FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM OCTOBER 8, 2020 • BREAST CANCER AWARENESS • THE QUEENS COURIER 33
Breast Cancer Awareness
Three potential side eff ects
of breast cancer treatments
Cancer is a painful, potentially lifethreatening
disease. Th ough discomfort
might be the fi rst warning sign
that compels people to visit their physicians
on the road to receiving a cancer diagnosis,
cancer treatments can produce a host of side
eff ects, including pain, as well.
According to the Sidney Kimmel
Cancer Center, breast-cancer treatments
can create both long-term side eff ects and
late side eff ects. Long-term side eff ects
are those that begin during treatment
and continue aft er all treatments have
stopped, while late side eff ects refers to
symptoms that can appear weeks, months,
or even years aft er treatments have ended.
Th e list of potential side eff ects of breast
cancer treatments is lengthy, but may
include the following conditions or issues:
Th e nonprofi t organization Breastcancer.
org notes that fatigue is the most common
side eff ect of breast-cancer treatments,
with some estimates suggesting it aff ects
as many as 90 percent of all patients.
Some breast-cancer patients may experience
fatigue aft er treatment and fi nd
it’s worsening because they are eating
less and not getting enough nutrients.
In such instances, the initial fatigue may
make people too tired to cook, ultimately
contributing to more fatigue when
they are not eating or eating convenient
yet potentially unhealthy foods. Cooking
healthy foods in bulk when fatigue is
not overwhelming and accepting others’
off ers to cook is a great way for cancer
patients to ensure their diets are helping
them combat fatigue and not making
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
notes that, following breast-cancer treatment,
some patients may suff er from
lymphedema, a condition characterized
by the accumulation of lymphatic fl uid
in the tissues. Lymphedema most oft en
occurs in the arms, but can contribute to
swelling in other parts of the body as well.
Why some people suff er from lymphedema
aft er treatment and others don’t
is a mystery, though surgeons at Johns
Hopkins Breast Center have noticed a low
occurrence of lymphedema in patients
who have undergone sentinel node biopsies
or axillary node dissection.
Breast-cancer patients are at risk of
lymphedema for the rest of their lives
aft er treatment, and while there’s no way
to prevent it, patients should avoid getting
needle sticks or blood pressure tests in
arms where lymph nodes were removed.
According to the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, breast cancer treatments can create both long-term side eff ects and late side eff ects.
In addition, any injuries or cuts in arms
where lymph nodes were removed should
be treated with vigilance.
Many women will stop menstruating
while undergoing chemotherapy or
aft er chemo treatments, and that cessation
is oft en temporary. Th ese irregularities
may be traced to hormonal therapies
that make the ovaries stop producing
eggs. However, in some instances, even
premenopausal women may have trouble
getting pregnant aft er hormonal therapy.
Breastcancer.org notes that women
whose periods do not return aft er treatment
may still be fertile, but also notes
that women who are close to menopause
when beginning chemo may become
permanently infertile. Women who have
been diagnosed with breast cancer who
are concerned about post-treatment
infertility should speak with their physicians
immediately about their prospects
of getting pregnant aft er treatment,
including fertility treatments and the
potential safety risks of getting pregnant
aft er being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Breast-cancer treatments save lives every
day. When discussing treatments with
their physicians, breast-cancer patients
should ask questions about potential
short- and long-term side eff ects.