A breast cancer diagnosis is life-changing because of the trauma associated with that diagnosis. Treatment can be grueling physically, psychologically, and financially. Even in the best of circumstances, survivors may be left with long-lasting effects of treatment and anxiety about the future. In fact, it’s often when the casseroles stop coming that the reality hits: I have cancer.
Here are some resources that can help you navigate this part of the journey.
Follow Up Care After Treatment – All breast cancer survivors should have follow-up care, seeing a health care provider regularly. Here are some tips.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor When Treatment Ends – You may have questions about your follow-up care plan (survivorship plan). Here are some to consider.
Your Medicines – Many women take medicines for about 5 years to help keep the cancer from coming back. Here’s some information on the common drugs.
Staying on Track with Your Medications – Staying on track with hormonal therapy can be a challenge, especially after the first few months. Here are some tips.
Fertility After Treatment – Your ability to become pregnant and have a baby after treatment may be important to you. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Pregnancy After Treatment – Breast cancer survivors who want to become pregnant often have many questions and concerns. Here is some helpful information.
Fatigue – Fatigue, or the feeling of extreme tiredness, is the most common side effect of cancer treatment. Here are some ways to help yourself get more energy.
Pain – Pain is a common symptom of breast cancer and a side effect of many of the treatments. Here’s information on how to be your own pain advocate.
Insomnia (Trouble Sleeping) – Problems sleeping are common during and after breast cancer treatment. Here are some ways to get to (or back to) sleep.
Lymphedema (Swelling of the Arms) – Lymphedema can be a side effect of some breast cancer treatments. Here are suggestions about what to do (and not do) about it.
Urinary Changes – Menopausal changes (change of life) caused by chemotherapy can cause urinary changes, here are a few tips.
Memory Loss – Some types of breast cancer treatment can affect your memory. Here are some things to look for and ways to manage it.
Constipation – Constipation (having bowel movements less often than usual) may be a side effect of breast cancer medicine that you take. Here are some tips.
Hot Flashes – Sometimes when a woman undergoes treatment for breast cancer, that treatment can cause hot flashes. Here are some tips to cool off.
Changes in Sexual Desire – Changes in sexual desire can happen during breast cancer treatment. Here are some things to think about and discuss.
Changes in Sex Life – Drugs used to treat breast cancer can affect your sex life. Here is some helpful information about dealing with those changes.
Nutrition – Nutrition is a vitally important, yet often overlooked part of cancer treatment. Eating well can help you feel better during treatment. Here are some tips.
Yoga – Research shows yoga can help those with breast cancer improve physical functioning, reduce fatigue & stress, and improve sleep. Here’s how and some classes.
Meditation – Practicing meditation is believed to calm the mind, increase alertness, and bring a person into psychological balance. Here’s how to start meditating.
Exercise – Exercise is safe after and during breast cancer treatment. and it can make you feel better. Here’s more on why and how you should exercise.
Bone Health – Breast cancer treatment can affect your bone health (osteoporosis). If you have concerns about bone loss, here is some information to help.
Preventing Heart Disease – Chemotherapy for breast cancer can cause early menopause at a younger age, which increases the risk for heart disease. Here are some tips.
Relaxation Techniques – Some who have had breast cancer feel that relaxation calms and quiets the mind and muscles. Here are some techniques you can use.
Breast Cancer and Work – Working through a cancer diagnosis can be difficult. You may even need to find a new job now. Here are some tips.
Managing the Costs of a Cancer Diagnosis – Breast cancer is expensive, even if you have health insurance. Here are some tips for managing the costs.
Finding Meaning in Breast Cancer – The search for meaning is an effort to understand breast cancer, why it has happened, and its impact in your life. Here are some tips.
Fear of Return of Breast Cancer – Many women have fears about the return of breast cancer. This tip sheet gives you the facts, so you can be informed.
Maintaining and Fostering Hope – After breast cancer many women suffer a loss of hope. Here are some tips on maintaining and fostering hope in your life.
Managing your Fears – Feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression are common during breast cancer treatment. Here are some suggestions to deal with those fears.
Body Image and Loss Concerns – Mastectomies and chemotherapy can create fears about how you will look and feel about your body. This information can help.
Intimacy, Dating, and Relationship Concerns – Sharing close moments and times with loved ones after breast cancer is important. Here are some tips.
Keeping a Journal – It Can Help! – Many people find writing their thoughts and feelings down in a journal helps them cope. Here are tips to get started.
Get Matched with Someone Who Understands – Forge has trained volunteers who have been exactly where you are. Let us match you with someone who understands.
Finding a Support Group – Support Groups can be a great way to connect with others who are on this journey, too. Here’s a list. Find one that’s right for you.
How Can Forge Support You Through Survivorship? – We have lots of ways to help you, your loved ones, and your caregivers. This link will tell you more.
Spirituality and Religion – People who have been faced with cancer often have questions and concerns of a spiritual nature. Here are ways to incorporate your spirituality.
Connecting with Healthcare Chaplains – Chaplains are available to provide counseling and support to patients and family members throughout your illness.
A Resource for Prayers – This website gathers great prayers written by spiritual visionaries in an online database representing all life affirming traditions.
If you have any questions or concerns about breast cancer, treatment, diagnosis, side effects, or need help with any obstacle that stands in the way of your healing, please contact Forge’s Client Services Coordinator, Janet Dees, at (205)990-5367 or [email protected]. We’re just one phone call away.