I’m a cancer survivor. Now what?

The cancer journey continues well beyond diagnosis and treatment – and survivorship comes with its own a set of challenges

August 1, 2020

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Four years after her stage 3 melanoma diagnosis, Bethany G. shows no signs of disease and is proud to be a cancer survivor. “Being done and knowing that you’re finished is the most satisfying thing,” says Bethany, mother of two young girls. “It’s like this prize that you win for going through all of this.”

Today, Bethany joins the millions of people around the world who are cancer survivors. This growing number of cancer survivors is due in large part to advancements in detection and treatments that have helped to shift many types of cancers from acute to chronic diseases.

But while cancer survivorship is a celebrated victory, it is also often met with a host of complicated challenges. Once cancer treatment is over, many survivors, including Bethany, may be wondering about what comes next. And beyond the very real fears of reoccurrence, survivors face a host of challenges that are hard to anticipate or plan for, from emotional and mental strain to new physical limitations.

cancer survivor collage

“A lot of cancer patients search for their new ‘normal’ after treatment,” explains Bethany, as she talks candidly about her identity as a survivor in a new video presented by MSD.

What defines the “new normal” is different for everyone. Processing the changes you have experienced and becoming more comfortable with your “new normal” will help you adapt over time.

Consider looking into a local cancer advocacy organization for additional survivorship support and resources to help you feel your best, inside and out.