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Most people experience some low mood and sadness after a diagnosis of breast cancer.
Low mood usually improves after a little while, but if it doesn’t then you could have depression.
Depression is a common condition that can have a broad range of symptoms, from feeling continuously low in spirits to having no will to live.
Some people become depressed because of the impact of breast cancer, such as:
After treatment ends it can be made worse by:
Find out more about adjusting to life after treatment ends.
Depression is often a normal response to trauma and a way of coping, but as you adjust to what has happened, you will gain energy and your mood should improve.
Talk to your treatment team, breast care nurse or GP if you or the people close to you are worried because you have any of the following signs:
Your treatment team or GP can refer you to a counsellor, psychiatrist or psychologist for help and support.
Some people find it hard to seek professional advice, but it can help to relieve these symptoms and allow you to regain control of your life.
Professional support such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help.
Your treatment team or GP can direct you to services that may help.
Antidepressant drugs may be recommended to treat symptoms of depression.
It usually takes up to six weeks before you notice the effects and start to feel an improvement in mood, although it may take longer to feel the full benefits.
Antidepressants can be an extra support during a particularly difficult time.
Joining a cancer support group to meet others with a similar experience may be helpful. You can search for support groups near you on the Macmillan Cancer Support website.
Our Someone Like Me service can put you in touch with a trained volunteer who has been through similar experiences to you. They are there to listen to your concerns and share their experiences. You can talk with them over the phone or by email if you prefer.
You can speak to one of our breast care nurses by:
These organisations provide information and support to help you cope with depression:
We've put together a mental health toolkit with information and tips to help you look after your mental health after breast cancer.