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Living Well With Metastatic Breast Cancer

Dealing With Fear and Uncertainty

Even with better treatments, living with metastatic breast cancer can be an emotional roller coaster -- especially at first. Time can help. These tips may also:

  • Don't obsess about survival statistics. “Since statistics apply to groups of people rather than to a single cancer patient, it is hard to know what those numbers mean for any single person,” says Karen Hartman. She is senior clinical social worker at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Commack, NY. “This is one part of ‘understanding your disease’ that is not always helpful.”
  • Get emotional support. Hartman recommends individual counseling with a social worker who specializes in cancer, especially if you are newly diagnosed. You can also get practical and emotional support by joining a support group. Make sure it's for women with metastatic breast cancer.
  • Live in the present. Turn fear of the future on its head: Focus on doing the things you love now.
  • Stay healthy. Eat well and exercise regularly to boost your mood and energy. Remember that treatments for metastatic breast cancer keep improving, and there may be a new approach for you on the horizon.

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Reviewed on April 15, 2014

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