After treatment for anal cancer
For most people, the cancer experience doesn’t end on the last day of treatment. Life after treatment for anal cancer has its own physical and emotional challenges. You may have mixed feelings when treatment ends, and worry that every ache and pain means the cancer is coming back.
Some people say they feel pressure to return to ‘normal life’, but they don’t want life to return to how it was before cancer. Take some time to adjust to the physical and emotional changes, and re-establish a new daily routine at your own pace.
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After treatment, you will need check-ups every 3–12 months for several years to confirm that the cancer hasn’t come back. Between visits, let your doctor know immediately of any health problems.
Dealing with feelings of sadness
If you have continued feelings of sadness, have trouble getting up in the morning or have lost motivation to do things that previously gave you pleasure, you may be experiencing depression. This is quite common among people who have had cancer.
Talk to your GP, as counselling or medication – even for a short time – may help. Some people are able to get a Medicare rebate for sessions with a psychologist. Ask your doctor if you are eligible. Your local Cancer Council may also run a counselling program.
The organisation beyondblue has information about coping with depression and anxiety. Go to beyondblue.org.au or call 1300 22 4636to order a fact sheet.
Dr Tiffany Daly, Radiation Oncologist, Radiation Oncology Princess Alexandra Raymond Terrace (ROPART), QLD; Polly Baldwin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Heather Kavanagh, Colorectal Cancer Nurse Coordinator, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Judy Koch, Consumer; A/Prof Craig Lynch, Colorectal Surgeon and Chair, Colorectal Cancer Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre,VIC; Dr David Millar, Sexual Health Physician, Perth Men’s Health, WA; Julie O’Rourke, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Radiation Oncology, Canberra Hospital, ACT.
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Life after cancer treatment
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