After a breast cancer diagnosis, patients must navigate a host of difficult treatment decisions, debilitating physical and psychological symptoms, and treatment side effects. Even after completing treatment, many patients continue to struggle with significant physical and emotional stress, including anxiety, fear of recurrence, depression, and feelings of hopelessness and isolation. Patients now find themselves living with long-term treatment effects for which they may have received little education to manage. Opportunities for addressing comprehensive survivorship care exist in many cancer settings. For example, integration of survivorship care for breast cancer survivors should be implemented upon initial diagnosis with the start of adjuvant therapy.
Thanks to advanced medical treatments, women diagnosed with breast cancer today will likely survive the disease. However, some treatment options put these women at greater risk for a number of other health problems. A new study out of Brazil shows that postmenopausal women with breast cancer are at greater risk for developing heart disease. Cardiovascular disease remains the main cause of death in postmenopausal women, and women treated for breast cancer are at greater risk of developing heart disease than those not diagnosed with breast cancer. These cardiovascular effects may occur more than 5 years after radiation exposure, with the risk persisting for up to 30 years.
For breast cancer survivors, sexual intimacy can be challenging
She was just 39 when she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Two weeks later, Jill, a library specialist in Denver who asked that her last name not be used to protect her privacy, had a mastectomy and began chemotherapy. The shock, stress, fatigue and treatment took its toll on the relationship, and her boyfriend left.
Female breast cancer survival continues to fall beyond five years after diagnosis. Download this data [xls] Download this data [ppt] Download this data [pdf]. Cancer survival statistics for common cancers in the UK. Breast cancer invasive incidence statistics by age.