“What ifs” are scary thoughts that cross your mind after being diagnosed with a life-altering disease such as cancer. These questions can be unsettling and tempting to ignore, but tackling them sooner rather than later is beneficial. After diagnosis, many people have a barrage of “what ifs?” about their future. They wonder what would have happened if they had taken better care of themselves or made different choices in the past. This often leads to depression and isolation, which can further compound the emotional strain on patients and their loved ones. However, not all “what ifs’ are created equal. Some are just needless fears that make everything seem scarier than it actually is. Here are five things you should know about what-ifs after cancer:
What if I don’t recover?
This is a common “what if” among people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Many people fear that they might not recover from their cancer, and they worry that they might die as a result. However, this is a very unusual “what if” that occurs only in a small number of people. In fact, the majority of people who have been diagnosed with cancer do not die as a result of their disease. Furthermore, not everyone who is diagnosed with cancer dies of that cancer. In fact, most people live at least 10 years after being diagnosed with cancer, and many people live many years beyond that. Additionally, it’s important to remember that cancer treatment is often very successful. For example, many people who are diagnosed with cancer today are living longer than ever before. This means that you might be one of the lucky ones who does not experience significant side effects from treatment or a poor response to the treatment you receive.
What If My Cancer Returns?
People who have been diagnosed with cancer often have “what ifs” about the possibility of the disease returning (also known as a recurrence). These “what ifs” are normal and understandable. After all, it can be scary to think about the possibility of your cancer returning. The good news is that most people who have had non-cancerous tumors in the past have not had another cancer return years later. In fact, studies show that only 3 percent of people who have had a cancerous tumor in the past have another malignancy developed years later. Many cancer experts also believe that people with one malignancy are less likely to develop another malignancy in the future. These experts also believe that certain factors, such as a person’s age, genetics, and sex, play a role in determining which people are more likely to develop another malignancy.
What If I Don’t Die Of My Cancer?
After you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, many “what ifs” may cross your mind. One of the most common questions is whether you will survive your cancer or not. Fortunately, the vast majority of people who have cancer do survive at least one year after being diagnosed with cancer. Many die of something other than their cancer. In fact, very few people die of their cancer.
What If I Have To Be Cancer Free?
Many people who have been diagnosed with cancer have “what ifs” about what they might have to do in order to be cancer-free. These “what ifs” often center around the possibility of having to be on the cancer-fighting “good side” for a long period of time. Fortunately, this is a “what if” that doesn’t really happen very often. In fact, experts believe that most people who have had cancer in the past are able to be cancer-free without having to be on the “good side” for very long. What’s more, most people are able to be cancer-free without receiving extremely aggressive or harsh treatments. Experts believe that many people are able to be cancer-free without having any therapy that is “too far in the weeds” for them.
What If Everything Goes Wrong?
Many people who have been diagnosed with cancer have “what ifs” about what might happen if all goes wrong. These “what ifs” are often related to the possibility of a major side effect too, or a serious complication of, the cancer treatment. Thankfully, in most cases, these “what ifs” do not come to pass. For example, the vast majority of people who have received chemotherapy do not develop severe side effect that requires hospitalization. Similarly, most people who have received radiation treatment to their chest do not develop a life-threatening complication.
Hopefully, this article has helped you better understand what ifs after cancer. Now, you can approach these “what ifs” with more peace and confidence. You may find that even though you have been diagnosed with cancer, it’s not nearly as scary as you think it will be. You may even find it a helpful opportunity to grow and learn some important lessons about life. Cancer may not be as bad as you think it will be, and it may even be a positive experience for you.