Emotional and practical support after a breast cancer diagnosis
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we meet Lucy*, a mum of two, who explains the emotional and practical support she received through her diagnosis.
A breast cancer diagnosis is life-changing. Not only does it affect the person who’s been diagnosed, but their family and friends too. Having the right support to manage the practical and emotional challenges of breast cancer can alleviate having to lean on loved ones.
That’s why services like Wellbeing Support, provided by RedArc Assured Limited (part of our Umbrella Benefits) adds real value to people going through an illness such as breast cancer. It’s there to help people before, during and after a diagnosis – from having symptoms investigated, throughout their treatment, and in readjusting to life after cancer.
Breast cancer support for Lucy
When Lucy*, a single mum of two, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she found it difficult to know who to talk to. Her teenage daughter was worried her mum might die, and Lucy’s increased anxiety after her diagnosis left her feeling apprehensive and worried about her future. She was facing surgery and the possibility of chemo’ or radiotherapy and was looking for support.
When Lucy claimed on her critical illness policy, the claims team also referred her to RedArc Assured Limited as she has access to Wellbeing Support included with her policy. RedArc assigned an experienced, registered nurse to Lucy, who took the time to get to know her and to understand her needs during one-to-one phone calls.
How Lucy's dedicated nurse helped her
The personal support Lucy received from her nurse was both practical and emotional, and included:
- Advice on how Lucy could talk to her children about her diagnosis, providing age-appropriate resources and literature for her daughters to help them understand and deal with their mum’s illness
- Organising a subscription to the Headspace app, for meditation sessions to help with stress and sleep loss
- Discussing coping strategies and relaxation techniques to manage Lucy’s anxiety
- Help Lucy to prepare questions to ask at consultations
- Advice on managing symptoms after a mastectomy
- Advice and provision of post-mastectomy lingerie to help Lucy have a positive body image
- Advice on reconstruction surgery
- Discussions about the effects on chemo’ and radiotherapy and how to manage them
- Signposting Lucy to Breast Cancer Now, a leading national charity that helps people affected by breast cancer
There for the long-term
Even once treatment stops, the after-effects of having gone through cancer can last long into someone’s life. Everybody’s diagnosis and recovery is different, which is why Lucy can still access support and guidance any time she needs.
Wellbeing Support is available for six months after policy ends.
In Lucy’s case, her nurse helped her with:
- Ongoing one-to-one telephone calls for guidance and reassurance to support her recovery both physically and emotionally, for as long as she needed
- Understanding that it’s normal to feel daunted about the next steps when the treatment is finished
- Advice on looking after mental health, including signposting to websites for further information
- Guidance on conversations to have with her employer regarding workplace support she might benefit from on her return to work
Of the support Lucy received, she said: “It is really good to speak with someone outside my family and friends who understands what I am going through. I really appreciate you being here for me and I look forward to our calls.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For more information including signs, symptoms and support, please visit Breast Cancer Now.
* Name has been changed.