Life After Breast Cancer Treatment

Will Hanke

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Many women are very uncertain and apprehensive about what to think, what to say and what to do after breast cancer treatment is over—at least for the time being—and they have recovered.

From the very first sign of breast cancer—maybe a lump in the breast discovered by a mammogram—and other symptoms of breast cancer, to a diagnosis to discussing treatments to receiving treatments and recovery, it’s been a long and arduous process for most women.

What now?

A big concern on the brain is the ever-looming threat of breast cancer recurrence. There are ways of preventing breast cancer recurrence, and many women decide to take tamoxifen after their treatments to prevent such a recurrence, but the important thing here is to not allow the fear of breast cancer coming back to haunt you every day.

Other issues have to do with your quality of life post-breast cancer treatment—managing pain and fatigue, dealing with the side-effects of treatment and other medications, breast reconstruction, menopause, sex, fertility and pregnancy, dealing with well-meaning friends, family members and strangers, and continued health checkups and medical followups.

Many women who come out of breast cancer treatment get a new “lease on life" and become health nuts, engage in appropriate amounts of physical activity, do more volunteer work, work on special projects, devote more time to family and friends and just generally have a greater zest for life.

A much more likely scenario for women who have come through breast cancer treatment, however, is that they will experience a darker breast cancer recovery period. Some feel like there is always something to worry about and are afraid of ever having a normal life again. Some women experience strong symptoms of anxiety and depression, even paranoia or something close to post-traumatic stress disorder.

It’s helpful for these women to do something for themselves during this transitional period between breast cancer treatment and “normalcy. " Many take some time off to just be with the ones they love, relaxing and resting. Or they take a vacation, for example, with their husbands and kids, or with a bunch of girlfriends.

Something else to consider is short-term counselling or therapy. Many women find it helpful to talk it out with a professional after enduring breast cancer treatments and dealing with the aftermath of recovering from a major life-threatening illness. Others look for a “support group" of other breast cancer survivors, and find that to be even more helpful.

No, life will never again be the same. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a depressing, fearful or terrible life. It will be different, but it can be better. It just takes time.

Stay up to date on information, cures and news at the Breast Cancer Information Site.


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