For those affected, breast cancer is a dramatic diagnosis. Patients often have to endure chemotherapy and surgery, which, depending on the individual scenario, may mean breast conserving surgery or breast removal--mastectomy. In the aftermath, many women experience symptoms such as pain, fatigue/exhaustion, or sleep disturbances. However, the symptoms are highly individual, as Stefan Feiten and colleagues emphasize in a recent study reported in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2014; 111: 537-44).
The authors state that it is crucial for good aftercare to understand and document a patient's symptoms and target the treatment accordingly. Special attention will have to be paid to the risk of certain groups of patients: younger, premenopausal women suffer notably more from the effects of breast cancer than older women. In any case, women about to be given treatment for breast cancer should be given detailed information about late sequelae.