Guide to Survivorship: Life After Treatment

Patient Expert

Yes, there IS life after cancer treatment. It's the goal we all have as we go through surgery, chemo, radiation, hormone therapy" the hard road we follow ridding our bodies of cancer.

Your life will never be exactly the same as it was prior to cancer; you've simply been through too much, both physically, and emotionally. The following posts will help you navigate life after cancer: the good (better health and a new outlook), the bad (recurrence), and everything in between.

First, let's look at the new you It's important to understand how healing happens: it's not overnight, and never as quick as you'd like. It helps to understand cancer's measured healing process.

-The New Normal - It's Here to Stay
-Moving at Survivor Pace
-Will I Ever Feel Better?  
-Enjoy the Dance!  
-After Inflammatory Breast Cancer: What Breast Cancer Awareness Month Means to Me

Immediately after treatment, many of us go through a panicky phase: is that all there is? How do they know the cancer is gone? What if it comes back?

-Moving from Breast Cancer Patient to Survivor: Smoothing the Transition  
-So, You've Finished Treatment: Now What?  
-Who's Taking Care of Me Now?  
-After Breast Cancer - Now What? Two Books Answer the Question

"Will my cancer come back?" It's a fear we all deal with. In time, it fades from an everyday issue, to casually wondering about that twinge in your back or pain in your breast. Wherever you are on the path, these posts on recurrence will help you deal.

-Fear Of Recurrence: Where Do You Stand?
-10 Ways to Limit Your Risk of Recurrence
-Local or Regional Recurrence: If Cancer Returns  

The medical community is beginning to realize that cancer is a lifelong condition. Whether you're 3 months past treatment or 25 years, you'll still deal with the disease on some level: physical, emotional, or both. Survivorship programs are a growing movement; read about it below.

-Survivorship: Cancer's Next Phase  
-Survivorship: A Guided Approach to the Years Ahead  
-Survivorship: Possible Challenges, Suggested Solutions  
-Patient Navigators - for Breast Cancer Survivors, too?  

We all have our own particular survivorship issues. Whether they're work-related, emotional, or spiritual, the posts below will help you cope.

-What Do YOU Disclose? Cancer Survivors in the Workplace  
-How's Your Emotional Health?
-Follow-Up Care: Balancing Vigilance and Faith
-Finding Joy After Breast Cancer: How Does Your Garden Grow?  
-Forget "Survivor" - We Are Cancer Conquerors!  
-Cancer Anniversaries
-10 Ways to Rebuild Your Emotional Lifestyle

Unfortunately, not all women survive breast cancer. Once it's spread - to bones, liver, lungs, or brain - there's no cure, just treatment. But many women live many years after finding "mets" -cancer metastasis. Read about what metastasis means, and how it's treated.

-When It Spreads: Breast Cancer Metastasis, Part I
-Treatment Choices: Metastatic Breast Cancer, Part 2
-Where Will It Go? Metastatic Breast Cancer, Part 3
-Distant Recurrence or Metastasis: When Cancer Returns

When at last the end comes, it's unutterably painful; but it's a path you have no choice but to follow. Whether you're facing death yourself, or helping a loved one in her final days, these posts will help:

-When Treatment Fails: Facing Death
-When It's Time to Let Go.