The psychological impact of cancer is significant and concerns about it reoccurring may last many years after the original diagnosis. There may also be the fear of check-ups and needing further treatment, with more life disruptions, or concerns about how a new diagnosis might affect family and friends.
Some of the feelings that people may experience:
- Worry or anxiety
- Difficulty sleeping
- Having trouble concentrating
- Feeling hopeless
- Low mood
Managing these through positive lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly and healthy eating habits can help both physically and emotionally.
Recognising fears and emotions and reaching out to a friend or family member to talk may help to alleviate some of the negative feelings.
Cancer support groups can be helpful to meet with others who have been through similar experiences, giving the opportunity to share feelings and fears with others who understand.
It may feel more appropriate to make an appointment with a doctor to discuss any fears, worries or concerns. Your GP can then help you connect with other health professionals such as a psychologist, who can work with you to help reduce patient and family distress following diagnosis and during the treatment of cancer. A psychologist will use safe and effective therapies adapted to suit the needs of the patient, providing strategies to cope and achieve a more positive frame of mind.
Being informed about the chances of your cancer reoccurring, along with regular check-ups and knowing what signs and symptoms to watch out for, can promote improved self-management, build confidence and reduce fears over time.