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Once you have completed your breast cancer treatment, you may continue to experience symptoms that can be challenging. Some side effects can last for months and maybe years.
What side effects are most common after breast cancer treatment?
It’s difficult to know exactly what side effects you’ll experience, as breast cancer is a disease that affects different people in different ways. The treatment you received, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone-blocking therapy, can each produce different effects.
Breast cancer survivors may deal with a whole range of symptoms, from headaches to heart problems and even blood clots. Some of the most common symptoms that many survivors experience after they have completed treatment are fatigue, mood swings, weight changes and lymphedema.
Fatigue and mood changes usually occur in individuals who had hormone-blocking therapy, as this treatment often disrupts sleeping patterns. Patients who have chemotherapy receive steroids and, as a consequence, may experience weight gain. Surgery for breast cancer can interrupt normal lymph flow and cause fluid to build up, which may result in lymphedema.
Try these four ways to manage symptoms
Be sure to follow up with your doctor
There is nothing more important or beneficial to your recovery from breast cancer than consulting with your doctor and consistently making your follow-up appointments for your surveillance and screenings.
Not only can your doctor help you with managing side effects after breast cancer treatment ends, but he/she can spot any warning signs of a possible recurrence.
From diagnosis to getting through treatment and dealing with what comes after, this whole experience can be challenging and overwhelming. Keeping an open and constant dialogue with your doctor is vital.
Edward-Elmhurst Health has created a Cancer Survivorship Clinic to assist with the transition from active treatment to cancer survivor. The Survivorship Clinic provides a one-time visit with an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, who will partner with your oncologist and your primary care physician to help you prepare for the transition to survivorship.
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