It is very common to be extra cautious or anxious after treatment has finished. Sometimes it is difficult to know whether an ache or pain is just part of your new normal after cancer treatment or whether it is serious and needs investigating.
Some cancers have a higher risk of coming back than others. It is important you gather all the information you need to know about risks, signs and symptoms and what to do if this happens. Your doctor and cancer care team are the best people to get this information from. The more information you have, the better equipped you will be to manage your worries.
It is important to get any new symptoms checked, even if you think they are not serious. It is always better to get checked and feel reassured.
Sometimes, cancer can come back after treatment for multiple reasons. It can appear either where you had it before or elsewhere. Sometimes this happens if the treatment didn’t get rid of all the cancer cells, and the remaining ones have formed a new tumour. Sometimes cells can move to another part of the body and form a tumour there. Sometimes cancer treatments can increase the risk of getting cancer again in the future.
If you develop symptoms again, contact your GP or specialist as soon as possible. You will then be sent for tests to check if your cancer has returned. If it has returned, your doctors and nurses will go through your treatment options with you.
When your cancer diagnosis becomes terminal, you will be given palliative care. This is to manage pain from cancer and its treatment. Palliative care can take place over a long period or a very short period, towards the end of life. The very last stage of palliative care is end-of-life care. At this point, the doctors and nurses will make sure you are as comfortable as possible in your last few days. Refer to the palliative care document for more information.
Support after diagnosis
The following organisations can provide support after diagnosis.