Each year during the month of October, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, INC. celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
During this yearly campaign, the foundation aims to educate women about breast cancer, and empower those who may have already been diagnosed.
In the United States alone, there are over 300,000 breast cancer diagnoses each year. More than 80% of cases will occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. However, the chances of getting breast cancer are almost double in women who have a close relative (mother, daughter, sister) with the disease.
Most women with breast cancer will have to undergo some sort of surgery as a form of treatment.
The two most common procedures are breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) and a mastectomy.
Not only do these operations take a large physical toll, but they also have a lasting impact on many women and the way they view themselves. After all, having breasts is a very large part of the female identity.
Many women opt to get breast reconstruction surgery, but this can carry additional risks such as breast implant illness. In fact, in 2018, there were over 50,000 reports of breast implant illness in the United States.
If you have chosen not to get reconstruction surgery, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Research has shown that more than 40% of women opted not to get a reconstructive procedure after being surgically treated for breast cancer.
As the number of women who have decided to ‘go flat’ grows, so does the community. Although many women describe the first few months after surgery as uncomfortable, many also used this opportunity to get to know themselves again.
Below are some tips for regaining confidence after a mastectomy or lumpectomy:
Keeping a positive frame of mind is always easier said than done, but it’s extremely important. Try to think of all the things you have to look forward to now that you’ve kick cancer’s butt.
Do Things You Enjoy
What makes you feel good about yourself? Identify those things and make them a part of your daily routine.
Doing things you like and are good at can be a great way to rebuild your self confidence and also shift the center of your confidence from your looks to something else.
Dealing with breast cancer and subsequent surgery isn’t easy. Your body isn’t the only part of you that will need to do some healing after surgery. Your mind may need some time to recover.
Talking to a therapist may help you learn coping skills to help you through your journey.
Talk To Your Partner
It’s not uncommon to think about how your sex life will change after surgery. While it may take some adjusting, you can definitely still enjoy a fun, healthy, and pleasurable sex life.
If you have a partner, it’s important to keep them in the loop with how you’re feeling and do your best to communicate what you need from them.
Remember You’re Beautiful
Your body may have changed, but that doesn’t mean the way you feel about yourself has to. Your breasts don’t define you. Your true beauty comes from your resilience and your positivity.
Your Story Can Empower Others
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month we honor all of the people who have been impacted by this horrible disease. Beating breast cancer is no small accomplishment and it should be celebrated.
While you may be struggling with feeling like yourself during your recovery, you should know that your story may be just the inspiration someone else needs to help them stay motivated while they fight cancer.
Did you like these tips? Don’t forget to check back in with us for more on breast health.
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels