PUBLISHED ON: 18 October 2017

10 tips for living well after breast cancer treatment

It can be hard adapting to life after breast cancer. Our free support app, BECCA, offers hundreds of hints and tips for anyone moving forward after breast cancer treatment. Inspired by app’s most popular topics, here are 10 tips to help you when treatment comes to an end.    

  1. Get menopausal symptoms under control
  2. In pain? Have it assessed
  3. Worried about the future?
  4. Need help Moving Forward?
  5. Care for new hair
  6. Ease into exercise
  7. Be more mindful
  8. Keep a fatigue diary
  9. Eat well
  10. Find our Forum

1. Get menopausal symptoms under control     

Hot flushes, night sweats, mood changes, weight gain… Menopausal symptoms caused by breast cancer treatment can understandably affect your daily life, confidence and self-esteem.

You can do more than just put up with them. It’s worth speaking to your GP or specialist team about the treatments and help available.

2. In pain? Have it assessed

If you’re experiencing pain months or even years after surgery, you’re not alone. But options are available to help. For example, long-term pain after breast surgery is often associated with nerve damage.

Simple pain relief such as paracetamol might help. But if it doesn’t, your hospital team or GP can assess your pain and might prescribe an alternative treatment, such as antidepressants or anti-epileptic drugs which can also help with pain.

3. Worried about the future?

It's normal to worry about the future

It’s normal to worry about breast cancer returning after treatment, but these worries usually lessen with time.

Knowing how to carry on being breast and body aware after treatment, and the symptoms you should report, can help manage your feelings of uncertainty.

4. Need help Moving Forward?

Getting past your last hospital treatment can feel like a real achievement. But it’s also common to feel isolated, low or anxious when regular hospital appointments stop.

If you want support to get back to ‘normal’ after treatment for primary breast cancer, a Moving Forward course could be for you.

5. Care for new hair

If your hair has recently regrown, there might be a salon near you that could give styling tips. It can be exciting when your hair starts to grow back after chemotherapy, but many women find that it regrows differently and are unsure how to cut and style it.

My New Hair’s salon finder means you can find specially trained hairdressers near you who can advise you on how to treat your new hair. Why not see if there’s one near you?

6. Ease into exercise

Ease into exercise gently

Regular physical activity has a host of benefits for anyone who’s had breast cancer, from reducing fatigue to helping regain a sense of control. But if you’re recovering from treatment or new to exercise, it’s important to start slowly and build up gradually.

There are many ways to get activity into your daily routine. Try the BECCA app for simple tips on getting active.

7. Be more mindful

‘Mindfulness’ is a recent health buzzword. But there’s evidence that being more mindful – that is, paying more attention to the present moment – can improve mental wellbeing.

Try a mindfulness app like Headspace or a website like Kara, which contains a range of guided mindfulness meditations designed to support people affected by cancer.

Mindfulness colouring books have been all the rage for a while, or search for ‘guided meditation’ videos on YouTube.

8. Keep a fatigue diary

Keeping a fatigue diary can help

Planning is key if you’re dealing with fatigue.

Keeping a fatigue diary – where you score your fatigue each day on a scale from 1 to 10, and record your activities – can help you think about patterns in your energy levels. This can make it easier to plan your activities for the times when you have more energy.

9. Eat well

Knowing what to eat during treatment or after treatment can be hard. Treatments like chemotherapy can cause appetite and taste changes - some people gain weight during treatment and struggle to lose it again - and you may have read about special ‘cancer diets’.

A healthy, balanced diet has been shown to have a range of health benefits.

10. Find our Forum

Knowing that other people are facing the same things as you can help you feel less isolated. Breast Cancer Care’s online discussion Forum offers a safe space to talk to, share tips with and support other women affected by breast cancer.

Whether you want to read other people’s experiences of going through treatment or ask a question about moving forward after breast cancer, the Forum is here day and night.

Try BECCA