Skip to content

    Breast Cancer Health Center

    Font Size

    How to Feel Better During Breast Cancer Treatment

    Fatigue continued...

    You don’t have to push hard or go far. Do what you can. Try gentle forms of yoga, brisk walks, or other moderate exercise.

    During chemotherapy and radiation, make your workouts less intense than they were before you had cancer. When you're ready, you can gradually make them more challenging.

    Ask your doctor if there are any limits on what you can do. For instance, if your immune system is weaker because of treatment, it might be best not to exercise in a gym where you might be exposed to other people’s germs. Your doctor can also check for other causes of fatigue such as anemia and thyroid problems.

    Pain or Tingling in Hands and Feet

    Doctors call this "peripheral neuropathy." It's a side effect of some chemotherapy drugs. It can also happen after cancer surgery or radiation, or for other reasons, including the cancer itself.

    Tip: Tell your doctor as soon as you feel symptoms. She may change the dose of your cancer medicine or add another drug to help.

    Peeling, Redness on Hands and Feet

    Some drugs that treat breast cancer can cause a painful "hand-foot syndrome." This involves a sunburn-like redness, tenderness, and sometimes peeling on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

    Tip: Use thick emollient creams several times a day, Borges suggests. At night, wear socks or gloves to bed. A B6 vitamin supplement may also help.

    If these things don't work, your doctor may want to change your dosage or extend your "time off" cycle with the drug.

    Mouth Sores

    Several kinds of chemotherapy can cause these. Radiation can also cause them. They're painful and make it hard to eat and drink.


    • Use a soft toothbrush.
    • Avoid whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes, which may irritate sores.
    • Suck on ice pops or ice chips.
    • Avoid spicy or crunchy foods.
    • Skip alcohol and fizzy or acidic drinks, such as tomato and citrus juices.
    • Drink through a straw.

    Ask your doctor about pain relief if these tips aren’t helping enough.

    Today on WebMD

    Breast Cancer Overview
    From mammograms to living after treatment.
    Dealing with breast cancer
    Get answers to your questions.
    woman having mammogram
    The 3 latest tips to know.
    woman undergoing breast cancer test
    Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
    Resolved To Quit Smoking
    Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
    Woman getting mammogram
    Screening Tests for Women
    serious woman
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    what is your cancer risk
    breast cancer survivors