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Handling Fear When You Get the Diagnosis

Dr. Elizabeth Comen Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

It would be very out of the ordinary if you weren’t scared. Anxiety and fear are totally normal reactions to the news that you have breast cancer. Beyond normal. Acknowledging these emotions can be therapeutic and important to the healing process.

So how do you confront your fears without letting them take over entirely?

1. Let your family and close friends know – and let them help. So many cancer survivors tell us they want and need support but are often too preoccupied to make specific requests. Urge those close to you to jump in with whatever practical help they can offer.

2. Keep a journal. It can be extremely cathartic to let those feelings loose on paper. Grab a pen and a nice journal and chronical your different thoughts throughout the day.

3. Join a cancer support group. There are groups in nearly every community offering opportunities to connect with others going through a similar journey. You’ll learn incredibly helpful insight from others who can tell you about what to expect and how to stay strong on tough days.

4. Consider seeing a therapist. Ask your doctor to refer you to a therapist so you can discuss your fears and concerns in a safe space. Often, vocalizing your thoughts and feelings rather than internalizing them can provide relief.

Above all, just know that there are countless resources and support here for you to turn to at any time. We’re fortunate to be in a time where we can rely on so many entities to help us through life’s hurdles.

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Dr. Elizabeth Comen serves as a medical advisor to SurvivorNet. She is a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Read More