Why do psycho-emotional difficulties arise?
Changes in body appearance, psychosexual dysfunction, infertility, lymphatic edema, disorders of role behavior in society and uncertainty about the future with an oncological diagnosis are some of the possible threats, losses, and chronic stressors (i.e., factors that cause stress). They provoke a diverse negative experience, anxiety, and decreased mood in breast cancer patients.
Scars, loss of a nipple and breast asymmetry are possible consequences of a surgical intervention. Psychosexual difficulties arise due to the loss of sensitivity in one or both breasts (loss of an erogenous zone), postmenopausal symptoms (e.g., hot flashes, vaginal dryness), hormonal treatment, loss of sexual confidence, and finally, the fact of the disease and its treatment itself. These problems are actually very common but tend to be more significant and serious for patients who have been subjected to sexual or physical abuse in the past. For these women a breast surgery may seem another ‘attack’ on their body and sexual function.
Although many patients with early breast cancer have a favorable prognosis, it may be extremely hard to cope with the uncertainty and potential threat to life, especially for those women who are used to successfully being in charge of their lives. Patients’ perceptions of the disease and level of the threat are often formed in a negative way due to the history of cancer they know in other people, especially family members.
A psychiatrist is a source of important information who helps the patient to shift the focus from pessimistic thoughts, regain confidence in herself and her strength, focus on life, health, and family priorities. Consultation and selection of tailored pharmacotherapy by a specialist help the women with breast cancer find solutions and relief for complex physical, emotional, social, psychosexual, and personal issues.
Psychological support of the LISOD Breast Center patients at all stages of treatment
We are convinced that successful treatment of an oncological disease has a lot to do with a right psychological mindset of the patients. Moreover, their relatives often need counselling as well because their endurance and patience, awareness, correct assessment of the situation and effective interaction with doctors at the Breast Center are crucially important.
Our patients receive psychological support at all stages of treatment and during rehabilitation once it is complete.
Psychologists at the LISOD Breast Center help the patients:
– to accept their diagnosis, adjust to new life conditions and the new schedule that is related to treatment;
– to learn special skills and techniques that can help fight off stress, the anxious and intrusive thoughts;
– to cope with negative feelings and conditions that appear during treatment, to recognize them and not be scared;
– to search and find ways to solve urgent problems (in the family, at home and others) that are directly related to the diagnosis and how to explore various strategies and options for action;
– to overcome a psychological barrier and discomfort that may arise due to changes in appearance at all stages of treatment, for example, because of possible hair loss during chemotherapy or body image changes following surgery;
– to learn to cope with a fear of a relapse – one that haunts many patients after treatment and often prevents them from returning to normal life;
– to adapt to ordinary life after treatment, motivating patients to find new meaning in life and set new goals.
We are always ready to provide psychological support and assistance to our patients and their loved ones and to be close when necessary. Our work with the patients aims to do everything possible for their recovery and to fill their lives with warmth, understanding, peace and common sense.