The end of cancer treatment is a time to celebrate. Most likely, you’re relieved to be finished with the demands of treatment and ready to put the experience behind you.
However, at the same time, it’s okay to feel sad and worried. It can take time to recover. Many cancer survivors struggle moving forward and might feel anxious about the future. It’s very common to have thoughts that the cancer will come back or fears about adjusting to a “new normal.”
The experts at the Cotton O’Neil Cancer Center are there for their patients from diagnosis and treatment through recovery and survivorship.
A New Normal
One of the hardest things after treatment is not knowing what happens next. This often leads to thoughts of doubt and uncertainty. Patients who have gone through cancer treatment often say that their life has new meaning or that they have a new perspective on things.
Your new normal may include:
- Changes to your diet — discovering foods you can eat and foods you should avoid
- New or different support groups
- Permanent scars on your body
- The inability to participate in activities you used to (examples may include playing sports or participating in rigorous exercises)
- Changes to your mental health (PTSD or survivor’s guilt)
The Stormont Vail Survivorship Program
At the Cotton O’Neil Cancer Center, we have an interdisciplinary survivorship team to address long-term effects of treatment, provide cancer surveillance and focus on wellness. After completion of your cancer treatment, you may be scheduled for a survivorship visit.
During survivorship visits, patients meet with their oncologist or nurse practitioner who provide a summary of the care that has been completed for cancer treatment. They make an assessment of any ongoing side effects from treatment causing concern including physical symptoms as well as emotional, psychosocial or spiritual concerns.
Your provider will involve whatever members of the interdisciplinary team are necessary to help manage the symptoms and focus on wellness.
Your Survivorship Team
Our interdisciplinary survivorship team is led by your oncologist and nurse practitioner. They work together to coordinate care with other members of the team including:
- Oncology nurses, social workers, dieticians, pharmacists and rehabilitation therapists
- Members of the lymphedema clinic
- Palliative medicine staff
- Mental health experts
- Spiritual care ministers
- Financial counselors
- Additional specialty support service members as needed