Breast Cancer, Metastatic or Recurrent - Home Treatment
Managing side effects
The side effects of breast cancer treatment can be serious. Healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep and exercise may help control your symptoms. Your doctor may also give you medicines to help you with certain side effects, such as
medicines to control and prevent nausea and vomiting.
Other symptoms that can be treated at home include:
- Sleep problems. If you have trouble sleeping, some tips for managing sleep problems may help.
- Hair loss may be unavoidable. But you can decrease irritation of your scalp by using mild shampoos and avoiding hair products that damage hair.
- Stress.Cancer and its treatment can be stressful. But there are many steps you can take to manage stress.
- Pain. Not all forms of cancer or cancer treatment cause pain. But if you do have pain, there are many home treatments that can help.
- Swelling of your arm. You can reduce your risk of this swelling by protecting your arm on the side where you had surgery. Let your doctor know right away if you have swelling or redness in that arm. This swelling is called lymphedema (say "limp-fih-DEE-muh").
- Lymphedema: Managing Lymphedema
Having cancer and being treated for it can be very stressful, especially when it is metastatic or recurrent cancer. There are steps you can take to reduce your stress. Some people find that it helps to talk about their feelings with family and friends. Others find that spending time alone is what they need.
If your emotional reaction to cancer gets in the way of your ability to make decisions about your health, it's important to talk with your doctor. Your cancer treatment center may offer psychological or financial services. And a local chapter of the American Cancer Society can help you find a support group.
Cancer or cancer treatments can cause changes that may be hard to adjust to, such as changes in your body image or sexual problems. Managing body image issues may involve talking openly about your feelings with your partner and discussing your concerns with your doctor. Your doctor may be able to refer you to groups that can offer support and information.
For more information about learning how to live with metastatic or recurrent cancer, read "Coping With Advanced Cancer" or "When Cancer Returns" from the National Cancer Institute. These booklets are available online at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/advancedcancer and at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/when-cancer-returns.
Having cancer can change your life in many ways. For support in managing these changes, see the topic
Getting Support When You Have Cancer.