CureSearch for Children's Cancer funds and supportstargeted and innovative children's cancer research with measurableresults, and is the authoritative source of information and resourcesfor all those affected by children's cancer.
As a cancer survivor you probably have a range of feelings
about your cancer and it’s treatment—from relief that your treatment has ended
to worry that your cancer may return. During treatment, most people focus on getting
through each day. But after treatment ends, a host of feelings can surface as
you make sense of your experience and learn what it means to be a childhood
Being a survivor of childhood cancer usually entails ongoing
testing for recurrent cancer, watching out for the late effects of cancer and
its treatment, and re-entering school or the workforce. Most survivors are able
to cope with these and other stresses, but some may develop depression and
anxiety with symptoms of posttraumatic stress.
The type of cancer you had and its treatment can affect your
risk. People who had cancer of the brain or spine, cancer treatment to the
brain or spine (such as radiation to the head and chemotherapy into spinal
fluid), or bone marrow or stem cell transplants have higher risk for emotional
The following factors also raise risk:
Talk to your doctor if you have emotional distress that
lasts two or more weeks or that keeps you from doing key tasks at home, school,
or work. A referral to a mental health professional may be in order, but your
doctor most likely will give you a thorough check-up first. That’s because
these symptoms can also be caused by physical health problems.
Here are some specific signs that you might you need help
from a mental health professional:
If you are depressed or anxious, talking with others about
your feelings is a first step in gaining control over them. Some survivors find
support by joining support groups, going to activities at their place of
worship, or calling on their sense of spirituality.
Clinical treatments for depression and anxiety help, too.
Options include one-on-one or group talk therapy, medication, or both. Your
doctor can help you access the support or treatment that you need.
There’s also help online. Many cancer groups have created
websites that include information and tools to help childhood cancer survivors
after treatment ends. Here are just a few:
Tell your doctor or childhood cancer specialist about any
emotional distress that you feel. Your doctor can help you find the resources
that you need to cope with the stresses of being a survivor.