Quality of Life During Breast Cancer Treatment
Whether you’re newly diagnosed, are in active treatment, or completed treatment years ago, breast cancer affects how you feel inside and out.
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 have a negative impact on your quality of life is an important part of breast cancer 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 [301-302].
- Cognitive function (problems with memory and/or concentration)
- Coping with stress
- Fear of recurrence
- Financial and insurance issues
- Menopausal symptoms and other side effects of hormone therapy
- Pain management (pain related to treatment)
- Relationships with spouses, partners, other family members and friends
- Sexuality and intimacy
- Side effects of chemotherapy (including nausea, vomiting, hair loss and fatigue)
- Side effects of radiation therapy (including skin irritation and fatigue)
- Social support
- Spirituality (prayer, mindfulness meditation)
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 [303-304].
You may have a stronger sense of spirituality or faith, and a more hopeful view that may increase pleasure in life .