Recent Posts

Recent Comments



CW: Mention of Chronic Illness and Mental Health

Each year, October marks the arrival of cold weather and sweaters, but it also serves as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But breast cancer does not strike just one month out of the year- it affects the lives of many people all over the world every day. And although it is December now, I think it’s still a great time to acknowledge how breast cancer and mental health are intertwined.  The disease takes a mental toll on not only the patient but family and close friends as well, so I thought it would be a fitting topic to research.

Breast Cancer affects the lives of millions. It is the most common cancer in females, and around 13% of American women will develop it in their lifetime, according to The American Cancer Society. The same organization predicts that almost 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone, and over 43,000 women die of it. While these statistics are startling, the good news is that breast cancer has been on a downward trend since the late 1980s.

When initially diagnosed with breast cancer, many people experience significant anxiety and distress, according to Kathleen Ashton, a clinical health psychologist. It can be overwhelming and confusing to figure out treatment steps and how the diagnosis will affect your everyday life. Moreover, some patients are given a prognosis, and sometimes, a life expectancy estimate, which takes a mental toll on the patient. Additionally, many people will lose their hair or gain/lose weight rapidly, contributing to self-confidence and body image issues, which can be difficult, especially in cases where the patient is being treated with chemotherapy. Reuters Health notes that breast cancer survivors are more likely to deal with anxiety, sleep troubles, and depression, and furthermore, they can be up to twice as likely to develop mental health issues, such as depression.

Although breast cancer is a battle, it is hardly a solo one. Many people being treated for breast cancer, and those in remission, seek support groups. These spaces offer patients a place to share experiences and feelings. It is a reminder that there are others who understand what you are going through. There are also many support groups for the spouses, children, and other loved ones of the patient, as the diagnosis is impactful on many lives. Moreover, yoga and meditation have been shown to be helpful for those with breast cancer. It reduces fatigue and stress and improves physical function and overall quality of life. 

Along with support groups and yoga, a healthy diet is important in maintaining a balanced life and contributes to mental health. For example, one study illustrates that eating a diet high in acid-producing fruits raised depression levels among breast cancer survivors. Conversely, another study showed that eating a healthy diet and exercising when possible helps chemotherapy be more effective in the body. When it comes to meals, there are several great resources for meeting your body’s needs. The World Cancer Research Fund offers free online cooking classes, targeted at those undergoing cancer treatment. Balancing speaking to others about one’s cancer journey, as well as finding time for meditative exercise like yoga, and eating healthy can make a difference not only in the physical health of a breast cancer patient but also the mental health.

Although October is over, let us all take some time to reflect on those around us and those who may be struggling through illness. Breast cancer isn’t just a physical battle- it’s a mental one, too.


If you or a loved one are struggling to cope emotionally, please don’t hesitate to call, text, or chat with the 988 Lifeline. Call or text 988 or chat with a trained, caring crisis counselor online at We’re here for you.


Works Cited:

American Cancer Society. “Breast Cancer Statistics | How Common Is Breast Cancer?”, 12 Jan. 2023, “Yoga.”,

Briefing, Physician’s. “Diet, Exercise Intervention May Aid Chemotherapy Outcomes in Breast Cancer.” Southern Iowa Mental Health Center, 15 Sept. 2023, Accessed 20 Nov. 2023.

NCI. “Coping – Cancer Support Groups – NCI.”, 2 Dec. 2014,

Rapaport, Lisa. “Breast Cancer Survivors May Have Lingering Mental Health Effects.” U.S., Reuters, 7 Dec. 2018,

Sreenivas, Shishira. “The Emotional Side of Breast Cancer.” WebMD, 2 Feb. 2021,

World Cancer Research Fund. “FREE Cookery Classes for People with Cancer.” World Cancer Research Fund, Accessed 20 Nov. 2023.

Wu, Tianying, et al. “Acid-Producing Diet and Depressive Symptoms among Breast Cancer Survivors: A Longitudinal Study.” Cancers, vol. 12, no. 11, 29 Oct. 2020, p. 3183, Accessed 14 Mar. 2021.


  • vampire survivors

    As a woman, I am also very scared of breast cancer, hope everyone is healthy

    Posted on

  • Old photo

    This passage beautifully highlights the intersection of breast cancer and mental health, emphasizing the ongoing impact on individuals well beyond the designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It effectively communicates the emotional challenges faced by patients, detailing the anxiety and distress associated with diagnosis and treatment. The inclusion of statistics adds a sobering context, while the positive note about the declining trend since the 1980s offers a ray of hope.

    Posted on