Summary: Among women, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed today. There is also a growing trend with more men facing down breast cancer, too, making this a cancer that both genders face. The American Cancer Society says that, as of 2016, over 60,000 women will develop and die from breast cancer. For those who have been recently diagnosed, they will face great turmoil, distress and anxiety. The anxiety from having cancer or long-term illness alone can cause a physical and mental burnout. A burnout can easily creep up on anyone and the key is understanding those triggers, the signs that one is coming, and how to avoid it at all cost. Here you can learn about breast cancer burnout and how to work to prevent it.
Amongst women, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed today. There is also a growing trend with more men facing down breast cancer, too, making this a cancer that both genders face. The American Cancer Society says that, as of 2016, over 60,000 women will develop and die from breast cancer. For those who have been recently diagnosed, they will face great turmoil, distress and anxiety. The anxiety from having cancer or long-term illness alone can cause a physical and mental burnout. A burnout can easily creep up on anyone and the key is understanding those triggers, the signs that one is coming, and how to avoid it at all cost.
There are some breast cancer warrior groups on social media who detest the entire month of October and all of the “pink” that is spread around. They state things like, “I deal with this every day already. I don’t want to focus on it even more.” Other warriors state they are avoiding the month and focus all together.
Many people will confuse depression with a true-life burnout. Burnouts can happen for a variety of reasons in life, but medical burnouts are becoming more common among those patients who face constant appointments, treatments, and struggle to live a “normal” life. While it is very common for the breast cancer patient to be depressed, it is not at all the same as burnout. A burnout is medically defined as either a physical or mental collapse caused by stress, or both. When the patient learns they have breast cancer, the natural reaction is panic and an overwhelming amount of worry. Being overly anxious and stressed about the condition, treatment, and general situation only causes more stress and bodily breakdown, thusly creating a world of suffering for the patient.
Many patients keep their new diagnosis a secret for varying reasons. Some report that they feel embarrassed and do not want to feel the pity and sympathy that many offer when they find out. It is okay and normal for a patient to not be ready to immediately deliver this news to family and friends right away. That said, withholding this information indefinitely can cause a great deal of mental stress, which will eventually turn into a physical stressor, doing more harm to the body. Keeping a secret about having any type of cancer can cause physical and mental burnouts. The patient that withholds this information is hurting themselves from the inside-out.
One aspect of keeping this type of secret is that the patient will be forced to plan their words and thoughts to avoid slip-ups in their daily conversations. This can create displaced feelings of guilt for keeping such a secret from their family and friends to begin with. The heaviness of recognizing that cancer means life or death can be a very emotional process to adjust to and accept. While it is not necessary for the patient to announce their cancer to the world, filling in their family members and those who matter most in their life should be on their priority list. Simply being able to talk to others about what is happening with your breast cancer can be the detrimental factor in avoiding this breast cancer burnout.
There are other ways that you can work towards avoiding breast cancer burnout like joining a support group. The patient may be able to more easily discuss their diagnosis and experience with those that they know understand because they are going through it as well. In a support group specifically for breast cancer warriors, each patient can exchange encouragement and understanding, along with their own personal stories of the disease. This type of mingling between warriors can increase motivation and strengthen the internal drive to live on and fight the breast cancer.
Another way to help to ease the breast cancer burnout is to join an exercise or yoga group. This type of activity releases endorphins in the brain, which help to balance the chemicals in the brain like serotonin, which increases overall happiness and mood. If it is safe for the patient to exercise during or after their cancer treatment, this will also help to keep their body in shape and able to tolerate their treatment schedule.
While hearing you have cancer is never welcomed news, it does not mean that the patient should be continually stressed about the situation. A burnout can happen anytime a person reaches their maximum level of stress, worries excessively and continually about uncontrollable problems and unpredictable diseases like breast cancer.
If you know someone with breast cancer who might be struggling with burnout, reach out to them and offer up information for Reclaiming Intimacy Through H.O.P.E. We can offer assistance, suggestions and information on how to ease this breast cancer burnout!
Breast Cancer USA