Survivorship: Why Your Continued Support Matters

Survivorship: Why Your Continued Support Matters

b-present Team | June 20, 2023

Life after cancer, often called survivorship, is a unique experience filled with challenges and rewards. It encompasses the period after cancer treatment, during which individuals may still grapple with the lingering physical, emotional, and psychological effects of the disease.


Misconceptions: The Reality of Post-Treatment

It is crucial to dispel the misconception that survivorship implies the end of the cancer experience and a seamless return to one’s pre-diagnosis life. In reality, many survivors grapple with enduring physical, emotional, and psychological repercussions long after treatment concludes. They may continue to face challenges such as fatigue, pain, and emotional distress and may need ongoing medical follow-up and support.

Adjusting to the “New Normal”

Unfortunately, resuming their previous routines and seamlessly integrating back into their everyday lives is unattainable for countless survivors. The experience can impact their lives long-term, and they may need time to adjust to their “new normal.”

Tips for Meaningful Support: How You Can Make a Difference

If you’re a friend, family member, or co-worker, here are some valuable tips to provide meaningful support to someone who has completed cancer treatment:

  1. Listen and Validate: Listen to them attentively and validate their feelings without passing judgment.
  2. Explore Resources: Help them explore available resources and support networks, such as cancer support groups, counseling services, and specialized rehabilitation programs.
  3. Encourage Follow-Up: Encourage regular follow-up appointments with their healthcare team as they navigate life after cancer.
  4. Practice Patience: Practice patience and understanding when they need time off for follow-up appointments or to manage lingering side effects.
  5. Respect Privacy: Respect their privacy and refrain from sharing information about their diagnosis or treatment without their explicit permission.
  6. Be Supportive: Remember that adjusting to life after cancer takes time, so be patient and supportive as they navigate this new phase.

Behaviors to Avoid: Promoting a Supportive Environment

Here are some certain behaviors to avoid when supporting someone who has completed cancer treatment:

  1. Avoid Assumptions: Avoid assuming that their cancer experience is over or expecting them to revert to their pre-diagnosis life effortlessly.
  2. Respect Boundaries: Refrain from pressuring them to discuss their cancer experience if they are not ready or willing.
  3. Work Consideration: Do not make assumptions about their ability to work or perform their usual duties.
  4. Equal Treatment: Treat them with the same respect and consideration as before their cancer diagnosis, avoiding any differential treatment.
  5. Maintain Confidentiality: Never disclose information about their diagnosis or treatment without obtaining their explicit consent.

Empowering Life Beyond Cancer: Providing Ongoing Support

Life after cancer presents a distinctive journey that necessitates ongoing support and empathy. It is vital to acknowledge and validate the enduring physical, emotional, and psychological effects that individuals, particularly young adults, may face post-treatment. By providing them with the necessary support and resources, we can empower them to navigate this new chapter in their lives.

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