Most women have side effects during treatment for breast cancer and for a few weeks after. Usually, these effects gradually reduce and eventually disappear. But some women may have side effects that continue or develop for months or years after treatment. There are two commonly used terms:
- long-term effects
- late effects.
Long-term effects begin during or shortly after treatment and don’t go away in the six months after treatment. They may go away eventually on their own, with symptoms gradually reducing for up to a year or two after treatment ends. Sometimes, long-term effects are permanent.
Late effects are a delayed reaction to treatment. They don’t appear during treatment, but can happen months or even years later.
In this information, we use the term ‘late effects’ to cover both long-term and late effects.
There are many things that can be done to manage or treat late effects. It’s important that you don’t feel you just have to put up with them.
Late effects may be minor and not affect your day-to-day life much. Or, they may be more troublesome or difficult to live with and interfere with your daily life. If you have late effects, there are usually lots of things that can help you cope with them. This will help you live life as fully as possible. Some late effects improve over time and may eventually go away on their own.