- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Living well after cancer
- Finding a “new normal”
- Finding a new way of living
Finding a new way of living
The transition to life after cancer treatment can take time. Take each day as it comes. Accept that you may have both good and bad days. Below are some tips to help you with the transition.
Look after yourself
Take the time you need to adjust to changes in your body or physical appearance. Do things at your own pace and rest between activities. Remember, your body is still healing. If you are worried about going out, ask someone to go with you.
Assess your life. Ask yourself:
- What fulfils me?
- What is important?
- What gives my life meaning?
Consider keeping a journal. Many people find it helps to write down how they’re feeling.
Do something you find relaxing, such as reading, listening to music or taking a bath. Learn some form of relaxation or meditation, such as mindfulness, visualisation, yoga or deep breathing.
Talk about your emotions
Acknowledge your feelings. It may help to share any concerns or worries with family and friends, your doctor, a psychologist or counsellor.
Look at ways you can manage your own wellness and make lifestyle changes to improve your quality of life. This could include changing your diet, being more physically active or stopping smoking. Seeing a psychologist, counsellor or life coach may help you to develop goals and strategies to make any desired changes to your life.
Manage side effects
You may have ongoing side effects after treatment. Talk to your health care professionals about your symptoms to see if they can be improved or managed better.
Learning about other people’s experiences may help. Join a support group, attend a survivorship program or read stories from other survivors. Connecting with other cancer survivors may help you cope and feel more positive about the future.
Dr Haryana Dhillon, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Medical Psychology & Evidence-based Decision-making, School of Psychology, University of Sydney, NSW; Polly Baldwin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Jessica Barbon, Dietitian, Southern Adelaide Health Network, SA; Dr Anna Burger, Liaison Psychiatrist and Senior Staff Specialist, Psycho-oncology Clinic, Canberra Region Cancer Centre, ACT; Elizabeth Dillon, Social Worker, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Prof Paul Glare, Chair in Pain Medicineand Director, Pain Management Research Institute, University of Sydney, NSW; Nico le Kinnane, Nurse Coordinator, Gynaecology Services, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Amanda Piper, Manager, Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Kyle Smith, Exercise Medicine Research Institute, Edith Cowan University, WA; Aaron Tan, Consumer; Dr Kate Webber, Medical Oncologist and Research Director, National Centre for Cancer Survivorship, NSW. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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The information on this page is also available for download.
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