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Coping with the fear of cancer returning

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Thanks to earlier detection and improved treatments, there are now more than 15 million Americans who have lived with, through and beyond cancer.

Many who have completed cancer treatment describe the first few months as a time of not so much "getting back to normal" as it is finding their own personal “new normal.” 

Concerns about the cancer coming back are often a part of this time. 

Even years after treatment, events like follow-up visits, new aches and pains, or the anniversary of the diagnosis can trigger worries. 

Although each person's experience is unique, many whose lives have been impacted by cancer endorse these coping tips:

  • Stay informed. “Knowledge is power” and it can give you a greater sense of control. Try to use your energy to focus on wellness and what you can do now to stay as healthy as possible.​
  • Discuss your fears. Share your concerns with friends, family, other cancer survivors, your medical provider or a counselor. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of discussing fears, try recording them in writing.
  • Remain as active as you can. Getting out of the house or doing something to help others can help you to relax, broaden your life perspective and focus on the positive.
  • Don’t skip your follow-up appointments. You may fear the worst when it's time for a follow-up appointment, but don't let that stop you from going. Use the time with your provider to ask questions about any symptoms that worry you as well as what you should be watching for. Enable yourself to relax by knowing you are controlling all that you can control.
  • Be connected to hope. Dealing with the diverse emotional aspects of the survivorship journey is easier when you understand that you're not alone. Millions of people are walking the path. Learn how they cope and find hope-filled inspiration and accurate medical updates using these resources
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