The effects of breast cancer can sometimes go well beyond your own physical and emotional challenges. Cancer can cause family and relationship changes or pregnancy and fertility concerns. It may bring unexpected financial difficulties or work-related issues.
Speak with a member of your UPMC Breast Care Center team if you are experiencing any of these challenges. They can connect you with resources through UPMC in Central Pa. or within the community that can help.
There’s no telling how your breast cancer will affect your family or friends. Sometimes it brings people closer. In other cases, it causes friends to distance themselves. The important thing is to be prepared for these changes and know where to find support if it’s needed.
Three areas where you may experience challenges are:
Breast cancer survivors may experience guilt because treatment has taken you away from your children. This may cause you to want to try being a normal or super parent. However, you may find this challenging due to fatigue or long-term side effects you're experiencing. Don’t compare yourself to other parents. Take time to adjust to life after treatment and do the best that you can.
You may want to make up for lost time by packing every day with love and fun. This can place a lot of stress on you, your partner and your children. Instead, choose relaxed ways to connect and enjoy your family. Ease back into a normal daily routine.
Sometimes, fear of recurrence can affect the way that you interact with your partner and children. You may pull away or you may become overprotective. The best way to manage this fear is to be open and honest with your loved ones about your feelings and encourage them to do the same.
The urge to have sex usually returns following breast cancer treatment, however some women experience changes in sexual function or sex drive. These could be related to your cancer or treatment. You could also experience physical side effects that interfere with sexual function. For example, a mastectomy can interfere with your ability to become aroused. Or you may not feel attractive or confident now that you’ve lost your hair or have scars.
It’s important to discuss these changes with a member of your UPMC Breast Care Center team. Choose someone with whom you feel comfortable or who is experienced with these concerns. This could be your nurse navigator. They can provide you with suggestions for overcoming these challenges. These may include connecting you and your partner with a counselor who can talk you through some of the issues you experience.
Remember, intimacy is important to your relationship and to your feelings about yourself.
PinnacleHealth Breast Care Center
Located at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center at the Rocco and Nancy Ortenzio Cancer Pavilion
2035 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
PinnacleHealth Breast Care Center
Located at Medical Sciences Pavilion
4300 Londonderry Road
Harrisburg, PA 17109
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