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 . 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