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Are My Emotions Normal?

​Now that you have finished breast cancer treatments, you are probably looking forward to getting back to what you were doing before cancer. At the same time, you may continue to have emotional ups and downs. You may:

a woman looking at a photograph
  • Ask yourself if the treatments have worked in getting rid of your cancer.
  • Feel relieved about not having to go back to the hospital often.
  • Be worried or scared that your cancer may return.
  • Feel lonely, sad or unhappy about the physical (e.g. difficulty with arm movements) and psychological changes (e.g. memory difficulty) that cancer treatment has caused.
  • Feel angry or disappointed that your family or friends did not support you the way you wanted them to.
  • Feel lonely not having family or friends close by to help.
  • Be worried about the breast cancer risks for your family members.
  • Be worried about the added financial stress on your family.

These feelings are common for women to experience while getting back to their everyday life after cancer treatments.

a multigenerational family in the park

While many women turn to family and friends for emotional support during this time, you may not want to do that because you feel:

  • Uncomfortable or find it hard to talk about your emotions.
  • You have to keep your worries to yourself because you do not want to worry your loved ones.
  • You have to rely on yourself to get through your difficulties because you do not want to be a burden on your family.

If you find it difficult to express your emotions, you may find it helpful to write them down. Writing can be helpful to:

  • Clear, "de-clutter", your mind so you can have a better understanding of your thoughts and emotions.
  • Organize your thoughts.
  • Analyze your thoughts or emotions and put them into perspective.
  • Prioritize what to focus on and to act on.
  • Help you see your personal growth.

Self-Reflection Exercise

The purpose of this exercise is to help you identify your feelings. It may be helpful for you to take 5-minutes and reflect on what you are feeling.

To start:

  • Click on the box below that best describes what you are feeling.
  • In the space provided, write down the feelings you are experiencing.
  • If you don't know how to start, go back to the top of the page and read the list of possible feelings that women who have had breast cancer may experience to see if you have also felt like that sometimes.

There is no right or wrong answer. Feel free to write as much or as little as you want. No one else will read what you write down -- this is for you only.

You may want to print a copy so you can review it later to see if your feelings or worries have changed. To print a copy, click the PRINT button. Your answer will not be saved once you leave this page.

Taking the time to reflect and write down your feelings can help you to better understand how they may affect your mood, thoughts and behaviours.


For more information on how to manage lifestyle changes after cancer treatments, please refer to the suggested reading:


  1. Lepore, Stephen J. and Joshua M. Smyth. The Writing Cure: How Expressive Writing Promotes Health and Emotional Well-Being (ed.), American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, 2002.
  2. Lu, Qian, Gallagher, Matthew W., Loh, Alice, and Young, Lucy. Expressive Writing Intervention Improves Quality of Life Among Chinese -American Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 52: 952-962. 2018.

Suggested Readings:

  1. Canfield, Jack, Hanson, Mark Victor, and Kelly, Mary Olsen. Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor’s: Stories to inspire, support and heal. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc. 2012.