Late Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment
Once breast cancer treatment ends, most side effects go away.
However, you may have some long-term side effects. New side effects may occur months or even years after treatment ends.
It can be hard to plan for or cope with side effects since they vary from person to person.
Talk with your health care provider about any health issues you have. Although some conditions (such as early menopause) cannot be reversed, the symptoms can be treated.
Common late effects of treatment
Some common late effects of breast cancer treatment include (in alphabetical order):
- Bone health problems
- Changes in the look and feel of the breast after lumpectomy
- Changes in the look and feel of the breast after radiation therapy
- Changes in the look and feel of the breast after reconstruction
- Early menopause
- Emotional distress and depression
- Fatigue or insomnia (trouble sleeping)
- Fear of recurrence
- Joint and muscle pain
- Menopausal symptoms (such as hot flashes and vaginal symptoms)
- Sexuality and intimacy issues
- Weight gain
Less common and rare late effects of treatment
Some less common and rare late effects of breast cancer treatment include (in alphabetical order):
- Cognitive function (chemo-brain)
- Numbness (neuropathy)
- Rare (and less common) late effects of:
Quality of life after treatment
“Quality of life” describes a person’s overall well-being.
Your mental and physical health (including symptoms such as pain and fatigue), ability to perform daily roles and sexual function are all part of your quality of life.
- Quality of life issues after breast cancer treatment
- Quality of life issues related to metastatic breast cancer
Research is ongoing to improve all areas of breast cancer care, including survivorship.
After discussing the benefits and risks with your health care provider, we encourage you to consider joining a clinical trial.
BreastCancerTrials.org in collaboration with Susan G. Komen® offers a custom matching service to help you find a clinical trial that fits your health needs, including clinical trials on quality of life issues.
Susan G. Komen® Breast Care Helpline
Learn more about clinical trials.