Cancer is a diagnosis we all dread and the focus is on the often-challenging treatment and survival rates.
But what happens afterwards? Happy-ever-after outcomes are plenty, with many, including celebrities, putting an experience of cancer to good use by raising awareness.
Yet the reality for many more, according to Dr Frances Goodhart, co-author of a new book, The Cancer Survivor’s Companion, is that it can be hugely challenging to get life back on track.
‘Your cancer treatment is over. You’re supposed to be happy, relieved, jubilant,’ she says.
‘There’s a perception that suddenly your life is going to be perfect, because you’ve had a near-miss and now you’re going to be grateful and so appreciative of every minute.’
Instead, she says, survivors can face a huge period of readjustment.
‘While there will, undoubtedly, be moments of elation at a fantastic achievement, actually what it marks is a new life phase.
‘Those who’ve just come through surgery, chemotherapy and other treatments now have to face up to a new life landscape.
‘A survivor may have to deal with any physical losses or changes they may have experienced, and come to terms with themselves as a different person who may not be able to live as they did before, at least temporarily.’
The book challenges the myths and perceptions about cancer survival. And there’s down-to-earth guidance on dealing with some of the key issues which can face those recovering from cancer.
The Cancer Survivor’s Companion, £14.99, by Dr Frances Goodhart and Lucy Atkins is published by Piatkus and available now.