- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Living well after cancer
- Finding a “new normal”
- A life-changing experience
A life-changing experience
Most people refer to cancer as a life-changing experience. Many people surprisingly find that there are positive aspects to having had cancer. Some people discover an inner strength they didn’t know they had. Others develop new friendships during their treatment or discover new sources of support.
Cancer may prompt you to re-examine your priorities in life. This shift is often gradual; even positive change can take time.
- You may find you now place more value on your relationships with family or friends. You may choose to focus on the more meaningful relationships in your life.
- Some people are motivated to travel or start new activities.
- Other people reconsider their career goals and work values, and may decide to seek part-time work or a new role.
- You may want to make changes to your lifestyle, such as reducing stress, starting exercise or quitting smoking.
After treatment, some people want to help improve the cancer experience for others through support groups, volunteer work, advocacy or fundraising. There is no hurry. Focus first on your recovery. It is important to look after yourself if you want to help others. If this interests you, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 when you are ready to find out what options are available in your area.
I’ve changed my career path and am studying community services in order to help people through changes in their life. The way you view life is different after cancer.
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.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
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