Medical science is advancing on a daily basis. More and more people are surviving cancer – and entering a stage called 'survivorship'.
- Most people living with cancer finish active treatment and over time, develop a new appetite for life.
- As challenging as cancer treatments are, many survivors and their loved ones come to believe that cancer was one of the most important things that ever happened to them and are thankful for what it’s taught them.
- The transition from active treatment to survivorship can be both an exciting and confusing time for many people.
- Many survivors and their families report feeling a sense of relief and closure towards the end of treatment. However, when treatment ends many families also experience emotions like joy, anger, anxiety, fear, guilt and loss. With survivorship comes the beginning of a whole new stage, filled with new and sometimes soul-searching questions.
Questions you may have
- What difference has cancer made to my life?
- What does it mean to have survived a life threatening disease?
- How does someone actually survive cancer?
- Does surviving cancer simply mean physically recovering?
Lance Armstrong once said:
”What does survivorship mean? Once you finish treatment the doctors say ‘you’re cured, so go off and live, happy trails’. But there is no support system in place to help you deal with the emotional ramifications of trying to return to the world after being in battle for your existence. You don’t just wake up one morning and say ‘I’m done with cancer and now it’s time to go right back to the normal life I had’. What shape was my life supposed to take? What now?”.
What happens after treatment is finished?
- Figuring out what to do after cancer treatment is one of the hardest things for a cancer survivor to do.
- It’s common to just want to take some time out – to do something for yourself and rethink life. Some people feel like they have fought a mountainous battle for so long and now need the time to rest from that fight. Others expect to return immediately to ordinary life after treatment, and when their expectations are not met they often experience confusion and self-doubt.
- These feelings may be heightened for people who have physical or emotional reminders of their treatment.
Remember: Getting over cancer is not as simple as healing the body and getting rid of the disease.
Surviving cancer involves managing the fears and challenges that come with it… it’s a lot more complicated than just fixing the physical side of things. You might still feel low, even though everything is meant to be fine now. Don’t worry, it’s quite natural considering the ordeal you’ve just been through.