8 Private Battles That Breast Cancer Patients Fight
Advocacy A breast cancer diagnosis can take as much of a toll on the mind as it does on the body. Here are some of the hidden damages that patients want more people to know about.
Women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. However, in 2016 the American Cancer Society estimates about 2,600 new cases of breast cancer will affect men, too. Here are some of the struggles both sexes may face in light of a breast cancer diagnosis:
1. It's scary
The prospect of dying is a real concern, as scientists haven’t yet found a cure for breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2016 about 40,450 women and about 440 men are predicted to lose their battles with breast cancer.
2. It makes us sick
One of the current first-line treatments for breast cancer is chemotherapy, which can cause nausea and vomiting, making daily tasks a struggle for patients.
3. Chemo-brain is real
This term alludes to the mental state following the procedure itself, wherein patients may have trouble concentrating, suffer memory loss or have difficulty multi-tasking, among other challenges.
4. The bills keep coming
In the same vein, most patients don’t have the luxury of not working while undergoing treatment, especially in the early stages of their regimen. Due to weakness, forgetfulness and fatigue, maintaining the same quantity and quality of work that they managed when they were healthy can prove challenging.
5. It impacts everyone
Relationships can transform after breast cancer diagnosis — shaking up marriage roles, how a child sees his or her parent and how a single person dates.
6. It's not a “girls club”
As the statistics show, breast cancer predominantly affects women — but that doesn’t mean it’s only a women’s disease. A recent British study found prevalent differences in men’s tumors compared with women’s, meaning that, until now, many doctors may be treating men in this patient population just like women, to the detriment of their health.
7. We lose a piece of ourself
Some patients may choose to undergo a mastectomy to try to eradicate their cancer. Sometimes this approach requires recovery time and more likely, it can affect patients’ self-esteem. Chemo can lead to the same effect for men and women, who in turn suffer hair loss.
8. Care costs stockpile
Health insurance doesn’t make cancer treatment cheap. Aside from funding treatment itself, extra costs like transportation to and from the hospital or clinic can add up. What’s more, employees that don’t have paid time off may face lost income when needing to take time away from their workplace to undergo treatment.