The Pink Journey Foundation

Emotional Costs

Learning that your biopsy was positive for breast cancer can be an emotionally difficult experience.  Fear, anxiety, and concern about your future and the future of your family are but a few of the questions that immediately come to mind when receiving the difficult news (Ref. 1).

Women who are diagnosed with an early-stage breast cancer may have anxieties upon receiving the diagnosis, however there is often relief when patients realize that their prognosis is excellent, and that chemotherapy or a mastectomy will not be required.

The emotional costs are not the same for all women.  Women who are diagnosed with a late-stage breast cancer typically are at a higher stress level when they realize that chemotherapy and aggressive surgery will be part of their treatment plan and there is a higher risk of recurrence.

Although it is challenging to quantitate the lifetime emotional costs of being diagnosed with breast cancer, it seems reasonable to conclude that the lifetime emotional cost of a late diagnosis far exceeds the cost for an early-stage diagnosis who will not require chemotherapy or aggressive surgery and whose chances of long-term survival are excellent.  Thus, investing in early detection efforts not only saves lives it reduces the emotional cost of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The major barrier to implementing a nation-wide program for early detection vary widely depending on the population being served.  Promoting early detection efforts in women who already have health insurance are relatively straightforward (Screening Mammography: Costs & Benefits).  Improvements in early detection in this group of women are to focus on education and motivation to increase participation.

The situation is quite different for women who either have no insurance or inadequate insurance.  This situation is common in underserved communities and solutions to this problem are challenging (Underserved Populations).  Fortunately, some progress is being made in addressing this issue.

The Pink Journey Foundation has made a major commitment to promoting educational programs in underserved communities and to provide them with free mobile mammography programs.

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