For any cancer sufferer the road from diagnosis to treatment is a long and hard. It's also an emotional trip that leaves the body and mind tired and weakened. What's more, even when cancer treatments are finished there is still a long journey ahead, for the road to recovery doesn't end with a dose of radiation or a course of medication.
Many people fail to realize how much hard work still remains following the successful completion of all necessary cancer treatments. This can lead to problems when it comes to post-treatment care, particularly in terms of attempting to return to a state of what is considered normal. From here on we shall look at some of the important factors to keep in mind when it comes to post-treatment cancer care.
The entire process of combatting cancer is a tiring one. From cancer symptoms and diagnosis to primary and additional treatments, a cancer sufferer will become tired. They may lose weight as well as experience deterioration in general aspects of health (for example, respiration).
As such, post-treatment care requires a focus on physical care. This starts with rest and relaxation but extends first to light exercise (in the early stages of recovery) and then to more strenuous exertion (as the body becomes stronger). A key factor to remember here is that the body will only be able to take a small percentage of what it used to, so the risk of overdoing it is potentially high here.
Of course, this focus on physical care also needs to take into account the medical wellbeing of a person. This means regular checks need to be made to ensure that firstly the body is recovering as it should and secondly any potential relapse is picked up quickly.
The latter is a serious concern for any cancer sufferer. Even if a tumor is completely removed, there is still a risk that the cancer may return, or a new cancer will emerge in its place. Regular medical checks with a doctor or other healthcare professional are highly advised. These may include tests such as endoscopies, imaging procedures, blood works and lab tests. It's always worth remembering that early detection is paramount to successful cancer treatments.
While many cancer symptoms and the treatments that follow are physical in nature, it's very important that cancer sufferers pay close attention to their mental wellbeing also, particularly after such a lengthy battle. With emotions flying around during cancer treatments, the mind does its best to keep the body stable and in doing so runs the risk of damaging itself.
This remains true even after treatment. In fact, in many ways the months following cancer treatments can be much tougher on the mind due to it finally letting up a little. Mental health conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety and general emotional distress are all commonplace during the post-treatment period. These can result in further disruption to eating habits, relationships, schedules, and any number of other day-to-day objectives.
The key to remaining mentally strong is to rest and relax but still take part in activities. Take it easy by all means, but don't neglect everyday life. There is a wealth of actions and activities that can help strengthen the mind, including breathing exercises, counseling and talking therapies, and visiting with support groups. It's important that any mental health problems are not neglected as this will simply add to the pressure and eventually damage physical health also. Remember, mental health symptoms should be reported as quick as physical cancer symptoms.
A Lengthy Journey
The actual length of recovery following cancer treatments varies based on the individual circumstances of the sufferer. Many experts suggest that the period of post-treatment recovery takes at least as long as the treatment (from diagnosis) itself. It's also worth remembering that many physical and psychosocial problems do not surface until several years down the line. As well as this, cancer symptoms may begin again signifying that cancer treatments are again necessary.
While cancer and the entire treatment process is shrouded in mystery, one thing is for sure. Cancer recovery is a long and tiring process that has many twists in the tale as well as the odd sting in the tail or two. Taking a slow but methodical and concentrated approach will ultimately serve a cancer survivor well both mentally and physically.