Cancer Survivorship new

Cancer Survivorship: Understanding the New Normal

Going from cancer patient to cancer survivor is a bit of a learning curve.

During treatment you had quick access to your cancer treatment providers, allowing you to ask a lot of questions about how you’re feeling and what’s normal. Once treatment is over, these opportunities are less frequent which can lead to some anxiety until you get used to what your new “normal” should feel like.  Be sure to reach out if you start to feel different or have new side effects and be sure to go to your scheduled follow up appointments so they can monitor you and your physical and mental health.

Of course, the number one question on the minds of most every cancer survivors is: will my cancer come back? Because no one can answer that question, obsessing over it isn’t healthy. You will need to find ways to focus on other things. Some of the practical concerns that need to be addressed during your transition period from cancer patient to cancer survivor might include:

  • Will you transition back to the work world? If so, how do you do that?
  • How will you deal with friends or co-workers who may not know exactly how to treat you?
  • How will you transition back into your pre-cancer roles/responsibilities within the immediate family?
  • What is the best way to manage any post-cancer financial concerns?
  • How will you ensure you’re making healthy choices regarding nutrition, physical activity, and mental health self-care?
  • How will you incorporate exercise into your routine? What kind is safe?
  • How will you safeguard against post-cancer depression and anxiety?

Don’t Do Survivorship Alone

Fortunately, there are many organizations and resources you can turn to for expert advice on the many questions you and your family may have about cancer survivorship.

  • Attend support groups - live or virtual
  • Be a mentor for a cancer patient - programs through the American Cancer Society allow survivors to easily serve in this role.
  • Online resources can be helpful when looking for information about a condition or side effect.
    • Use reliable online resources which may include some of the resources listed below.
    • Refer to your physician as the primary source of information related to your health.