Breast Cancer Patient Journey: How Sharing your Story Helps Other Women
The breast cancer patient journey is not only incredibly scary and daunting, but it can be pretty lonely too. While you may have an amazing support structure around you, sometimes all you need is to talk to someone who’s going through the same thing.
Hearing other breast cancer patients’ experiences can help patients get through the shock of diagnosis and treatment. Especially early on in their journey as they have no idea what to expect.
If you’re a cancer survivor or currently undergoing cancer treatment, here’s how sharing your breast cancer patient journey helps other women.
Help other women know what to expect on their breast cancer patient journey
From the moment you get diagnosed with breast cancer, you’re hit with a thousand emotions, fears and questions. What does your diagnosis mean? What are your treatment options? What side effects should you expect? And what does chemotherapy really feel like?
Then, there’s dealing with telling your loved ones about your diagnosis, the overwhelm of support, and perhaps having to navigate strained relationships due to your diagnosis.
And, of course, you’ll have more practical questions like what clothes are best to wear when going for chemotherapy, where you can buy good quality wigs and what foods help fight nausea. The list of questions is endless.
While each breast cancer patient’s journey is unique, many women go through similar milestones and experiences. So, sharing your journey can help them know what to expect and learn from your experiences to prepare themselves better.
And, even if your journeys end up being completely different. Your stories will always help someone find comfort in knowing they’re not alone. Even if you reach just one person, your story can significantly impact their life—either by better preparing them for breast cancer treatment or encouraging them to go for regular breast cancer screening.
You’re also helping the families of breast cancer patients
A breast cancer diagnosis affects more than the person receiving it. Parents, spouses, siblings and friends of patients with breast cancer are just as scared and confused as patients are. They, too, have thousands of questions and concerns over what the diagnosis means and how they can support their loved one.
So, hearing about your experience helps them know what to expect. As well as get some insight into how their loved one is likely to feel and what they can do to help.
Sharing your journey is therapeutic for you
The decision of whether or not to share your breast cancer journey is a personal one. And while sharing may be painful for some, it can provide a healing outlet for others. For many, sharing is a form of therapy.
The act of sharing your experience helps you release pent-up emotions, anger, fears and other negative energy. It’s a way to let go of the emotional trauma that comes with a breast cancer diagnosis and helps you start to acknowledge what you’re going through.
It can also give you a new sense of purpose. Sharing your struggles and how you overcome them encourages others to stay strong. Sometimes, knowing that sharing your journey might help just one person get through a bad day is enough to help you get through your own bad days.
Here are a few ways that you can share your breast cancer patient journey
If you want to start sharing your breast cancer patient journey, here are a few ways to begin documenting your experience. Remember, you don’t always have to share in real-time. You can simply document your journey on your own and share with others when you’re ready.
Social media is the first place many people go to share anything about their lives these days. So, it’s the perfect place to start. Whether in real-time or after you’ve gone through the worst, sharing your breast cancer patient experience on social media can help you reach millions of women globally.
Online support groups
Breast cancer online support groups can sometimes feel like a safer space to share your experience as it’s not as public as other platforms. You’re only sharing with other breast cancer patients, so you’re not opening yourself up to the whole world.
Start a podcast
If you want to reach more people, consider starting a podcast. Breast Cancer Stories is an excellent example of a podcast sharing what happens when you have breast cancer. Each season follows a different breast cancer patient, and they share their journey in real-time, from their diagnosis to breast cancer surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and everything in between.
Publish an online blog
A blog is like an online diary. Many free websites, like Wix, WordPress and CaringBridge, make it easy to post blog updates throughout your journey. You can adjust your privacy settings to make it public or not, depending on how comfortable you feel.
You can also use a blog to keep your family and friends updated on your journey without having to repeat yourself continuously.
Write a book
Many breast cancer survivors have found great therapy and release when writing a book about their experience. Again, it’s a great way to share your story with millions of women globally. While you may not be able to muster up the energy to write the book while you’re undergoing treatment, you can also start documenting and journaling throughout the experience to piece it together later.
Sharing your journey is a reminder to you and others that you’re not alone
When patients with any form of cancer share their experiences, they’re affecting themselves, as well as other patients, their family and friends, and everyone who comes across their stories.
Sharing your experience reminds you and others that you’re not the only ones on this journey. It also promotes connection with others who have breast cancer. The more patient stories that are shared, the more sense of belongingness and camaraderie breast cancer patients feel, and that’s what gives you and others the strength and hope needed to push through the toughest challenges.