Ann Marie* has been feeling anxious since the day she was first told about her late-stage cancer. Uncertainty about her health is a constant in her life and symptoms as trivial as a running nose can unnerve her. Lately, her visits to the doctor haven’t been helpful either as information about her disease only makes her feel more isolated, as though no one else can relate to the daily struggle of living with cancer.
Ann Marie’s experience is unfortunately very common as many women suffering from late-stage cancer receive no services, referral or guidance to help them with their emotional distress. Studies show that up to half of women with advanced breast cancer stage 3 or stage 4 cancer suffer from anxiety or clinical depression.
There is also a stigma attached to having breast cancer that leads to women like Ann Marie choosing to be reserved even though they are eagerly searching for relevant health advice and support services. Such delays in accessing information prolongs the anxiety of patients and can also lead to a lack of awareness about symptoms that require further care.