Not Done Yet: Living Through Breast Cancer

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Take care of it however you want!

Even if that means treating yourself to a blowout every so often. Having cancer can be overwhelming and horrifying.


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For me, going for a walk outside helps in a way nothing else can. Being out in nature can help center you. The path we are on is part of the natural order of things. Cancer treatment can cause anemia, which will leave you feeling very fatigued. Treatment can also make your white blood cell count drop, which puts you at a higher risk of getting infections. Feeling fatigued and being at a higher risk of getting infections may have you feeling concerned about cleaning a dirty bathroom floor. Also, who wants to spend precious time scrubbing the bathroom floor?

I can go to a movie, but not dinner and a movie. I can go out to lunch, but not go out to lunch and shop. I have to limit myself to one activity a day. Also, make sure your loved ones are aware of your limitations as well. One of the hardest things about needing to leave my job was having nothing to focus on other than my condition. Managing long-term and late side effects Most people expect to experience side effects when receiving treatment.


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Long-term effects of surgery. After a mastectomy or lumpectomy to treat early-stage or locally advanced breast cancer, the breast may be scarred and may have a different shape or size than before surgery. Or, the area around the surgical site may become hardened. If lymph nodes were removed as part of the surgery or affected during treatment, lymphedema in the arm, chest wall, or breast may occur, even many years after treatment.

Planning a Metastatic Breast Cancer Retreat - Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center

This is a life-long risk for survivors. Long-term effects of radiation therapy. That is because radiation therapy can cause swelling and a hardening or thickening of the lungs called fibrosis. These symptoms may seem similar to the symptoms of pneumonia but do not go away with antibiotics. The symptoms can be treated with medications called steroids. Most people fully recover with treatment. Talk with your doctor if you develop any new symptoms after radiation therapy or if the side effects are not going away. People who received trastuzumab or certain types of chemotherapy called anthracyclines may be at risk of heart problems.

Talk with your doctor about the best ways to check for heart problems. They also have a risk of other long-term side effects, such as menopausal symptoms, fatigue, chemo-brain, permanent numbness and tingling of the fingers and toes, and weight gain. Long-term effects of hormonal therapy. Women taking tamoxifen should have yearly pelvic exams, because this drug can slightly increase the risk of uterine cancer. Tell your doctor or nurse if you notice any abnormal vaginal bleeding or other new symptoms since you may need additional tests to learn more about the cause.

Donated tissue contributes to hope, healing for breast cancer survivors

Women who are taking an AI, such as anastrozole, exemestane, or letrozole, should have a bone density test periodically during treatment, as these drugs may cause some bone weakness or bone loss. Women recovering from early-stage or locally advanced breast cancer may also experience the following long-term effects : Menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes Joint pain Fatigue Mood changes Vaginal dryness and a lowered sex drive are also common side effects during or after treatment for early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer.

Keeping personal health records You and your doctor should work together to develop a personalized follow-up care plan. Types of Cancer. Breast Cancer Guide. Net Guide Breast Cancer. Medical Illustrations. Risk Factors and Prevention. Symptoms and Signs.

Types of Treatment. About Clinical Trials. But some women who have a mastectomy also need radiation afterward. When choosing between a lumpectomy and mastectomy, be sure to get all the facts.

Tests that may be done

But in most cases, lumpectomy is just as good as mastectomy. Talk to your cancer care team. Learn as much as you can to make the right choice for you. If you have a mastectomy, you may want to think about having your breast shape rebuilt. This is called breast reconstruction.

Your breast can be rebuilt at the same time the mastectomy is done or later on. Any type of surgery can have risks and side effects. Be sure to ask the doctor what you can expect.

Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer, a Race Years Long - The New York Times

If you have problems, let your doctors know. Doctors who treat women with breast cancer should be able to help you with any problems that come up. Radiation pronounced RAY-dee-A-shun uses high-energy rays like x-rays to kill cancer cells. This treatment may be used to kill any cancer cells that may be left in the breast, chest, or arm pit after surgery. There are 2 main ways radiation can be given. It can be aimed at the breast from a machine outside the body.

This is called external beam radiation. Or, radioactive seeds can be put right into the breast tissue near the cancer. If your doctor suggests radiation treatment, talk about what side effects might happen. The most common side effects of radiation are:.

Most side effects get better after treatment ends. Some might last longer. Talk to your cancer care team about what you can expect. The drugs may be given into a vein or taken as pills. These drugs go into the blood and spread through the body. Chemo is given in cycles or rounds.

Breast surgery for metastatic breast cancer

Each round of treatment is followed by a break. Most of the time, 2 or more chemo drugs are given. Treatment often lasts for many months. Chemo can make you feel very tired, sick to your stomach, and cause your hair to fall out. But these problems go away after treatment ends. There are ways to treat most chemo side effects. If you have side effects, be sure to talk to your cancer care team so they can help.

Estrogen pronounced ES-tro-jin is the female hormone that your body makes until you go through the change of life menopause. After that, the body still makes it but in much smaller amounts. Even these small amounts are enough to cause some breast cancers to grow. Drugs that block the effect of estrogen or cut down estrogen levels can be used to treat these breast cancers.

Drugs like this are a type of hormone treatment. It helps lower the chances of the cancer coming back for some women. There are other drugs and other ways to lower estrogen to help fight breast cancer. Ask your doctor to tell you about any drugs you are given. Clinical trials are research studies that test new drugs or other treatments in people. They compare standard treatments with others that may be better.

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