Secondary breast cancer: making changes in your life

Having secondary breast cancer doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to make big changes in your life. Some people are able to carry on much as they did before their diagnosis. 

However, many people find that their diagnosis causes them to take time to think about their life and what’s important to them.

Marie talks about her lifestyle after being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.

When you’ve had some time to think about the future and what your priorities are, you may decide that you want or need to make some changes to your life. These changes may be small or more significant, but they can make a big difference to how you feel.

Some people make changes to their lifestyle, for example by eating a healthier diet or trying to be more physically active. You may have to make changes that you wouldn't choose. This could be because the effects of the cancer, such as fatigue or pain, are limiting your mobility. It can be particularly difficult to adjust to these enforced changes if you’re used to being active and independent.

It can be a time when you focus on what’s most important to you and the things you get most pleasure from. You may want to pursue an unfulfilled ambition or visit a place that you have always wanted to go. You may find you have a greater awareness and enjoyment of the simple things, such as spending time with friends or listening to music.

Many people with secondary breast cancer can and do enjoy travelling. Find out more about travel insurance and secondary breast cancer.

Work and secondary breast cancer

For some people work is very important. This may be for financial or social reasons or because they need to carry on as normally as possible.

If you’re finding it difficult to cope at work, it may help to talk to your employer about making some changes, perhaps by reducing your hours or changing your role.

If you’re worried that your employer might not be sympathetic or that you might be at risk of losing your job, you may want to talk to an adviser about your employment rights. Many palliative care teams and hospices have specialist welfare officers who can advise you on employment issues. Your company may have an occupational health adviser or a human resources department, you may belong to a trade union or you can contact Citizens Advice.

Find out more about finances and secondary breast cancer.



Last reviewed: 2016
Next planned review begins 2017