For many women, ending breast cancer treatment and beginning life as a survivor is challenging.
Longtime surgeon Ernie Bodai, MD, F.A.C.S. is the director of the Breast Cancer Survivorship Institute with Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento. He has a very important message for breast cancer survivors: “They can return to a normal life.”
For most women, life after breast cancer can be described as coming out of a fog. Often, breast cancer treatment will end, but the physical and emotional side effects remain, among them hair loss, cancer-related fatigue, and fear of recurrence. Once-regular appointments with doctors and caregivers that updated them on their health become less frequent.
“It’s a very difficult time,” explained Dr. Bodai. “Even though women are given a lot of information about their diagnosis and treatment, they’re too busy being ill to really comprehend.”
Ongoing monitoring helps to assure breast cancer survivors that although their treatments may have ended, their Kaiser Permanente care team will continue to partner with them throughout their recovery.
“Yes, the [women] have had a bad disease,” Dr. Bodai said. “But they should not live in fear of the disease.”