Monday 06 Jan 2020
Susan Long â€“ Maggie's
If you've finished your cancer treatment you may have mixed feelings.
It can feel strange adjusting to life after cancer treatment, and many people talk about finding the â€˜new normalâ€™.
The information on this page will help you to find out more about adjusting to life after cancer treatment, and suggest ways to manage emotionally. (For practical issues after cancer treatment, read our section â€˜after treatment for cancerâ€™.)
From the time you were diagnosed, you may have been thinking about finishing your cancer treatment. Your treatment is likely to have taken weeks or months.
Whilst youâ€™re on treatment, you may have had to put your life on hold, focusing on the practicalities around hospital visits, tests and scans.
For a time, when treatment finishes, you may experience relief that it has now ended and that you can resume life as it was before. What sometimes surprises people is how things may have changed, within themselves, emotionally and physically.
Itâ€™s not unusual to miss the regular healthcare team contact, and the reassurance that brings. You may find youâ€™re worried about the cancer coming back, or how you might manage getting back to work or college.
Relationships often grow closer during cancer, but sometimes the stress takes its toll. You may not feel the same person you were before cancer.
It takes time to recover physically and emotionally from cancer treatment. You may find that your family and friends think things will be back to normal quickly. It's more about finding your â€˜new normalâ€™ - and this can take time. (For practical issues after cancer treatment, read our section â€˜after treatment for cancerâ€™.)
The end of treatment can trigger a range of emotions. You may find that whilst youâ€™re relieved the treatment phase has finished, you have concerns about the future. People often describe feeling worried about whether the cancer will come back, and how theyâ€™ll know what to look out for. A future that felt so certain before, may suddenly feel less secure.
Sometimes, feelings youâ€™ve kept under control during your treatment, may bubble to the surface. Youâ€™ve been through a life changing experience, and it may only be now that the reality of the diagnosis and treatment hits you.
You may find your confidence levels have dipped - youâ€™ve been through a great deal. You may have physical changes to deal with, as a result of cancer and its treatments. There can be longer term effects of treatment, including scarring, fertility issues and radiotherapy side effects. Body confidence and self esteem can take a while to recover, and the sexual side of your relationship can be affected.
You may need to grieve for the old â€˜youâ€™, and the life before cancer. For many people, life does pick up as before, but having cancer can change the emotional landscape. People often find they look at life, work and relationships differently - and the change in perspective can cause some anxiety.
Calling into your local ²Ñ²¹²µ²µ¾±±ðâ€™s can be a good first step to moving forward. You can talk with our cancer support specialists about your feelings after treatment, as well as practical ways to help build up your confidence and increase your wellbeing. Ask about our nutrition, exercise, relaxation and support sessions (whether in groups or one to one).
There may be times when you could do with some extra help with how youâ€™re feeling. Itâ€™s not uncommon to feel anxious or low in mood, but if the feelings are very intense, talk to your GP, and come in to one of our centres - you don't need a referral or an appointment, just come in.
Have a look at our blogs and links on this page to find out more about moving forward after cancer treatment has finished.
Talk with others about what you are experiencing. It can help to hear that what youâ€™re feeling is not unusual, and help you feel less alone.
Call into your nearest ²Ñ²¹²µ²µ¾±±ðâ€™s to connect with others in a similar position to yourself.
Last review: Nov 2021 | Next review: Nov 2022
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