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Survivorship Tips for the New Normal

The transition from cancer treatment often is a challenging journey. During treatment, energy and activity are all around you. A team of medical professionals surrounds you, with added emotional and other critical support from your friends and family.

After treatment, you can feel alone, and uncertain. With less frequent hands-on care, you take on greater responsibility for managing all aspects of your “new normal” – your life and lifestyle as a cancer survivor.

A survivorship plan, a comprehensive roadmap for life after cancer can bring order and structure. Your medical team can provide complete details about follow-up medicines, treatment, tests, scans, and future appointments.

Here are some tips to help with your adjustment:

Talk with your oncologist to ask important questions:

  • What’s my monitoring plan?
  • What are my risks of recurrence?
  • What signs and symptoms should I look for in the future?
  • If a problem should arise, when should I call you and when should I call my primary care physician?
  • How often will I need to see you?
  • What imaging or testing do I need? How frequently?
  • Am I at risk for other health issues because of my cancer or the treatment I received?
  • How can I manage these risks?

Follow-up with your primary care physician.

Moving forward, your primary care physician will provide the majority of your medical care. We recommend you schedule an appointment and provide them with a treatment summary of your cancer care including:

  • The type and stage of cancer for which you were treated
  • Details about treatments you received
  • Potential long-term effects from your treatment
  • Oncologist recommendations for monitoring and surveillance

Consider joining a support group.

Concern about cancer recurrence is normal, but letting it rule your life is not healthy. Joining a cancer survivor’s support group or connecting individually with other cancer survivors can provide a deeper level of understanding and support, and help manage your fears about recurrence.