Finding out

When you hear the news that your breast cancer has spread you may experience a mixture of emotions. Some women say the diagnosis of secondary breast cancer is more traumatic than when they were first diagnosed because the hope of a cure is replaced with the realisation that this is no longer possible.

Feelings can range from disbelief, denial, and shock to anger, numbness, and helplessness. You may feel as though you are on an emotional roller coaster. You may be angry, making you short-tempered with those around you. Your mind may race ahead with worries about what is going to happen. You may be concerned for people close to you or disappointed about plans that may not go ahead.

"You know when I was told, I didn't feel angry. I didn't have the energy to waste on being angry. I thought, I've got to fight this." Colleen

"The breast cancer doctor and his nurse came in. They were all very serious and said 'it' was back. I had been so convinced that it wasn't going to be cancer I hadn't worried." Stephanie

A small number of women find out they have breast cancer when it has already spread from their breast to another part of their body. You may experience a mixture of very difficult emotions. You may have been unaware that you were ill and on getting the news you may feel shocked and find it hard to believe.

In the first days or weeks after your diagnosis you may be in turmoil and find it hard to think clearly. It may take time to get things into perspective and start to take some control of your situation.

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