Carolina Well What a wonderful life I've had! I only wished I'd realized it sooner. -Coleman

About Survivorship

Number of Survivors Growing

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.

Quality of Life Model

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.

Survivorship is Only One Part of the Cancer Journey

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
The LIVESTRONG 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.'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 pregnancy.
Teamwork: The Cancer Patient's Guide to Talking With Your Doctor
"Teamwork" is a The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship resource which focuses on teaching survivors and their loved ones how to best address their concerns with their doctors and other members of their healthcare team.
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.