How Cancer Coaching Helped Address Breast Cancer Stressors


This is the case study of a breast cancer thriver. During her cancer treatment, she reflected on her life and let go of her feelings of loneliness. See how our cancer coaching program helped her discover her stressors.

Unacknowledged sacrifices

PD, 54, came to us with breast cancer that had spread to her liver. The doctors had told her they had no further treatment for her. She looked defiant and unapproachable because she was in acute discomfort with post chemotherapy side effects.

She opened up when we asked about her family life. We told her that breast cancer was often linked to emotional stressors around love and validation. We talked about the unacknowledged sacrifices that women have to make in large joint families; how much they give and how little they get back.

Once she was able to acknowledge and verbalize her feelings, she looked radiant and peaceful. When we remarked how radiant she suddenly looked, her face crumpled and she became morose again.

Craving for love and attention

After a while, we understood her pay off: consciously or unconsciously, she was holding on to her disease/pain and choosing to remain ill because the illness was serving her in some way. We realized that it allowed her to remain morose which in turn would continue the great care, love and attention that her family was now giving her, a care she felt she did not get from others when she was well.

In our next few sessions, we saw that she was willing to pay the price of cancer because deep down she seemed confident that she would beat the disease. She was willing to remain a patient to get her more important emotional needs met.

She made the switch from choosing to remain ill, when she had an ‘aha’ moment as she affirmed aloud, ‘This love that I am receiving from my family by being ill, I choose to now get by being well!’

Addressing the stressors

As she made this new choice, her brow cleared and a weight seemed to lift off her shoulders. Until that moment, she had not realized that she could choose to be loved and be well at the same time. She resolved to let go her illness by doing the practices and affirmations we gave her. When we last met her, she reported that her family relationships were more harmonious and healthy than they had been before.


  • How often do you feel unacknowledged by your loved ones for the sacrifices you make for them?
  • What is your way to love yourself, instead of seeking love and attention from others?
  • How can you uncover your stressors? Can you consider taking the Holistic Health Questionnaire?

More from this series

Title About the article
Ovarian Cancer BD has ovarian cancer. Her life history shows a person who has had to be strong, logical, assertive and responsible for her family from an early age.
Colon Cancer MK is a successful young corporate executive who we coached through colon cancer. With a lovely, devoted wife and two beautiful children, he was the epitome of the well-placed urban Indian.



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