Life After Cancer
Survivorship focuses on the quality of life following a cancer diagnosis. It includes late effects of treatment, the need for individual survivorship care plans, consideration of advance directives (living will), and access to available resources for support and assistance with late effects of treatment. It is important to remember that a cancer diagnosis has a major impact on everyone involved, including caretakers. Once active treatment is over, patients may need help adjusting to a new normal and caretakers can help them on that journey.
The number of people who have had cancer has gone up greatly over the last 45 years in the United States. In 1971, there were 3 million people with cancer. Today there are more than 15.5 million. With this increase, having a care plan plays an even larger role than before. Patients tend to have less contact with their health care team. Therefore, treating life after cancer as a chronic disease and creating a plan to manage it is the best way to help the patient and caretakers continue to live well and receive the best quality health care. Survivors often experience a mix of emotions that include relief of treatment, uncertainty about the future, increased anxiety, fear of cancer recurrence, and survivor’s guilt amongst other things.
There is a wealth of information available online regarding what to expect when facing life after cancer and the importance of a personalized follow-up care plan. These links are particularly helpful.
- CDC Life after Cancer
- NIH A New Normal
- Cancer Survivorship Issues
- Managing Cancer as a Chronic Illness
- Self-Care During Cancer Treatment
- Caregiving After Treatment End
- Support for Caregivers of Cancer Patients
- CDC Advice for Caregivers of Cancer Survivors
- Caring for the Caregiver Guide
- Cancer Hope Network Caretaker Support
Survivorship Care Plans
- What are Advance Directives?
- Understanding Advance Directives
- Create a Free Alabama Advance Directive Online
- Alabama Advance Directive Form
Financial Support Resources
Please visit our Survivors Resources page for a complete list of additional resources, programs, and available services.
Page last updated: April 10, 2019