Post-Treatment - Depression - SHARE Breast Canc...

SHARE Breast Cancer Support
1,329 members588 posts

Post-Treatment - Depression


I was wondering if others had experience after completing treatment for breast cancer with feeling depressed. I had bilateral mastectomies and rather than feeling glad and relieved that am done with my surgeries and my scars have been healing nicely (no reconstruction yet; still deciding); I am finding myself feeling very sad. I was wondering if anyone has experienced this after all treatment has ended. I am still being monitored by my oncologist and surgeon who feel I am physically doing well. If you have had post-treatment depression, how long did it last? I have read many posts but do not see people talking about this. I want to read more about this experience so if anyone has also had this experience or had read books or articles about this I would welcome lists or links to these if they are available online.

5 Replies
mrsschwartzSHARE Volunteer

Welcome to our site. You didnt say how long ago you had surgery, but I'm guessing it was very recent since you mention your scars are still healing. You should know that sadness and grief are VERY normal feelings for someone who has gone through what you have. A cancer diagnosis and mastectomies are life-changing events, and emotional and psychological recovery are often harder than physical. I would advise you to please reach out for support that will address the feelings you're describing. Is there a support group at your hospital or in your community? A social worker to whom your doctors can refer you? Might you call SHARE's Helpline and talk to a survivor who can listen to your story and address your concerns? Or help you locate resources where you live? Please don't suffer in silence. Let others lend you a hand so that you can connect with the happiness you deserve. Best of luck.

It is only natural to be experiencing feelings of depression after a mastectomy It is very difficult to first be diagnosed with breast cancer and then to lose a part of yourself over it.

Here in this community we all know that breast cancer treatment may make you feel sad, tired, or depressed. These feelings are complex conditions, resulting from and affected by many factors: your cancer diagnosis and treatment, aging, hormonal changes, your life experiences, and your genetics.

Sadness is a natural part of your breast cancer experience, something you need to express and move through. If you don't allow yourself to feel sad and grieve, the unresolved grief gets in the way of feeling better and getting better.

You have made a good decision by writing in a discussing your depression with others Here are some suggestions that I found on which you might find to be helpful

The NIH, Mayo Clinic, Dana Farber and others all have a lot of lists of symptoms of post treatment depression, etc, but they all say basically the same thing which is that depression during this time is very normal even though your doctors may seem more concerned with the physical. Here are two more personal stories about depression after cancer I found comforting

Hi Mbamgmt, In my breast-cancer experience, one of the hardest times was the period immediately after treatment ended. Instead of feeling victorious and free, I felt scared and alone and a little let down. While I was in treatment, my family, friends, and co-workers rallied around me and kept me afloat. The attentiveness of the medical staff made me feel safe. But when I was no longer "ill," a good deal of that support evaporated. I felt cast adrift and anxious. Although everyone was very kind, it was clear that now that I was back on my feet, I was expected to leave breast cancer behind and move on with my life. But the thing about having a serious diagnosis like cancer is that it exposes you to the raw fact of your mortality, and you can never quite forget it. I found that having a good therapist to talk to helped. And so did yoga, which helped me forge a relationship with my altered body. Pema Chodron's writings were comforting too. And of course, support groups, in person and online, with people who understood first-hand the feelings I was experiencing. Good luck!

What you are feeling is VERY normal. There are books, TV shows, movies, support groups on this very subject because so many have and are going through it. I went through it during Christmas time. I turn it around and look at it from a different point of view and it could be because I had inflammatory breast cancer and the one was so messed up, I wanted it gone. And the other, too because I was fearful that the cancer would come back. But I saw people who didn't have mastectomies because of vanity or they couldn't because they didn't know due to insurance or fear and I feel like I beat a cancer that 20 years ago some people had 6-18 months to live, so the mastectomies and reconstruction is like a badge of honor for all those who couldn't have that. And I'm not saying it was easy....the whole process was the hardest thing I EVER went through in my life.

You may also like...