Your Lifestyle

PharmancyAlthough your cancer may now be in remission, you may still experience stress and anxiety as a result of your cancer journey. In particular, some patients report feelings of stress and anxiety that increase up until they have the follow-up exam and tests, and then decrease as soon as they are told there is no evidence of disease and that the cancer has not returned. The term for this specific type of stress and anxiety is “scanxiety.”

Other toxicities may be identified at the time of the follow-up exams. For example, approximately 25 percent of patients who had surgery and radiation therapy combinations developed hypothyroidism, the decrease of thyroid hormone production, post-treatment.

You may experience ongoing functional challenges after your treatment is completed, depending on what type of cancer removal surgery, reconstruction or prosthetics you had and how the side effects of other treatments affected you. Some people recover completely and find a “new normal” with relative ease. Others continue to struggle, sometimes for the rest of their lives, to overcome functional challenges with breathing, swallowing and speaking. You may receive speech and/or swallowing rehabilitation; prosthetic devices to help you eat, breathe or speak; and perhaps ongoing therapy to help you continue to improve your quality of life.

A great many head and neck cancer patients adapt quite well and return to a full and rich life after achieving remission.
One of the most important things that helped me get through that period was my wife taking me outside. We would go to a park, or she would make me get out of bed and sit outside to get some fresh air.Jason S. (tonsil cancer survivor)