Moments That Count has been developed and funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited and is intended for a UK general public audience.

There is help out there

It's important to care for your whole self

Learning about and living with secondary breast cancer can be extremely stressful. Prioritising your mental and physical health may help you develop mechanisms to manage your stress.

A patient’s journey is deeply personal, and no two experiences are the same but many people living with advanced breast cancer feel excluded and isolated. Acknowledging your feelings by recognising your emotions and allowing yourself to feel angry, scared or sad, for example, is one of the many ways that may come in handy when working on your mental health.

Below are a number of options for you to seek help for yourself, or from your healthcare team: 

Seeking help from other patients

You might find you receive comfort and support by talking with other patients who have been through what you are going through and understand your journey.

Breast cancer charity websites offer patients a platform which allows them to express personal stories, reflect on diagnosis and treatment journeys and offer tips on how to communicate emotions and needs with loved ones and healthcare teams.

Patient groups

There are many useful resources that have been developed to offer emotional and mental health support for patients. You can find helplines, forums as well as recommendations on the best apps and free services you can use.

You can also view

Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Emotions and Mental Health support page here

breast cancer now logo

Breast Cancer Now here

make 2nds count logo

Make 2nds Count here


Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a specific technique that may also be helpful when working on your mental health. It uses meditation, yoga and breathing techniques of mindfulness. It also uses some cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques to help you change unhelpful thought patterns.1

There are a few centres in the UK that offer MBCT classes on the NHS and you can talk to your healthcare team to find out where classes are available.1

Some people also find that keeping a diary or journal helps them express their thoughts and feelings. Simply reaching out to friends and family can also be an effective way to maintain your mental health. The combination of different methods detailed above may also be helpful. For example, if when talking with a family member they struggle to understand your feelings, you may find that reading them a section of your journal allows them to comprehend what you mean.1

Your healthcare team and professional services

Some people find it easier to talk to someone outside of their family and friends. Your GP, oncologist, or other doctors and nurses at the hospital will usually ask how you are feeling. This will give you the chance to talk to them about your feelings and emotions if you want to. You may already feel comfortable enough with them to do this. Or you could tell them that you are struggling with your feelings and would like to talk to someone.

CBT is a talking therapy that can help you to recognise any unhelpful thoughts. It can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

Your healthcare team may also be able to refer you to someone who is trained to listen and provide advice, such as a counsellor. Or if you are finding it difficult to cope, you may need more specialised emotional support from a psychologist.


Counsellors are trained to listen and help people deal with difficult situations. Talking one-to-one with a trained counsellor can help you express and understand your feelings. It can also help you find ways to cope with these feelings or the problems they relate to. GP practices and hospitals often have their own counsellors. If they do not, they should be able to refer you to one.1

Clinical Psychologist

Sometimes strong emotions can feel overwhelming and difficult to cope with. These feelings can affect your thinking and behaviour. Some people may have physical symptoms of anxiety or depression such as pain, difficulty sleeping or breathlessness. If your symptoms become overwhelming and hard to manage, you may find it helpful to see a clinical psychologist. Clinical psychologists are often part of the hospital cancer team, and they are specialists in providing psychological and emotional support to people with advanced cancer and your cancer doctors or your nurses will be able to make a referral.1

Emotional support for family and friends

Counselling is also on offer for friends and family who are finding it difficult to cope. Some psychological services will also offer support to carers and family members. Your healthcare team, your cancer doctors or your nurses should be able to make a referral.1

Click here to download the guide for more information.

'My moments that count': Jo Taylor

Living with secondary breast cancer can feel like a constant mental and emotional challenge. Watch as Jo overcomes her personal challenges by engaging in an activity she knows and loves.

You are not alone

Meet other patients making their moments count

Follow the journeys of Mary, Jo, Laura, Claire and Juliet as they share their stories. Learn about their experiences so you know what you may experience in your own journey.

patient stories image
You know you best

Make your next appointment count

Your healthcare team is your best resource throughout your treatment. Talk openly and often with them about your doubts, questions and concerns. We have developed a guide to support you in having these conversations with some tips to help you find the information you need.

appointment guide

Learn more about...

crucial conversations meeting

Crucial conversations in breast cancer

Watch our Novartis-funded panel discuss… the importance of two-way dialogue in breast cancer care.

talking with others guide

Talking with others guide

Not sure how to start the conversation about your diagnosis? Our guide can help you.

biomarkers guide

Biomarkers guide

Read the biomarkers guide to understand the role they play in treatment options.


  1. Macmillan Cancer Support. Coping with Advanced Breast Cancer. Available online at: [Last accessed: July 2023]

UK | November 2023 | 124206-1





Moments That Count has been developed and funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited. It has been created in collaboration with secondary breast cancer patients whose knowledge and insights have informed the content and direction for the campaign.

This website is part of a programme that is funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited. Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited is a private limited liability company registered in England and Wales under number 119006. Registered office 2nd Floor, The WestWorks Building, White City Place, 195 Wood Lane, London, W12 7FQ. Use of this website is governed by our Terms of Use and the Cookies and Privacy Policy.

Reporting side-effects
If you get side effects with any medication you are taking, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in the information leaflet that comes in the pack. You can report side effects via the Yellow Card Scheme at By reporting side effects, you can help provide more information on the safety of your medication.

©2024 Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd - UK | January 2024 | 124182-3 This site is intended for a UK general public audience.