Understanding your feelings

While most people adapt well over time to life after treatment, many people experience ongoing fears or concerns. You may find you need a lot of support – maybe even more than you did when you were diagnosed or during treatment.

Learn more about:

Common feelings

Relief – You might be relieved that treatment has finished and seems to have been successful. You may welcome the chance to focus on other things, such as your usual activities.

Isolation – Many people feel less secure when regular appointments with their health care team reduce or stop. This can feel like losing a safety net. You may also feel lonely if your relationships have changed or people don’t understand what you’ve been through.

Fear of the cancer coming back – Fear of recurrence is common. Most survivors learn to manage this fear.

Uncertainty – Many survivors are reluctant to plan for the future because they feel uncertain about their health. This is very challenging, but you can learn to manage it effectively.

Frustration – Some people feel frustrated because they think their family and friends expect too much from them. Others feel frustrated because they can’t do the things they want to do.

Survivor guilt – Some people feel guilty or question why they survived their cancer when others didn’t. This can be confronting.

Anxiety about follow-ups – Many people feel anxious before follow-up appointments and may feel these appointments “bring it all back”. Waiting for test results can also be a very anxious time.

Worry – You may be concerned about treatment side effects: how long they’ll last and whether they’ll affect your life. Many survivors are worried about financial pressures or being a burden to their family. Other survivors worry about returning to work and dealing with questions from colleagues.

Lack of confidence – You may feel differently about your body and health. You may not trust your body and feel it has let you down. Or you may not be physically able to do some of the things you did before treatment. Many people feel vulnerable and self-conscious about their body image and sexuality.

Feeling down/depressed – You may feel sad or down about your cancer experience and its impact on your life.

Heightened emotions – You may become tearful and emotional very quickly, particularly when someone asks how you are. This is very normal, but it can be embarrassing for some people.

Anger – You may feel angry about your cancer experience and how it has affected your life.

Delayed emotions – You may find your emotions catch up with you now that treatment is over. Many people do not expect negative emotions once their treatment ends and find this confusing.

Accepting your feelings

Acknowledging how you are feeling may help you to work through your emotions. It is common for people with cancer to feel quite distressed at some point in their cancer experience. Most cancer survivors find that they do feel better over time.

Friends and family may advise you to “think positively”. It is almost impossible to be positive all the time; everyone has good and bad days, before and after a cancer diagnosis. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that positive thinking has any impact on surviving cancer. However, many survivors say that feeling hopeful helped them to cope with their illness and make positive changes, such as doing more exercise or improving their diet.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Living Well After Cancer.

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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in April 2018
View who reviewed this content
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Support services

Life after cancer treatment
Programs and support for people who have finished treatment

Cancer Council Online Community
A community forum – a safe place to share stories, get tips and connect with people who understand

ENRICH – a free healthy lifestyle program
A face-to-face exercise and nutrition program for cancer survivors

Cancer information

Nutrition and cancer
How to eat well during and after cancer treatment

Staying healthy after treatment
Lifestyle changes that can help keep you in good health

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends