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Published on March 29, 2019

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Feeling alone after cancer treatment

Finishing treatment is a significant moment in your cancer journey and often leads to many different emotions, including feeling lonely.

While you may be happy to be done with treatment, you may miss the support you got from your healthcare team. Going from seeing your treatment team frequently to not at all can make some people feel like their safety net has been pulled away. This can lead to feelings of isolation.

It's also common to feel cut off from certain friends or family members after treatment. Some of them may think now that treatment is over you will return to living your life exactly like before treatment, even though this may not be true. Friends and family may go back to their regular routines, too, and may not check in with you as often as they did when you were receiving treatment. Their behavior is likely unintentional, but hearing from your support system less frequently can be hard.

To help feel less lonely after treatment, it's important to share what you are experiencing. This may mean talking only to a close friend or family member, counselor or a member of your faith or spiritual community. On the other hand, many people find it helpful to talk to other people who are in similar situations, such as by joining a cancer support group at Gundersen or in the community.

If you're struggling with feelings of loneliness after cancer treatment and aren't sure where to turn for support, share your feelings with a member of your healthcare team. You are not alone, and your care team is still here for you. They can connect you with resources to help.

*Article adapted from the National Cancer Institute.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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