Our nurse Jane Murphy looks at mental health and breast cancer, and provides support if you think you're experiencing the signs of depression.
As a Helpline nurse I often hear from women who are feeling low in mood after a diagnosis of breast cancer. It’s normal to feel shocked and upset when you receive such news. It’s common to experience times when you feel down while going through treatment, and sometimes after treatment has finished.
The effects of treatment can last for some while, or you may be on treatment such as hormone therapy for a number of years. This can also impact on how you feel.
Am I depressed?
Generally, feeling down or low in mood is not uncommon but if you’re continually feeling sad or lacking in energy or you're having problems with concentration or sleep, it could be due to depression.
Depression is more common than you might think, with one in four people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year.
Asking for help
It’s important to reach out to someone, so let family and friends know how you are feeling.
Talk to your GP, breast care nurse or someone in your hospital team. Our information about depression explains more about the different forms of treatment and support that might be available to you.
You can also get support from Breast Cancer Now. Our services can help you feel listened to and more supported. They include:
- Our free and confidential Helpline
- Our Someone Like Me service where you can speak to someone who has had a similar breast cancer experience to you
- Our Forum – a safe and welcoming online community
Many people are surprised about how emotional and low they feel after their initial treatment finishes. Often the need for support continues. Becca, is our free app with tips on life beyond treatment, including mindfulness and personal stories.
Other forms of support
- NHS Choices Moodzone offers practical advice and tips on self-help techniques to help relieve stress, anxiety or depression
- Mind (a mental health charity for England and Wales)
- Anxiety UK
- SAMH (the Scottish Association for Mental Health)
- AWARE (the national depression charity for Northern Ireland)
There may be local support services in your area that your GP or breast cancer nurse can tell you about. You may also find support in a number of ways through these organisations:
- Breast Cancer Haven
- Tenovus Cancer Care
- Cancer Support Scotland
- Cancer Focus Northern Ireland
- Macmillan, where you can search what's in your area
Speak to our nurses
If you need any more information, or just want to talk to someone about how you are feeling, you can contact us free on 0808 800 6000.
We’re here to listen and to answer your questions, big or small.