Depression After a Mastectomy

The Problem
Women who have had a mastectomy frequently find themselves severely depressed after the surgery. Many women feel violated or mutilated. Some feel that they are no longer as beautiful, sexy, and womanly as they were before the mastectomy. These feelings are very understandable, given that the breast is a part of what sets women apart from men.

What to Do
For women suffering depression, it is a good idea to seek out professional help, either through their doctor or through a support group at their oncology clinic or hospital. There are numerous resources available for survivors of cancer so that they may do more than simply survive. Women can contact the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (1-800-80-NABCO, or NABCO on the web) for a listing of available resources. These resources can be of great help to breast cancer patients as they struggle with the ways in which cancer and its treatments have changed their lives. Cancer can have an enormous effect on a woman's body image and on her own sense of her self and her future. Organizations such as The Cancer Club (The Cancer Club on the web) concentrate their efforts on helping women adjust to these changes with humor and hope. Research has also shown that although depression is common for survivors, those women who exercise after their surgery can decrease their symptoms of anxiety and depression. Exercising for even 30 minutes a few times a week can help.

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