How To Be A Good Friend To Someone Feeling The Physical Effects Of Breast Cancer

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Breast cancer affects females in physical and emotional ways. The physical effects of breast cancer force women to reevaluate how they view femininity.

sad girl sitting by the ocean

The Effects Of Cancer Treatment On Females

Women who go through chemo are forced to reevaluate what they view as feminine as well as what they view as normal, healthy, or even a good day. VProud CEO Karen Cahn sat down with cancer survivor Amy Grantham and discussed the very personal topics of physical changes that come with cancer like hair loss and the emotional changes like how you define femininity. Millennial and VProud intern Claire HarnEnz reflected on the conversation and came away with tips to take care of ourselves and of our friends who are diagnosed with breast cancer. We love the heart of Claire's message which is to show up and be there when someone needs us. Read to learn Claire's takeaways and tuck a few away in your back pocket to support a friend who is feeling the emotional and physical effects of breast cancer.

—The VProud Team

a red pillow says you are not alone

How Breast Cancer Effects Women

Breast cancer is tough. That is an understatement. Breast cancer is terrible. That is also an understatement. Breast cancer attacks everything that makes you a woman. That is a fact. For some women, the reality is that their breasts gets sliced away, their hair falls out, and their hormones are chemically suppressed. With 1 in 8 women being diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, it's likely that you and I will watch someone we love go through the physical effects of breast cancer. This is frightening.

This is why we need to think about how to help someone who is fighting against their own body feel better. A cancer patient feels absolutely betrayed by their body and possibly a little ashamed by it. Their bodies are changing irrevocably because of cancer treatment. Refrain from staring and teach your kids to do the same. 

What You Can Do For Someone 

Going Through Chemo

Instead, you should just treat cancer patients kindly. If your friend or neighbor has been diagnosed with breast cancer, don’t just say, “if there's anything I can do, let me know” because they will probably never let you know. Instead, offer to plow their driveway or bring over dinner for their family, babysit their kids, lend them a book, or offer to sit with them while they're resting or going to a chemo appointment.

It's so important to attend regular doctor appointments and mammograms and encourage your friends to do so as well. On a larger level, environmental factors are one of the largest predictors for breast cancer. So removing carcinogens in the air by driving less and walking more, buying environmentally friendly products rather than bottled water shipped across the world, and encouraging lawmakers to make environmentally friendly policies are important as well. 

My final takeaway is this: It's so important to be the change on levels that are close to home and those that are further away.

About the author: Claire HarnEnz is a VProud intern.

Join This Honest Conversation Now

amy grantham speaks about losing your hair and femininity to cancer on vproud
Feminine side effects: Did the effects of your cancer treatment make you feel less feminine? 

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