EXCLUSIVE: Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021: Expert tells you why survivors may need psychological help

Updated on Oct 25, 2021 09:14 PM IST  |  147.2K
Psychological help for survivors
Expert tells you why survivors may need psychological help

It’s hard to live with cancer, but it’s even harder to beat it and get back to normal life. Chemotherapies, high dose of medicines, constant fear, and trauma, can all take a toll on your mental and physical health. Add to it, the numerous visits to the hospital, amid the pandemic.

However, with science and technology beating cancer is becoming easy to achieve, but what is not is to heal the scars that it leaves on the mental health of the survivors.

Since it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Pulkit Sharma, a clinical psychologist, throws light on the importance of psychological help that the breast cancer survivors may need, and that it shouldn’t be ignored.

“There are several treatments for breast cancer, but in some cases a woman may lose her breast to surgery. Add to this, hair loss due to therapies. This might result in pain, lack of confidence, and in some cases, the loss of the feeling of femininity. In such a situation, it is important to address the issue and talk to the survivors to help them sail through the trauma that the treatment has left on them,” says Sharma.

psychological help

 He says that the treatment begins with identifying if the survivor needs help or not. “Not everyone would be needing psychological help. Hence, it is imperative to identify whether the survivor needs help now. So, if you see the survivor is losing interest in engaging in day-to-day activities, or has stopped socialising with people, often looks down upon herself, and don’t have the urge to wake up from the bed and get ready, there are chances they might be losing or have lost self-confidence, and they no longer see the beauty in them,” explains Sharma.

This can be addressed via counselling sessions, and with the help of family and friends. “Family and friends have to be on their feet while helping a survivor sail through the traumatic phase. It is their duty to reassure the survivor that she is beautiful no matter what, and that the beauty lies in one’s personality. Encourage them to gradually get back to their normal routine. Take them for a walk every day. If they completely resist, skip it for a day, or two. Remember, one has to be extremely calm, and patient while handling a breast cancer survivor,” says Sharma.

psychological help 1

The survivor may need reassurance every now and then. Make sure you do it. Avoid mentioning anything that may remind them of their pre-cancer days. “Help them do what they used to love. Take them for a movie date, or shopping, or just help them in online shopping. Never tell them that something won’t look good on them anymore. If they say so, tell them they can wear anything they like, and will look beautiful. A thing to note here is that they might be extremely sensitive, so make sure you are never hurting them intentionally or unintentionally,” suggests Sharma.

Apart from this, help from a professional will fast forward the process, and will make them come out of it stronger. “A professional may help them gain self-confidence. They will be retaught to love themselves and think beyond the standards of beauty set by the hypocritic society. They will be able to see that beauty is beyond looks, and that everyone is beautiful just the way they are,” Sharma tells you.

Also Read: EXCLUSIVE: Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021: Is breast pain a sign of cancer? Expert answers


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