Young Adults and Cancer: Survivorship

After cancer treatment, it takes time to develop new routines or pick back up old ones to create a “new normal.” For cancer survivors, the end of treatment isn’t the end of the cancer journey.  Recovery comes with its own set of challenges. After treatment, you will finally be able to process your diagnosis and consider what comes next.  Your “new normal” may not be the same as your life before cancer, but there may be positive changes as well as negative. Be patient with yourself and seek the support you need.

Come up with a follow-up care plan with your doctor.

  • You will need to check for recurrence on a regular basis. Your doctor will tell you what screenings you need and how often you need them. Be sure to follow your doctor’s orders. The sooner a recurrence or new issue is found the better.
  • You may have long-term side effects. Some possible long term side effects include fatigue, memory changes, swelling, pain, sleep disorders, dental problems, and changes in sexual functioning. Your healthcare team can help you manage these.
  • You may be more susceptible to infections or illnesses after treatment. Ask your healthcare team about any immunizations you may need.
  • You may wish to make lifestyle changes such as eating more healthy foods, quitting smoking, limiting drinking, and trying to relax more.
  • You may also need occupational therapy, physical therapy, pain management, or emotional support.
  • Ask a member of your healthcare team to help you find the best resources.  Always be open with your doctor and ask questions.
  • Call PearlPoint Cancer Support to discuss survivorship nutrition with a registered dietitian free of charge. Maybe we need to make this broader to include other things noted.

Nutrition

You may wish to change your eating habits. To learn more about nutrition, follow the links below:

Secondary malignancies

  • A cancer diagnosis at a young age can mean a greater chance of having a second cancer later in life.
  • Certain cancer treatments may increase your risk for other cancers.
  • Make sure you talk to your doctor about your risk.
  • Ask your healthcare team what type of screenings and screening schedule are best for you.

Returning to school or work

  • Returning to school or work can be hard. People may treat you differently. They may doubt your ability to work. It is important to know your rights as an employee or student.
  • You may need to make changes so you can do your job or schoolwork to the best of your ability. Let your employer or teacher know.
  • If necessary, ask your doctor to write a note explaining how your cancer may affect your work and what can be done to help.
  • Everyone may not be supportive. You may consider talking to people individually to work out problems.

Emotional Support

 

To learn more about young adult concerns, return to Young Adults and Cancer guidance page.