Living with breast cancer

A diagnosis of breast cancer marks the beginning of a journey full of emotional, psychological, physical and practical challenges.

Some of these challenges are experienced by many women with breast cancer, others by only a few women. Challenges can relate to the shock of a cancer diagnosis and fears about the future. Or they may be due to physical side effects of treatment, such as nausea and fatigue. There are also practical aspects of treatment to deal with, including costs and travel. More specific emotional problems may include concerns about body image after treatment or periods of anxiety or depression.

The emotional, physical and practical journey can take a different direction altogether if breast cancer comes back or spreads.

It’s not always easy, but over time, most women find they are able to cope with the changes caused by their diagnosis and return to the things that are important to them.

This section describes some of the challenges experienced by women with breast cancer. It includes information about managing some of the longer term side effects of treatment, how a woman and those close to her might feel after a diagnosis of breast cancer, and where to find practical and emotional support. There’s also a specific section for women whose breast cancer has come back or spread.

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