After breast cancer treatment, some women choose to make some positive lifestyle changes. It’s not to say you didn’t follow a healthy lifestyle before. But you might feel you want to focus more on making the most of your health.
Eat well and keep to a healthy weight
After treatment, it’s not unusual for women to find they’ve put on some weight. This can happen with chemotherapy and hormonal therapy, which you take for a number of years. When you’re feeling up to it, you can check with your GP if your weight is within the normal range for your height.
Our section on weight management after cancer treatment has some helpful tips.
There’s some evidence that keeping to a healthy weight after menopause may help reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back. We already know it reduces the risk of heart problems, diabetes and developing some other cancers. Try to:
- only eat as much food as you need
- eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables
- eat less saturated fat and sugar
- become more physically active.
There’s information about healthy eating in our section on eating well after cancer treatment.
Get physically active
Being physically active helps to keep your weight healthy and can reduce stress and tiredness. It helps to keep your bones strong and your heart healthy. There is some evidence that regular physical activity may help to reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back. We have a section about physical activity and cancer treatment, which has more information.
Look after your bones
Aromatase inhibitors and treatments that cause early or temporary menopause increase the risk of bone thinning (osteoporosis). This is because oestrogen helps keep bones healthy and strong. Keeping physically active, such as walking, eating a healthy diet with enough calcium and vitamin D, and stopping smoking keeps bones healthy.
Our section about bone health has more information.
Look after your heart
Some treatments may increase the risk of getting heart problems later in life. Look after yourself by keeping physically active, eating healthily, not smoking and sticking to sensible drinking guidelines. The British Heart Foundation has helpful information and advice.
If you smoke giving up is one of the healthiest decisions you can make. Smoking increases your risk of bone thinning (osteoporosis) and is a major risk factor for smoking-related cancers and heart disease. Our section on giving up smoking has more information and tips to help you quit.
Stick to sensible drinking
Stick to sensible drinking guidelines, which recommend that women drink less than two units a day or 14 a week. Try to have a few alcohol free days a week.