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Lesley Glenn
Instructor: Gina Fournier
English 1520 Section S1514
April 2, 2009
Research Paper

Going Back to Normal Life after Breast Cancer

Moving on the cancer is gone. Crying and worrying days are over; it is time to move on.

It is time to start being survivors. One of the hardest steps to take after breastcancer is getting

back to a normal life. After all the treatments and surgery is over it is time to go back to living a

normal life. Being diagnosed with breast cancer does not mean a person is not normal or that it

is the end of the world, it only means a temporarily change in their life.

Knowing what breast cancer is and that it’s treatable is the first step to recovering.

First of all, realize that a diagnosis of breast cancer is not a death sentence(Lange 7). Cancer is

a type of tumor that is malignant which spreads and invades and destroys tissues, and that cells

can part and get into other vessels and travel to other parts of the body. The way they determine

if the cancer is malignant is by having a biopsy which is by testing a sample of the tumor. The

testing is done by a pathologist. If it’s malignant other test will be done to determine the stage

and the best treatment for the patient. There are four stages used to determine the severity of the


Over time all the side effects from the treatment will subside. Physical and psychological

symptoms such as fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, and fear of recurrence as well as quality-of-

life outcomes have been described in women during and after breast cancer (Cappiello,

Cunningham, Erdos, Knobf 1). During physical recovery in the book Be a Survivor Your Guide

to Breast Cancer Treatment, Dr Lange, explains that “Even after the most complete treatment,

there’s always a chance that cancer will recur. Most recurrences happen two or three years after

surgery. The longer you go without recurrence, the greater are you chances of remaining free of

disease (Lange 113).

Cheryl, a cancer patient, was interviewed and asked about her physical and psychological

symptoms, she stated, “that she has down days and she has days where she doesn’t worry about

anything. The good days outweigh that bad days and she gives it all to the Lord.”

The last radiation and the last chemotherapy are given and the surgical scars are

beginning to heal. As your energy and confidence return, you’ll be able to explore the many

options form moving forward from the cancer experience, to a new life (Lange 111).

Having cancer changes people emotionally and tend to but a strain on there life and the

people around them. Dr. Julie Silver out of Newsweek stated, “I have a tendency at this point

nearly five years later, to not talk about the initial diagnosis and treatment, as that was a sad

period of my life. It was heartbreaking not only for me but for my children, husband, and

extended family. For me, healing is about not dwelling on those dark hours but moving forward

and finding whatever joy I can today and tomorrow (Newsweek).” Working with this emotional

period in a person’s life can result in some depression and anxiety. Most of the time, they only

last for short periods of time, but if they last longer then a person may need to seek professional


After all is said and done the patient and partner may be ready to moveon and reestablish

the sexual and intimacy if at all if did interfere with having treatments. Doubts about your

appearance and attractiveness are normal, but you should not let them affect your self-image

(Lange 117). Most of the time the patient has to be the one to open up to their partner to let them

know that they are ready to resume sex, because the partner may not know how to come around

to getting to it fearing disappointment. Hugging, touching, holding, and cuddling may become

more important, while sexual intercourse may become less important (Lange 120). The sexual

connotations associated with a woman’s breast, side effects of treatment, plus the emotional

distress of having cancer, it’s no surprise that research finds that about half of all women who

have had breast cancer experience long-term sexual problem (Peeke).

Cheryl, the cancer patient interviewed spoke these words, “I was so glad that I know

longer received treatments but, I still was ashamed of by body and all the scars. Then one night

my husband said know more hiding and I finally just came out. I am knownlonger ashamed. I

am a Survivor.”

During your treatments your eating habits may have changed from eating a lot or normal

to not eating at all, or from not eating much to eating everything. Dr. Lange in the book Be a

Survivor Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment stated, “Good nutrition may speed your healing

after surgery and help you during, chemotherapy, but later on, balanced diets , with the proper

amount of protein, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins will help you feel younger and stay


Works Cited

"Advice For Survivors.(Health For Life; Health For Life M.D.)(cancer

survivors)." Newsweek 151.25 (June 23, 2008): 54. General Reference Center

Gold. Gale. Oakland Community College. 2 Apr. 2009


Cappiello, Michelle, Regina S. Cunningham, M. Tish Knobf, and Diane Erdos. "Breast cancer

survivors: information and support after treatment.(Author abstract)." Clinical Nursing

Research 16.4 (Nov 2007): 278(16). Health Reference Center Academic. Gale. Oakland

Community College. 2 Apr. 2009


Lange, Vladimir. Be a Survivor Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment. Los Angeles: Lange

Productions, 2007

Peeke, Pamela. "Life during and after breast cancer treatment." National Women's Health

Report 27.5 (Oct 2005): 8(2). Academic OneFile. Gale. Oakland Community College. 2

Apr. 2009


Washington, Cheryl. Personal interview. 4 April 2009.