breast cancer, pcos

How Does Breast Cancer Affect Your PCOS Symptoms?

You’ve got PCOS, and now you’ve got breast cancer too. Life is just incredibly unfair sometimes. How will the breast cancer affect your PCOS symptoms? It’s a very good question since it seems like almost everything can affect your PCOS.

Here’s how breast cancer affects your PCOS symptoms:


  • If your cancer is hormone sensitive (this could be true for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or endometrial cancer, which women with PCOS are more likely to get), then any treatment that is designed to suppress any of your hormones may also affect your PCOS symptoms, in unpredictable ways. It’s best to make sure you’ve got a knowledgeable endocrinologist dealing with your oncologist or another cancer doctor.


  • Some cancer treatments cause pain. Radiation burns, post-surgical pain, pain from possible infections that develop when your immune system is suppressed by chemotherapy – all of these things can contribute to pain and/or inflammation. Since PCOS is already a constant inflammatory state, it’s more important than ever to eat well, get plenty of rest, reduce stress, and focus on other aspects of self-care so that you can keep your body as calm and balanced as possible.


  • PCOS causes moodiness and irritability in many women. So does cancer. Again, if treatments are hormonally based, they’re throwing you into further imbalance. Chemotherapy may cause “chemo brain,” and fatigue and brain fog are high on the PCOS symptom list. Rest, rest, and more rest will be the answer.


  • It’s very common for people with cancer to get depressed.


There are a lot of losses associated with breast cancer, such as:


  • Loss of health
  • Loss of future options (such as breastfeeding)
  • Loss of femininity
  • Changes in sexuality
  • Changes in relationships
  • Possible loss of job or career options


You need to be able to grieve your health, your breasts, and the life you once enjoyed while also treating the breast cancer and figuring out what your post-cancer life is going to look like. For some of you, there will be no post-cancer life. Cancer may become a chronic, intermittent player in your life. I strongly recommend seeking support from The Cancer Support Community. I trained there when I was an intern therapist. They offer free groups, exercises classes, lectures, and sometimes limited psychotherapy. The American Cancer Society also offers support groups, education, and referrals.

Basically, having breast cancer may make it a lot harder to engage in your normal activities, which include taking good care of your PCOS. But the self-care protocols for both cancer and PCOS are strikingly similar and again, good nutrition, mild exercise, meditation, and obtaining support through groups and other relationships will be of huge value.

And please, join my free private group on Facebook, PCOS Psychology, where we are not afraid to talk about the hard stuff.



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