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People who have had cancer agree that no one should have to go it alone after treatment. Your friends and family can help. Ask your doctor, nurse, social worker, or local cancer organization how to find services in your area like the ones listed below.
Some members of the clergy are trained to help you deal with cancer concerns such as feeling alone, fear of death, searching for meaning, and doubts about faith.
Spiritual Care at Dana-Farber
You and your partner can work with trained specialists who can help you talk about problems, learn about each other's needs, and find ways to cope. Counseling may include issues related to sex and intimacy.
Your whole family may be involved in the healing process. In these programs, you and your family members participate in therapy sessions with trained specialists who can help you talk about problems, learn about each other's needs, and find answers.
Trained specialists advise on whether to have gene testing for cancer and how to deal with the results. It can be helpful for you and for family members who have concerns for their own health.
Dana-Farber's Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program
State and local governments offer many services useful after cancer treatment. A nurse or physical therapist may be able to come to your home. You also may be able to get help with housework or cooking. The phone book has contact numbers under Social Services, Health Services, or Aging Services—both nonprofit and for-profit.
Trained mental health specialists help you deal with your feelings, such as anger, sadness, and concern for your future.
All doctors can offer follow-up care, but there are a few clinics that specialize in long-term follow-up after cancer.
Dana-Farber's Adult Survivorship Program
They can help you with gaining or losing weight and with healthy eating.
Nutrition Services at Dana-Farber
They can help you regain, develop, and build skills that are important for independent living. They can help you relearn how to do daily activities such as bathing, dressing, or feeding yourself after cancer treatment.
These professionals are trained to counsel you about ways to cope with treatment issues and family problems related to your cancer. They can tell you about resources and connect you with services in your area.
Social work at Dana-Farber
These are centers with professionals from many different fields who are specially trained in helping people get relief from pain.
Pain and palliative care at Dana-Farber
Physical therapists are trained in the way that the body parts interact and work. They can teach you about proper exercises and body motions that can help you gain strength and mobility after treatment. They can also advise you about proper postures that help prevent injuries.
Research shows that the more support you have in quitting smoking, the greater your chance for success. Many communities have "quit smoking" programs. Ask your doctor, nurse, social worker, or local hospital about what is available, or call (800) 4-CANCER.
Speech therapists can evaluate and treat any speech, language, or swallowing problems you may have after treatment.
These programs teach ways to help you relax and take more control over stress. Hospitals, clinics, or local cancer organizations may offer such programs and classes.
Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies
In-person and online groups enable survivors to interact with others in similar situations.
Support groups and patient seminars at Dana-Farber
If you have disabilities or other special needs after treatment, these services can help you find suitable jobs. Such services include counseling, education and skills training, and help in obtaining and using assistive technology and tools.
Source: U.S. National Cancer Institute, Facing Forward Series: Life After Cancer