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Keep breast cancer away Easy English fact sheet

This fact sheet is about how to keep breast cancer away.

You can also view this fact sheet as a PDF, audio file or request a hard copy version that will be mailed out to you. 

How you might feel after treatment

 illustration of woman with a thought bubble with scribble in it symbolising worry It is normal to worry that breast cancer might come back.


Tick icon

It is good to know that most breast cancers do not come back.

In Australia we have good programs to screen and treat breast cancer.

Things you can do to help keep breast cancer away

You can live a healthy life


 illustration of fruit and vegetables eat healthy food
 illustration of woman happily running exercise
 woman happily relaxing in chair meditating relax
  illustration of butted-out cigarette drink less alcohol
do not smoke
 illustration of woman happily talking to her doctor see your doctor when you need to.

You can have a healthy weight

 Tick icon  If you are overweight it is good to lose weight.
When you have a healthy weight it helps to keep cancer away.
 Woman trying to sleep in bed but looking worried with eyes open in middle of the night illustration Do not worry about it.
 illustration of fruit and vegetables  It takes time to lose weight.
Try to lose a small amount of weight each week.
If you eat healthy food and exercise you might lose weight.

You can eat healthy food

It is good to eat healthy food.

illustration of fruit and vegetables   For example
  • fruit and vegetables
  • wholegrain cereals, for example
    – bread
    – rice
    – pasta
 illustration of dairy-rich food and drinks - milk, cheese, broccoli, yoghurt
  •  low fat meat, for example
    – beef
    – chicken
    – fish
  • dairy food, for example
    – low fat yoghurt
    – low fat cheese.

It can be hard to eat healthy food all the time.

You can try to

Clock icon
  • only eat when you are hungry
  • take time to chew your food
illustration of diary and pen  
  • plan your meals for the week
  • write down the food you eat
peanut icon
  • eat healthy snacks. For example, nuts.

You can also

 red cross icon
  • eat small meals
  • stop when you feel full
softdrink, chocolate, meat, salt  
  • eat less fried food
  • drink less juice and soft drink.

If you feel tired


Dining table and two chairs icon
  • sit down when you make food
  • buy food that is cut up and ready to cook.
glass being filled up with water from a tap (illustration)  It is also good to drink lots of water.
  • Try to drink 8 glasses of water each day.

You can exercise

 Woman happily running It is good to exercise.
 Tick icon Exercise can help keep breast cancer away.

Exercise can help you feel

  Woman happily relaxing on a chair
  • better
  • less tired
Woman grasping her back in pain, looking hurt 
  • less pain.



Clock icon You can start to exercise any time.
Start with a small amount of exercise.
Woman happily running (illustration)  When you feel ready do more exercise. 


  Tick icon You can exercise when you have treatment for breast cancer.
It is good to start exercise early in your treatment.

If you are under 65 try to

Calendar with a clock in front of it icon 
  • exercise up to 5 hours each week
  • lift small weights 2 days each week.

If you are 65 or over try to

 Skipping rope icon 
  • exercise up to 30 minutes each day
  • do different types of exercises.

There are lots of exercises you can do.
For example, you can

Walking icon
  • walk
swimming icon
  • swim
Dancing icon
  • dance
Golf flag icon
  • play golf
 Balancing stick yoga pose icon (Stick figure with foot on other calf muscle with arms outstretched)
  • do yoga.

It might be hard for you to exercise.
You might feel

 Illustration of woman trying to sleep in bed in middle of night but unable to, looking worried
  • tired  
 Woman clutching back in pain, looking hurt
  • sore 
 Woman walking with head down looking sad
  • sad.

Try to keep up with your exercise.
You can

Woman running and smiling
  • exercise with friends and family
  • do exercises you like
Skipping rope icon
  • try different exercises
music note icon
  • listen to music or watch TV when you exercise
 sun icon
  • exercise outside – it is free.

You can also 


 diary with pen illustration
  • make a plan to exercise 
 Woman happily running
  • exercise when you do not feel tired
 Image of three of the same woman running symbolising rushing with a red cross over the image
  • start slow
 Water filling up a glass from a tap (Illustration) 
  • drink lots of water
  • protect yourself from the sun.

You can try to drink less alcohol

 Tick icon When you drink less alcohol it can help keep breast cancer away.
Two wine glasses icon Try not to drink more than 2 standard alcohol drinks each day.

It might be hard for you to drink less alcohol.
You can try to 

burger icon
  • eat when you drink alcohol
 A glass getting filled with water from a tap (illustration)
  • start with a drink that has no alcohol
red cross icon
  • not drink fast
  • have drinks with low alcohol
 A glass getting filled with water from a tap (illustration)
  • drink water too.

You can try not to smoke

Cigarette that has been butted out  If you do not smoke it helps keep cancer away.
thumbs down icon If you smoke you can have more health problems.
Clock icon It can take longer to get better when you smoke.

It might be hard for you to not smoke.

Quitline logo and phone number 137848 You can call Quitline on 13 78 48 for ideas about how to stop.
Woman happily talking to her doctor (illustration)  Your doctor can also help you to stop.

You can do things that help you relax

When you relax it can help you feel better. 

You can try to

Balancing stick yoga pose icon (left leg bended and lifted onto calf of right leg while arms are outstretched)
  • do tai chi
  • do yoga
Woman happily sitting on a chair with eyes closed, meditating 
  • meditate.

You can also do things you like.
For example

Open book icon 
  •  read
 watering can icon
  •  garden
 music note icon
  •  listen to music
 walk icon 
  •  have a massage
  •  walk
 Film icon
  •  see a movie with a friend.

You can go to your doctor appointments

Woman happily talking to her doctor illustration It is important to know about your appointments.
It is important to go to your appointments
After treatment for breast cancer your doctor will need to check your breasts for changes.
 Woman with a thought bubble above her head with scribble in it symbolising worry (illustration) It is normal to worry about your appointment with your doctor.
Tick icon It is good to know if there is a new cancer.
It is good to treat the cancer early.

Your doctor can also get you help.
For example

 Woman happily talking with her psychiatrist (illustration) 
  • help with your medicine
  • find a person you can talk to about your problems.

It is good to check your breasts at home.


illustration showing breasts and right-side lymph nodes with a red circle on the right breast   
  • around your breast
  • behind your nipple
  • under your arm.

If you find something and you are worried call your doctor straight away.

More information

 BCNA logo Breast Cancer Network Australia website
Phone: 1800 500 258
Cancer Australia logo  Cancer Australia website
 Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre A Richard Pratt Legacy logo Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre website
 Cancer Council Australi logo

Cancer Council website
Phone: 13 11 20

Woman happily talking with her doctor illustration Talk to your doctor.

BCNA acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government and the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre - A Richard Pratt legacy.

© Scope (Aust) Ltd. You may only use this document for your own personal, non-commercial purposes. The Easy English in this publication has been prepared by Scope (Aust) Ltd, based on content provided by Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA), August 2017. To see the original, contact BCNA