After a cancer diagnosis, people are often kept busy and preoccupied with medical appointments and the demands of treatment. Coming to the end of treatment may be a time when you notice the impact cancer had on you, your family and friends. Many people live for a long time after cancer treatment.
The challenges you face will vary depending on the type of cancer and treatment you had, and your personal situation.
Fear of the cancer coming back
Feeling anxious or frightened about the cancer coming back (recurrence) is a common challenge and one of the greatest concerns for cancer survivors. Most cancer survivors are likely to experience this fear to some degree and it may come and go for many years. This fear may affect your physical wellbeing, as well as your ability to enjoy life and make plans for the future. Some survivors describe it as a dark cloud or a shadow over their life.
Taking control of your health
Cancer survivors may benefit from maintaining or adopting a healthier lifestyle after their cancer treatment. This could include achieving a healthy body weight, eating a healthier diet, being physically active, protecting yourself from the sun, stopping smoking or cutting down on alcohol.
Research suggests that a healthy lifestyle (in combination with conventional treatment) can stop or slow the development of many cancers. Research also shows that some people who have had cancer may be at an increased risk of other health problems, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
While more research needs to be done in this area, the lifestyle changes recommended for cancer prevention may also help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back or new cancer developing. Such lifestyle changes can also help prevent other health problems. Make sure you see your GP for regular lifestyle health checks.
For more information about living well after cancer, please see these resources.
Living Well After Cancer
If you are a patient, family or friend, and would like to order a copy of Living Well After Cancer, please call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
You may also be interested in On The Road to Recovery, which is available in the following languages
On the Road to Recovery - Cantonese
On the Road to Recovery - Mandarin
On the Road to Recovery - Greek
On the Road to Recovery - Arabic
On the Road to Recovery - Vietnamese
On the Road to Recovery - Italian
On the Road to Recovery - Hindi
On the Road to Recovery - Tagalog
On the Road to Recovery - English
Support after cancer treatment
Many people find they need support after treatment finishes. Cancer Council offers many professional services and support programs that are here to help you. Call Cancer Council 13 11 20
Find out more about:
- Phone support
- Email support
- Cancer counselling
- Practical support
- Support programs
- Support groups
- Information sessions