Emotional Health After Treatment

Patients often have difficult emotions after a traumatic experience like cancer, and may struggle with:

Almost 80 percent of all survivors experience some degree of fear of recurrence or worry their cancer might come back.
Studies show more than 35 percent of cancer survivors experience feelings of post-traumatic stress.
Cancer treatment often results in changes to your body.  Some of these changes may be short-term and others may be permanent.  Acknowledging and processing these changes, such as the loss of your breasts or hair, the presence of scars, or changes in weight, is part of the recovery process for cancer survivors.
More than 25 percent of long-term cancer survivors report anxiety, a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease. It’s normal to feel emotionally drained and anxious when dealing with cancer, and for many, this feeling can last long after active treatment ends.
It’s normal for your cancer experience to make you feel sad or down, but about 15 percent of cancer survivors experience depression. These feelings can be intense and last long after treatment is over.
More than 60 percent of cancer survivors report feelings of guilt, grief and loss that they survived when others didn’t. Post-traumatic growth – While survivors might not say they are glad they had cancer, more than 80 percent say they experienced positive changes as a result of their experience. Many have a greater appreciation for life, a deeper understanding of their own strength or resilience, have stronger relationships, or have made positive changes because of their cancer experience. These are some common feelings you might experience after completing treatment. Talking to a professional can help you navigate these emotions.
When coping with cancer, survivors often reflect on issues related to spirituality such as the purpose of life, the meaning of suffering, the meaning of their illness and what they value most in life. Regardless of how it is practiced, spirituality can be an important aspect of life and a source of comfort after a major illness.