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Breast Cancer and Depression

A breast cancer diagnosis can bring a wide range of emotions. You may feel shock, fear, sadness, anger and grief. These feelings are normal.

Some people find joining a support group or talking to a counselor or therapist helpful in coping with these feelings.

Learn more about support groups and other types of support.

Learn more about support for people with metastatic breast cancer.

Signs of depression

Being diagnosed with breast cancer can lead to serious depression and severe emotional distress, especially during the first year after diagnosis [113-114]. These feelings are common among people with metastatic breast cancer and their loved ones [114-115].

When the symptoms listed below last longer than 2 weeks, they are signs of clinical depression [114]. Talk to a health care provider or a therapist if you:

  • Feel sad most of the time
  • Have lost pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Have poor concentration
  • Feel nervous
  • Feel tired for no reason
  • Have a change in eating or sleeping habits
  • Withdraw from friends and family
  • Feel hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Have frequent thoughts of death or a desire to die

Treatment for depression

Depression needs to be treated. Treatment may include:

  • Anti-depressant medication 
  • Counseling or psychotherapy

Talk with your oncologist before taking any medications for depression. Some can interfere with breast cancer treatments. For example, some anti-depressants may interfere with the hormone therapy drug tamoxifen.

Susan G. Komen® Support Resources

  • If you or a loved one needs more information about metastatic breast cancer, contact the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) or email All calls are answered by a trained specialist or oncology social worker, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET. Se habla español.
  • Komen Patient Navigators can help guide you through the health care system. They can help to remove barriers to high-quality breast care. For example, they can help you with insurance, local resources, communication with health care providers and more. Call the Komen Breast Care Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) or email to learn more about our Patient Navigator program, including eligibility.
  • Komen’s Breast Cancer Facebook Group and Metastatic Breast Cancer Facebook Group provide places where those with a connection to breast cancer can share their experiences and build strong relationships with each other.
  • Our free MBC Impact Series provides people living with metastatic breast cancer and their loved ones a safe, collaborative space to gather information related to metastatic breast cancer and discover practical resources to help make decisions for improved physical and emotional health. To learn more and register visit
  • Our Real Pink podcast series covers many relevant topics for people living with metastatic breast cancer and caregivers.
  • Our fact sheets, booklets and other education materials offer additional information.

Updated 06/26/23