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Breast Cancer


Breast cancer is a cancer that starts in the tissue of the female or male breast. It can cause a lump, deformity of the breast, or discharge from the nipple. Breast cancer cells may spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver, lung, and brain.



  • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your oncologist as directed:

You will need to see your oncologist for ongoing treatment and follow-up. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Drink liquids as directed:

Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Drink extra liquids to avoid dehydration. You will also need to replace fluid if you are vomiting or have diarrhea from cancer treatments.

Limit alcohol:

Your oncologist may tell you to limit or not drink alcohol. Alcohol may increase the risk that your breast cancer will come back.

Do not smoke:

If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking may increase the risk that your breast cancer will come back. Ask for information if you need help quitting.

Contact your oncologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You cannot make it to your radiation or chemotherapy visit.
  • You are vomiting and cannot keep food or liquids down.
  • You are depressed and you feel that you cannot cope any longer.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your arm swells up and is painful.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded or short of breath.
  • You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Breast Cancer (Aftercare Instructions)

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Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference