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Side Effects from Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast cancer side effects are symptoms or ailments that develop due to the treatments used or as a result of the disease itself.

Long-term side effects begin during treatment and continue after all treatment is stopped.

Late side effects are symptoms that may appear weeks, months or years after treatment ends.

The Impact of Breast Cancer Treatment on Your Long-Term Health

The late effects associated with breast cancer treatments. Antonio Wolff, M.D., medical oncologist at the Johns Hopkins Sydney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, encourages a relationship with a primary care doctor who is knowledgeable about these effects on breast cancer survivors and their long-term health care.

These long-term and late side effects may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Pain and numbness (peripheral neuropathy)
  • Dental issues
  • Lymphedema
  • Musculoskeletal symptoms
  • Bone loss and osteoporosis
  • Heart problems
  • New cancers
  • Cataracts
  • Blood clots
  • Absence of menstrual periods
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Infertility
  • Concerns about memory loss and cognitive function (“chemo brain”)

The Late Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment

The late effects of breast cancer treatment should be addressed in a primary care setting. Issues like bone health and menopausal symptoms are discussed. From Kimberly Peairs, M.D., internal medicine specialist at Johns Hopkins Healthcare and Surgery Center at Green Spring Station in Baltimore, MD.


MYTH: Bone pain is an indication that my breast cancer has spread. Get the facts.