- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Living well after cancer
- Impact on family and friends
- When others don’t understand
When others don’t understand
When treatment finishes, your family and friends may expect you to act the same as you did before the cancer. If your outlook and priorities have changed, people close to you may be confused, disappointed, worried or frustrated.
Friends and family may say things like “but you look fine”, “your treatment has finished now” and “the cancer has gone, hasn’t it?” They may have difficulty accepting that you may still need support or that some symptoms, such as tiredness or memory problems, can persist for long periods of time. Other effects from treatment may never go away.
It’s natural for family and friends to want the distress and disruption of cancer to be behind you. They care about you and want you to be well. However, if you find their reactions difficult to handle, you might like to talk to them about how you’re feeling. It may help to tell them that your recovery is ongoing, and that you need time to adjust and think about what you’ve been through.
People usually don’t mean to make things worse. Their reactions are likely to come from their own difficulties in handling feelings such as fear and anxiety.
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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