You may find that your normal routine is disrupted because of your breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, for example if you look after children full time, or work full or part time.
Side effects of treatment can affect how much you are able to do. Fatigue (extreme tiredness) is a common side effect that can last for several months or longer.
Try to let people know how they can help and accept offers of support. Most people are happy to be asked. In fact, they may already want to offer their support but are worried about interfering or offending you.
Some people may not have as much support as they would like or need. You might live alone or not have close family or friends nearby.
Regardless of the amount of support you have, people you don’t know that well are often willing to help. They may be neighbours, colleagues, friends of friends, members of your church or any other social group you’re part of. You may find it difficult to ask, but in times of need people are often keen to help but don’t know how.
You can also ask a local cancer information centre if there are any local organisations that could provide support for people who are coping with a diagnosis of cancer on their own.
Depending on your situation your GP or treatment team may also be able to refer you to social services for extra support. They may be able to provide help with things like shopping, cooking or dressing. You can find out more about cancer and social care on the NHS website.
You may be able to get some financial support to help with extra costs.
You may find it difficult to manage childcare during or after treatment. The following tips may help.
Let family, friends and neighbours know if you’re struggling as they can be a good source of support.
Other people you know, such as parents at the same nursery or school as your children, may also be willing to help.
- If you’re concerned, talk to the teachers or after-school care providers at your child’s school. They may be prepared to be flexible, and to provide help at short notice.
- Home-Start is a charity that helps families with young children cope with challenges such as long-term illness in the family. Talk to your treatment team as there may be other local organisations they can refer you to.
- You may be able to get help towards childcare costs through certain benefits.