Breast Cancer and Depression

Today I had a regularly scheduled check-up with my Medical Oncologist. I had a long visit with his Physician’s Assistant, Megan. Megan is very skilled and knowledgeable, and treats post-treatment breast cancer patients. After we reviewed my physical health, Megan asked me if I was experiencing any depression as the most common time for any cancer patient to become depressed is a few months after all active treatment has ended.

I told Megan that surprisingly I was not depressed. I’ve experienced depression before in my life so I certainly recognize the signs, but I am not experiencing it now. Megan told me that most cancer survivors experience it at this point because “the fight is over”. Once the fight is done, depression can find room to set in.

My medical team is aware of my Blog. They determined that I am not depressed because I am still fighting cancer through my Blog – for myself and by helping others fight cancer. I thought this was wise thinking and could relate to it. They made me promise if I had any symptoms of depression, to call them immediately. “Do not let it get out of control”, I was told. “There is so much we can do to help.” I was extremely thankful for the discussion.

If you are a breast cancer or cancer survivor, be aware of the symptoms of depression – insomnia is common, withdrawal, sadness, and feeling like you are in a hole and cannot get out. Promise me you won’t fight the battle alone.
Call your Oncologist. If he or she has not had this talk with you, talk with them about it.

This short video has helpful information. I am sorry about the advertisement first, but it is worth watching if you believe you are experiencing depression after cancer treatment. Dr. Mary Jane Massey, Psychiatrist, from Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City is interviewed.

Breast Cancer and Depression

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