Quality of Life after breast cancer treatment

Healthy lifestyle choices can make all the difference

Quality of life is something that’s important to all of us – we’re only given one chance, after all. After breast cancer treatment it might seem like a fleeting thing, but there are steps you can take to improve your health and happiness, and therefore your life.


Getting breast cancer is a life-changing experience and, although it may sound strange, for many women it can change their lives for the better. “During treatment, or shortly after, women often take a step back and decide this is a turning point – a call to make better lifestyle choices and take a decision to thrive rather than simply survive,” says Lillie Shockney, Professor of Breast Cancer and Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US, and a breast cancer survivor herself.


“Whether they leave stressful jobs, take more holidays, spend more time with family and friends, begin a new hobby or start a fitness regime, they’re thinking about the value of each and every day.”


Better life, happier life
Some of the changes that improve your quality of life after breast cancer treatment may also help reduce risk of recurrence and boost your overall health. These include:






Do what makes you happy
Perhaps one of the biggest lifestyle changes you can make is to start making more of every single moment and doing more of the things you enjoy. Laugh more, love more, dance if it makes you happy. Tell the people you love that you love them. Make the most of your friendships. Realise that life is precious – don’t waste a single minute of it.


This also means being prepared to say no sometimes. It’s not about being selfish – it’s about taking care of you. If you don’t make sure your own needs are met, you won’t be in a good position to help or care for anyone else, or to make the contribution you were mean to make to the world. It’s as simple as that.


“Making these lifestyle changes will give you more energy, reduce your risk of recurrence, improve your general health, and reassure you that you are doing the right things to keep your body and mind healthy,” says Lillie Shockney. “You may even find that your quality of life after breast cancer treatment is even better than it was before.”


Lillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, ONN-CG, is University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer and Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine