Susan G Komen  
I've Been Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Someone I Know Was Diagnosed Share Your Story Join Us And Stay Informed Donate To End Breast Cancer
Home > Understanding Breast Cancer > After Treatment > Life Issues > Coping With Stress


Coping With Stress


For Co-Survivors (Friends and Family) 

Breast cancer survivors have many unique sources of stress. Although it can be hard, there are healthy ways to help deal with this stress.

Social support

Social support is the emotional support, practical help, advice and other benefits you get from interactions with your co-survivors. Co-survivors may include:

  • Spouses or partners
  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Spiritual advisors
  • Spiritual communities (such as churches, synagogues and mosques)
  • Co-workers and supervisors
  • Health care providers
  • Therapists or counselors
  • Other people living with cancer
  • Online or e-mail discussion groups

Learn more about co-survivors.  

Many survivors expand and strengthen their emotional support systems by joining a formal breast cancer support group. Learn more about support groups.

Benefits of social support

Breast cancer survivors who have more social support tend to cope better emotionally than survivors with little support [22-24]. However, it remains unclear whether social support can improve survival or reduce the risk of recurrence [24-31]. 

Learn more about the benefits of social support


For a summary of research studies on social support and breast cancer survival, visit the Breast Cancer Research section.


For a summary of research studies on support groups and breast cancer survival, visit the Breast Cancer Research section


Komen Support Resources 

  • Our breast care helpline 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636) provides free, professional support services and help finding local support groups. Our trained and caring staff are available to you and your family Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET and from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. PT. 
  • Our Message Boards offer online forums for breast cancer survivors to share their experiences and advice with other breast cancer survivors. 
  • Our Co-Survivor section has detailed information and resources for family and friends. 
  • Our Family, Friends and Caregivers forum within the Message Boards offers co-survivors a place to share their own unique experiences and challenges. 
  • Our fact sheets, booklets and other education materials offer additional information for survivors and co-survivors.  


Regular exercise

Exercise is another way to deal with daily stress and improve quality of life. Many people find regular exercise makes them feel better and stronger, and helps them regain a sense of control over their bodies [32-35]. Even simple activities (such as walking several times a week) can lower stress and anxiety [33].

Other benefits of regular exercise

Some studies suggest regular exercise after diagnosis with breast cancer may lower the risk of recurrence [37-39]. And, a few studies suggest it may increase survival [37-42]. These topics are still under study.

Regular exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight and lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes [43].

Learn more about regular exercise and breast cancer survival.  


For a summary of research studies on exercise (physical activity) and breast cancer survival, visit the Breast Cancer Research section.

Updated 04/08/14

previous    Medical Care After Treatment  
  Healthy Lifestyle for
Breast Cancer Survivors