When cancer treatment ends you start to focus on the future. There’s relief that treatment is over. Some survivors report a sense of gratitude and renewed wonder about life, while others describe a deepened closeness to loved ones and friends. Often there is a desire to meet new goals and get the most out of life.
However, it can be a surprise to also discover uncomfortable feelings and unanswered questions. You have more time to think about things than you did during treatment. You may feel angry about having had cancer. Some survivors begin to worry about the unknowns of the future. Some feel concerned that they're no longer receiving treatment to get rid of cancer cells. There can be financial concerns or regrets about having had to rely on others for help and support. Here are a few resources to help you better prepare for life as a survivor of cancer.
- National Cancer Survivorship Resource by American Cancer Society
- Facing Forward: Life After Cancer Treatment by National Cancer Institute
- Journey Forward A free survivorship care plan builder
- Survivorship: Living with and Beyond Cancer by National Cancer Institute
- Survivorship: During and After Treatment by American Cancer Society
Cancer and Careers — an organization dedicated to helping cancer survivors with employment and work related issues
Now that your cancer treatment is done, you’re ready to get back to normal life. However, many cancer survivors find that life after cancer is a “new” normal. Physical and emotional changes brought on by cancer or its treatment can linger for years or a lifetime. As a survivor, regular follow-up care is important. Your care plan should include frequent visits to a primary care doctor, appropriate cancer screenings and healthy lifestyle choices such as exercise and proper nutrition.
- Regular physical exams with an overview of your recent medical history
- Monitoring for early detection of new or returning cancers
- Management of cancer and treatment-related side effects
- Lifestyle coaching and tips to help reduce cancer risk
- Referrals to community resources and support groups