Facing Breast Cancer
Understanding Your Feelings
“You have breast cancer.” These may be the most frightening words you’ve ever heard. You may feel scared, angry, crushed – or in complete denial. You probably won’t remember anything your physician tells you, and will have no idea how to begin with your problem.
First of all, realize that a diagnosis of breast cancer is not a death sentence. Breast cancer is a very treatable disease, and survival rates today are higher than ever before. There are more than two and half million women who have been handed the same diagnosis many years ago and are still leading happy, productive lives.
The best approach you can take is to resolve, right now, that you will do everything you can to be successful in your battle against breast cancer. Tell yourself that losing this battle is simply not an option. This positive attitude will be your best ally.
Telling Your Children
This is one of the more challenging tasks you and your partner will have to handle. Your first impulse may be to attempt to shield your children from pain by downplaying or withholding information. Don’t underestimate their insight. Children’s ability to pick up signals is greater than most adults realize, and trying to keep a complex situation such as cancer a secret, is practically impossible. More than likely, they will sense that all is not well, and wander away imagining horrors far worse than reality. The next day they will get a dose of misinformation from their classmates, which will only fuel their fears.
A much better approach is a simple and straightforward explanation, geared to each child’s age and ability to understand. Conveying the impression that you are comfortable and that you trust them, will help them deal with the situation.
Vladimir Lange, MD Biography
A graduate of Harvard Medical School is a leading expert in helping patients and their families in their journey with breast cancer. When his wife Mandy, also a physician, was diagnosed with breast cancer, both were overwhelmed by the complexity of the information they had to process. This book was inspired by their desire to make this emotional and physical process easier for others.