“He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything.” ~ Arabian proverb
Getting a breast cancer diagnosis can be devastating and change the course of your life.
In 2020, an estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 48,530 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. Breast cancer treatment usually comes with a myriad of side-effects but nobody really tells you about the long-term effects. In fact, new side effects may occur months or even years after your treatment ends, although this varies from individual to individual. Here are some common side effects women have experienced when chemotherapy ends.
Joint and muscle pain
Joint and muscle pain typically arise from the aromatase inhibitor. Pain may occur in the hands, wrist, feet, ankles, knees, back or other parts of the body. About 46 percent of women taking aromatase inhibitors have joint pain and about 15 percent have muscle pain. To ease the pain while taking an aromatase inhibitor, your provider may recommend anti-inflammatory medications, acupuncture, special exercises, or possibly recommend another drug.
Some chemotherapy drugs can damage your ovaries and stop regular menstrual cycles. Going through menopause can be an upsetting experience and can include hot flashes, night sweats, loss of bone density, vaginal dryness and more. Early menopause can be eased with hormone therapy and can be discussed with your provider.
- In women under 40, it’s often temporary and periods start again.
- In women over 40, it’s more often permanent (early menopause).
Unfortunately weight gain is a common side effect of chemotherapy, especially when going through early menopause. One study found women diagnosed with breast cancer who got chemotherapy were 65 percent more likely to gain weight compared to those who did not get chemotherapy. Furthermore, women who gain weight usually put on about 5-15 pounds and the more weight a woman gains, the less likely she is to return to her pre-diagnosis weight. To combat weight gain getting regular exercise and being mindful of your diet can help. Luckily, exercise can also help reduce fatigue and improve quality of life.
These are just a few of the many long-term side effects women often deal with after the treatment of breast cancer. Pink Ribbons Mastectomy and Lymphedema Boutique will strive to assist each woman who comes through our doors regain or maintain her self-esteem and good body image that was altered during and after her breast cancer treatment. For information about our Post-Op care, please visit our website or give us a call today at 901-417-6060.