Some body changes are short-term, and others will last forever. Either way, your looks may be a big concern after treatment. For example, people with ostomies after colon or rectal surgery are sometimes afraid to go out. They may feel ashamed or afraid that others will reject them. They may worry about the idea of having an "accident" in social situations.
This article is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice or financial advice.
The financial challenges that people with cancer and their families face are very real. During an illness, you and your family may have found it hard to find the time or energy to review your options. Yet it's important to keep your family financially healthy.
Many people with cancer have found that practicing deep relaxation has helped relieve their pain or reduce their stress. The exercises on the next few pages may not be right for everyone. Ask your doctor or nurse if these exercises can help you. Before trying the full exercise below, first practice steps 1 through 5, so you can get used to deep breathing and muscle relaxation.
Bladder and bowel problems are among the most upsetting issues people face after cancer treatment. People often feel ashamed or fearful to go out in public. "Going back to work was the hardest thing," one prostate cancer survivor noted.
"I think some families become stronger because of it. We've had our rough spots, but we have never again taken each other for granted."—Darryl
Having cancer can change relationships with the people in your life. It's normal to notice changes in the way you relate to family, friends, and other people that you are around every day - and the way they relate to you.
After chemotherapy, some women stop getting their periods every month - or stop getting them altogether. Some cancer treatments (and the medicines tamoxifen and raloxifene) can cause changes in women's bodies and reduce the amount of hormones they make. These changes can cause your periods to stop, as well as cause other symptoms of menopause (also called "the change" or "change of life").
Some people have a lot of pain after treatment, while others have less. Everyone is different. Types of pain you may feel after cancer treatment include:
Sometimes cancer treatment can cause damage to your nervous system. This is called neuropathy (new-RAH-path-ee), or problems with nerve function. Sometimes these symptoms can be made worse by other conditions, such as diabetes, kidney failure, alcoholism, and malnutrition. Most people first notice symptoms in their hands or feet, usually starting with their fingertips and toes. Sometimes, the tingling and pain move up the fingers to the hands or from the toes to the feet.
Many people who have been treated for cancer develop problems with their mouth or teeth. Some problems go away after treatment. Others last a long time, while some may never go away. Some problems may develop months or years after your treatment has ended.
Radiation or surgery to the head and neck can cause problems with your teeth and gums; the soft, moist lining of your mouth; glands that make saliva (spit); and jawbones. If you were treated with certain types of chemotherapy, you may also have these problems. This can cause:
Some cancer survivors report that they still feel tired or worn out. In fact, fatigue is one of the most common complaints during the first year of recovery.
Rest or sleep does not cure the type of fatigue that you may have. Doctors do not know its exact causes. The causes of fatigue are different for people who are receiving treatment than they are for those who have finished.