Overcoming cancer is always a cathartic experience but it brings with it some strange and sometimes crippling side effects. Whether the patient is young or old, cancer usually is a cathartic experience, one that shakes a person down to their deepest foundation and makes them question their place in the world. Often, surviving cancer also comes with painful side effects. Chemotherapy is a distressing set of procedures that scar the person undergoing them and leaves him crippled and weak for a long time.
What should a person do after surviving cancer? The most important thing is to keep a healthy outlook on life. Cancer patients who make it, especially those that spent a long time in a hospital environment with others often develop so-called ‘Survivor’s guilt’. They feel guilty for making it through treatment and rehabilitation while so many other people did not and tend to fall into a very bad state of depression and anxiety. The best pre-emptive tool against this is to keep the person in a close unit of family and friends, offer plenty of distractions and specialized help, if needed. There are plenty of therapists specializing in this type of affliction and group therapy could prove even more useful for recovering cancer survivors.
The second issue that usually arises with cancer survivors is anxiety, sometimes manifesting in very powerful forms such as PTSD. The fear of death that many survivors feel during their treatment sometimes stays with them after they’re cured, especially if they are scared of remission. Hypochondria, panic attacks and other, similar fear-related syndromes can often hinder a cancer survivor’s re-integration into society. Again, the best course of action in these cases is therapy, with group therapy yielding the best results. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and doing a lot of sports and related activities can counteract anxiety in many cases. Anxiety usually sprouts from feelings of hopelessness, in this case about one’s health. Doing something to improve your physical condition counteracts anxiety directly and also releases endorphins that reinforce that state of ‘control’ over one’s life.
Lastly, many cancer survivors often experience pain, either physical pain from their operation or phantom, psychological pain as a result of the trauma. There are different ways to treat pain from alternative medicine to painkillers, to medical marijuana depending on the severity of the condition and the legality of the treatment. Psychologically induced pain is harder to treat but therapy and medication usually work as the perfect counter.
Cancer is a terrible affliction and the worst thing about it is that you’re never sure if you’ve gotten rid of it even after you survived it. Yet for all its evils, there is hope out there. Medical and preventive treatments for cancer are developing as we speak and thousands of cured sufferers are learning to live again. So don’t despair, cancer is rarely the final act in a person’s life.