Coping and supportBy Mayo Clinic staff
An atypical hyperplasia diagnosis can be stressful, since it increases your risk of breast cancer. Not knowing what the future holds may make you fearful for your health. With time, every woman develops her own way of coping with atypical hyperplasia and her increased risk of breast cancer. Until you find your way of coping, consider trying to:
- Understand your individual risk of breast cancer. Breast cancer risk statistics can be overwhelming and frightening. Breast cancer risk statistics are developed by following thousands of women and can give you an idea of your prognosis, but the statistics can't tell you about your own risk of breast cancer. Ask your doctor to explain your individual risk of breast cancer. Once you understand your personal risk of breast cancer, you can feel more comfortable making decisions about your treatment.
- Go to all of your follow-up appointments. If you've been diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia, your doctor may recommend more frequent breast cancer screening exams and tests. You may find yourself distracted with worry before each exam because you're afraid that your doctor will find breast cancer. Don't let your fear stop you from going to your appointments. Instead, accept that fear is normal and find ways to cope. Relax, write your feelings in a journal or spend time with a close friend who can lift your spirits.
- Maintain your health. Make healthy lifestyle choices to keep yourself healthy. For instance, maintain a healthy weight, eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, get enough sleep so that you wake feeling rested, and limit the amount of alcohol you drink, if you choose to drink alcohol. You can't control whether or not you get breast cancer, but you can keep healthy so that you're well enough for breast cancer treatment, should you need it.
- Talk with other women in your situation. Talk to other women who have been diagnosed with atypical hyperplasia. Ask your doctor about support groups in your community. Another option is online message boards. Breast cancer organizations, such as BreastCancer.org, offer message boards for women with a high risk of breast cancer to connect with each other.
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