Many people are faced with new and unique needs and concerns after finishing treatment for their cancer.
The Adult Survivorship Clinics' specialized Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners focus on identifying and managing any late or long-term effects resulting from cancer or its treatment, including:
More than one third of cancer patients who undergo surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy will experience chronic pain. This can significantly impact your quality of life. Depending on the type and severity of the pain, there may be options to help manage it including:
Seeing your health care provider may be important in identifying which of these methods would be the most effective. Northwestern also has a cancer pain specialist (add link) and palliative care team that can be contacted at 312.695.0990.
The American Cancer Society - Cancer Pain
It is not uncommon for cancer survivors to be overwhelmed by their diagnosis, treatment and treatment-related side effects. In some cases, this stress can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, and impact many aspects of every day living. The Supportive Oncology Program provides emotional and practical support for patients and their families during all stages: diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to listening and responding to patient concerns, promoting well-being and treating each individual with respect and compassion.
Supportive Oncology Team
Fatigue is a very common problem that affects survivors of all types of cancers and can cause significant distress. Try the following suggestions to help with the management of fatigue:
Your health care provider can give you specific direction based on your individual therapy and situation
The American Cancer Society - Fatigue
Many people have ongoing numbness or tingling, called peripheral neuropathy, in their hands or feet as a result of damage to the nerves caused by chemotherapy. Please talk with your physician if this is significantly impacting your daily activities or your balance.
The American Cancer Society - Peripheral Neuropathy Caused by Chemotherapy
Cancer survivors who receive chemotherapy or radiation could have difficulty with their memory or concentration. Potential techniques to help manage this often-distressing symptom include:
Your health care provider can give you specific direction based on your individual therapy and situation.
The American Cancer Society - Chemo Brain
Many cancer survivors are concerned about their risk of developing a second cancer. The risk depends on the type of treatment you received for your cancer, your family history and genetics, your lifestyle (i.e. tobacco use), and any environmental exposures you may have had.
Some important tips to reduce your risk of a second cancer include:
Insomnia is a common concern during cancer treatment and throughout survivorship. It is important to practice good sleep hygiene.
Here are some tips:
Follow up with your health care provider if this is a persistent problem or causing you significant distress
American Cancer Society - Sleep Problems
Following surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, many patients will experience changes in their ability or comfort with sexual activity.
Many women experience vaginal changes after completing treatment for cancer. Menopause and medications used to treat cancer can decrease estrogen levels and cause vaginal dryness.
This may result in:
Here are some tips for improving vaginal health:
Follow up with your health care provider for other possible treatment options.