Life after cancer

Increasingly more people with cancer can return to normal life following treatment. Getting through the illness takes time. Once treatment ends it is best to take things slowly and regain your strength.

Your health will improve and you will start to regain strength. At first you should listen to your body and try out how far you can manage doing everyday chores and work tasks. Recovering from cancer happens gradually.

Cancer and wellbeing

Life after cancer awakens all kinds of ideas and thoughts. Once treatment is over it can feel as if you have been cut adrift. Close interaction with nursing staff ends and you have to manage on your own. It is important to check with the nursing staff how, where and when your condition will be monitored.

After treatment − follow-up care

Once treatment and monitoring have finished many people start to worry that their cancer will reoccur. It is possible that this fear will never totally disappear. But it does get less over time. You can find out from doctors and statistical information the risk of cancer recurrence. But it is important to remember that statistics do not describe individual cases. People and cancers are dissimilar. This is why one cannot predict individual cases of cancer recurrence.

Cancer and its treatment can alter a person’s outward appearance. In some cases, both illness and treatment can bring about lasting and visible changes.

Following treatment, your recovery from cancer only begins when you have had time to process your own feelings. Everyday life can at first be a challenge and patients often need the support of their loved ones.

Many people find that their lives are richer following a severe illness. Cancer reminds us that we are human and of life’s finiteness. The disease can provide a chance for us to learn to differentiate between what’s essential in life and what’s not.

It is often rewarding to discuss such issues with other cancer patients or to participate in rehabilitation courses.

Rehabilitation courses

Peer support

Discussion forum

Nationwide patient networking run by the Association of Cancer Patients in Finland (in Finnish)

It is not always possible to cure cancer, but the spread of the disease can be slowed down or even halted. In this case the cancer becomes a chronic condition.

Chronic cancer

 

Sources

Suomen Syöpäpotilaat ry. Selviytyjän matkaopas. Helsinki, 2014.