The Who, What, Where, When and Sometimes, Why.

Quality of Life During Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast cancer affects how you feel inside and out. You’re coping with the emotional strain of the diagnosis, the physical challenges of treatment, changes to your body and body image and the stresses of daily life.

You have to cope with the emotional strain of the diagnosis, the physical challenges of treatment and changes to your body and body image, as well as the stresses of daily life.

Even though your diagnosis may be similar to another person’s, the way breast cancer impacts your life is unique.

What is quality of life?

“Quality of life” describes your overall well-being, including:

  • Mental and physical health
  • Ability to perform daily roles
  • Sexual function
  • Pain, fatigue and other side effects of treatment or symptoms of the breast cancer

Non-health issues, such as financial concerns, are also part of quality of life.

Managing side effects and other issues that impact your quality of life is an important part of breast cancer care. This may be called supportive care or palliative care.

Quality of life during breast cancer treatment

Side effects related to breast cancer treatment can worsen your quality of life. Once treatment ends, most side effects go away. You may begin to feel like yourself again. Over time, most people feel better physically and emotionally [310-311].

Learn about:

Learn about quality of life after breast cancer treatment ends.

Positive effects on quality of life

Although breast cancer often has a negative impact on quality of life, it can also trigger a positive change in your outlook [312-313].

You may have a stronger sense of spirituality or faith, and a more hopeful view that may increase pleasure in life [314].

Diane Heditsian – Patient, Research & Policy Advocate

“A breast cancer diagnosis will change your life. In the end, sometimes it’s for the better because your priorities get clarified, you can become more appreciative of things that you just took for granted. You grow from adversity in ways you could not have imagined before. Some people even say that there is a “silver lining” to breast cancer.”

Updated 04/08/24