© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
After Treatment and Survivorship
Read articles about how to deal with issues arising after treatment for cancer. This section also contains articles on survivorship issues.
A person who has been affected by cancer often wants to make a difference in the lives of people with the disease by becoming a cancer advocate. It can be a positive and empowering experience to help others by providing support to those living with cancer, raising public awareness, advancing cancer research, improving the quality of cancer care, and addressing legislative and regulatory issues that affect cancer care and research. Advocating for others also provides a forum to share stories about dealing with the cancer experience.
There are many ways to be a cancer advocate, working to improve the lives of people with cancer.
People living with cancer often are at a higher risk of infections, such as influenza, or the "flu." This risk is due to cancer and cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which weaken the immune system. The flu is a common, contagious illness that is caused by influenza viruses and affects the respiratory system (the organs involved in breathing).
Some men who receive treatment for prostate cancer experience one or more side effects depending on the type of treatment they receive, including incontinence (the inability to control urination), bowel problems, impotence (the inability to get an erection), infertility (the inability to father a child), hormonal changes, and chemotherapy-related side effects.Talk with your doctor to learn more about your risk of side effects before starting treatment, and let your doctor know which side effects you experience once treatment begins.
Food safety is important for people who are receiving or recovering from cancer treatment. Cancer and cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and bone marrow/stem cell transplants, can weaken the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight infection.
Many times people who have dealt with cancer firsthand want to support others with cancer. Whether you are a cancer survivor or a family member or friend of someone living with cancer, you have a lot of valuable experience that can help others facing cancer. Becoming a volunteer makes an important difference in someone else's life and often makes a positive difference in your own life. Being a volunteer offers different rewards for everyone. In fact, many volunteers say sharing their time makes them feel good, helps to build new friendships, and widens their network of support.
Many people with cancer face uncertainty. If you or someone you love has cancer or has had cancer, you may feel that your life is less secure or predictable than it once was or that you don’t know what the future holds. It is important to ask for support when you are feeling this way; there are many professionals available who can help.
Late effects are side effects of treatment that occur five or more years after treatment. Not all children treated for cancer will experience late effects, but it helps to learn about the possible late effects your child may experience, how the health care team will help manage, treat, and/or prevent late effects, and questions to ask the health care team.
Childhood cancer survivors are at risk for developing late effects, which are side effects that occur more than five years after treatment. These can result from both the cancer itself and the cancer treatment. Because more than 80% of children treated for cancer survive five years or more after treatment and are presumably cured, preventing and recognizing both physical and emotional late effects is an important part of cancer care.
Many women with cancer have surgery that affects their reproductive organs. Because of the connection of this area of the body to sexuality, many women experience feelings such as loss, sadness, or anxiety after gynecologic surgery. Some women may feel that they have lost their identity as women. Others may have concerns and questions regarding sexual intimacy and intercourse after surgery. It is important to remember that there are a number of strategies for coping with both the sexual and emotional side effects of gynecologic surgery.
Many women experience physical and emotional changes as result of a mastectomy. This article provides an overview of issues women often face after a mastectomy.