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Facing Forward: Life After Cancer Treatment

  • Updated: 05/16/2014

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Congratulations on Finishing Your Cancer Treatment

What Is "Normal" After Treatment?

"I thought when I'd finished treatment--when they looked at my tests and they said it looked good - I thought, OK, I'm done. But now I'm starting to realize that it's not over."
- Jane

The end of cancer treatment is often a time to rejoice. You are probably relieved to be finished with the demands of treatment and are ready to put the experience behind you. Yet at the same time, you may feel sad and worried. It's common to be concerned about whether the cancer will come back and what you should do after treatment.

When treatment ends, you may expect life to return to the way it was before you were diagnosed with cancer. But it can take time to recover. You may have permanent scars on your body, or you may not be able to do some things you once did easily. Or you may even have emotional scars from going through so much. You may find that others think of you differently now - or you may view yourself in a different way.

One of the hardest things after treatment is not knowing what happens next.

"Because the doctors and nurses never told me what to expect, I had very unrealistic expectations of wellness, and so did my family and friends. This led to a great deal of worry."
- Bob

What Is "Normal" After Cancer Treatment?

Those who have gone through cancer treatment describe the first few months as a time of change. It's not so much "getting back to normal" as it is finding out what's normal for you now. People often say that life has new meaning or that they look at things differently now. You can also expect things to keep changing as you begin your recovery.

Your new "normal" may include making changes in the way you eat, the things you do, and your sources of support, all of which are discussed in this document.