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A common path: Life after cancer

Coping after cancer treatment is over

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Just as cancer treatment affects your physical health, it can affect the way you feel, think, and do the things you like to do. Just as you need to take care of coping after cancer treatment is over body after treatment, you need to take care of your emotions. The values you grew up with may affect how you think about and deal with cancer.

Some people may feel they have to be strong and protect their friends and families. Others seek support from loved ones or other cancer survivors or turn to their faith to help them cope. Worrying about the cancer coming back is normal, coping after cancer treatment is over, especially during the first year after treatment. This is one of the most common fears people have after cancer treatment.

For some, the fear is so strong that they no longer enjoy life, coping after cancer treatment is over, sleep well, eat well, or even go to follow-up visits. As one survivor put it, "Cancer is just part of life, and we always have hope.

As time goes by, many survivors report that they think about their cancer less often. However, even years after treatment, some events may cause you to become differin photo aging. Follow-up visits, symptoms similar to the ones you had before, the illness of a family member, or the anniversary of the date you were diagnosed can trigger concern.

When you were diagnosed, you may have put concerns such as family, work, or finances aside. Now that treatment coping after cancer treatment is over over, these issues may begin to resurface.

Many cancer survivors also worry that stress may have played a role in their illness. No research shows that stress causes cancer, but we do know that stress can coping after cancer treatment is over other health problems. Finding ways to reduce or control coping after cancer treatment is over stress in your life may help you feel better. Devoting time to any activities that make you feel calm or relaxed may help. Reducing Stress Many survivors have found coping after cancer treatment is over like the ones below useful in dealing with their worries after treatment ends.

Ask your doctor, nurse, social worker, or local cancer organization about taking part in activities like these. Yes, but why die mad? So I joked about it all the way through, and I think it helped me.

Laughter can help you relax. When you laugh, your brain releases chemicals that produce pleasure and relax your muscles. Even a smile can fight off stressful thoughts. Of course, you may not always feel like laughing, but other people have found that these ideas can help:.

You may even find that you can laugh at yourself. But I just stuck it on my head and went home, coping after cancer treatment is over. After treatment, you may still feel angry, tense, or sad. For most people, these feelings go away or lessen over time.

For some people though, these emotions can become more severe, coping after cancer treatment is over. The painful feelings do not get any better, and they get in the way of daily life. These people may have a medical condition called depression. For some, cancer treatment may have added to this problem by changing the way the brain works.

Getting Help Talk with your doctor. If your doctor thinks that you suffer from depression, he or she may treat it or refer you to other experts. Many survivors get help from therapists who are experts in both depression and helping people recovering from cancer. Your doctor may also give you medicine to help you feel less tense. If you find it hard to talk about your feelings, you may want to show your doctor this booklet. Getting the help you need is important for your life and your health.

Do I Need Help? If you have any of the following signs for more than 2 weeks, talk to your doctor about treatment. Many people find themselves feeling angry about having cancer or about things that happened to them during their diagnosis or treatment. They may have had a bad experience with a health care provider or with an unsupportive friend or relative. Feeling angry coping after cancer treatment is over normal. And sometimes it can motivate you to take action.

But hanging on to it can get in the way of taking care of yourself or moving on. And then when I finished, there was this instant separation, and I really felt a loss.

After treatment, you may miss the support you got from your health care team. You may feel as if your safety net has been pulled away and that you get less attention and support from health care providers now that treatment is over. Feelings like these are normal any time your regular contact with people who mean a lot to you comes to an end. Others may be scared of the disease, coping after cancer treatment is over.

You may also feel that only others who have had cancer can understand your feelings. Getting Help What can you do to make yourself feel better? Try to think about how you could replace the emotional support you used to receive from your health care team, such as:.

We cry, we laugh, we carry on. Support groups can have many benefits. Even though a lot of people receive support from friends and family, the number one reason they join a support group is to be with others who have had similar cancer experiences. Some research shows that joining a support group improves quality of life and enhances survival.

Some may be for one type of cancer only, while others may be open to those with any cancer. Some may be for women or for men only, coping after cancer treatment is over. Support groups may be led by health professionals or fellow cancer survivors.

Support groups can be helpful for children or family members of survivors. These groups focus on family concerns such as role changes, relationship changes, financial worries, and how to support the person who had cancer. Some groups include both cancer survivors and family members. Not only do support groups meet in person, they also meet online. Internet support groups can be a big help to people with computers who live in rural areas or who have trouble getting to meetings.

Some Internet groups are sponsored by cancer organizations, while others are not monitored. With informal chat groups, you can seek support at any time of the day or night. While these online groups can provide valuable emotional support, they may not always offer correct medical information. Be careful about any cancer information you get from the Internet, and check with your doctor before making any changes that are based on what you read.

Is a Support Coping after cancer treatment is over Right for Me? A support group may not be right for everyone. Or you may find that your need for a support group changes over time.

You may also want to find another cancer survivor with whom you can discuss your cancer experience. Many organizations can pair you with someone who had your type of cancer and is close to your age and background. The Association of Cancer Online Resources ACOR offers access to mailing lists that provide support and information to those affected by cancer and related disorders.

The ACOR mailing lists are a group of free, unmoderated discussion lists for patients, family, friends, researchers, and physicians to discuss clinical home built airplane plans other issues and advances pertaining to all forms of cancer. Learn more online at www. Nothing could ever be the same.

I was very sad at my losses, but I felt I had been given the gift of a new life. Survivors often express the need to understand what having had cancer means to their lives now. In fact, many find that cancer causes them to look at life in new ways. They may reflect on spirituality, the purpose of life, and what they value most. These changes can be very positive.

Many report feeling lucky or blessed to have survived treatment coping after cancer treatment is over take new joy in each day, coping after cancer treatment is over.

For some, the meaning of their illness becomes clear only after they have been living with cancer for a long time; for others, the meaning changes over time. Often, people make changes in their lives to reflect what matters most to them now.

You might spend more time with your loved ones, place less focus on your job, or enjoy the pleasures of nature. You might also find that going through a crisis like cancer gives you renewed strength. Faith, Religion, or Spirituality Having a serious illness can affect your spiritual outlook, regardless of whether you feel connected to traditional religious beliefs. After treatment, you and your loved ones may struggle to understand why cancer has entered your lives. You may wonder why you had to endure such a trial in your life.

Cancer survivors often report that they look at their faith or spirituality in a new way. For some, their faith may get stronger or seem more vital. Others may question their faith and wonder about the meaning of life or their purpose in it. Many say they have a new focus on the present and try to live each day to the fullest.

Many survivors have found that their faith, religion, or sense of spirituality is a source of strength. They say that through their faith, they have been able to find meaning in their lives and make sense of their cancer experience.


Coping after cancer treatment is over