Breast cancer

12 April 2012

Breast cancer treatment side effects last for years

Treatment-related complications are common in breast cancer patients long after their therapy has been completed, a new study says.

0

Treatment-related complications are common in breast cancer patients long after their therapy has been completed, a new study says.

Researchers looked at 287 Australian breast cancer patients and found that more than 60% of them had at least one treatment-related complication up to six years after their diagnosis, and 30% had at least two complications.

Complications included skin reactions to radiation therapy, weight gain, fatigue, surgery-related issues, upper body symptoms and physical limitations, and lymphedema - a painful limb-swelling condition.

"Our work provides the first accounting of the true magnitude of the post-treatment problems suffered by breast cancer patients, and serves as a call to action for proper monitoring and rehabilitation services to care for them," study leader Kathryn Schmitz, associate professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, said.

"We can no longer pretend that the side effects of breast cancer treatment end after patients finish active treatment. The scope of these complications is shocking and upsetting, but a ready solution for many of them already exists in rehabilitative exercise," said Schmitz, who is a member of the university's Abramson Cancer Center and serves as a senior scientist on a committee overseeing creation of a surveillance model for breast cancer survivors.

The study was published online in a special issue of the journal Cancer that focuses on the physical late effects of breast cancer treatment and ways to prevent, monitor and treat these conditions.

Many factors can prevent proper monitoring of breast cancer survivors for the types of complications identified in the study, Schmitz and her colleagues said.

Patients may have fragmented care and receive different types of treatment at different hospitals; both patients and doctors may believe that certain complications are "expected" and "normal" and don't warrant treatment; and many breast cancer patients aren't aware of or referred to physical therapy professionals.

Read more:
A new life after breast cancer

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about breast cancer treatment and side effects.


(Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Ask the Expert

Honey Morgan

Honey is a Life Coach, NLP Practitioner, Energy ReSourcing™ & Ericksonian Hypnotherapy Practitioner who has been practicing for over a decade. Personally, Honey is actively involved in the BDSM community and takes the role of a submissive or slave. She also spent 7 years as an exotic dancer. Her specialised coaching focus on sex & relationships, as well as spiritual journeys, is the result of a burning passion to help women (and men!) have fulfilling long-term relationships & healthy sex lives. She is also dedicated to helping couples and individuals find the bond, connection & love we all so desperately yearn for in our souls. Honey is one of the founders and creators behind www.sexandhoney.com and www.my-coach-online.com, two innovative online coaching platforms designed to put real coaching resources into the hands of people who need them most… at a fraction of the cost of traditional coaching and counseling.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules