What emotions are common after cancer treatment has ended?

When cancer treatment ends, you might feel excited about your future. You are likely to feel relieved that treatment is over and ready to move on with your life. On the other hand, you could feel worried about the future, angry that you had cancer, or embarrassed that you had to rely on others for help and support. Many people have mixed feelings.

When cancer treatment ends, you may have none, some, or all of the feelings and reactions listed below. You also may have thoughts, feelings, and reactions that are not mentioned. Here are some emotions to watch for:
  • Fear of recurrence
  • Anxiety or feeling worried
  • Worries about self-image or body image
  • Sadness
  • Depression
  • Grief and loss 
  • Guilt
  • Uncertainty
  • Anger
  • Emotional numbness 
  • Spiritual distress

You'll likely feel joy and relief once you finish treatment for cancer, but expect to experience some emotions at the other end of the spectrum, such as fear and loneliness too, says palliative medicine specialist Dr. Stewart Fleishman. In this video, he explains why.

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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.