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Post treatment/Survivorship

Post treatment

Following radiation therapy, together with other treatments for cancer, patients still need support for a variety of reasons. As Donal mentions in the video, these can be grouped into three categories:

Medical support

Many patients may continue to experience side effects after they are finished radiation therapy. It is important to know that there are experts available who can advise you and that you are not on your own once treatment has finished.

  • For example, many patients experience fatigue or tiredness for quite some time following their radiation therapy. It is important to talk to experts who can advise you on the combination of exercise and rest that will help manage this fatigue.

  • Some patients also feel that they may have a loss of appetite after cancer treatment. Community-based dietitians can help you with this and give you some practical advice on how to meet dietary requirements necessary for your future.

Psychological support

A cancer diagnosis is a time of extreme stress, anxiety and even depression. During treatment, you are extremely busy keeping up with appointments, advice and having an entire expert team on hand to answer your queries and the support of fellow patients. When radiation therapy finishes, it is easy to feel lost and a little bit isolated.

  • There are counseling services, peer support and general support groups available for you to attend from your national cancer society.
  • As Julie and Roisin explain, some patients may need medical intervention for their anxiety and depression while others may benefit from psychotherapy; others may only require peer and family support.

Practical support

Patients who have had to stop working during radiation therapy can find themselves with the additional stress of financial pressures. Your cancer society can advise you on your rights and entitlements as well as how and when to return to work and how to discuss your future working needs with your place of employment.

Thinking about this video:

  • What is your opinion on the term ‘surviving cancer’?
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An Introduction to Radiation Oncology: From Diagnosis to Survivorship

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