More than 150,000 people with cancer come to a Mayo Clinic site annually. Patients benefit from the knowledge and extensive experience of Mayo Clinic specialists and integrated approach to treating each individual. Reliable, up-to-date education is central to a patient’s cancer care plan. Mayo Clinic provides information and resources to support patients during diagnosis, treatment and life after treatment. Knowledge empowers people to be active partners in their health care.


People with cancer are living longer than they did in the past due to improved screening, care, and newer treatments. The term “cancer survivor” is not meant to be a label but instead used to identify a community of people with a history of cancer, either at the time of diagnosis, during or after treatment.

Survivorship care is vital to improving health, wellness, and quality of life. Key components of this care include prevention of new and recurrent cancers and late effects of cancer and its treatment. Focusing on healthy lifestyle practices like physical activity, healthy eating, stress management, good sleep hygiene, and not using tobacco are areas to focus on to improve overall health.

Emotions and Fear of Recurrence

One of the most common feelings reported by survivors is the fear their cancer will return and that can interfere with different aspects of life.  If you are finding this to be true here are some tips for coping with fear:

  • Learn signs of recurrence from your doctor
  • Follow through with recommended test and appointments
  • Talk about it.  Express your feelings.  You do not have to be upbeat all the time but do try to look for the positive
  • Take control of what you can, plan, let go of what you cannot control.
  • It is normal to have fears enter our minds, do not judge them, but try positive self-talk to help address and re-frame the fear.
  • Try mind and body relaxation techniques - they may help you to remain calm.
  • Spend time with people you feel are most supportive.
  • Do not be afraid to seek professional help to assist with sorting out your emotions.  Psychological distress screening should be a part of your ongoing care.  You may need to seek professional help if you have feelings of depression or anxiety.
  • Connect with other survivors for support, you are not alone - utilize online support groups found on Mayo Clinic Connect or in-person support groups.

Your cancer experience affects the way you feel, think and act.  Just as you need to care for your body after treatment, you also need to care for your emotions.  Shock, guilt, anger, fear, sadness, and depression can all be a part of the roller coaster ride of emotions you may feel.


Cancer Education Center Class:

If you are a Mayo Clinic patient and have completed cancer treatment, ask your provider to order the Cancer Education Center Moving Forward: Life After Cancer Treatment class.


Additional Resources:

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