This information is for women who experience:
- side effects that continue for six months or longer after treatment for breast cancer
- delayed late effects which begin months or years after treatment.
We describe the possible effects and how they can be improved or managed. We’ve included information on positive lifestyle changes, which can help to reduce the risk of some late effects. There’s also information about coping with sexual and emotional difficulties that women may experience.
Most women have side effects during treatment for breast cancer and for a few weeks after. Usually, these effects gradually ease and eventually disappear. But some women may have side effects that continue months after treatment and that occasionally become permanent. Other women may develop delayed late effects of treatment months or years later.
Not everyone experiences long-term or late effects and many get better over time. How likely you are to have problems, if at all, depends on different factors, such as the type of treatment you’ve had.
Doctors and researchers look at ways of making sure women get the best treatment for breast cancer with as few side effects as possible.
Although this information is addressed to women, some of the information may help men who are experiencing late effects of breast cancer treatment. Breast cancer in men is rare and there isn’t a lot of specific information available. However, men receive similar breast cancer treatments to women and experience some of the same late effects.
There are often things that can be done to manage or treat long-term or late effects. Let your cancer doctor or nurse know if side effects you developed during treatment aren’t going away, or if you develop new symptoms or problems after treatment is over.