Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, BCD, OSW-C
Ms. Hill Schnipper is chief of oncology social work at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, an adjunct professor at Simmons College School of Social Work and Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s first Hatcher Professor of Survivorship. Her daily clinical work includes the care of women living with all stages of breast and gynecologic cancer; she facilitates five support groups and develops other support and educational resources for her institution's oncology community. She has authored two books: Woman to Woman: A Handbook for Women Newly Diagnosed with Breast Cancer and After Breast Cancer: A Commonsense Guide to Life after Treatment.
In 1993 and again in 2005, Ms. Hill Schnipper was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. She has two young adult daughters and lives with her husband in Concord, Massachusetts.
How ending treatment may impact your emotions
When initial treatment ends, you and your caregivers may feel relief that you’ve made it through all the appointments, medicines, and physical demands of breast cancer. You might also feel adrift or lost because you’re not seeing your providers as often.
Why fear of recurrence happens
Fear of recurrence is very common among people who have had breast cancer. How much fear of recurrence impacts any person depends on personal health history, access to information, social supports, personal coping style, and other factors.
Seeing a professional
Talking with a professional who understands the emotional impact of breast cancer can help at any time. Look for someone you trust and feel comfortable talking to.
Your medical team
Your healthcare providers are a key part of your support team. Many hospitals take a team-based approach to care, meaning your providers work together to follow your case and meet regularly to discuss your treatment.
Study Finds People Who Have Breast Cancer Live Longer With Strong Social Support
Women with breast cancer tend to have better outcomes when they have a bigger network of friends, family and other social connections, but different types of social support were important for different women.