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Breast Cancer - Treatment Overview

Body image and sexual problems

Your feelings about your body may change after treatment for breast cancer. Managing body image issues may involve talking openly about your concerns with your partner and discussing your feelings with your doctor. Your doctor may be able to refer you to groups that can offer support and information.

Sexual problems can be caused by the physical or emotional effects of cancer or its treatment. Some women may feel less sexual pleasure or lose their desire to be intimate. For more information, see the topic Sexual Problems in Women.

Follow-up care

After the initial treatment for breast cancer, you may see your family doctor, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, or surgeon at regularly scheduled intervals, depending on your individual situation. Your checkups will happen less often as time goes by.

As part of your follow-up, you may have regular physical exams and mammograms.

It's also important to do regular self-exams. That way, if the cancer does come back, you have a better chance of finding it early enough for successful treatment. Early signs of recurrence may appear in the incision area itself, the opposite breast, under your arm, or in the area above the collarbone.

If new problems develop, you may have additional tests, such as blood tests, bone scans, chest X-rays, CT scans, or MRI tests.

If your breast cancer tested positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors, your doctor may prescribe medicines that can lower your risk of the cancer coming back. For more information, see Medications.

For information about the treatment of metastatic or recurrent breast cancer, see the topic Breast Cancer, Metastatic or Recurrent.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 18, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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