Cancer-Journey-After-treatment

After Treatment

Overview

Some people who have been through cancer treatment feel that they can never get enough information. When their treatment is over, they have time to think and often have questions about what has happened to them. In contrast, some people would rather not focus on what has happened and prefer to let their healthcare team advise them.

In this section you can:

  • Find information to help you create your Survivorship Care Plan
  • Learn about what happens after treatment and how to get support
  • Get answers to your questions about palliative care, advance care planning and substitute decision-making
After Treatment Questions

After-treatment questions You may have questions about the after-effects of treatment, ways to deal with emotional ups and downs, diet and exercise, or practical issues such as returning to work. You can work with your doctor as well as your oncology team to find answers to these questions. Remember that no question is silly or trivial.

Here are some sample questions to ask your healthcare team to help you understand what to expect once cancer treatment ends.

What treatments and drugs have I been given?

You can ask your doctor to give you a written record of the type of cancer you had, what treatments and drugs you received and the potential side effects of these treatments.

Do I need any follow-up care?

You can ask your doctor about what kinds of screening or tests you should be receiving once your treatment is complete. Also ask for a schedule of when you should be following up with your primary care provider or oncologist to have these tests done. Write these dates into your calendar to remind you about follow-up care.

Will I get cancer again?

You can ask your doctor about the risk of your cancer coming back or the chances of you getting another kind of cancer. Ask what signs or symptoms you should look for. You can also ask about whether you should tell close relatives about a family risk of cancer and whether family members may need cancer screening.

What should I do to maintain my health and well-being?

You can ask your healthcare team about maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Even though I survived cancer, will I feel different physically?

Cancer treatment has different effects on everyone. Some survivors have serious side-effects from treatment. You should be aware of the possible short-term and long-term effects that may arise. Radiation therapy can affect a person’s heart, stamina or fertility. You should ask your doctor how your treatment could affect your long-term health and mental functioning.

Are there support groups I can turn to?

There are many community and national cancer organizations and other groups that offer support or information on survivorship issues and challenges. To find information and support in your community, you can talk to your doctor, nurse or social worker

Now that I've finished treatment, who will monitor my care?

Find out who on your cancer-care team will be the main contact for you Ask who will coordinate follow-up care related to your cancer treatment.

Find out more about noticing your own changes and possible long-term side effects of cancer treatments

Your Healthcare Team After Treatment

Your Healthcare Team after Treatment Until now, doctors, nurses and other health professionals have guided you on your cancer journey. From your earliest tests through your diagnosis and treatment, these professionals provided you with information and helped you make choices.

Now that your cancer treatment is over you are entering a new stage in your journey. It is perfectly normal to worry about your future. You may not want to give up the connection to your healthcare team. Even though your family and friends may be willing to help, you may feel that you still need the expertise of healthcare professionals to guide you.

What You Need To Know Now

All the health professionals who guided you through your cancer experience are still available to support you if you need them. In fact, most will tell you to call them if you have any questions about treatment after-effects, new symptoms or other concerns.

However, a few things will change now that you have completed your treatment.

  • You will see your healthcare team less often.
    You will still need to have medical appointments, but you will have fewer visits because you don't require active treatment. Now your checkups may be with your oncologist and your doctor. You may not need to see all of these professionals regularly, but they will be available if you need them.
  • The size of your team will become smaller.
    You will not see as many health professionals as you did during active treatment.
  • Your doctor may coordinate your care.
    It is important to have a doctor that you see regularly rather than seeing several different doctors. Your doctor will look after your health together with your cancer care team. Other medical professionals are there for you if needed.

You And Your New Healthcare Team

The Most Important Member – You
You have probably learned a lot about how the healthcare system works and how you like to be treated. You are the most important member of your healthcare team and you should continue to take part in all decisions about your health.

Your Doctor
You will need one doctor who works closely with you, does a complete physical checkup every year and manages your general health. Your doctor will help you keep track of your physical, emotional and social needs and will make sure that any other care you need is arranged as soon as possible. You need to make sure that your doctor is aware of all your medical appointments and the results of any tests. You should ensure that a copy of all reports and notes about all visits to specialists and oncologists are sent to your doctor.

Nurse
Nurses can be your most helpful guides in the healthcare system. They can help you meet your physical, emotional and practical needs. There are many different types of nurses who help patients and their families. The nurses you will now see the most will probably be the nurses who work with your doctor and perhaps an oncology nurse.

Oncologist
You may continue to see your medical, surgical and radiation oncologists. Each oncologist will give you a physical examination that relates to the treatment that he or she gave you.

Social Worker
Social workers can help you and your family with the emotional and practical aspects of coping with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. After treatment, social workers can refer you to support in your community.

Dietitian
Dietitians can help you learn about eating well during and after cancer treatment and can give you advice about nutrition and diet. A dietitian can work with you in a one-on-one consultation to plan a healthy diet. The dietitian will also help you modify your diet plan as your health changes.

Transitioning Your Care

Providing The Best Possible Information To Your Family Doctor

Providing the Best Possible Information Keep up-to-date records of all the medical care you receive for cancer and other conditions because future decisions about your care may depend on what treatment you received in the past. Notes from your clinic visits should be sent to your doctor. Check with your healthcare team to make sure this is happening. If you change doctors or go to several different doctors, you may be the only one who has your complete health history.

Make sure you keep your family doctor up to date on:

  • Any medications you are taking now (including over-the-counter medicines such as pain relievers, laxatives, nutritional supplements, vitamins and minerals). Your doctor needs this information to avoid problems when prescribing new medicine for you.
  • Whether you are using or considering herbal therapies. Herbs can affect your body the same way that drugs and medications do, so consult your doctor before using herbal remedies to make sure they are safe and right for you.
  • When your next screening test, such as a mammogram or PSA test, is due.
  • Which specialists you are still seeing.
  • Any fears or concerns you have, especially those that might affect your recovery.
  • Any lifestyle changes you make, such as quitting smoking or changing your diet or exercise routine.
  • How you feel. Do you have any symptoms or changes that are worrying you?
What Is A Cancer Survivor

What is a Cancer Survivor The term "survivor" means different things to different people. Some people use it to mean anyone with cancer, such as someone who has been newly diagnosed or is undergoing treatment. Others use it to refer only to people who are alive several years after their cancer treatment. The term "survivor" can mean anyone who has cancer, whether they are newly diagnosed, are in remission or have advanced cancer.

Some people don't like the term "cancer survivor", but for others, it is a positive way of describing their situation. Using it can help people to work through challenges they may have during and after their illness.

Cancer survivorship deals with the physical, emotional, social, mental and practical issues surrounding cancer, from diagnosis, through recovery or until the end of life. Survivorship focuses on your life beyond your cancer diagnosis and treatment. It focuses on quality of life during and after treatment and on access to follow-up care after treatment.

What Is Palliative Care?

​​What is Palliative Care Palliative care helps you and your loved ones improve your quality of life when facing a life-threatening illness. Palliative care is active, total care that focuses on the treatment of pain and other physical symptoms, while also addressing your psychological, spiritual and social needs.

The Palliative Care Center at Kuwait Cancer Control Center offers a wide range of services with the goal of keeping you comfortable and well cared for.

Your Palliative Care Team

You and your loved ones are the key people on your palliative care team. You will work with the professional members of your team to improve your quality of life. A number of different people may be on your palliative care team. You may see some or all of these people:

  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Physiotherapist
  • Pharmacist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Social worker
  • Spiritual care provider
  • Volunteer