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Recover Making Sense of Breast Cancer Your Survivor Identity

According to the , you are a survivor from the day you are diagnosed.  Even though there are positive meanings attached to the term “”, not every woman identifies herself as such.

For many women, there is a range of emotions tied to their experience with breast cancer and to the idea of being a survivor. They can range from feelings of loneliness to a strengthened vitality of connections with family, friends and other survivors, as well as with people suffering from another serious illness.

Some women feel as though their cancer experience was not severe enough to warrant the title of . Others prefer to keep their disease a private matter. However, a significant number of women embrace the idea of being a “breast cancer ” and celebrate their victory in battling through treatment and overcoming the disease.

For the latter, being a is an important part of who they are. It becomes part of their identity and .

The women who embrace their identity seem to emerge from their breast cancer experience with a new perspective on life. They are stronger, bolder and more beautiful than ever before. They truly thrive in their lives after breast cancer treatment. 

When women embrace their status, their lives take on whole new meaning: New opportunities arise, new connections are made, a new level of confidence is gained and a new way of living emerges.

They become part of an automatic “sisterhood” simply because they are and walk through life as a proud warrior.

It seems as though women who embrace their identity seek to live a more authentic life, and their self-actualization, i.e. desire for self-fulfillment, becomes more heightened. This most likely stems from the personal growth and development that occurs during their breast cancer journey. 

Perhaps it is fair to say that there is an intrinsic transformation that results from a personal crisis and/or a serious medical illness like breast cancer. In fact, there is research that proves that there is a relationship between . And, out of this transformation, a new identity is born.

With it comes a for survivors’ lives, which may be completely different than what they knew as normal before their diagnosis.

Your breast cancer diagnosis and personal journey almost certainly will cause you to re-evaluate your life, purpose and relationships, rethinking how you live and how you approach your overall health and well-being.  Contemplating these facets of your life is all part of the recovery and healing process. 

The “?” is an excellent tool to manage and promote your healing and recovery process after breast cancer treatment and to help define your survivor identify.

Other resources and tools available that may also be helpful are:

Share your experience on your breast cancer journey on our .

Breast Cancer Partner Events

September 29, 2012
'Pamper Me Pink' Breast Cancer Event, Floyd County, IN

September 22 – October 28, 2012
Shine Your Light Bright for the Cancer Fight, San Marcos, TX

September 29, 2012
Pink October Velvet Sessions with Bret Michaels, Hard Rock Hotel, Universal Orlando, Orlando, FL

September 30, October 3, 2012
American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference – “Treating the Cause”, Orlando, FL

September 30, 2012
Prevent Cancer Foundation 5K Race, Washington, D.C.

October 3, 2012
The Beauty of Caring Event, San Francisco, CA

October 11, 2012
Cancer and Careers Online Event Legal & Insurance Issues to Consider

October 13 – 14, 2012
Lance Armstrong Foundation Live Long Run, Walk, Ride Event, Hallandale Beach, FL

October20, 2012
SASS Foundation 18th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day, Uniondale, NY

October 27 – 30
AACR Cancer Health Disparities Conference, San Diego, CA

November 15, 2012
Cancer and Careers Online Event Re-Entering the Workforce After Short & Long Absences


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