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Life After Cancer
Cancer can be deadly, but millions of people beat it. Surviving cancer is one of the most amazing success stories a person can have. Ending cancer treatment is exciting, but it is also challenging. There are so many questions about the future.
Follow-up Care TOP
Although your cancer treatment has ended, you will still need to have regular appointments with your doctor. This may be every 3-4 months for the first two years after treatment. Eventually, you may need a check-up only once or twice a year. Still, these check-ups are an important part of your follow–up care, so work with your doctor to develop the follow-up schedule that works best for you and your specific cancer.
During a follow-up appointment, the doctor will do a physical exam. They may also do some blood tests and x-rays. But this is also an important time to talk with your doctor and address any physical or emotional issues that you are experiencing. Examples of important issues that you should discuss include:
Dealing With the Fear TOP
It is natural to feel worried before your follow-up appointment. You may be afraid the doctor will tell you that cancer has returned. Some ideas to help you cope with your fear of cancer returning include:
Developing a Wellness Plan TOP
An important step you can take to living a healthy life after cancer is to develop a wellness plan. A wellness plan consists of ways you can take care of your physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. Ask your doctor to help you create a plan for your health.
Everyone’s wellness plan is different, depending on each person’s situation. But, here are some suggestions that you may want to include in your wellness plan:
Finding Normalcy TOP
After cancer treatments have ended, you may just want to get back to normal—the way life was before the diagnosis. But, this rarely happens. If needed, consider looking into counseling, home care, support groups, and other specialized services to help you adjust back into daily life. Cancer has a profound impact on a person, but it doesn’t have to be for the worse. It may just take time to figure out what normal is for you now.
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
BC Cancer Agency
Canadian Cancer Society
It's easy to add fruits and vegetables to your diet. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
Cancer: after cancer treatment. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at:
Facing forward series: life after cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute website. Available at:
Low-fat foods. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
Shopping list: basic ingredients for a healthy kitchen. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
Last reviewed October 2017 by
EBSCO Medical Review BoardMichael Woods, MD, FAAP
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