Coping with a Diagnosis


As we head into fall and the month of October, there is no doubt you will notice more orange, but there is another color that you might see more of as well: pink! That is because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. People often show support by wearing, or decorating with, the color pink. Next time you watch a sporting event, keep an eye out to see if your favorite athlete is wearing pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

A diagnosis of breast cancer can be extremely difficult to deal with. News like this can be frightening not only for the person who is diagnosed, but also for their friends and family. People may feel sad, scared, or guilty. They also might feel hopeful and determined. Many times there is a mix of many different emotions. Every individual will have slightly different feelings about it, and each person will react in their own way.

There is no absolute right way to cope with a diagnosis like breast cancer. There are, however, certain coping mechanisms that seem to help women to feel more at peace. Studies have shown that women who take their diagnosis head-on by actively using coping strategies have felt more life satisfaction years later. Those who ignored it or felt like they could not do anything about it felt less. Creating obtainable goals personally and within relationships can help a person dealing with a diagnosis to feel accomplished and fulfilled. There is also strength in having positive supporters in their life. Having a support system of peers in a similar situation or friends and family can help. This lets a person know they aren’t alone. A diagnosis can not only be stressful mentally, but also physically. Being able to ask for emotional support, but also for help with every-day tasks can take a lot of extra stress away.

If you have been diagnosed with an illness, recruit family and friends to be part of your positive support team! And if you know someone who has been diagnosed, ask what you can do to help.

For more information about coping with a diagnosis check out this article published by the American Psychological Association.