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What do I need to know about caring for someone with breast cancer?

Breast cancer may be treatable, but patients face difficult choices. They may need to have part or all of one or both breasts removed, which can be emotionally painful. Chemotherapy may make them nauseated and exhausted, and it may make their hair fall out. Depending on the type of breast cancer, women may need to take cancer-fighting drugs for years, which can have other side effects.

Breast cancer patients should eat healthfully, get plenty of sleep, exercise if it feels good, and do other activities they like. Encourage patients to learn all they can about their breast cancer, if they find that helpful. Having someone to talk to - a relative, friend, counselor, or support group - can help.

If breast cancer spreads to other body parts, doctors may not be able to extend the patient's life. Patients may want to consider making a will and setting up advance directives in the event they cannot make decisions about end-of-life care.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.