Skip to content
Medical Health Aged Care, Mental Health

Can Moving & Connecting Boost Your Mental Health After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis?

Breast Cancer Network Australia 3 mins read
Carla stays active to improve her mental health following her triple negative breast cancer diagnosis at 38.

31/10/2023

Today marks the last day of international Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout October, Australia’s leading consumer breast cancer organisation Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) has shared information around how exercise and other types of support can help you to live well, through powerful personal stories of real Australians affected by breast cancer.

BCNA member Carla Mills highlights the role exercise played following her diagnosis with triple negative breast cancer at 38.

“The road has been pretty bumpy, I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD related to the cancer,” Carla said. “Starting to cycle and exercise saved my life, it’s like my meditation.”

There is tangible evidence demonstrating how psychosocial factors and exercise can improve the quality of life and the emotional wellbeing of cancer survivors, so the recommendation is to move as much as possible. “The silver bullet is exercise, so I recommend you stay mobile and active,” said Clinical Psychologist Dr Charlotte Tottman, whose popular breast cancer podcast Upfront About Breast Cancer – What You Don’t Know Until You Do is one of the many resources available on the BCNA website.

Carla underwent a double mastectomy, IVF, and then chemotherapy, however she had to wait two years to begin the reconstruction process, which compounded the effect on her mental health. “Some days it was difficult to leave the house – to go out with no hair, no eyelashes, no eyebrows, and no boobs,” she said. “After six-and-a-half years and multiple surgeries I now have breasts that my surgeon and I are almost happy with, but I still struggle with body dysmorphia.”

Carla set up her Facebook page, Cancer Unplugged, because she feels talking about her experience and connecting with others supports mental wellness. “Breast Cancer Awareness Month tends to be awash with pink, so one year I shared photos on my Cancer Unplugged Facebook page of my scars and drains hanging out because I wanted people to see the reality of breast cancer,” Carla said.

Those affected by breast cancer are likely to require different types of support at different times. BCNA’s theme for the month ‘Living Well, Your Way’, recognises that many people struggle to ‘live well’ following a diagnosis of breast cancer and that a quality lifestyle looks different for different people.

“If you’re struggling with your mental health, find someone to talk to and don’t give up on getting help,” Carla said. “Contact BCNA, use their online resources, or find a local breast cancer support group.”

On the last day of international Breast Cancer Awareness Month, BCNA would like to highlight that – with 20,458 women and 217 men expected to receive a diagnosis in 2023 – raising awareness around the different support and resources available to help people live well with or beyond breast cancer is essential year-round.

BCNA offer trusted information and a variety of resources – from a free Helpline, podcasts/webcasts, My Journey, Service Finder, and an Online Network to connect with others – which can all be accessed when and where they are needed via BCNA’s newly refreshed website at www.bcna.org.au.

Upfront About Breast Cancer – What You Don’t Know Until You Do Season 2: Unlimited with Dr Charlotte Tottman is available now and focuses on her clinical experience while exploring topics such as anxiety in a cancer context, managing behavioural changes, and the importance of setting boundaries for self-care. The podcast is available to listen to via BCNA’s Upfront About Breast Cancer website page, SoundCloud, Apple podcasts and Spotify.

If you require quotes, content, or an interview please reach out and our team can coordinate this for you.

 


About us:

Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) is Australia’s leading breast cancer consumer organisation. BCNA provides information and support to those diagnosed and their supporters, opportunities to connect with others going through a similar situation and work to influence a stronger healthcare system to ensure all Australians affected by breast cancer receive the very best care, treatment and support.


Contact details:

Rachael Stewart 

Media and Communications Manager

0419 878 005

media@bcna.org.au

Media

More from this category

  • Medical Health Aged Care
  • 26/05/2024
  • 07:25
Royal Australian College of GPs

RACGP ready to take on Far North Queensland GP training

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) has emphasised its readiness to prepare GPs to serve the north of the state. In February, the College said it was ready to take on GP training in the region after James Cook University announced it would transition away from GP training in 2024. Training will officially change over to the RACGP on 10 June, after extensive preparation and careful management to ensure a seamless transition. The College will continue existing training agreements with registrars, supervisors, and practices for the remainder of 2024. In 2023, the College successfully managed the onboarding of GP…

  • Contains:
  • Medical Health Aged Care
  • 26/05/2024
  • 04:31
Dementia Australia

Join us TODAY for Brisbane Memory Walk & Jog

What: Dementia Australia’sBrisbane Memory Walk & Jog When: Sunday 26 May, from 7.30am Who: More than 1,110 locals participating on the day. People who have been impacted by dementia, their family, friends and carers. Special guests Dementia Australia Ambassadors Wally Lewis AM and Takaya Honda. Where: Rocks Riverside Park, Seventeen Mile Rocks For more information visit: www.memorywalk.com.au Walk or jog with us. We are in this together. Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education and services for the estimated more than 421,000 Australians living with dementia, and the more than 1.6 million people involved in their care. We…

  • Contains:
  • Medical Health Aged Care
  • 26/05/2024
  • 04:30
Dementia Australia

Join us TODAY for Perth Memory Walk & Jog

What: Dementia Australia’sPerth Memory Walk & Jog When: Sunday 26 May, from 7.30am Who: More than 880 locals participating on the day. People who have been impacted by dementia, their family, friends and carers. Where: Burswood Park, Burswood. For more information visit: www.memorywalk.com.au Walk or jog with us. We are in this together. Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education and services for the estimated more than 421,000 Australians living with dementia, and the more than 1.6 million people involved in their care. We advocate for positive change and support vital research. We are here to support people…

  • Contains:

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.