Coping With Breast Cancer: How to Navigate the Emotional Impact Throughout Your Journey
Dr Sarah Swan
"In this book, a clinical psychologist who is also a breast cancer survivor describes the cancer journey and adds evidence-based psychological techniques to help us understand, explore and deal with the various emotions we might experience, written in a way that that you can select the approach that best fits with your personal experience and priorities."
Professor Trisha Greenhalgh, Doctor and breast cancer survivor, Oxford, UK
“If you have been affected by breast cancer or know anyone who has, I can’t recommend this highly enough. You won’t find a more moving, compassionate and helpful book on this subject”
Dr Joe Oliver, coauthor of the Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Self Esteem; founder of Contextual Consulting
“I see the values of openness, generosity, humour, courage and above all humanity shining through every page”
Ross McIntosh, Work Psychologist
"This book is a very welcome source of support for women diagnosed with breast cancer. Sarah writes with honesty and compassion about her personal struggles with her own cancer diagnosis. What makes this book unique is Sarah’s skilful blending of her personal experience of breast cancer, with her skills gained through many years of working as a clinical psychologist"
Dr Joanna Levene, Consultant Clinical Psychologist in Cancer Services.


Paperback isbn: 9781914110221


Pages: 180

Publication Date: July 17th 2023

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Table of contents


Foreword: Sarah Swan

A Unique Perspective: Penelope Cream


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Diagnosis

Chapter 3: Telling People

Chapter 4: Surgery

Chapter 5: Treatment

Chapter 6: Body Image

Chapter 7: Living in the Present

Chapter 8: Conclusion


Appendix I: Checklist of Skills

Appendix II: Summary Worksheet

Appendix III: Choice Point Worksheet


Glossary of Terms



About the book

Current statistics suggest that between one in seven and one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives.  Being diagnosed with breast cancer can leave you feeling anxious and depressed, fearful of the treatment to come and concerned about your mortality.  The treatment itself can have a significant impact on your wellbeing as you are faced with marked changes in your physical appearance, sense of self and energy levels.

There is lots of information available regarding cancer and its treatment, but little to help you cope with the emotional fall out.  There are some excellent support services available but access to high quality evidence-based psychological interventions to help you cope is limited.

This self-help book is the first of its kind: written by a highly experienced clinical psychologist, who has herself gone through the devastating impact of breast cancer, drawing from the evidence-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approach to provide you with essential coping skills.  This book takes you through what your journey may look like through diagnosis, treatment and recovery, and explains the ACT skills that can help you to cope with the emotional impact of this disease and its treatment.  The ACT approach enables you to respond differently to the painful thoughts and feelings that will arise during your cancer journey.  Rather than fighting with them, the skills in this book help you to acknowledge and step back from your difficult thoughts and feelings so that you can focus on living your life in a way that will positively impact your physical and emotional wellbeing.

About the author

Dr Sarah Swan is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist who worked in the NHS for 25 years, culminating in being Head of Psychology for a large London Borough.  She is trained in a number of therapeutic approaches including ACT and EMDR.  Sarah has been on the board of directors for ACP-UK and continues to support the organisation in a consultancy role.

The Association of Clinical Psychologists (ACP-UK) is the representative body for the profession of clinical psychology in the United Kingdom. ACP-UK aims to be a strong voice for clinical psychologists, and to act for the good of those who use psychological services and the general public by promoting, publicising, supporting and developing the profession of clinical psychology.