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Why do I have such mixed feelings after my cancer treatments have ended?

Many survivors expect to be thrilled and feel relieved after cancer treatment ends -- and some do feel this way. However, you may be surprised to find that there can be uncomfortable feelings and unanswered questions such as:
  • Is the cancer gone for good?
  • Will I face late effects from the cancer or the treatment?
  • Shouldn't I feel completely happy now that the treatment is gone?
  • What is going to happen now?
  • What should I do now that I no longer see my cancer care team?
Emotions often surface unexpectedly. Knowing what some of these emotions are can help you understand what you are experiencing and help you find ways to manage your reactions.

The mixture of feelings you have when treatment ends and the process of moving on with life may be surprising for many reasons including:
  • Unacknowledged feelings about your experience with cancer may
           surface. Until now, you may have placed your energy into
           managing the crisis of the diagnosis and treatment. You may
           have put off paying attention to your feelings about the
           cancer experience.
  • You may not have been prepared for emotional effects. You may
           have read and heard a lot about the physical and practical
           aspects of cancer and what you might expect to happen.
           However, you might not have read or heard as much about
           any emotional stress that you could experience.
  • People around you may not understand the emotional stress that
           completing treatment can bring. Family members, friends and
           even your healthcare team may be ready to celebrate the
           victory of your beating cancer. They may expect you to get
           back to normal and get on with your life. Acknowledging fears
           or sadness when others are celebrating your success can be
           difficult.

 

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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.