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  • Writer's pictureThe After Cancer

5 things to expect after finishing chemotherapy according to MD Anderson

Breast cancer survivor

This article published by MD Anderson, features insights from Dr. Adaeze Iheme, a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer. Dr. Iheme provides valuable information for cancer survivors who have completed chemotherapy. Here's a summary of the key points:

1. Variability in side effects:

  • Short-term side effects like hair loss and nausea usually improve soon after chemotherapy completion.

  • Long-term side effects such as fatigue, chemobrain, neuropathy, weight gain, infertility, heart problems, and mood changes may persist for months or years.

  • Lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet and regular exercise, can help mitigate some long-term side effects.

2. Follow-up Care and monitoring:

  • After chemotherapy, survivors need ongoing follow-up care to monitor for cancer recurrence or secondary cancers.

  • Individualized surveillance plans, based on cancer type, stage, and treatment, are established, often involving scans, blood tests, and regular check-ups.

  • Survivorship clinics provide specialized long-term surveillance plans, and patients are educated about potential signs of recurrence.

3. Managing anxiety after cancer:

  • It's normal to feel anxious after completing treatment, often due to concerns about cancer recurrence or a shift from a structured treatment routine.

  • Recommendations to manage anxiety include joining support groups, connecting with other survivors, and seeking support from survivorship clinics.

4. Reducing the Risk of Recurrence:

  • Survivorship clinics offer guidance on lifestyle changes to minimize the risk of cancer recurrence, such as avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, engaging in preventive screenings, exercising, and maintaining a balanced diet.

5. Seeking Support in adjusting to the "New Normal":

  • Life after cancer treatment may require adaptation to a "new normal."

  • Support groups, survivorship clinics, and resources like Integrative Medicine can assist with various challenges, including body image issues, spiritual concerns, anxiety, and physical discomfort.

  • Encouragement for survivors to reach out to their care team for assistance with any challenges they may face.

The overarching message is that survivors should be aware of the potential long-term effects, stay vigilant through follow-up care, manage post-treatment anxiety, adopt a healthy lifestyle, and seek support to navigate the challenges of life after chemotherapy.

At The After Cancer, we understand the unique journey that cancer survivors embark on after completing treatment. Our digital clinic is dedicated to providing comprehensive support in alignment with the valuable recommendations outlined by Dr. Adaeze Iheme and MD Anderson.

Through our video consultations and group programs, survivors can access personalized resources addressing the variability in post-treatment side effects, receive guidance on follow-up care, and find a community where they can share experiences and manage anxiety. Our services assist individuals in reducing the risk of recurrence through lifestyle adjustments and help them navigate the challenges of adapting to a "new normal."

The After Cancer is committed to being a reliable partner for survivors, ensuring they never feel alone in their journey, and encouraging them to seek the support they need as they move forward with life beyond cancer treatment.

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