Life After Cancer
I’m in remission from colon cancer What can I expect now?
Remission means your doctor has said you are cancer free or have “no evidence of disease.” It is crucial that you still get routine follow-up care. Regular visits for physical exams, blood studies and imaging are important for keeping tabs on your health. A colonoscopy is recommended within one year after surgery. Like most cancers, early detection is key.
My colon cancer has recurred now what should I do?
Your cancer may recur where it started (local recurrence) or it may present in another part of the body (also known as distant recurrence). Your treatment will depend on whether or not the tumor can be removed surgically. If surgery is an option, chemo may be given before and after the procedure. If surgery is not possible, your doctor may recommend chemo, targeted therapy or radiation therapy.
How do I cope with long-term side effects from treatment of colon cancer?
If you experience side effects of treatment after you are in remission or cancer free, you are not alone. Depending on the treatment you’ve had, it can be normal for side effects to linger after your cancer treatment ends. These may include emotional and social issues as well. Speak with your cancer care team about any side effects that are affecting you so that you can get the help you need.
How can I keep the colon cancer from coming back?
There are a number of things you can do to stay healthy and reduce your risk of future health problems:
- Avoid cigarettes and tobacco
- Limit alcohol use
- Stay active
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Keep a healthy body weight
- Get regular checkups with your doctor
How often should I be monitored by my doctor?
Once you’ve been treated for cancer, it is important to have regular exams by your doctor. Your doctor will tell you how often you need to return for follow-up care, but if you notice changes in your health, call your doctor right away.
Where can I find support?
Cancer is both physically and emotionally trying for not only those with the disease but their loved ones as well. Your cancer navigator, local and online support groups, social workers, counselors and clergy can be helpful during your journey.