Breast cancer survival and mental health

Three years ago, Hil Moss said she was relaxing, watching relaxed television and relaxing as she touched her chest and felt a lump. She was 28, and with no family history, she says her doctor assured her she had nothing to worry about. But after a few more appointments, they confirmed a diagnosis regarding breast cancerprobably caused by a ATM gen mutation they found.

After three years and a 14-month treatment plan – which included three months chemotherapya double mastectomyand a tissue-based reconstruction, later followed by hormone therapy Moss, a student at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, and an advocate for cancer treatment, now considers himself a breast cancer survivor.

That American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) defines survival as “living with, through and beyond cancer.” But some patients coming to the “beyond cancer” stage say they were unprepared for the toll this experience would take on their mental health.

When she was first diagnosed, Moss says she expected the hardest part of her experience would be receiving the treatment, but another survivor warned her that it would actually be months after she finished it, that would be the most difficult. True, Moss says she found the first six months of her recovery period more mentally challenging than anything else she had physically been through, including the amputation of both of her breasts.

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