What do the emotional stages include?

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Question from fighter: How many emotional stages are there in dealing with this? Anger? Guilt? What else?
Answers - David Spiegel There's no sort of lockstep path down which people invariably tread, but usually there is initially disbelief and tremendous fear and then some people get angry and some get sad. There are other emotions as well but I think there is no sort of one course that everyone goes through. One thing to keep in mind is that we don't control emotions. They happen to us. Many people think that if they are controlling their emotions about the cancer, they are controlling the cancer and that's not true.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. What do women do when their emotions get really out of control? Like when anger turns to rage?
David Spiegel I think it depends. It is not a good thing and I think you can inflict lots of wear and tear on family and friends if you lose it too much. I have seen a lot of patients who say they are angry and look sad. That is one emotion that can be dangerous. Get help if you can't modulate your rage about the disease.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Feelings about Breast Cancer featured David Spiegel, Ph.D. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about the emotional effects of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in October 2000.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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