Disruption to lifestyle

Cancer treatment inevitably means a considerable disruption to a patient's life. Some manage to continue working through their radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but others require lengthy periods of hospitalization with its associated effects on social, family, sexual, and occupational functioning. After initial therapy, even if this has been successful, the months and years of follow-up visits and tests can continue to make it difficult for patients to ever see themselves in the same way as they did prior to diagnosis. Individuals may describe themselves as living 'under the sword of Damocles', never sure when the disease will reappear, anxiously monitoring aches and pains as signs of recurrence.

Paradoxically, it is when treatment ends that patients may be more in need of support and help from a trained counsellor in re-appraising their lives and coping with survivorship.

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