- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Living well after cancer
- Finding a “new normal”
- Myths about the end of treatment
Myths about the end of treatment
I should be back to normal
Some people expect life to return to the way it was before the cancer diagnosis. The reality is often more emotionally and physically complex. Some cancer survivors find they can’t or don’t want to go back to how life was before their treatment. Others need time to recover from the turmoil of cancer.
I should feel well
Many cancer survivors have ongoing health concerns because of the cancer or treatment side effects. The after-effects of treatment may make everyday life difficult.
I should not need any more support
Some survivors are surprised to feel that they need more support than ever after treatment ends.
I should feel grateful
Survivors can sometimes feel pressured to be grateful. However, the impact of cancer and its treatment on your life and future may make you feel upset, angry or resentful.
I should feel positive
Survivors can feel a great deal of pressure from friends and family to think positively all the time. Although this is unrealistic, it can be a source of worry and guilt.
I should be celebrating
Some survivors feel they should be happy and full of wisdom because they survived, and may feel guilty or confused if they’re not.
I should be the person I was before cancer
Many survivors say that cancer changes them. Some need time to adjust to physical changes. Others feel different, even though they look the same. Many survivors feel a sense of loss for the person they once were or thought they’d be.
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