For over 30 years we’ve been offering our patients effective and nontoxic complementary and supportive cancer care treatments. Our comprehensive approach to healthcare provides the tools necessary to allow the body’s own natural mechanisms to activate and accelerate the healing process. When it comes to breast cancer survivors, there are many challenges these patients face surviving the long-term effects of their chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgical and hormonal breast cancer treatments.
A February 2020 study in the journal Health communication (1) opens with these sentences.
“Long-term survivors of cancer face daunting challenges to their physical, emotional, and cognitive well-being in the years following completion of cancer treatment. Most long-term survivors face a new reality shaped by chronic “late effects” of treatments, or illnesses and conditions caused by chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, medications, and other treatments. Copious biomedical research explores the health challenges of patients undergoing cancer treatment, yet relatively little investigates the lived experience of Long-term survivors from a health communication perspective.”
We have seen the long-term effects of breast cancer treatments
We have seen the long-term effects of breast cancer treatments. In our decades of experience in providing cancer support therapies we have helped long-term cancer survivors with their long-term challenges that include fatigue, cognitive and memory disorders, physical, emotional, and psychosocial changes by combining conventional, complementary and functional therapies individualized to the needs of each cancer survivor. We also place great emphasis on an extremely thorough series of lab tests to evaluate the cells of the immune system, inflammatory markers, antioxidant defenses, nutritional status, and overall toxic burden or current and past cancer treatments.
Up to 90% of breast cancer survivors experience unexpected long–term health issues as a result of traditional cancer treatments
A November 2019 (2) study conducted by a research team at Frontier Nursing University in Kentucky offered these observations:
“Women are increasingly surviving breast cancer, but up to 90% experience unexpected long–term sequelae as a result of treatment. Symptoms may include physical, functional, emotional, and psychosocial changes that can dramatically alter the quality of life for breast cancer survivors.
Although women experience significant changes after breast cancer treatment, many fail to receive thorough assessment of their symptoms, education about interventions, and treatment options to optimize health promoting strategies.
Long–term physical changes include anatomic changes, chronic pain, phantom breast pain, axillary web syndrome, and lymphedema.
In addition, women may have decreased strength, aerobic capacity, mobility, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction. Emotional and psychosocial changes include depression, anxiety, fatigue, concerns about body image, and issues with sexuality. Treatment should be multifactorial based on thorough assessment of symptoms and can include medication, exercise, counseling, physical and occupational therapy, and alternative and complementary therapies.”
Knowledge about how breast cancer survivors cope is important
Let’s look at a January 2020 (3) study that discusses the broad range of challenges breast cancer survivors face and how they cope. Here the researchers suggest:
“Increased breast cancer survival means that many women live with long-term consequences of their cancer and treatment. Knowledge about their coping is important.” In these research three main themes or characteristics of the breast cancer survivor emerged:
1 ) Some felt healthy and beyond cancer; others suffered from reduced energy, joy of life, and self-esteem. Being affected by a life-threatening illness made their fundamental values clearer. Using cancer experiences to help others was emphasized.
2 ) Positive thinking, distancing the negative: striving to maintain positive thinking and distancing themselves from insecurity and fear of recurrence. A step-by-step strategy was important to cope with these new life situations.
3 ) Need for understanding and recognition: support was experienced as necessary and challenging. Recognition of posttreatment ailments was emphasized. Being more socially selective and preferring positive people were essential.
Conclusion: “Cancer experiences changed the women’s lives. Their coping varied. Fewer but selected supporters were preferred. Understanding and recognition from others for the women’s changed life situation was essential. . . Healthcare professionals should prepare women for a changed life situation because of illness experiences and the adverse effects of treatments. The support and information offered must be adjusted to each woman’s individual needs, coping capacity, and life situation.”
And again, these are the patients we have seen in our decades of experience. Women who were initially not well equipped to handle “survivorship.” This is why we offer a whole-body approach to cancer includes a variety of therapies, such as nutrition and lifestyle counseling, dietary modifications, supplementation, intravenous vitamin C and other substances, oxidative therapies, immunotherapy, detoxification, lifestyle modifications and exercise therapy, spirituality and mind-body techniques, including stress management and meditation, all with the goal of strengthening the immune system and restoring normal cellular function.
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness we are always looking for answers. Long-term survivorship of breast cancer comes with many challenges.
If you would like to explore more information, please contact our office so we can start a conversation with you.
1 Ellingson LL, Borofka KGE. Long-Term Cancer Survivors’ Everyday Embodiment. Health Commun. 2020 Feb;35(2):180-191. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2018.1550470. Epub 2018 Nov 22.
2 Lovelace DL, McDaniel LR, Golden D. Long‐Term Effects of Breast Cancer Surgery, Treatment, and Survivor Care. Journal of midwifery & women’s health. 2019 Jul 19.
3 Drageset S, Lindstrøm TC, Ellingsen S. “I Have Both Lost and Gained.” Norwegian Survivors’ Experiences of Coping 9 Years After Primary Breast Cancer Surgery. Cancer nursing. 2020 Jan 1;43(1):E30-7.