World Day against Breast Cancer: why psychological support is so important

The statistics are clear: 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer throughout their lives, according to the Spanish Association against Cancer. It is the most frequent tumor in western women in our country. Only so far in 2019, 33,307 new cases have been diagnosed.

On October 19, World Breast Cancer Day is celebrated, a date set to raise awareness in society of the importance of investigating this type of tumor and making an early diagnosis. And of the psychological treatment to face the disease.

It is a serious disease without a doubt. The good news is that detected in time, it doesn’t have to be deadly. But its diagnosis and treatment is always a difficult experience for those who suffer from it and their environment.

Why psychological treatment in breast cancer is positive

Knowing and being fully aware of suffering from a disease like this constitutes an emotional blow. But then you have to assume the new situation, which requires a proactive attitude towards the new state, along with a psychological treatment to combat the disease and its side effects.

And, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), researchers estimate that between 20 and 60% of breast cancer patients experience symptoms of depression.

Distress appears negative and chronic stress that paralyzes the person in the face of the situation they are living in. On a physical level, it is proven that this stress suppresses the body’s ability to protect itself. That is, there are additional physical consequences generated by the emotional situation. Even the same state of depression means that the patient does not want to undergo chemotherapy or surgery.

Psychological treatments and their benefits in breast cancer

Some studies in cancer patients confirm that, by receiving psychological treatment, they can strengthen your immune system.

Thus, therapy allows you to communicate the emotions you feel, with all the changes generated by the new situation. Through the psychologist, he knows techniques to face the new rhythm of life (physical changes, less autonomy in daily life, less ability to perform activities, etc.).

Each patient has certain needs. Sometimes, it is best to combine individual treatment with group therapy. In the first, you can raise and treat your individual states; In the second one, you can share your experience with other people who are going through the same situation, which will make you feel accompanied and will allow you to give and receive support from people who fully understand it, in addition to learning from the experiences of other patients.

In the case of group therapy, the APA recommends that women be at the same stage of the disease and that the psychologists who treat them have experience on the subject.

In summary, there are numerous benefits that psychological treatment can bring to patients with breast cancer:

  • – Learn techniques to work the anxiety and uncertainty that the disease generates.
  • – Obtains tools to work the side effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy such as fatigue, fatigue or sadness.
  • – It improves social relations with their environment.
  • – Reduces fatigue.
  • – It improves the emotional or emotional state.
  • – In newly diagnosed patients, it accelerates the process of emotional adaptation.
  • – In patients undergoing treatment, the adaptation process improves with the internal and external physical changes that are generated.
  • – Improves the quality of life of the patient in the short and medium-term, during the illness and after.

The most important thing is that the person who lives this stage has the disposition to be treated and is aware of the benefits that he can obtain, that he relies on his environment (and his environment also adapts to the new situation) and takes advantage of the tools he has available for your benefit.