After your treatment ends you will see the most of the short-term side effects of treatment go away. But what about after, will there be other impacts of the treatment?
The answer? There may be late effects or symptoms of breast cancer treatment. This can be frustrating as you have finished your treatment and are looking at life after breast cancer. It is important to remember that these late symptoms vary from person to person and may be impacted by the treatments that you had.
Common late effects include the following:
- Early Menopause: for women over 40, this may be permanent, while women under 40 may have periods that return months or years after chemotherapy ends. Menopause can signal a loss of bone density or more severe than normal menopause symptoms.
- Infertility: Fertility might be lost as a result of chemotherapy either from damage to the ovaries or early menopause.
- Depression: depression is common after breast cancer but can be treated with medical care and social support.
Late effects may be specific to the treatment that you had during cancer care. Late term effects of surgery may include chronic pain or lymphedema, while radiation therapy may also lead to lymphedema.
You may see an impact on the quality of your life afterward. The quality of your life is a combination of your mental and physical health, ability to perform daily roles, sexual function, and pain levels. Researchers are looking for new and innovative ways to positively impact the quality of life of breast cancer survivors. Exercise or meditation may have a role in improving mood, fatigue and social well-being as well as prayer for your spiritual health.
Sources: Susan G. Komen – Long-Term Side Effects of Treatment