The most common thought that crosses one’s mind after undergoing major cancer surgery or recovering from a diagnosis of cancer is ‘Will it recur?’ This question is most relevant when someone is dealing with cancer. Most cancer patients wait for that day when their medical reports say ’No evidence of disease’ or ‘No malignancy detected’. This calls for celebration doesn’t it? The end of a tough journey, the victory of a brave soul and lots of emotions. But, all cancer survivors live with this one fear ‘Will it recur?’
This question cannot be answered immediately after your cancer treatment has successfully ended. Most people recollect how any vague pain or irregularity in the body were terrifying to them as they thought it was a recurrence of cancer. Even the thought of it makes life a living hell. But, that is not how one should live life after they have successfully beaten cancer in its gut! Here are 3 very important reminders for anyone who is dealing with the fear of cancer recurrence:
- Accept, Understand and Acknowledge your fear
Cancer does recur. Everyone must know and understand this. The cancer recurrence rates depend on the type of cancer, lifestyle and the overall health of the individual. About 70% of the people who are cancer-free or have no evidence of disease have a mild to moderate fear that their cancer will recur. Those people whose cancer is currently stable, about 50% of them have a moderate to significant fear that their cancer will grow or spread.
Get your facts right, ask your doctor. Knowing numbers and statistics helps your mind calm down and think more positively. In many cases, the fear of recurrence functions as positive reinforcement and motivates people to go get their annual, or 6-monthly checkups and follow-ups. But, in some people, this fear affects their minds negatively and can affect their quality of life.
2. You Have No Control. Really!
Most people spend a large part of their cancer journey contemplating on ‘why me?’ Or ‘why did I have to get cancer?’ But, a cancer survivor accepts that one has no control over the development of the disease. And the same applies to a recurrence of the disease too! We really have no control over it. The more you look for control and the more you want to know about the ‘IFs’ and the ‘Hows’ the more your mind will grapple with this. The best thing to do is to trust that all will be well. Relieve yourself of the burden of trying to figure out if you will be ok in the next week, next month or next year. There is never a guarantee in life whether you are diagnosed with cancer or you are a healthy individual.
3. Never Stop Living and Enjoying Life
We always make plans for the future. But, things change when you have just survived cancer. The future may seem bleak to most people due to the fear of Cancer recurrence. Shouldn’t that be a motivation to make the most of each day, each moment? Fight the fear of recurrence by living your life fully such that there is no space left for doubts to creep in. Do what you always wanted to do, go to the places you planned to visit and make the most of each and every day. Never stop living or enjoying life. This is the best way to beat cancer!