Don't just focus on your adversity

Being diagnosed with cancer is not an easy thing to accept. Patients are overwhelmed with all the unknown treatment procedures. Moreover, they also have to worry about their families, work, and financial situation.  Then, as they recover, there is also the fear of cancer recurrence. The support from family members and friends is important, but the ability for the breast cancer patient to adjust is also essential.

Today, we interviewed a breast cancer survivor, Anne, who has been cancer-free for six years. "I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. It was stage 1A. Although it was in the earliest stage of cancer, I found the diagnosis hard to accept. I was nervous and scared. When I thought about my 10-year old son, I didn't know what to do. I felt totally lost."


At the beginning, Anne's emotions were very unstable. She was deeply worried and anxious. She got upset easily. Fortunately, she realized she needed to seek help for her emotional volatility.

Anne always talked to her husband, family members and friends. They told her not to focus too much on adversity, but to think about all the things she had that she could be positive about. "I have a friend who lived in the U.S. She is a breast cancer survivor and after I was diagnosed with breast cancer I always called to talk to her, even though it was a long distance call. She is a very open-minded person; she told me that I am the only one who could make my life better. She also told me that she never thought about why she had cancer. I was affected by her optimistic outlook and gradually, I found peace and joy."

Anne completed her treatment smoothly but whenever she attended her medical check-up and found some other survivors had relapsed, Anne became anxious again and felt very stressed and scared. Anne realized she needed to seek help to deal with her anxiety. With help from a psychologist she learnt to manage and overcome her fears.

Anne always tells other breast cancer patients to stay positive. "I will use a constructive way to confront problems. If it is beyond my ability, I will hand it to God. I know God will arrange everything for me and I trust him. I am glad that I have my family and friends who love me so much. They have shared in my stress and and in my happiness."