• Home
  • Cancer Survivorship

Cancer Survivorship

A cancer diagnosis can leave a lifelong impact. With survivorship comes the chance to reflect, adapt, accept and recover.

About Cancer Survivorship

Who is a cancer survivor?


A cancer survivor is someone who has lived through cancer from the moment of diagnosis, through treatment and beyond. There are 12 million cancer survivors today in the United States. Most have completed their treatment years, even decades, earlier.


Seasons of Survivorship


Seasons of cancer survivorship describe specific periods survivors may experience. There are four main seasons:


  • Acute Survivorship is the period of time when a person is diagnosed and treated for cancer.
  • Transitional Survivorship is the period immediately after treatment is completed. Survivors may feel a mix of emotions during this period, including joy and celebration, but they may also feel depressed or isolated.
  • Extended Survivorship is the period of several years when treatment is completed but survivors continue follow-up care with surveillance.
  • Permanent Survivorship is an extended period of time that has passed since the last treatment. Survivors see their doctors less often, so living a healthy lifestyle becomes increasingly important.

Side Effects

Emotional Side Effects of Cancer


Surviving cancer can be an emotional roller coaster. Every cancer survivor is unique, so there are no right or wrong reactions. The most common emotions cancer survivors may experience are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Grief
  • Sense of loss


It is important for cancer survivors to recognize their emotions and deal with them in a positive and productive manner. Some ways to deal with these emotional challenges include:


  • Talking to friends and loved ones
  • Discussing their experience with a mental health professional
  • Engaging in fun activities
  • Exercising
  • Eating healthy foods
  • Joining a cancer support group


Physical Side Effects of Cancer


Along with dealing with a variety of emotions, cancer survivors may endure a wide range of physical challenges. These side effects tend to vary for each individual, depending on the type of treatment they received.


Some physical side effects include:


  • Loss of appetite
  • Blood clots
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Lymphedema
  • Heart problems
  • Neuropathy


The best ways to deal with physical side effects are to exercise, to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and to see your primary care physician on a regular basis.

Living Well Beyond Cancer – Prevention of Recurrence

After medical treatment, cancer survivors are still at risk for recurrence of the cancer and the development of a second cancer. To reduce these risks, cancer survivors can take the following steps to Living Well Beyond Cancer:


Follow-Up Visits


It is importance for cancer survivors to have regular follow-up medical appointments with their primary care physician and their oncologist. Doctors can explain what is happening to a survivor’s body and how it can be treated.




Exercising is one of the best ways to lower a cancer survivor’s risk of recurrence. Physical activity can also lower blood pressure, helps to reduce stress, and can help reduce the risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.


Diet and Nutrition


Cancer survivors should eat a "colorful" diet of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are low in fat, packed full of vitamins and minerals, and can help the survivor maintain a healthy weight. Other foods that help prevent cancer from recurring are whole grains and beans.


Avoid Tobacco Products


Smoking is a proven cause of lung cancer, and it is associated with the risk for the development of other cancers, stroke, heart disease, emphysema and asthma. Cancer survivors should avoid the use of all tobacco products, as well as exposure to secondhand smoke.




Exercising is one of the best ways to lower a cancer survivor’s risk of recurrence. Physical activity can also lower blood pressure, helps to reduce stress, and can help reduce the risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.


Fertility and Cancer Survivorship


One side effect of cancer treatment in both men and women is that it can lead to infertility. Infertility can be a temporary or permanent side effect, depending on the type of treatment.

How does this happen? Cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can all cause infertility in these ways:


  • Surgery: Some surgery on the sex organs or around the sex organs can reduce fertility.
  • Chemotherapy: The effects depend on the type of chemotherapy and the dose.
  • Radiation Therapy: The effects depend on the dose of radiation and where the body was treated.
  • Other factors that can affect fertility include age, gender, and physical and sexual maturation.

Tevis Cancer Survivorship

Embrace Wellness is a cancer survivorship program offered each year by the Tevis Center for Wellness at Carroll Hospital in partnership with NovaCare, a LifeBridge Health partner and nationally renowned provider of physical therapy and rehabilitation services. Embrace Wellness is open to all cancer survivors who have completed treatment. The program supports cancer patients in survivorship through a holistic approach that promotes healing, recovery and physical and emotional well-being. The 12-week program meets weekly and offers nutrition education sessions with a registered dietitian nutritionist who encourages healthy whole food choices for cancer prevention and overall health and wellness. For more information, contact community nutrition educator Bridgette Bostic, R.D.N., at 410-871-6646 or contact bbostic@lifebridgehealth.org.