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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.
Many women who plan or undergo a unilateral mastectomy (removal of a breast) have the option of reconstructive surgery to reshape the breast, or a breast prosthesis (an artificial breast). This article examines the option of using a breast prosthesis after 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.
Lymphedema is an abnormal buildup of fluid (lymph) that causes swelling, usually in the arms and legs. Lymph is the fluid that carries immune cells (mostly lymphocytes) and proteins found in the blood throughout the body. It is similar to a "highway" for your immune system. Lymph nodes are tiny, bean-shaped organs that fight infection. They can be compared to "rest stops" for your immune cells. Sometimes they are also referred to as filters. Any treatment--such as radiation therapy or surgery--that stops or slows the drainage of the lymph nodes under the arm increases the risk of lymphedema. This article discusses lymphedema caused by surgery and/or radiation therapy for breast cancer.
We’ve all heard of post-traumatic stress, which is generally used to describe feelings of anxiety and fear following a frightening or life-threatening experience, such as receiving a cancer diagnosis and undergoing treatment. However, such experiences can also cause a positive life change or a period of improvement. In fact, some studies suggest that reports of growth following a traumatic event are more common than reports of psychiatric disorders taking place from the experience.
ASCO member Evan J. Lipson, MD, launched a website that offers people with cancer and their families an opportunity to record and preserve audio interviews as a way to share their personal stories with others. Here, Cancer.Net talks with Dr. Lipson to learn more about why he created this website, SeizetheDays.org.
Many people mark milestones in their cancer treatment plan and survivorship in a variety of ways. For many people, the one-year and five-year cancer-free milestones are very meaningful. Other milestones and anniversary dates can be marked as well, such as the end of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, the date of your cancer diagnosis, the anniversary of surgery to treat your cancer, or after each follow-up visit.
After treatment for cancer, many people look forward to returning to the work. Working can provide opportunities to reconnect with colleagues and friends, focus on something other than cancer, get involved in interesting and challenging projects, and start regaining a normal routine and lifestyle. It is also a time of transition and questions may arise about how to talk with coworkers and employers about cancer and how to understand workplace rights and responsibilities. Some preparation before returning to work can help make this transition a little easier.
As people complete their cancer treatment, they may experience a range of emotions, from relief that treatment is over to apprehension about the future. In some ways, this transition is one of the least understood aspects of the cancer experience. Cancer.Net talked with Lidia Schapira, MD, about coping with the end of active cancer treatment.
Physical therapists are valuable members of the cancer care team. To explain their role, Cancer.Net welcomes Jean O'Toole, PT, MPH, CLT-LANA who has 40 years of experience in physical therapy and has worked at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston since 1992. She has a particular interest and experience in physical therapy for people with cancer.
For some cancer survivors, looking for a new job or reentering the job market can be a challenging experience. However, unless you have physical or mental disabilities that limit the type of work you are planning to perform, your cancer history should not affect your ability to get a job. If you are qualified for a job, an employer cannot refuse to hire you simply because you have a history of cancer.