Life after Cancer Treatment
Adjusting to life outside hospital can be difficult. You can seem suddenly alone and very responsible and when you feel worried or tense moving forward is not an easy task. If your child has been hospital for a long time it can be hard to adjust to coping at home. Sometimes you may feel you have been forgotten, but the treatment team are still there to support you so talk to them about your concerns.
Even when the treatments are going well, the cancer still affects each member of your family. There are so many adjustments to make, family members may be apart, your other children may feel left out.
Despite all this, family life goes on. Brothers and sisters have school and activities. Parents have jobs. It is hard to keep up with everyday activities and responsibilities while being with and caring for your child with cancer.
Your child’s illness will bring many changes to your life. Here’s some suggestions to help you cope:
- Prepare yourself for a lot of waiting. Find ways to make waiting during clinic visits or while in the hospital less frustrating.
- Share the care of your child with your partner or others close to the family. Letting them help will not only give each of you a break from the hospital, but it will help keep you from growing apart when one becomes more involved than the other in your child’s treatment
- Make time for yourself. Try to do some of the things you did before your child got sick and make a special effort to find private times to talk with your partner or those who are close to you.
- Be aware of your child’s feelings. Most children cope well with the cancer treatment but older children can be upset when they fully realise what happened to them. They may need to talk about their feelings, they may wish to meet other children who understand what they have been through.
- Regular checkups. Your child will probably return to the consultant every 3 to 4 months initially.
- Be alert to signs of the possible return of cancer. Doctors have no way to tell for sure whether your child’s cancer will return. Five years with no remission is generally considered as cured. Talk with your child’s treatment team about the signs of cancer’s return.
- Be alert to signs of lasting effects of cancer treatment. Cancer treatment may cause side effects many years later. Some cancer treatments may affect how your child learns and grows physically.Find out how likely they are to occur, some children are given growth hormone injections. Like most parents of children who have cancer, you may have money worries. See our benefits guide to how best to cope.
- Promote good health habits. Eating well and getting enough sleep and exercise will help your child feel better and be healthy.To better understand your child’s health care needs today and in the future, ask the treatment team.