Managing emotional changes for women with metastatic breast cancer


The experience of being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer is very personal. Many women find the news that cancer has come back or spread more devastating than their original diagnosis.

Women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer often experience a whole range of emotions and feelings. Everyone has their own coping strategies, beliefs and strengths. Individual women and those close to them will find their own way to cope with the diagnosis. However it can be reassuring to know that other women with metastatic breast cancer have experienced similar feelings.

Metastatic breast cancer can also have a significant impact on partners, children, family and friends. They will probably find the journey difficult and may need support and advice about what they can do to help.

Common feelings

Women describe a number of feelings after a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer. It’s likely that feelings will change or become more intense at different times.

  • Many women say they feel scared, anxious, sad or depressed about their diagnosis.
  • Women who have gone through diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer before often say they feel angry or frustrated that breast cancer has come back, or feel they are being punished for something they have done.
  • Some women say they feel a sense of loneliness or isolation or that they have lost their identity.
  • Others find themselves asking questions about the meaning of life, or find their beliefs are shaken by their diagnosis.

If you have been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and are experiencing feelings that are overwhelming you or preventing you from sleeping or doing everyday activities, talk to your doctor, nurse or another health professional. Treatments and therapies are available and can help.

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