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As a cancer survivor, why do I feel sad or depressed?

Cancer survivors are often surprised to find feelings of sadness or depression after treatment ends. There may be a feeling of let down instead of the joy that is expected.

The focus on fighting cancer may have lasted so long that there is sometimes a sense of emptiness when treatment is over. This can include feelings of loss because the healthcare team is no longer seen on a regular basis. In some cases, there may not have been time to think about your emotions during treatment. You may not have been aware of even feeling sadness until after the treatment ended because you were focused on getting through the challenges of the treatment phase.

Sadness or a mild depressed mood typically lessens and goes away as one is able to return to usual routines and as physical strength returns. At this time, there may also be more interest in exploring old or new interests and activities. However, if sadness or depression continues to cause problems, talk with your healthcare team about getting help. This can help speed up the healing process and a return to quality of life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.