Quality of Life – Metastatic Breast Cancer
What is quality of life?
“Quality of life” describes your overall well-being, including:
- Emotional and physical health
- Ability to perform daily roles
- Sexuality and intimacy
- Pain, fatigue and other side effects of treatment or the breast cancer itself
Non-health related issues (such as financial concerns) are also part of quality of life.
Quality of life issues
Although important for everyone with breast cancer, quality of life issues are especially important for people with metastatic breast cancer.
Managing side effects and other issues that affect your quality of life is a main part of your care. You should never feel you have to endure pain or other side effects.
Talk with your health care provider about any issues affecting your quality of life.
- Bone care
- Fatigue and sleeping problems (insomnia)
- Fear of dying
- Loss of appetite and nausea
- Managing pain
- Managing other symptoms
After treatment for breast cancer ends
At some point, you may decide to stop active treatments for the cancer. This can happen when treatment stops showing any benefit or when it greatly affects your quality of life.
Once treatment is stopped, reducing pain and other side effects becomes the main focus of care, rather than just a part of treatment.
This can be a very difficult time. Your health care provider or hospital can arrange for counseling or a support group.
Hospice can make this later stage of care as comfortable as possible.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) website has information on end-of-life planning and care, including questions to ask your health care provider.
The American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has a guide for patients and their families to help make decisions on end-of-life care.
SUSAN G. KOMEN® SUPPORT RESOURCES
Learn more about what Komen is doing to help people with metastatic breast cancer.