For many, cancer treatment is all-consuming. Day in and day out, patients are told what to do and when to do it. So, naturally, they’re often a little unsure about what comes next when they finally hear the words, “You’re cancer-free!”
I always tell people there’s no singular solution. For some, the right answer is returning to the life they had before cancer, and for others, survivorship comes with significant adjustments and a whole new path. Regardless, I help each person understand that cancer recovery is about both physical and emotional healing. Feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, fear and guilt are normal; in fact, studies show that about 10 percent of survivors experience some form of mental distress that accompanies becoming cancer-free.
But even though these feelings are normal, they don’t have to be the new normal. If you learn to recognize the signs of each of these emotional challenges, you can begin to take measures to overcome them.