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Advances in medicine and science are helping more breast cancer patients live longer and with better outcomes. Still, the journey from diagnosis to treatment and beyond has many challenges. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, learning about what to expect from diagnosis and treatment, and ways to deal with the disease and treatment-related side effects, may help you better navigate the road ahead. Whether you are recently diagnosed, in treatment, years beyond treatment, living with metastatic disease or are caring for someone with breast cancer, you may have questions about what to do. This section is designed to provide information and resources to breast cancer patients and their families—before, during and after treatment.
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can be a stressful and confusing time. It is normal to feel like you have lots to learn about your diagnosis. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for breast cancer, and no two people experience treatment and the disease the same way. Your journey will be as individual as you are. Learning about what causes breast cancer, whether you should get a second opinion and what treatment options are available may help empower you with the information and knowledge to make informed decisions about the road ahead. Explore this section to learn more.
Breast cancer side effects may develop as a result of cancer treatments or the disease itself. Side effects may range from hair loss and lymphedema to pain and malnutrition, and typically depend on the type and the amount and duration of your treatments. Explore this section to learn about how Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) prioritizes side effect management as an essential component of each breast cancer patient’s care plan.
Your breast cancer treatment may affect how you look and feel about yourself. Surgical scars, weight gain, skin changes or hair loss may impact not just your quality of life but your self-image, which in turn may influence your social life, relationships, even your work life. It’s important to know that many breast cancer patients are able to prepare for, manage and overcome these challenges, but it often takes time and perspective. Explore this section to learn more about how to cope with changes in appearance, along with tips on such topics as managing lymphedema, tying a headscarf and preparing for breast reconstruction.
A healthy lifestyle is a key ingredient for many people’s overall well-being, especially those who have completed cancer treatment. Although there is no evidence that a specific diet will prevent cancer from returning, eating nutrient-rich foods and being physically active may help reduce the risk for other diseases and improve your overall health. Explore this section to learn more about how to incorporate healthy eating, exercise and stress management into your daily life after breast cancer treatment.
Breast cancer may affect your sexuality in physical and emotional ways. You may not feel like being intimate when you’re dealing with breast cancer, or you may find that your sexual relationship helps you feel more normal during an uncertain time. Either way, many breast cancer patients find that intimacy with their partner becomes even more important during and after treatment, whether the bond includes sex or not. Explore this section for information about sex, sexuality and intimacy during and after breast cancer.
Once breast cancer treatment is completed, it’s important to continue follow-up care that includes regular checkups. This is also a good time to seek professional advice on diet and physical activities. Read more about the survivorship support services offered at CTCA®, including how to prepare for and manage long- and late-term side effects that may develop after breast cancer treatment.
As a caregiver, you are doing whatever you can to help your loved one make decisions about their breast cancer treatment plan. At CTCA, we believe caregivers play a critical role in discussions about their loved ones’ treatment. That’s why we include you in those conversations and share with you and your family helpful information about cancer, treatment options, managing side effects and overall health. Explore this section for more information on ways to help support your loved one, and yourself, throughout the cancer journey.
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