Adjusting to Life After Cancer Treatment

Armen Hareyan's picture
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After Cancer Treatment

You've finally "made it" - you endured the grueling, all-consuming journey that is cancer treatment and you're on the path to survival. But what happens when you leave the oncology unit and step back into the world you used to know before cancer changed everything?

For many cancer survivors, forging a new life after treatment can be fraught with uncertainty as they attempt to grasp a new sense of normalcy.

"Very often we think, wait a minute - you're done with treatment! You should throw a party for yourself and go about your merry way," says UW Comprehensive Cancer Center (UWCCC) psychologist Teresa Woods, PhD (pictured).

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But after the initial jubilation wanes, survivors are left to pick up the pieces. During cancer treatment, they had rearranged their entire lives to fight their disease; what happens after treatment, when cancer is no longer part of their day-to-day existence?

"People stop and say, 'Wait a minute - what kind of life do I lead now? I am profoundly changed. What do I do now?'" says Woods, who spoke Monday at the opening of UWCCC's Cancer Hope, Cancer Health Week. The week features four days of lunch-time learning sessions, culminating with a picnic dinner on Thursday for cancer patients and anyone touched by the disease.

Dealing with mortality

During her session entitled "When Treatment is Over

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