagnosis can reach so many; a husband, children, and parents. As we are a month away from breast cancer awareness month, it is important to illustrate the true impact of the disease on our country and in our families.
The impact of a breast cancer diagnosis on a spouse can run the gamut. There can be feelings of worry, anxiety, or guilt that a spouse feels. Waiting for test results can be just as stressful for a spouse as it is for the one diagnosed. With the time that treatments and visits to oncology doctors take up, time for communication can be even more strained. Chances are, when it comes to talking about cancer, a spouse is just as unsure as to how to talk about it. The other area of concern for a partner will be the loss of intimacy as treatment progresses since the one diagnosed likely will not have the energy to do the things they were previously able to do.
The reaction of children to the fact that a parent has breast cancer can vary as well. The younger they are, the more likely they could be afraid of being away from that person. Younger children have been known to be scared to leave the house for fear of what might happen to the parent. Young children can become discouraged as well when they discover the parent cannot do the activities they used to do with them because of the side effects of treatment. Teen children could end up distancing themselves from the parent as a coping mechanism when such news is thrust upon them. Daughters who are young adults could become anxious for their own health upon finding out their mother has been diagnosed.
The impact on parents will be no less profound when they get the news of a breast cancer diagnosis. The thought of their child having a life-threatening illness can leave parents in a state of depression, causing difficulty sleeping or troubles with eating. Hearing about such a diagnosis of their child can cause a parent to lash out in anger over their frustration that something like that can happen; such anger is usually directed at the very medical professionals that are working to help their daughter.
Survivors of breast cancer realize that their families are just as much survivors of the disease as they are. The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure provides a way for women and their families to celebrate victory over the disease and raise awareness of the true impact that it has in our country. Join us in the fight against breast cancer, and register for the Komen Phoenix Race for the Cure.