Healing and hope for fighters, survivors and newly diagnosed breast cancer patients
Joye Hilton, MA, LPC
October is a month that many associate with haunted houses, tricks, treats, and scary things, while others think of a much scarier scenario: cancer!
“You have cancer” is a shocking statement that nobody wants to hear. However, it is expected that in 2019 there will be 268,600 new cases of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the United States and 2,670 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in men.
October is set aside for Breast Cancer Awareness. As you walk through any store, you will see pink everywhere – hats, T-shirts, socks, bandanas, keychains, ink pens, and an array of other products that have that familiar pink ribbon. There are fashion shows, races, mobile mammographies, concerts, galas, and slogans galore to bring awareness and raise funds to help fight the disease.
A new diagnosis can lead to an array of emotions such as feeling angry, sad, alone, afraid, hopeless, guilty, or confused, just to name a few. But, there is hope, and there is help.
Two commonly reported symptoms after diagnosis are depression and anxiety:
- Depression: loss of interest, isolation, loss of appetite or overeating, changes in sleep patterns, prolonged feelings of sadness, guilt, hopelessness or suicidal thoughts, uncontrollable crying
- Anxiety: excessive worry, irritability, insomnia, fear of death/dying, trembling, racing heart while in a relaxed state, unwanted thoughts
These symptoms make sense for such a life-altering diagnosis as breast cancer. However, with advancements in early detection, treatments, and longer life expectancy following diagnosis, one should return to normal day-to-day routines quickly. But, there is cause for concern when these symptoms are prolonged and start to take over a person’s life. Individual, family, or group counseling may help those who are diagnosed with breast cancer and experiencing any of these symptoms. At HopeHealth, in-office screenings can help identify areas of need and the best course of action to get from despair to hope.
HopeHealth offers behavioral health services in Manning, Kingstree, Aiken, Orangeburg, and Florence. HopeHealth is a partner of the South Carolina Best Chance Network; a South Carolina breast and cervical cancer early detection program that helps women needing breast and cervical cancer screening.
Breast cancer is a battle no one should fight alone. Ask your primary care provider today about finding a behavioral health specialist in your area who can help.
Joye Hilton, MA, LPC, is a behavioral health consultant at HopeHealth in Manning and HopeHealth Pediatrics in Manning. She is a licensed professional counselor who approaches treatment holistically.