Can lifestyle choices effect chemo

Hi All,

First time on here!

I’ve just started on Epirubcin chemo and trying to keep anxiety at bay. 
Is there anything known to increase / decrease the effectiveness of this chemo.

Im also feeling anxious as my tumour is quite large and some days it feels like it’s shrunk and then the next grown again.  Maybe I’m just being anxious and paranoid but would be good to hear others thoughts rather than the voices in my head all the time!



Hi Lis

I don’t know the answer to your question - I’d say your oncologist or adjuvant therapies nurse would be the best person to ask but you might also consider ringing the nurses’ helpline at the number above as their service is exceptional. Just don’t be led into starvation techniques, supplements and alternative therapies without consulting them first. You’d be surprised at how just a simple vitamin supplement can interfere with the chemo.

I have subcutaneous skin mets (where the cancer has spread beyond the breast). I guess you might consider them to be tiny tumours. What I notice is that there are days when they feel hard and larger, then there are days where that hardness is gone. It’s perplexing and my oncologist suggests it’s my body responding to chemo and inflammation. Makes sense to me. What I do know is that most cancers are quite sluggish - the cells aren’t replicating so fast that your tumour would change by the day, even the week. (Triple negative and inflammatory bc may be the exceptions). So stop prodding and poking. It causes soreness and anxiety!

It is very early days to expect to find any noticeable impact on your tumour. You really have to leave that to the team, who will be monitoring the responses in your blood and other data they may not need to share with you. This really is a time to learn to trust them to do the job they are trained to do. Trust is very hard when there is so much a stake but it really does help.

Are you doing something proactive to help your anxiety? That can really be a bonus to your psychological and emotional approach to chemo. There are NHS-endorsed apps like Calm and Headspace which will have lots of suggestions and resources. I rely on Progressive Hypnosis’ free videos on YouTube. I started with Cure Anxiety and Manifest Healing, both of which helped me feel calmer and more in control of my body, but there’s a vast menu to pick from and you just go with the ones you enjoy. Meditation, yoga, mindfulness, breathing techniques are all helpful. Breast Cancer Haven (which no longer operates on a one to one basis) still has good videos to help with emotional wellbeing. Worth a Google.

And no, you’re not paranoid. You’re experiencing the kind of anxiety most women with breast cancer experience in the early days. Your life feels in turmoil - and so does your head.  It’s a natural reaction but not pleasant so have a go at some relaxation.

Best of luck with the chemo

Jan x