Life during and after Breast Cancer Treatment

Life during and after Breast Cancer Treatment
November 24 08:26 2020 by admin Print This Article

With increased prevalence of breast cancer, more and more women are getting themselves screened for the disease. Treatment for breast cancer will depend on size and growth of the tumour in breast and surrounding areas, age and overall health of the patient, other health conditions, etc. Treatment options include radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. Further, treatment can happen in one or more stages with gaps in between. There can be numerous changes to the patient’s life throughout.

During treatment of Breast Cancer

  • Fatigue and Pain: Fatigue or feeling tired all the time in-spite of taking adequate rest is common. This can be worsened if the patient had anaemia or other health issues before. The causes of fatigue and remedies for the same vary from patient to patient. Pain and numbness can be a result of several nerves getting damaged during treatment, the condition being called Neuropathy. One can experience skin sensitivity as well as painful scars in the breast area. Women who have had the breast removed may even experience phantom pain or perceived pain in the area.
  • Hairfall: Both chemo and radiation therapy induces hair fall, which reverses once the treatment is stopped. Some patients are likely to use wigs, toupees or a head-scarf to mask the condition.
  • Lymphedema: Breast cancer or treatment for the same can induce build-up of lymphatic fluid in one or more parts of the body, causing swelling there.
  • Oral health: The patient may experience one or more of these: Dry mouth, painful mouth and gums, infections in the mouth, pain in the teeth, tooth cavities, stiffness of jaws or jawbone and loss or change in sense of taste.
  • Weight-gain or weight-loss: While some patients may gain weight for no clear reason, many of them experience loss of appetite resulting in weight loss over time.
  • Trouble swallowing: Some patients find chewing or swallowing food painful and start avoiding their meals. In such cases, soft foods and soups may be the only option.
  • Bowel and bladder issues: Incontinence or trouble holding the bladder and bowels is the issue for some people, while others may face constipation from the medicines used during therapy.
  • Menopausal symptoms: Patients in their middle ages may experience missed periods, delayed periods or even an early menopause.
  • Sex life: All the above symptoms may cause a complete lack of interest in sex and intimacy.

After cure of Breast Cancer

  • Fatigue and Pain: Fatigue and pain may persist even after the treatment is long over. Your doctor will recommend therapy and measures to manage them.
  • Hairfall and hair-growth: While hair growth will resume once treatment for cancer is stopped, or the condition cured, the growth pattern may be different. The hair may be thicker or thinner than the past or may curl too. This may require changes to your hairstyle.
  • Cognitive issues: The most common outcome of cancer therapy is reduced brain function. Called ‘chemobrain’ the condition may be temporary or permanent and includes loss of memory, difficulty in understanding or managing complex (or even simple) tasks. Here again, the doctor will recommend measures to overcome these.
  • Stress, anxiety, guilt and anger: Even after being cured, patients must undergo periodic tests to rule out a relapse. This causes stress and anxiety in most patients. Many of them suffer from guilt of being a physical or financial burden to family and caretakers. There may also be anger or a ‘why me’ feeling in some of them.
  • Clothing: Skin sensitivity and pain in the breast area means regular brassieres and tight clothes are out. Loose fitting and soft bras that are easily available today will become the new normal.
  • Body image issues: Removal of breast or scars from surgery in the breast area may cause shyness in public and being constantly conscious of one’s body.
  • Sex life: The lack of interest in sex may persist long after treatment and cure for breast cancer.
  • Getting back to work: Due to the above issues, patients in their middle ages may quit working, permanently. However those in their younger areas or having financial constraints may choose to get back to work, which will require various adjustments in one’s lifestyle and daily routines.

Join Forums and Support Groups

While life during and after treatment for breast cancer may look ominous, things are not so difficult. With a steady rise in breast cancer world-over, since the 1990s, there is a large body of research available. Many patient-groups and survivor forums have emerged both online and offline, in recent years. There is a lot of information, tips, suggestions and one-on-one consultations available today.

You don’t even have to look so far. Consult a best Oncologist for your cancer treatment and rehabilitation, then all these will be available under one roof.


Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur and Salem, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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2 Comments

  1. Jaya Vasudev
    March 15, 20:19 #1 Jaya Vasudev

    I salute every person who has fought and come out as a winner against cancer.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Vedhika
    June 17, 06:00 #2 Vedhika

    It is natural that there is a feeling of “why me” in some of the breast cancer patients. However, you can definitely combat breast cancer with right frame of mind and best doctors.

    Reply to this comment

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