24 September 2010
Women who’ve had breast cancer treatment need to allow their body a ‘recovery period’. So, to help women along the road to recovery and in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, Macmillan Cancer Support has five tips to help women do just this.
Around 40,000 women in the UK will complete a gruelling course of cancer treatment, which may include cancer surgery, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy every year and then go on to take hormone tablets for several years.
Jennifer Gorrie, Cancer Information Nurse for Macmillan Cancer Support, said:
'Cancer treatment itself can take a huge toll on your body and for some can take months, even years, to adjust. The recovery period will vary from woman to woman but it is important women allow themselves plenty of time to recover. The good news is that for most people difficulties and emotions do get easier with time.'
Macmillan’s top tips are as follows:
1. Dream 5 minute work out
Did you know that even the smallest increase in physical activity can improve your quality of life? Seventy-two percent of women experience arm/shoulder pain, weakness or numbness after breast cancer surgery . However, using movement and exercise can help improve this. Do easy things you can do, for example five minutes of regular walking around the house, up stairs or outside in the garden every couple of hours can build up your energy levels and help you feel better.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Eating a balanced diet is one of the best choices you can make for overall health. The reason? It will help you regain your strength, have more energy and give you an increased sense of wellbeing. Keeping a healthy body weight is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of cancer.
3. Top up on some rays of Vitamin D
Did you know that any cancer treatment in women that lowers oestrogen levels can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Calcium can help to strengthen your bones and reduce this risk, but for your body to use calcium, you also need vitamin D. Next time it’s sunny outside have breakfast or dinner in the garden or a picnic in the park and top up on some rays of vitamin D. A little sun each day can protect your health but remember to protect against skin cancer with sunscreen.
4. Kick the habit
Ditch those fags ladies! It allows the body to respond better to treatment and heal. You will also reduce your risk of developing other cancers, such as lung cancer, and other medical problems, such as heart and lung disease and strokes. Plus you'll save money and your breath, hair and clothes will smell much better.
5. Look good, feel good
How you feel about the way you look is an important part of self-esteem. It’s important to remember although there may be a change in your appearance you are still the same person you were before you were diagnosed. So, don’t be afraid to take a glimpse in the mirror and embrace the changes that have made you a stronger women. Many women find the use of complementary therapies and ‘look good, feel good’ sessions helpful.
For further information about breast cancer, please visit www.macmillan.org.uk/breast or call 0808 808 00 00 and speak directly to a cancer support specialist.
For further information , please contact:
Julie Wills, Assistant Media & Press Officer
0207 840 4933
Notes to editors:
 Hack, T.F., et al., (1999) Physical and Psychological Morbidity After Axillary Lymph Node Dissection for Breast Cancer Journal of Clinical Oncology, 1999. 17(1): p. 143.
 Cancer Research UK http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/about-cancer/cancer-questions/osteoporosis-risk-and-hormone-therapy
About Macmillan Cancer Support
Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer, providing practical, medical, emotional and financial support. Working alongside people affected by cancer, Macmillan works to improve cancer care. One in three of us will get cancer. Two million of us are living with it. If you are affected by cancer, Macmillan can help.
For cancer support at home, over the phone, call the Macmillan Support Line free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm) or visit www.macmillan.org.uk