In India, every four minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. With some 1,78,000 new cases being diagnosed every year, breast cancer has overtaken cervical cancer to become the most common cancer in Indian women. It accounts for 14% of cancers in Indian women. Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis is a life-altering event for anyone, but it’s not just the patient who feels the impact. Friends and family members also go through a rollercoaster of emotions as they try to support their loved one through the challenging journey of treatment and recovery.  While the treatment varies for each patient, it’s vital to support your loved one throughout diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Increased support from family and friends ensures better outcomes and also helps prevent depression following a breast cancer diagnosis.

Understanding the Medical Aspects

Breast cancer is a complex disease with various types and stages, which can determine the treatment approach. Treatments include:

  • Surgery
    This is often the first step in treating breast cancer. It can involve a lumpectomy (removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue) or a mastectomy (removal of the entire breast). Understanding the type of surgery your loved one is undergoing can help you provide appropriate support.
  • Chemotherapy
    Chemotherapy uses drugs to target and kill cancer cells throughout the body. It can be administered intravenously or orally and may have various side effects such as nausea, fatigue, and hair loss.
  • Radiation Therapy
    Radiation therapy utilizes high-energy beams to target and destroy cancer cells. It is usually administered after surgery to eliminate any remaining cancer cells.
  • Hormone Therapy
    This treatment is designed for hormone receptor-positive breast cancers. It involves medications that block or reduce hormone production to prevent cancer growth.
  • Targeted Therapy
    Targeted therapy specifically targets certain molecules involved in cancer growth. It is often used in combination with other treatments.

How to Support someone with Cancer?

Understanding the specifics of your loved ones treatment plan is helpful to provide effective support. Here are a few things to help make things easier for your loved one and yourself after diagnosis and during treatment:

  • Stay in touch
    A breast cancer diagnosis can evoke a wide range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, and sadness. Be a good listener, offer a shoulder to cry on, and reassure your loved one that you are there for them no matter what. 
  • Be patient
    The first few days after diagnosis, the patient is usually overwhelmed and overflowing with emotions. Be patient and kind with the person as they navigate their treatment options.
  • Accompany for appointments
    After a breast cancer diagnosis, doctor appointments can be overwhelming especially the information about their condition, treatment options and prognosis. Attending medical appointments with your loved one can offer moral support and help them remember important information.
  • Help with Chores
    Treatment can be physically demanding. Offer to drive your loved one to appointments, take care of children, pets or help with household chores to reduce their burden.
  • Discuss Mental health
    Poor mental health can negatively impact cancer treatment and its outcomes. If you notice your loved one’s mental health deteriorating, reach out to them and connect them with a mental health specialist.
  • Find Support Groups
    Both patients and caregivers can benefit from joining support groups. These groups offer a safe space to share experiences, ask questions, and find comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

Breast Cancer care at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital

The journey of breast cancer may be challenging, but your presence and care can make a significant difference in their battle against breast cancer. Remember that every small gesture of support counts in helping your loved one through this difficult time. The Comprehensive Breast Care Unit at our Centre for Cancer is a dedicated service that has been created to specifically diagnose and treat conditions affecting the mammary gland. Consult our experienced oncologists who have successfully performed over 3300 breast cancer surgeries. Please find the below link for further details:

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