After cancer treatment, you may expect life to go back to the way it was before your cancer diagnosis. However this isn’t always possible. Do not worry if it takes you a while to find your feet again. You still need to recover physically and emotionally. You will eventually settle into new routines that no longer revolve around treatment and appointments. Some cancer survivors describe this time after cancer treatment ends as finding a “new normal.”
Survivorship Care Plan. After you finish treatment, you should receive a written survivorship care plan from your healthcare team. This plan should include:
- List of all your healthcare providers
- Diagnosis summary with specifics such as stage, sites, of involvement, and molecular or genetic markers
- Treatment summary with specifics such as names of treatments/drugs used, radiation (type, dose, site), response to treatment, and side effects
- Maintenance treatment information with name of drugs, dosage, and duration
- Follow-up appointment schedule with doctor’s contact information and frequency of appointments
- List of possible late- and long-term effects
- Health and wellness lifestyle recommendations such as nutrition, exercise, other cancer and disease screenings, and referrals to specialists (as needed) to assist with these recommendations.
Long-Term or Late Effects. You may experience long term of late effects from treatment. Some side effects may not surface for months or even years after treatment. Talk to your healthcare team about what to expect. Many side effects are manageable with treatment, medication, or lifestyle changes.
Secondary Cancer. As a YA after cancer treatment, you may have an increased risk of having a second cancer diagnosis later in life. Always let any new doctors you see know about your cancer diagnosis and treatment. Ask your doctor what screening schedule is best for you.
Fear of Recurrence. You may be worried that the cancer will relapse or “come back.” These fears are normal even years into remission. Educate yourself by talking to your healthcare team. Know the risk of recurrence and what can be done to lower the chances.
- Download or order The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s free publications:
- Other Helpful Organization For Young Adults
- Follow Up Care and Survivorship