Congratulations. You’ve just finished your final round of chemotherapy or last radiation session and now you’re done with cancer treatment and can start to resume your normal life.
Just because you’re done with cancer treatment doesn’t mean you’re finished with Woman’s and our cancer navigators. We contact the cancer survivors and meet with them to discuss their “survivorship plan.”
With cancer, patients go through surgery and then follow that with months and months of treatment sessions. So when those sessions are over, it’s understandable that patients want nothing more to do with doctors, hospitals or anything else and hope to never return.
But that’s not what needs to happen.
After treatment, most cancer patients will see their doctors every two or three months for routine check-ups and to see how they’re feeling now that treatment is over. Our job is to make them understand that it’s still important to see the doctors and return to the hospital for their checkups every few months.
After about a year, those sessions becoming less frequent, maybe once every six months for most patients. But after that, the patient-navigator relationship still won’t end.
Many of Woman’s patients come back to the hospital to interact and offer their support to women currently going through cancer treatment. Woman’s hosts many cancer-related activities throughout the year, including the Living with Cancer conference, a lunch in October and Celebrate Life events, among other events.
I encourage ladies to participate in any social activity they can. What works for you may not work for the next lady but understand that you’re just trying to meet your emotional needs. Women who have been cancer free for the past 25 years come and like to be mentors for those who are currently going through the treatments.
Tracy Johnson is a social worker and breast cancer patient navigator with Woman’s Hospital.
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We are always looking for stories related to your cancer journey. If cancer has touched your life and you would like to write about your story, let me know. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.