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Query about heart rate


Re: Query about heart rate

Hello ElliesMu

Thanks for your post. It’s understandable you want to know if your recent heart rate measurement, while running, is a cause for concern for you in view of your age and recent breast cancer treatment.

It’s difficult for us to comment on individual situations.  Your heart rate when exercising will vary depending on various factors including, your age, resting heart rate, fitness levels and possible ongoing side effects of treatment, such as Herception.

You may find this information from the British Heart Foundation of help. It explains how to calculate your target heart rate and the safe range to aim for your heart rate to be within when exercising. However, this is only a guide and beats per minute may be slightly higher or lower depending on someone’s individual situation.

You mention that you are having echocardiograms and heart scans since finishing Herceptin. You also mention that you have not returned to your pre-treatment fitness levels yet and have only recently recovered from Covid-19. This may all be having an influence on your heart rate at the moment.

You don’t mention the results of the scans you had 2 months ago. However, as you have previously been advised not to let your heart rate get too high, we would suggest speaking with your GP or heart specialist (cardiologist) if you are under the care of one, to find out the safe range your heart rate needs to be when exercising. Or, as m123 says, you can contact your breast care nurse as well. You may be reassured to know that any heart problems usually reverse once Herceptin treatment has finished.

It’s important to build up fitness levels gradually, so it may be better to build up to your 30 minute jogs over several weeks.  For example, perhaps start with 10 minute jogs to begin with. You may find our information on exercising after breast cancer treatment and the British Heat Foundation’s information of help.

You may also find NHS.UK’s information about getting fit again after having Covid 19 useful.

You may be interested in our resources that are particularly for those who have come to the end of their main hospital treatment. These are known as our Moving forward services and include our Moving Forward resource pack and our Moving Forward online course. 

Do call our Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks.   

The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

If you would like a nurse to call you do complete this form. Ticking the box agreeing to a call back.

Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am -1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.

Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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Re: Query about heart rate

Sometimes they'll tell you about something to be careful of during treatment, but they forget to tell you when you don't need to worry about it anymore.

If you don't want to bother your GP, could you phone NHS 111? They might have a specialist who could call you back. Or if you have a breast cancer nurse, you could ask them.



Query about heart rate

Hello, I finished active treatment (including surgery, chemo, herceptin, and radiotherapy) for breast cancer last year and have no evidence of disease. My ejection fraction fell as a result of herceptin, but not too badly. I’m still having echos and had a scan a 2 months ago. I’m 36, don’t drink, never smoked, heathy weight and used to be a decent athlete (unfit at the moment though). I decided to try a Parkrun again this morning for the first time since early 2020. I monitored my heart rate, as I had previously been told off for allowing my HR to get too high when running during treatment. Despite frequent stops for walking and going at a slow pace, my HR was over 200 for at least 30 mins. (I literally stopped to walk every time it hit 200.) The HR device (linked to my watch) has been calibrated and checked, as this was questioned last time it was so high.

I’m finally getting to the question (sorry): is having a high HR when jogging (peaked at 206, but was >195 for 30+ minutes despite frequent waking spells) a cause for concern, given my age and background? I don’t want to oersted my GP about it unnecessarily as I feel like I’ve been asking them loads of questions lately. I should add that I only recovered from Covid a month ago (I caught it from my 4yo daughter, despite being fully vaccinated).

Any advice of suggestions would be most gratefully received. Thank you!!!