Most women think the hardest part of breast cancer is receiving the diagnosis and them undergoing treatment. But it’s the psychological, emotion and physical after effects that make take their biggest toll.
Some issues from breast cancer treatment may not manifest themselves until 10 or more years later. A recent study of breast cancer patients, conducted by the non-profit Cancer Support Community (with funding from Susan G, Komen for the Cure), found that nearly 90 percent of respondents said they had at least one physical, psychological, or social problem, associated with their cancer, that was moderate or severe. Fatigue, sexual dysfunction and sleep issues were the most frequently mentioned, while 24 percent of those surveyed have had issues with depression, which is twice the national rate.
Kelly Campbell, M.D., says, “One of the best things a woman can do is to find a survivorship or support group. These organizations can help women find resources in their area, they can talk with other cancer survivors who can provide a sense of hope, they can learn about the latest post-treatments and much more.”
Breast cancer survivors also experience some physical side effects. For example, many women are put on estrogen-blocking drugs after cancer treatment. This can bring on instant menopause, with things like vaginal dryness, hot flashes and night sweats.
If you are experiencing the effects of post-cancer treatment, or are looking for a physician to care for your post-cancer treatments, call the Women’s Health and Menopause Center at (248) 932-9223.