06:47pm Saturday 28 March 2020

Cancer survivors struggle after treatment

More than 100,000 people in Alberta have been treated for cancer, and many of them suffer psychological distress, feel immobilized by fears of the cancer coming back and have difficulties resuming work and family routines.

“Things are different for cancer survivors, we can fatigue more easily, have difficulty sleeping or even have some learning, memory and attention difficulties as a result of treatments. There are often side effects of treatment that occur more than five years after a diagnosis. These are things to be aware of” says Michael Lang, 28, a cancer survivor and the CancerBridges Survivor Network Coordinator. “Life doesn’t go back to being normal but luckily cancer survivors are not alone with their issues.”

CancerBridges is a provincial research-based program out of the University of Calgary/Tom Baker Cancer Centre that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for cancer survivors’ in Alberta, as well as the health-care system’s understanding of their needs.

“Survivors may suffer with existential and spiritual concerns about death and dying and look at the future in a new way, one that their families and friends may not understand,” says Janine Giese-Davis, PhD, the director of CancerBridges and a faculty member in the Department of Oncology and member of the Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute at the University of Calgary. “Our research indicates that many cancer survivors struggle with ongoing physical symptoms as well as achieving life balance and purpose.”

To help people cope with the aftermath of their disease, CancerBridges is holding two free education events for cancer survivors and their families; one in Edmonton and one in Calgary.

Please visit www.cancerbridges.ca for more program information.

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