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Study Examines Resilience, Depression, and Quality of Life in Patients with Breast Cancer

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Resilience is the ability of an individual to recover or maintain relatively stable psychological and physical functioning when confronted with stressful life events and adversities. In a study published in Psycho-Oncology that included 193 patients with breast cancer who were receiving chemotherapy before undergoing surgery, investigators assessed resilience through questionnaires.

Those with resilience were less likely to experience depressive symptoms during chemotherapy, and in turn, experience better health-related quality of life after chemotherapy.

The results suggest that patients with breast cancer who have low resilience may be at risk for developing depression during chemotherapy.

‘Patients receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer, especially those with low resilience, should be screened and treated for depression to maintain their health-related quality of life,’ said lead author Sungwon Lee, MD, of Seoul National University College of Medicine.

Neurolinguistic programming expert Rebecca Lockwood highlights the importance of resilience: ‘Resilience gives us the ability to recover quickly emotionally and potentially physically from stressful situations and emotionally significant events in life. Having a resilient mindset helps in so many ways to be able to keep moving and support yourself emotionally in life.

‘It is important not to confuse resilience with brushing over events and situations in life. We must always ensure we acknowledge and honour the way we feel and allow ourselves to be human. Being resilient isn’t about brushing over these things, it’s about honouring, accepting and then supporting yourself to move forward in life again.

‘Being resilient supports you to adapt to situations that may create change in your life and emotional triggers. People who are resilient will still feel stressed, it then helps to see things from a different perspective and potentially take lessons and learnings from the events in life that support you into the future.

‘People who are less resilient tend to feel down and stressed for longer periods of time and can also find themselves in a negative loop. Meaning that they feel down or sad, and then because of this, they feel guilty that they feel negative emotions and try to stop, which leads to more pain and upset. This is why it is very important to honour your feelings first and foremost, accept yourself and your humanness and then look forward and be resilient in your approach to the future. ‘

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