Fortunately, for most women, a cancer diagnosis is not terminal. Early detection and thorough treatment helps to improve the five-year survival rate, especially for those with cancer that is localized to the breast or has only minimally spread. Women may have to undergo various forms of treatment, including radiation, chemotherapy and surgery.
The National Cancer Institute notes that, while they’re effective, breast cancer treatments can cause changes that affect a woman’s physique, body image and sexuality. Some changes will be short-term, such as hair loss or fatigue. Others may be permanent, such as breast loss or scarring from lumpectomy and mastectomy. Fertility also may be affected, potentially compromising a woman’s ability to get pregnant after treatment.