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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 rollercoaster -- especially at first. Time can help. These tips may also:

  • Don't obsess about survival statistics. “Since statistics apply to groups of people rather that 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, N.Y. “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 September 03, 2013

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