mental changes of breast cancer; pink breast cancer graphic

Mental Changes of Living With Breast Cancer

Some Insight on Mental Changes from Second to Nature in Roanoke, VA

Second to Nature in Roanoke, VA, assists with living with breast cancer and understanding mental changes. It’s important for those living with breast cancer to consider the mental shifts that come with the diagnosis. Many diagnosed with breast cancer process the news in the same manner as grief. They go through stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. However, each patient is different and processes their diagnosis and journey in different ways. This month, we will explore some different mental changes and what you can do if you experience them.

The Onset of Depression and Anxiety

Acceptance of breast cancer is not an easy task. Concerns of what will happen next loom in the air from day to day. Worries and fears of treatments, financial impacts, physical capabilities, and the overall prognosis are heavy burdens to carry. It is quite common for breast cancer patients to acquire mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, after diagnosis.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is also another common development of breast cancer patients. Those that recovered from their breast cancer journey sometimes live in fear of a recurring diagnosis. For some, the worry of reoccurrence is so strong that it negatively impacts their overall quality of life.

It is best to treat mental changes like depression and anxiety early on. Consult your doctor right away if you notice any of the following changes in your emotional state:

Ongoing sadness, hopelessness, or feelings of emptiness

Complete lost of interest in things you once enjoyed

Uncontrollable worry

Trouble focusing

Feelings of panic or distress


Feeling helpless, useless, or ashamed

Major changes in sleeping or eating patterns

Thoughts of self-harm

Experiencing Mood Swings – From High To Low

Accepting a breast cancer diagnosis is not always the easiest task. In addition to trying to cope and understand what it means to have breast cancer, other factors also impact mood. Certain treatments and medications fluctuate hormone levels and induce chemical changes in the brain. These changes are often the culprit of mood swings, from emotional highs to emotional lows. Irritability, anger, and frustration are typical emotions linked to mood swings.

Although mood swings are often side effects, recommends some of these methods to help curb sudden changes in mood:

Identify and avoid sources of stress connected to changes in mood.

Exercise to help relieve stress, balance emotions, and ease mood swings.

Maintain a consistent sleeping pattern to ensure you are getting enough rest.

Implement a healthy diet of several snacks and small meals throughout the day to balance energy levels.

Try holistic activities, such as yoga or meditation, to help relieve stress and induce relaxation.

Mental Changes to Your Sense of Self-Image

The physical changes that accompany breast cancer have a major impact on one’s self-image. Some patients lose confidence in their appearance and feel less attractive than before their diagnosis. Treatments, such as chemotherapy, often cause noticeable changes in physical appearance, including hair loss. Surgeries to remove breast cancer leave scars behind. In advanced cases, patients may require a mastectomy (the removal of the breast). This may leave female patients feeling incomplete or less feminine.

Losing a positive sense of self is disheartening. Fortunately, you do not have to face these challenges alone. There is an entire industry committed to helping breast cancer survivors feel their best. Second to Nature proudly serves residents in the Roanoke, VA, area and has the best selection of post-mastectomy apparel. From accessories to prosthetics, Second to Nature combines quality products with personalized experiences to help customers feel body positive.

A Good Support System Works Wonders

A breast cancer diagnosis is something that no one should have to endure without assistance. Although the journey is difficult, having a solid support system can help tremendously. Sometimes, you may need someone to talk to with a kind, listening ear. Other times, it helps to have someone assist you with certain tasks if you are not feeling well.

Close people in your life, like family, friends, and co-workers, are all great outlets to help you along the way. When you think of who could be a part of your support system, consider those who promote feelings of positivity. They will likely be the same ones that will stand by your side during the journey that awaits you.

Support groups are also a great path to explore for breast cancer support. Meeting with individuals going through the same thing often provides a sense of solidarity for breast cancer patients. Many organizations, such as National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., provide multiple resources for those seeking breast cancer support groups.

Consider Meeting With A Counselor About Mental Changes

Oftentimes, speaking with a professional is the best option to help someone with breast cancer manage their mental changes. Counselors offer a variety of benefits. They provide a neutral ear to talk to and discuss feelings you don’t wish to share with anyone else. In addition to being good listeners, they are also trained to identify shifts in mental changes. While you may not notice that something is different, counselors can pinpoint an issue before it becomes too serious.

The mental changes that come with breast cancer are tricky to navigate. Remember that acceptance and healing take time. Be kind to yourself and do not be afraid to reach out for support.

Second to Nature in Roanoke, VA, is Here for You

We understand that a breast cancer diagnosis is difficult to navigate. The certified and compassionate staff at Second to Nature in Roanoke, VA, offers a range of post-mastectomy products and services. We provide a warm and knowledgeable experience for each customer and give support for a positive sense of self-image.


Second to Nature is located in the Woodhaven Office Park, at 5450 Peters Creek Road. Call for an appointment at (540) 366-2711 or use our contact form. Follow us on Facebook for specials, breast cancer prevention news, and updates from Second to Nature. Contact us today for education and support of persons living with breast cancer and understanding the mental changes.