Lifestyle and wellbeing

Well-being and recovery

After breast cancer treatment, some women choose to make some positive lifestyle changes. Or you may already have a healthy lifestyle and now feel you want to make the most of your health.

Eat well and keep to a healthy weight

After treatment, it’s quite common for women to find they have put on some weight. This can happen with chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. When you are feeling up to it, you can check with your GP if your weight is within the normal range for your height.

There is some evidence that keeping to a healthy weight after the 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.

Here are some tips for keeping to a healthy weight:

  • Try not to over eat.
  • Eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Eat less saturated fat and sugar.
  • Be more active.

Be 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.

Look after your bones

Aromatase inhibitors and treatments that cause an 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 not smoking, keeps bones healthy.

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. British Heart Foundation has helpful information and advice.

Give up smoking

If you smoke, giving up is the single most important thing you can do for your health. Smoking increases your risk of bone thinning (osteoporosis), some cancers and heart disease.

Limit how much alcohol you drink

Stick to sensible drinking guidelines. NHS guidelines recommend that women should: 

  • not regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol in a week
  • spread the alcohol units they drink in a week over three or more days
  • try to have several alcohol-free days every week.

Back to After treatment for breast cancer

What happens after treatment?

You have regular check-ups and mammograms after treatment. Your nurse will advise you on managing the different effects of treatment.

What if cancer comes back?

After your cancer is successfully treated it may still come back. It is often possible to treat cancers that come back.