Unfortunately, breast cancer is common. Every year, hundreds of thousands of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Thousands more will continue their treatment of breast cancer. Others will hope that their breast cancer previously does not return. If you are newly dealing with breast cancer, you will find that emotional health is just as important to your physical health. The following tips will help you navigate the proton therapy for breast cancer process and ensure that your mental health remains strong.
Informing yourself and your loved ones of your breast cancer is important. Understanding the process and knowing what to expect from your breast cancer treatment can help you to prepare mentally. When you inform others of what you are going through, they are also able to better assist you. You will find that many people want to help, but do not know what to do. Educating them can let them know ways they can help. For example, you may be limited on the number of people you can bring to the cancer treatment center. Inform your loved ones and they will stay at a close distance.
Join a support group
Even if you have a strong support group at home, it can be valuable to interact with people in similar situations. You can pull strength from other women going through proton therapy for breast cancer. You can discuss new concerns and share tips and recommendations for getting through it. You are likely to find that the relationships you build in these support groups are life long, because they truly know what you are going through. The support group leader may even be a survivor and can also share valuable insight into the best breast cancer care.
Use your breast cancer doctor for information
You will spend a lot of time with your breast cancer doctor over the next couple of months. They may even prove to be the best source of information. While there is an abundance of breast cancer information on the internet, it can be difficult to choose what is true and what is not. Your breast cancer doctor, however, has gone to school and worked in the area of breast cancer for years. If you need advice, consultation, or just someone to talk to, you can always turn to your doctor.
Using your breast cancer doctor for information can also help you make an informed decision as to your treatment options. Proton therapy, for example, is a type of radiation that stops at a very specific point in the targeted tissue, conventional radiation continues beyond the tumor. In breast cancer, this means on average no radiation to the heart and on average 50% less radiation to the lung as compared to conventional radiation. Proton therapy may also be better for the appetite, with the decrease of radiation at 59% to gastrointestinal structure, compared to Xrays.
Practice self care
Self care is very important during this process. Proton beam radiation can take a lot out of you, both emotionally and physically. Despite this drain, it is important to make an effort to get out there. Be a part of the same things you enjoyed before finding out about your breast cancer. The days that you receive the proton therapy for breast cancer may leave you feeling overly tired, but try to push yourself to see a movie or go for a drive. This is also where your friend and families help can be useful. Even short visits with a friend at home can qualify as self care. Let your friends know the days you will be doing proton therapy for breast cancer, so they can prepare to spend time with you. A treatment session generally takes 15 to 45 minutes, however the actual time spent delivering protons to the tumor is generally only about a minute or two. Plan your visits around these proton treatments.
Many people do not consider the emotional side of cancer treatment. It is important to practice good self care and to keep strong emotionally during the treatment process.