I’m in denial about my cancer diagnosis, It feels like an out of body experience. Has anyone else felt like this?


I was called for a routine appointment for my breasts. I got a letter asking me to go back because they were a mass that needed further investigation. I was then diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma stage 3. I’ve since had the lumpectomy and lymph node biopsies for which I will get the results on Thursday. Is it still odd that I still don’t think I have cancer and that it almost feels like an out of body experience. It’s only because I can see my scars that I know I’ve had something done. I have been signed off work since my diagnosis as I had to come off my HRT and I was a complete **** before I found the right dosage. I would have outbursts or randomly cry. So I’ve had my antidepressants increased but my mind still keeps going dark but I’m not sure if that’s because I haven’t accepted my diagnosis.

any suggestions are appreciated 

thank you

  • Hi Claris,

    Nothing about the cancer experience is normal - it affects everyone in different ways and at different times.
    Denial can be your mind’s way of protecting itself - letting the realisation sink in at a speed it can cope with.
    Some people say we patients go through a grieving process - similar to the way we cope with a bereavement.

    Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are stages traditionally described and most of us go through these at some time - sometimes more than one at once.

    Sometimes early acceptance can be confused with denial - just wanting to get on with treatment without fuss.

    I hope your treatment goes well.

    Best wishes

  • Hi Dave

    Oddy enough that makes sense. However I can’t say I’ve been angry just frustrated as I was meant to have surgery in feb so that I could then get my knees replaced and that bothered me more than the diagnosis. I understand why it took a sidestep it’s just something, like everyone else who has had a diagnosis, I wasn’t expecting it.

    hopefully my further treatment/s will be straight forward. However I am also taking one day at a time as my brain likes to throw me the occasional curveball.

    Thank you for your response it is very much appreciated,


  • Claire 

    I totally ignored my breast cancer diagnosis flew through it sort of blanked it that was July 22 

    sonce then I have been fine totally as I was before so everyone is different don’t panic of how you are meant to feel just take it one day at a time 

    I’m having issues now 2 years on with the blocker tanoxifen now they are driving me crazy the side effects these are worst than the cancer to me xxx 

    good luck love Lara x

  • Hi, I was the same with my hip. Spent ages coming to terms with needing hip replacement which was cancelled due to BC. It isn’t easy but I’ve found the waits and repeatedly cancelled appts the worst.  I hope your treatment goes well. Good luck with KRs

  • Hi 

    I hope you’re OK. I was diagnosed with DCIS breast cancer after routine screening and right up until I got my diagnosis, I just kept thinking…oh it’s probably nothing…. It wasn’t until after my first operation that I burst into tears an it sunk in that I’d got breast cancer. I’ve just had a second operation and I’m waiting for the results. It’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster!?!!

    Take care

  • Hi Claris,

    I have just been told I have basal carcinoma skin cancer. It was a shock as it all happened so damn quick. I am in denial too. I’m fed up aswell. I keep thinking why. I’ve done everything I should to protect myself.  I know I haven’t accepted it either. It’s been taken out from my forehead. I am due to see my surgery next week, yes I am actually seeing someone so I can get more advice. Dermatology did a good job but I was in and out so quick I didn’t have time to ask questions as I never thought it would be cancer. 

  • Hi Henri

    It’s good that dermatology did what they needed to. It is a shock when you find out it’s cancer. 

    I’m just waiting for the results back from my second operation for breast cancer. Everything happens so quickly I’m struggling to keep up with it all. My first operation was only three weeks beforehand.

    I hope everything goes OK at your appointment next week and you get the chance to ask the questions you want to.

  • Thanks for your reply. That meant a lot to me.  I feel like I shouldn’t be down because the lump has gone. I feel guilty for feeling this way as there are so many others like yourself that are in a worse position than I am. It must be agony waiting for the results.  I have told myself just one day at a time now, and everything else can wait. I really hope that you have some positive news with your results. Very best of luck to you. I hope you can stay positive. 

  • Hi again Henri

    You’re welcome  

    I hope you can get past feeling guilty because cancer is cancer what ever kind it is. I do understand how you feel though. I know there are a lot more people out there who have been diagnosed with more advanced breast cancer than me.

    I’m trying to take just one day at a time too.

    I already know there is a chance I’ll need a third operation before radiotherapy, but strangely that helps me to be prepared for what might come.

    At the moment I’m a bit of an emotional yo-yo !?!! So I’m trying to find at least one thing every day to be completely positive about.

    Hoping for the best 

    Take care

  • Yes, it is emotional, I’ve just had a good cry, needed to. Self care is the best. Find something that you enjoy no matter how small. I love to listen to nature, I find birdsong is so therapeutic. I hope you can stay strong and good luck