Cancer Survival Toolbox®
The Cancer Survival Toolbox® is a free self-learning audio program from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. The program is designed to help people develop skills to better meet and understand the challenges of their illness. You can listen to Toolbox programs, request a Toolbox, and find other resources at cancersurvivaltoolbox.org. Also available in (S) Spanish. You can also order free CDs online or call 877-NCCS.YES.
WHAT IS SURVIVORSHIP?
Survivorship begins at diagnosis, the moment your battle with cancer begins. Cancer survivorship describes the many experiences and emotions that are part of living life as a cancer survivor.
Survivorship resources are intended to create awareness of survivorship topics, not to replace medical care. If you are concerned about any survivorship topics you read or hear about, please discuss these topics with your health care team.
- Lance Armstrong Foundation
WHO IS A "SURVIVOR"?
The term "cancer survivor" includes anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the rest of his or her life. The word "survivor" helps many people think about embracing their lives beyond their illness.
- National Cancer Institute
TREATMENT IS OVER. WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
When treatment is over, you may wonder what comes next. You may miss the close care and support you had during treatment. You may have questions about follow-up care and how to maintain your health. You may be concerned about the uncertainty that comes with a cancer diagnosis. As you approach the end of treatment, be sure your doctor or caregiver provides you with a treatment summary and a survivorship care plan. The treatment summary covers all treatments youâ€™ve received, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. The survivorship plan outlines your follow-up checkups and tests.
You may also want to explore whatâ€™s available from support groups, wellness programs, integrative therapy, exercise, and other supportive care. In addition to the listings in this Directory, here are some other online resources on survivorship:
(S) - Services available in Spanish
(S) American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
ASCO offers a form called a Survivorship Care Plan based on specific clinical practice guidelines for certain types of cancer. This document guides your follow-up care as you transition into survivorship.
(S) Lance Armstrong Foundation
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
THE FEAR FACTOR AND OTHER REALITIES: EMOTIONAL SIDE-EFFECTS
Being diagnosed with breast cancer can put you on an emotional roller coaster.
That's normal, of course! More than two million of us have heard the words, "You have breast cancer," and our hearts have skipped a beat. Common emotional side-effects of a cancer diagnosis include: fear, anxiety, worry, anger, denial, depression, grief, and loss. We deal with the emotional side-effects of our diagnosis just like we deal with all the other changes that breast cancer brings: the best we can. Everyone does this differently. Most of the time it's easier if you can share the emotional burden with family and friends, and they can be part of your adjustment and recovery team. While you may not feel it at first, another common emotional reaction is acceptance and hope. Millions of us have gotten through treatment, and you will, too.
- Earlene Dal Pozzo, MD, and Diane L. Akins, MA, LPC, CAC III, who are both breast cancer survivors.
Ways to Manage Emotions Stemming from a Cancer Diagnosis
- Focus on what you can and want to do.
- Say "no" when appropriate. Learn to pace yourself.
- Pamper yourself.
- Take time for activities you enjoy.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Laugh at least once a day - if you can.
- Learn to ask for what you need.
- Use relaxation techniques: deep breathing, clearing your mind, progressive muscular relaxation, and visualization.
- Express your emotions.
Ways to Communicate Your Feelings Related to the Diagnosis and the Future
- Talk with family members and friends.
- Be open and honest, especially with children.
- Let them know what you need.
- Let them know it is all right to ask questions.
- Don't go into great details unless you want to.
- Thank people for asking about you; refusing to acknowledge their interest isolates you from people who care.
- Talk with a therapist or spiritual advisor.
- Join a cancer support group.
- Keep a journal.
- Use artistic expression, such as drawing, music, or painting.