Now that cancer treatment is over, it’s likely your oncologist has told you that it’s okay to resume activity— at least as much as you can handle. Still, you may find that some lingering side effects from cancer treatment keep you from doing so. 

Ongoing Research Regarding Long-term Treatment Side Effects

Fortunately, there’s good news. According to the National Cancer Institute, the cancer survival rates have increased and will continue to do so, with an estimated 20.3 million survivors by 2026— an increase of 31% (more than 4 million survivors) over a 10-year period. This steady increase in cancer survival rates has made the survivors’ quality of life an area of greater focus. 

Take this study conducted by the University of Australia, for example, where researchers analyzed the pharmaceutical records of nearly 4,000 prostate cancer survivors over the span of 11 years (2003-2014). The findings showed that survivors treated with a common prostate cancer therapy were at a higher risk of developing various conditions, such as diabetes, depression, high blood cholesterol (hyperlipidemia), osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory/painful conditions, and gastric acid disorders post-treatment.  

Yet another study concluded that survivors of gynecological cancer who had undergone radiation therapy experienced more urinary, gastrointestinal, and sexual side effects after cancer treatment than survivors who did not receive radiation therapy.

Because of this high interest regarding the side effects survivors can experience, more research is being conducted to better understand which treatments produce fewer side effects after treatment is over.    

Side Effects that Cancer Survivors May Experience

Side effects vary among cancer survivors. While some people experience no side effects at all, others deal with long-term side effects.

Long-term side effects of cancer treatment may include: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Anxiety 
  • Dental disorders 
  • Heart problems 
  • Brain fog 
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sexual health issues

If you are experiencing any of these side effects or any type of pain, we encourage you to talk with your Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers cancer care team. Our goal is to help in every way we can, including providing you with resources so you can connect with other survivors who understand what you are going through. With the right support, living with long-term side effects can become more manageable.