DD, Aged 17

    When people would talk they didn't know what to say which was understandable.  more...


    Mimi - 15 years old

    I lost myself doing stupid things, angry and sad and depressed at everything. I ended up failing my classes, not caring about school, and getting into fights.  more...


    Chelsea - 14 years old

    I stuck my head round the door in the room mum was in, and she looked really ill. I couldn't understand what was happening - one minute my mum was fine and the next she was ill.  more...


    Clair - aged 14

    Something I wish is I could just have one more day with my dad! - to tell him how much I love him and how sorry I am for all the bad things I have said and done to him!  more...


    Nicole - 17 years old

    This time the doctors are unable to operate. He has already had 6 sessions of chemo and is having another 6 sessions. I cannot help feeling I may lose him.  more...


    Rirrif - 15 years old

    I have been staying with my dad because my mom doesn't want me around when she is sick, which is all the time. My dad works at night so I spend a lot of time alone since I'm not with my mom. I'm afraid she is going to die and I'll blame myself for not being there more. more...


    HT - 13 years old

    She has been so strong about this and is keen to put it all behind her.  more...

After treatment

It can be a very exciting time when the cancer treatment finishes. It can feel like the difficulties are over, and that it is time to start rebuilding and getting on with life.

However, this is also a very scary time for many. The relief of finishing treatment is often mixed with feeling sad and worried - what if the cancer comes back? Usually though, this is a time for positive feelings and hope for the future.

Many families expect that once treatment is over, life will return to normal. But life will usually never return to exactly the way it was before a person has had cancer. The experience changes the patient, as well as the family. Your parent may have scars on their body, have less energy or be less mobile. Not everyone will have any physical change, but the experience will have still have affected them emotionally.

It is likely that your parent will feel uncertain and not knowing what will happen next. Patients often feel that doctors and nurses do not tell them enough about what to expect during this stage, and often patients expect to feel better and to be able to resume their busy lives way before their body is recovered. After finishing treatment, it is common for people to still have some of the following symptoms:

  • Tiredness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Weight and eating difficulties
  • Bladder and bowel difficulties

As well as causing physical changes, cancer affects a person emotionally. The following list of feelings is very common for cancer patients and their families following cancer treatment ending:

  • Fear that the cancer will come back
  • Feeling stressed
  • Depressed
  • Anxiousness about anything
  • Lack of concentration
  • Worried about physical changes on the body
  • Changes in how they feel about themselves and their bodies
  • Feeling more / less angry
  • Feeling more / less alone
  • Finding more meaning to life

Many cancer patients who have finished treatment and are trying to rebuild their lives say that things have changed permanently. What used to be 'normal' activities can no longer be undertaken. It is a slow process and it is important to take it slowly, a few months at a time. Changes may occur in eating habits, hobbies, activities, support and friendships.

At the same time as these difficulties though, many families see finishing treatment as a chance to begin again, to start enjoying life and do all those things that they have always wanted to do. It can also feel like a wonderful experience just being able to do normal things again, things that were part of life before the illness.

You may have a range of emotions about your parent and what is happening now. You might be frustrated that things are not the way they used to be or pleased that changes have been made. If you feel this way, try and talk to your parent about how you feel. Talking about your worries and concerns, and getting information to help you understand the situation is probably one of the best ways you can help yourself and your family work through this time mixed with uncertainties and relief.