After treatment for breast cancer in men
After your treatment has finished, you’ll have regular check-ups, which will include physical examinations and possibly mammograms.
Your check-ups will be every few months at first, but eventually you may only be seen once a year. Sometimes, instead of routine appointments, men are asked to contact their specialist or nurse if there’s anything they’re worried about.
You may also need to see your specialist or GP if you’re having ongoing treatment with hormonal therapy, or if you have any treatment side effects that haven’t gone away.
Appointments are a good opportunity to talk to your specialist about any concerns you have. However, if you notice any new symptoms or are anxious about anything else between your appointments, you can contact your doctor or specialist nurse for advice. Many men find they get anxious for a while before the appointments. This is natural and it can help to get support from family, friends or contact our cancer support specialists.
Although you’ll be carefully checked by your doctor, it’s still a good idea to be aware of what’s now normal for you.
Your treated chest will look and feel different depending on the treatment you’ve had. Your breast care nurse can tell you what to expect and explain what changes to look out for. If you notice anything unusual between appointments, contact your specialist or breast care nurse straight away.
After breast cancer treatment some men choose to make some positive lifestyle changes. It’s not to say you didn’t follow a healthy lifestyle before breast cancer, but you may be more focused on making the most of your health.
Keep to a healthy weight and eat well
After breast cancer treatment, it’s not unusual for men to find they’ve gained weight. Hormonal therapy, which is usually given for a number of years after treatment, may cause weight gain. Once you’re feeling up to it, it’s a good idea to achieve a healthy weight that’s within the normal range for your height. Your GP can tell you what your ideal weight is.
Keeping to a healthy weight also reduces the risk of some other cancers, heart problems and other illnesses such as diabetes. Here are some tips to help you lose weight:
- only eat as much food as you need
- eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables
- eat less fat and sugar
- become more physically active.
Get physically active
Being physically active helps to keep your weight healthy and can reduce stress and tiredness. It also helps to keep your bones strong and your heart healthy.
Look after your bones
Aromatase inhibitors can cause bone thinning (osteoporosis) in women, but it’s not clear if this happens to the same extent in men. Zoladex may cause bone thinning when it’s given over a longer period of time.
It’s a good idea to look after your bones. Keeping physically active, eating a healthy diet with enough calcium and vitamin D, and not smoking helps to keep your bones healthy.
Look after your heart
Some treatments for breast cancer may increase the risk of getting heart problems later on. 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’re a smoker, giving up smoking 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.
Stick to sensible drinking
It’s a good idea to stick to sensible drinking guidelines, which recommend men drink fewer than 3 units of alcohol a day, or fewer than 21 units a week. It’s recommended that people have at least one or two non-drinking days each week.