Your feelings after cancer treatment

Are you the same person?

Everyone changes throughout their life, whether or not they have been affected by cancer.

You have been through a major trauma and faced things many young people have never even considered. But even though you have been treated for cancer, you are still the same person you were before. It is just that the illness has probably made you reconsider what is important in your life, and your relationships with others.

Sometimes cancer and its treatment can affect your psychological and emotional development. These effects could be positive or negative. For example, you might become more anxious than you were before, but you may also be more mature than other people of your age – and even many adults.

These changes can make it hard for you to fit in with your own age group. You may see things differently from other young people because of what you have been through.

Although cancer treatment is over, it is not easy to put the illness behind you. The emotional shock of having cancer can stay with you for a long time.

Your feelings

After treatment, it is common to feel a bit different. You might be relieved that treatment is over. Or surprised that your feelings are more complicated than you expected. You may feel sad, angry, lonely or uncertain. This might be because the cancer or its treatment has caused side effects or physical changes. Or it might be because your relationship with family, friends or colleagues has changed. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

Many young people talk about the anger they feel when the treatment is over. When they are dealing with the illness, they are too busy to be aware of it. But afterwards, they may feel angry about what has happened to them. Anger can stop you settling down and getting on with life. It is important to notice your mood – if you find yourself becoming frustrated, talk it through with someone you trust. Talking about your thoughts and feelings is the best way to make sense of them, and it will help you move on with your life.

Dealing with cancer and strong emotions can make you feel like you have grown up faster than your friends. But having experienced these things could help you in your relationships with people. For example you may have a different opinion on things or be able to deal with some situations better.

There may be times when you feel down. You may worry about the future and whether you will recover fully. Remember, most young people who have had cancer get better and go on to achieve the things in life they want – like having a career, getting married or having children.

Support groups

Joining a cancer support group is a good way of keeping in touch with other young people who have been through similar experiences. Even if you don’t always go to meetings, it is useful to know there are people you can talk to. You might not feel ready to go along right now, but it is good to know you can go later if you want to.

I really wanted to be like a "normal" teenager, but it was difficult as not a lot of people could relate to what I’ve been through.

Meriam

Back to After cancer treatment

Coping with body changes

Cancer and its treatment can affect how you look, but your healthcare team will help you cope.

Late effects

Information and support for teenagers and young adults about late effects of cancer treatment.