Getting into a routine

Being organised can help you stay on top of your treatment and care while you manage your home and work responsibilities. Here are tips to help you get and stay organised.

  • Speak to your healthcare professional about a way to remember how and when to take your medicine (e.g. on an empty stomach?, Twice a day?)
  • Think about what might get in the way of taking your medicine, such as being away from home or having some type of change to your daily routine. That way, you can prepare for them ahead of time.
  • Think about your goals—the things you’re working towards. Perhaps you are:
    • Looking forward to enjoying time with family and friends
    • Planning to attend a special event, like a loved one’s wedding or graduation
    • Wanting to be your best self so you can be there for your family

Working towards your goals may help you to stick with your treatment routine.

Here are some other things you can try:

  • Set reminders on your phone or other devices
  • Put your medicine in a safe place where you will see it when you need to take it
  • Ask a family member to remind you to take your medicine
Woman checking watch

Tips for maintaining
a healthy lifestyle

In this section, we detail some tips that could help you maintain your normal routine or work towards a healthier lifestyle. Generally, getting up and walking regularly, eating well and exercising can be beneficial to your mental and physical health.1 Speak to your healthcare professional about an exercise routine that can be most suited to your specific needs and abilities.

Make sure you are getting enough rest¹

Experiencing symptoms or side effects of treatments can be physically draining and can leave you feeling exhausted. In those circumstances, getting enough rest is as important as it’s ever been.

Try your best to:

  • Get enough sleep on a nightly basis
  • Ask friends or family to help you with shopping and tasks around the house
  • Pace yourself and conserve some energy for things you want to do


Get physical¹

Getting out and taking regular short walks can be extremely beneficial because:

  • Walking can give you more energy and gets the blood flowing
  • It can help to reduce stress
  • It can help you sleep better


Healthy eating is key¹

Some days you might find you don't have much of an appetite while other days you might feel very hungry. On days when you are finding it more difficult to eat, you can instead have drinks and snacks as temporary replacements to provide you with enough calories and nutrients to get you through the day.

If you require more help your healthcare professional can recommend you to a dietician who can help put you on the right track

What you might expect

Menopause symptoms
due to cancer treatment

It is possible for some women undergoing cancer treatment to start menopause early, or to experience the symptoms of menopause2. The symptoms of menopause can be difficult to manage and can affect your quality of life, so you should check with your healthcare professional if there is anything you can do to help you live with the symptoms, or if there are any appropriate treatments that could help to improve your quality of life with menopause and secondary breast cancer.


Hormone (endocrine) therapies, ovarian suppression and chemotherapy are cancer treatments that have been known to cause early menopause or symptoms2.

Ovarian suppression can be temporary (e.g. via medication) or permanent (e.g. via surgery). Depending on your treatment, menopause could be reversible post treatment3.

It can be difficult, especially for women who want to start a family, to come to terms with the possibility of being infertile. However, even if you stop having periods and experience menopausal symptoms, you could still be fertile and may still be able to get pregnant. You might also still be fertile when experiencing menopause, as your ovaries may still be working4.

It is important to note that there are options, should you want to start a family, that could allow you to have a child despite having started menopause. With options like egg freezing (before cancer treatment), surrogacy and IVF, it is possible that you could have a child.

Couple walking

Managing your emotions

Living with secondary breast cancer can be emotionally challenging. You may feel anxious one day, sad the next, and angry another day.

It is important that you learn how to care for your whole self - including looking out for your emotional and mental well-being. Every person is unique, and every person will feel different things at different times. But identifying your emotions can help you manage them better.

Click here to find out more.

Listen to your body

Intimacy and breast cancer

It's perfectly normal to feel worried about the effect of secondary breast cancer on your intimate life. You might feel your confidence has taken a hit or your feelings about yourself as a woman might have changed. It can take time to readjust and regain your confidence, so it can be extremely helpful, when you're ready, to speak with your partner openly and honestly about your feelings and what you want from your intimate relationship.

Here are some tips for talking to your partner:


  • Try to be open and honest about your feelings and try to avoid mixed signals.
  • Set time aside outside of those intimate moments to avoid feeling awkward for interrupting.
  • Try not to focus too much on negatives - let your partner things you have enjoyed with them too.
  • Keep the conversation going regularly so you are both very clear on boundaries and expectations.
  • If you find certain subjects too uncomfortable to discuss in person, try texting or an alternative form of communication.

Your breast cancer team can be a great help if you are worried about your sex life with breast cancer or menopause symptoms. There is also specialist help you can receive via referral from your healthcare professional. You might find you and your partner could benefit from talking to a counsellor about the intimate part of your relationship. Your GP or healthcare professional should be able to help you arrange this if necessary.

Couple on bench


  1. Macmillan Cancer Support. Living with Secondary Breast Cancer. Available online at: [Last accessed: August 2022]
  2. Menopausal Symptoms due to Cancer Treatment. Available online at: [Last accessed: October 2022]
  3. Breast Cancer Now. Ovarian suppression and breast cancer. Available online at: [Last accessed: October 2022]
  4. Macmillan Cancer Support. Menopausal Symptoms and Cancer Treatment. Available online at:,woman's%20monthly%20cycle%20(periods). [Last accessed: October 2022]

UK | October 2022 | 124201-1



You know you best

Make your next appointment count

Your healthcare team is your best resource throughout your treatment. Talk openly and often with them about your doubts, questions and concerns. It might make you feel more in control if you take some time to plan for your appointment. Making notes before, during and after can help you retain information and make the most of your visits. We have developed a guide to support you in having these conversations with some tips to help you get the information you need.

Download your Moments That Count appointment guide.

Moments That Count has been developed and funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited. It has been created in collaboration with secondary breast cancer patients whose knowledge and insights have informed the content and direction for the campaign.

This website is part of a programme that is funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited. Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Limited is a private limited liability company registered in England and Wales under number 119006. Registered office 2nd Floor, The WestWorks Building, White City Place, 195 Wood Lane, London, W12 7FQ. Use of this website is governed by our Terms of Use and the Cookies and Privacy Policy.

Reporting side-effects

If you get side effects with any medication you are taking, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.This includes any possible side effects not listed in the information leaflet that comes in the pack. You can report side effects via the Yellow Card Scheme at By reporting side effects, you can help provide more information on the safety of your medication.

©2022 Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd - UK | September 2022 | 124182-1 | This site is intended for an audience in the UK.