Breast Cancer – Treatment and Therapies [video]

Video author: Streaming Well
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Video Transcript

Streaming Well

How much treatment will I need?

No cancer decision is easy just by the very nature. However, once you've made a decision and you embrace the next phase of treatment, for anyone who embraces the next phase of treatment, undoubtedly, another journey emerges. And things sound so abstract sometimes, but always you're going to meet new people, you're going to make new friends, you're going to learn things about yourself.

Treatment very much depends on where the cancer is and where it has spread to. Medical treatment for local recurrence aims to eradicate the disease. When cancer has spread elsewhere in the body, then treatment aims to control the disease and manage the symptoms. And for this reason, treatment can continue for some time. You may decide that you want to have every treatment that's on offer and that you're prepared to put up with the side effects. Or you may get to a point where you feel you've had enough of treatment and really just want to concentrate on quality of life and managing the symptoms. Really, there's no right or wrong way to approach your treatment, but it is important to discuss your wishes with the team and, where possible, involve your family.

How long have I got to live? This is a common fear when cancer has returned: How long have I got to live? It's quite difficult to predict with any great accuracy because it's dependent on so many different factors: where the cancer is, where it's spread to, what sort of treatment you've had in the past. But your specialist team should be able to give you some guidelines as to what to expect. The important thing here to remember is that treatments are improving all the time, and many people continue to live long and active lives.

I have been referred to the Palliative Care Team - what does this mean? Palliative care involves managing the symptoms and side effects that may result from advanced disease. They are also there to help you with the emotional reactions that may arise from the changing situation. The term palliative care or hospice can feel frightening and may conjure up feelings of hopelessness. But really, they are there to help you retain control and live as actively as possible. It can be really helpful to get referred to the team early so that they can get to know you and your family and help identify your needs and perhaps respond to problems quickly rather than waiting until they arise. Complementary therapies can also be helpful for difficult symptoms and side effects. Melanie: I definitely recommend the complementary therapies. They really do make a difference. They've made a huge difference for me. It just makes you feel good. It's just a little time for yourself away from the hospital/clinical environment.

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