Side effects related to cancer or cancer treatment that occur months or even years after you have completed your cancer treatments are considered “late side effects.” Side effects of cancer treatment that don’t go away after your treatment ends are known as “long-term side effects.” Working with your cancer-care team to manage late- and long-term side effects of cancer treatment are important to your continued recovery and quality of life.
Once cancer treatment ends and you become a cancer survivor, you may not be entirely free from residual effects of your illness. Long after cancer treatment ends, sometimes years after treatment ends, you may experience cancer- or cancer-treatment-related side effects.
The specific late- and long-term side effects that you may experience as a cancer survivor will depend on:
Late- and long-term side effects can be physical or emotional and may include:
Especially if you are a new cancer survivor, make sure to ask your oncologist about what long-term cancer treatment effects you are most likely to experience. Some may be very common for certain types of cancer treatment and they can advise you on what you might expect. In fact, if you haven’t already done so, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with our survivorship providers to talk about what to keep an eye out for. Make sure to take notes or bring along a friend or relative to take notes for you.
Other questions to ask your oncologist or survivorship provider include:
Experiencing cancer is life-changing in many ways. Late- and long-term side effects may continue to affect you well into the future. Make sure to find out from your cancer care team what you might experience down the road. This way, you’ll be able to identify potential cancer treatment side effects quickly and contact your doctor promptly to have them checked out.