Recovering after treatment

Beginning to recover

Although you may feel ready to get on with life after treatment, it is common to have mixed feelings. You may have days when you feel anxious or uncertain about the future or less positive about your health.

Recovery is a gradual process. Some days you will feel a little better than others. You need time to build up your physical strength and to process what you have been through. 

The time after treatment is often a period of change. You are finding out what is now normal for you or what some people call their ‘new normal’. You need time to discover and adjust to what this means for you.

Things that can help you during recovery

  • Pace yourself so that you save your energy for the things you really want to do.
  • Let your family and friends know how they can help.
  • Try to eat healthily.
  • Think about ways to reduce stress.
  • Get the right balance of resting and being active. Sitting or lying down too much can make you feel tired for longer.
  • Talk about how you feel. If you need extra support, contact a support group or ask your hospital team or GP to refer you to someone who can help.

Setting goals

How quickly it takes to get back to doing everyday things depends on your type of cancer, treatment and general health. Try not to rush things. Think about your recovery as small, achievable goals you can manage and build up. For example, a goal could be going for a walk or trying to eat healthily most days. You can be flexible with yourself.

Setting goals, whether big or small, and working towards achieving them can bring different benefits. It can help you to focus on what you can do and help you to feel more in control. As you achieve a goal, your confidence will start to grow. Remember to notice every success, no matter how small. For example, you might want to reward yourself by doing something you enjoyed before you had cancer.

You may need to push yourself to do things you are less confident about doing, such as going out. Start with simple things like a short walk with family or friends, or going to a cafe. Over time, you will gradually find yourself getting back into the routine of everyday life. Other things will start taking over and cancer will become less of a focus for you. You may go out more and see friends, go on holiday, get back into sport or hobbies, or go back to work.

Take it easy and one day at a time. Remember how far you have come and what you have dealt with. Then slowly, your confidence will start to increase.

Karin, Online Community member

Changes to your outlook on life

Your cancer experience may change your outlook on life. Or you may find you think about things differently than you did before. Some people decide on what is important to them and make new priorities. You may discover new interests or decide to make lifestyle changes to improve your well-being or to find ways of reducing stress in your life.

My whole outlook on life has changed. Rather than thinking things like, “How much do I want to work and earn?”, I now think, “How much do I need to earn and do I want to do that?”.


Back to Beginning to recover

Lifestyle and well-being

Looking after yourself and doing some physical activity can be an important part of your recovery.