Thanks to earlier detection, innovative medical treatments and supportive care from family
and friends, there are now more than 12 million cancer survivors in the United States*
today. Furthermore, the number of survivors is expected to continue to increase each year
as baby boomers age and more progress is made in the fight against cancer.
Many cancer survivors lead normal lives with few, if any, side effects. But, as many
survivors have learned, recovery is not always the end of the cancer experience. According
to the National Action Plan for Cancer Survivorship: Advancing Public Health Strategies, 2
out of 3 survivors say their lives return to normal, while one-third report continuing
physical, psychosocial or financial consequences. Though most survivors feel well, some
cancer treatments can cause lingering health issues. Some survivors can develop late
effects, which are new side effects that arise months or years after the completion of
treatment, depending on the type of treatment received — surgery, radiation, chemotherapy
and hormonal therapy.
On the psychosocial side, emotional challenges such as anxiety, despair, and fear,
especially fear of recurrence, can remain after treatment ends. Some patients do experience
a recurrence, and many of those live full lives. Others are living with metastatic or
advanced cancer and they manage their cancer as they would any other chronic disease.
Changes in emotion before, during and after treatment are normal. We realize these changes
can take a toll on your life and we're here to help.
Please visit the Moving Forward part of this section.
As the survivor population increases, health care providers must have programs and
resources in place to help survivors sustain an optimal quality of life and live as fully
as possible. Survivorship programs are needed to control adverse outcomes and provide
optimal follow-up care and surveillance. In addition, survivorship programs provide
lifestyle recommendations, psychosocial resources, and help to create a seamless transition
from end of treatment to ongoing care.
While the focus of the Carolina Well website is on cancer survivorship after treatment,
much of the information written here can apply to the time of initial diagnosis and during
treatment. For more information about other stages on the cancer spectrum: prevention,
control, and coping with diagnosis, please visit
UNC-LCCC Patient Support, our
Resource page and the following links:
LIVESTRONG — The Lance Armstrong Foundation
website is an excellent resource. Learn about cancer, get one-on-one
support through SurvivorCare, hear survivor stories, learn about clinical trials, and
download worksheets to help with organizing. You can also pick up a LIVESTRONG
organizer from the Patient Resource Center.
Cancer diagnosis: 10 Tips for Coping
Mayo Clinic Health Solutions' award-winning consumer website offers health information and
self-improvement tools. MayoClinic.com's medical experts and editorial professionals bring
you access to the knowledge and experience of Mayo Clinic for all your consumer health
information needs, from cancer, diabetes and heart disease to nutrition, exercise and
You Have the Right to Be Hopeful
Also created by The National Coalition for Cancer, this resource defines the many ways that
hope can be present in a survivor's life and offers space for individuals to journal and
reflect on their own cancer journey.
Treatment Decision Tools
Treatment decision tools can help you make an informed decision about your treatment. Using
these tools, you can access the detailed analysis of your specific condition, uncover a
statistical breakdown of treatment types, and pinpoint the exact topics you should discuss
with your doctor.