Finding a way to feel normal again after cancer
There are an estimated 16.9 million cancer survivors in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. For them, there is life after cancer, but there is never life without cancer.
When a patient completes medical treatment, care is not complete. Working through remission, managing post-treatment effects, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding recurrence are a part of the patient’s wellness plan. However, the long-term emotional impact left behind can sometimes be forgotten.
“Survivorship is all-encompassing. Finding a way to be normal again can be optimized by focusing on treating the person as a whole, looking beyond just traditional clinical treatment,” says Dr. Meredith Witten, a breast surgeon at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wis.
Among today’s survivors, the most common represented is women with breast cancer, accounting for nearly 3.6 million Americans. Dr. Witten is committed to presenting each of her patients with the appropriate survivorship opportunities and program offerings.
“Although the root cause may be dealt with, the completion of treatment does not equate to the patient and caregiver being free of challenges or concerns,” Dr. Witten continues. “I would even dare to say that after care for cancer, or any type of trauma for that matter, is just as important as the medical care I provide as a physician.”
Physical and mental recovery from cancer remain a lifelong aspect of living for all cancer survivors.
The Living Well Beyond Cancer program provides education, guidance and empowers survivors to help make decisions that could maximize health, longevity and quality of life. To learn more about the medical needs and emotional help available to you, click here.
About the Author
Kelsey Sopchyk, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She earned her BA in journalism and mass communications from the University of Iowa. In her spare time, you can find Kelsey tending to her plant children, trying new sushi restaurants in Chicago and cheering on the Cubs.
From my experience, 5 year breast cancer survivor, life after cancer does not get any easier. You smile and say you are fine, but on the inside you wait for the other shoe to drop. With every pain and little symptom your mind goes to cancer. I know I need help but feel like the world sees me as being fixed and I should just move on with my life. So I keep waiting afraid to move forward…..