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Life after colorectal cancer: coping, recovery, and support

A colorectal cancer survivor going shopping for healthy foods after following the nutritionist advice from the after cancer clinic.

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the United States. Survivors of colorectal cancer may face physical, emotional, and psychological challenges after completing treatment. Here is what you need to know about life after colorectal cancer, including coping strategies, recovery tips, and support resources.

Coping with life after colorectal cancer

Coping with life after colorectal cancer can be overwhelming. Patients may experience a range of emotions, including anxiety, fear, depression, and uncertainty about the future. Here are some coping strategies that can help:

  • Seek support: Talking with loved ones, joining a support group, or seeing a therapist can help patients process their emotions and find a sense of community.

  • Manage symptoms: Colorectal cancer survivors may experience symptoms such as bowel changes, fatigue, and pain. Working with healthcare providers to manage these symptoms can help improve quality of life.

  • Practice self-care: Taking time for self-care activities such as meditation, yoga, or hobbies can help promote relaxation and reduce stress.

  • Address body image concerns: Colorectal cancer treatment can affect a patient's physical appearance, and this may impact their self-esteem. Connecting with support groups or speaking with a counselor can help patients navigate these feelings.

Recovery after colorectal cancer treatment

Recovering from colorectal cancer treatment can take time. Patients may experience side effects from treatment that persist for weeks, months, or even years. Here are some tips to help with recovery:

  • Follow up with healthcare providers: Regular follow-up visits with healthcare providers can help monitor for recurrence, manage side effects, and address any new concerns.

  • Practice good nutrition: Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help support recovery and overall health.

  • Stay on top of screenings: Patients should continue to follow recommended colorectal cancer screening guidelines to detect any potential recurrence early.

  • Consider pelvic floor therapy: Pelvic floor therapy can help patients regain strength, mobility, and function after colorectal cancer treatment.

Support resources for colorectal cancer survivors

Colorectal cancer survivors may benefit from a range of support resources, including:

  • Support groups: Local and online support groups can provide a sense of community and connection with others who have gone through similar experiences.

  • Mental health resources including counseling and support groups.

  • Survivorship programs that provide education, resources, and support for survivors and their families.


Life after colorectal cancer can be challenging, but with the right support and resources, patients can successfully navigate the post-treatment period. Coping strategies, recovery tips, and support resources can all help promote physical, emotional, and psychological well-being for colorectal cancer survivors.

Each patient's experience with colorectal cancer is unique, and there is no one correct way to handle it. Patients should collaborate with their healthcare team to create a personalized plan that caters to their specific needs and goals.


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