Most women with breast cancer have an operation as part of their treatment. Getting back to normal after surgery can take some time. It's important to take things slowly and give yourself time to recover.
During this time, avoid lifting things – for example, children or heavy shopping bags – and avoid heavy housework. You may also be advised not to drive.
Read more about recovering from an operation.
You may need to take a break from some of your normal activities for a while. Don't be afraid to ask for practical help from family and friends.
After your treatment has finished, you'll be invited for regular check-ups, usually every three months for the first year.
If you've had early breast cancer, your healthcare team will agree a care plan with you after your treatment has finished.
This plan contains the details of your follow-up. You'll receive a copy of the plan, which will also be sent to your GP.
You should also be offered a mammogram every year for the first five years after your treatment.
Although it's rare, your treatment for breast cancer may cause new problems, such as:
Talk to your healthcare team if you experience these or any other long-term effects of treatment.
A diagnosis of breast cancer may change how you think about your body. All women react differently to the bodily changes that happen as a result of breast cancer treatment.
Some women react positively, but others find it more difficult to cope. It's important to give yourself time to come to terms with any changes to your body.
Although most cases of breast cancer occur in women over 50 who have experienced the menopause, some younger women have to cope with an early menopause brought on by cancer treatment.
Symptoms can include:
Talk to your healthcare team about any symptoms you have and they'll be able to help.
An external breast prosthesis is an artificial breast, which can be worn inside your bra to replace the volume of the breast that's been removed.
Soon after a mastectomy, you'll be given a lightweight foam breast to wear until the area affected by surgery or radiotherapy has healed.
After it's healed, you'll be offered a silicone prosthesis. Prostheses come in many different shapes and sizes, and you should be able to find one that suits you.
If you didn't have immediate breast reconstruction carried out when you had a mastectomy, you can have reconstruction later. This is called a delayed reconstruction.
There are two main methods of breast reconstruction:
The type that's most suitable for you will depend on many factors, including the treatment you've had, any ongoing treatment, and the size of your breasts. Talk to your healthcare team about which reconstruction is suitable for you.
It's not always easy to talk about cancer, either for you or your family and friends. You may sense that some people feel awkward around you or avoid you.
Being open about how you feel and what your family and friends can do to help may put them at ease. However, don't be afraid to tell them that you need some time to yourself if that's what you need.
Breast cancer and its treatment can affect your sex life. It's common for women to lose interest in sex after breast cancer treatment.
Your treatment may leave you feeling very tired. You may feel shocked, confused or depressed about being diagnosed with cancer.
You may be upset by the changes to your body, or grieve the loss of your breasts or, in some cases, fertility.
It's understandable that you may not feel like having sex while coping with all this. Try to share your feelings with your partner.
If you have problems with sex that aren't getting better with time, you may want to speak to a counsellor or sex therapist.
If you have to reduce or stop work because of your cancer, you may find it difficult to cope financially.
If you have cancer or you're caring for someone with cancer, you may be entitled to financial support.
Find out what help is available to you as soon as possible. The social worker at your hospital will be able to give you the information you need.
People being treated for cancer are entitled to apply for an exemption certificate, giving them free prescriptions for all medication, including medicine for unrelated conditions.
The certificate is valid for five years, and you can apply for it through your GP or cancer specialist.
Your GP or nurse may be able to answer any questions you have about your cancer or treatment.
You may find it helpful to talk to a trained counsellor or psychologist, or someone at a specialist helpline. Your GP surgery will have information on these.
Some people find it helpful to talk to other people who have breast cancer, either at a local support group or on an internet chatroom.