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When cancer treatment ends, survivors may experience a variety of emotions. They may feel relieved that the treatment was finally over. People might also have found new personal strengths during the process. There are also survivors who worry about their future, and it’s common since the transition from the treatment process back to the ‘normal’ life would take time. According to Dr. Lidia Schapira, a medical oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, during a question and answer with Cancer.Net, patients face some emotional concerns after the treatment including worries about the recurrence of cancer, personal identity, the future, and dying young or leaving things undone. Dr. Schapira added that some patients may also think about “poor body image or low self-esteem” due to the past treatments they’ve had.
The question now is: “How can survivors cope and move forward in life?” The answer to that is it depends on the type of cancer and treatment they have had, and also, on how a person would react. These tips listed by Cancercouncil.Com.Au on coping in for the next chapter of cancer survivors after their treatment are to be considered.
- Assess your life. You may want to ask yourself: Am I doing what fulfills me?
- Am I doing what I’ve always wanted to do? What is important to me?
- Focus on each day and expect both good and bad days.
Do things at your own pace. Avoid pressure to make decisions or start new activities straight away. Plan rest time between activities.
- If you feel apprehensive about going out for the first time, ask someone you love and trust to come along.
- Be prepared for mixed reactions from family and friends. If people don’t know how to react, try not to get upset. Some people avoid contact because cancer brings up difficult emotions. They are dealing with it in their own way.
- Share your feelings and worries with family and friends.
- Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about sadness or low moods.
- Practice some form of relaxation, such as meditation, visualization, yoga or deep breathing.
- Keep a journal. Many people find it helps to write down how they’re feeling.
- Join a support group. Speaking with other cancer survivors may help you cope and make you feel more optimistic about the future.
- Attend a survivorship program, if there is one in your area.
- Read other survivors’ stories. Learning how other people have made meaning of a cancer diagnosis may help.
- Take part in a survivors’ event, such as Relay for Life.
Being a survivor is already a statement that one can be a victor in this battle. Now, this new chapter should unfold with new hopes and strength from within. Their loved ones and families should always make them know that they are not alone for another day awaits them.