Managing treatment side effects
Some people may experience side effects to certain medications or treatments. These are perfectly normal. Some of the common side effects are described below. :
Lymphoedema – this often presents as swelling of the arm or breast/chest wall on the treated side. This can sometimes be made worse by radiotherapy treatment. Your breast care nurse can give you preventative advice such as avoiding injection, blood pressure measures on the side of your surgery.
If you notice any swelling you are advised to contact your breast care nurse for further advice and possible assessment in our lymphoedema clinic.
Hormonal treatment – As with any medication there are possible side effects but this does not mean that everyone will get them, or that the side effects will last forever.
The most common side effects are hot flushes, weight gain or occasional indigestion. Other side effects may depend on which treatment you are taking but include a vaginal discharge/dryness, mood/emotional changes, light-headedness, dizziness, headaches or skin rashers, thinning of hair, loss of appetite, sickness and diarrhoea, aching and stiffness of the joints.
These symptoms are usually mild and temporary but if they do not improve contact your GP or breast care nurse who will advise you. Any blurred vision, pain or swelling of lower limbs should be reported to your GP.
If you are experiencing hot flushes (which are very common following breast cancer treatment) there are a number of practical things you can do. Many patients find a programme of auricular acupuncture helpful and you can access this service for free. Please contact Coping with Cancer who can give your further information and book you into a programme – 0191 280 5610.