After a life-changing illness, normal may never be the same. While those around us may want a return to a pre-illness state, that may not be possible. Your body may have been successfully treated, but now your life needs healing. Making the transition to post treatment recovery is stressful. Being disease-free does not mean being free of the effects or experience of cancer. The Survivorship Clinic, part of the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, works to help you find your new normal and reduce the stress of post treatment recovery. The clinic is part of the nationally renowned UAB Palliative and Supportive Care Clinics.
Common challenges of survivorship include: fatigue, pain, lymphedema (swelling), mouth or teeth problems, weight changes, bowel and bladder control, menopause symptoms, and sexual problems. Your brain may also be impacted by cancer treatment. Survivors of head and neck cancer may have changes in their mouths such as dryness or trouble swallowing and digestive problems. Others experience depression, and even guilt. Other side effects of the disease and the treatments may interfere with daily life. Our clinic team works to manage symptoms and offer psychological support to help patients cope. Addressing the suffering of patients is the mission of the UAB’s Center for Palliative Care’s Survivorship Clinic.
A special emphasis of our work is with survivors of breast cancer and head and neck cancers. Patients who survive these diseases often have more psychological issues due to the close tie in with appearance.
With a multidisciplinary approach, the doctors, fellows, physician’s assistant, psychologist, social worker and dietitian, all work together to help patients through all of the ways that disease affects their lives. Focusing on the whole person, the treatment team goes beyond physical suffering to address emotional, social, family and spiritual needs.