Cancer handbook: After treatment

The term ‘end of treatment’ does not mean there will be no further contact with a treatment team.  The end of the formal treatment period can be both a positive and difficult time for families. 

You will still be in contact with your child’s medical team after treatment. A plan with regular follow ups will be developed. 

There are standard durations of therapy for certain types of cancers and patients, however the  ‘end of treatment’ timing for your child will depend on their disease and response to treatment. 

Positive feelings

  • excitement that their child does not have to endure as many painful procedures, medications, or spend so much time in hospital 
  • happy they are not  ‘tied’ to a strict treatment protocol that restricts time for long periods 
  • looking forward to resuming a normal family life 
  • a sense of renewed meaning and hope. 

Negative feelings

  • living with a fear of relapse or further complications 
  • fear of being abandoned by the hospital, no longer having easy access to support services 
  • concern about long-term effects of the disease and treatment 
  • survival guilt – knowing their child completed treatment successfully when others may not have 
  • feeling that other people think their child is ‘cured’ because they are no longer on active treatment. 

Seeking help

It may help some families to seek professional help to work through issues after treatment has finished.  

We recommend seeking support from a professional if negative feelings or thoughts interfere with your daily functioning and you find it difficult to get through the day (or night, in the case of sleep disturbance).

Please discuss this with your social worker, outreach nurse or doctor.  

Last updated Wednesday 26th June 2024