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Dr. André Galvão

Clinical Psychologist 

 

Dr. André Galvão

Emotional impact of breast cancer

HPA Magazine 19

Awareness of breast cancer is a topic that is increasingly present in people's lives, due to the risks it can entail and the impact it can have not only on the patient but also on the family as a whole. 
It is known that all the information available and awareness is important, as it often helps the patient to be attentive, to identify and to seek specialized help as early as possible, often avoiding situations that could have a dramatic result.
Although breast cancer is mostly associated with females, it also affects males, the percentages being 99% to 1% respectively.

 


Impacto emocional do cancro de mama


 

The care provided specifically for these patients, has therefore been of increasing concern to the HPA Health Group in order to provide the best possible follow-up to both the patient and family, to fulfil all their requirements, from the diagnosis through to the various treatment that might be required. 
As proof of this, the Breast Unit was development with a multidisciplinary team of diverse professionals focused solely on this pathology.
During the month of October, a meeting was held by these professionals in the Conference Room of the Gambelas Hospital, with the motto “Pink October”, considered breast cancer awareness month. Various topics were discussed on the 1st Open Day - Inform, Treat, Support, side by side with some patients and their families.
The most important issues associated with breast cancer were addressed, including the emotional aspect.
Since breast cancer is a disease of a physical nature, it can also have psychological repercussions.
Therefore, the presence of psychology, not being mandatory, is sometimes indispensable and in some cases even preponderant, throughout the period, as this need will depend on each person’s internal resources, when faced with this disease.
Sometimes, being faced with this disease and certain treatments that have to be carried out, can raise anxiety and trigger periods of significant emotional discomfort, such as feelings of fear, insecurity, impotence and uncertainty. This can be quite distressing and limiting for the patient.
 

These feelings can potentiate some social and family isolation, leading to loss of communication and isolation towards others.
Despite all the awareness that has been made over time on this subject, as mentioned above, we continue to witness a society very focused on beauty standards where long hair and breasts are synonymous with femininity. Breast cancer is therefore seen as a threat to ther women's body image, causing some psychological imbalance.
This point of view can, therefore, lead not only to lowering the patient's self-esteem but can also lead to some limitations in terms of sexuality, especially for the women when she doesn’t feel comfortable with her own body, she will hardly feel desired, thus the couple's sexual conflict may begin.
During the various treatments, the patient may experience some mood swings as well as some anxious and/or depressive symptoms such as isolation, loss of desire for certain activities or tasks that were previously pleasing, crying, loss of energy, sleep disturbance, among others. This will naturally cause some discomfort and will have to be understood by the family.
Family play a very important role in the containment and support of the patient during the disease. The family must be attentive to possible emotional changes that may arise and can somehow bring limitations to their daily lives, in some cases affecting the patient's well-being. They should also try to be as present as possible, encouraging communication, so that the patient feels comfortable and shares his feelings.
The role of the Psychologist thus becomes necessary, as it will help the patient and the family find a different meaning in relation to the disease, enhancing the development of strategies, promoting better emotional adaptation, greater functionality, a better quality of life and a positive adherence to the treatment.