Long-term Survivorship

You’ve come through your cancer treatment as a survivor—but it’s normal to worry about what the future holds. As a young long-term survivor, someone diagnosed five or so years and beyond, you face many challenges unique to our population. Check out YSC’s Long-Term Navigator, a guidebook created specifically for the unique needs of young survivors five or more years past treatment!

This page will help answer many of your questions. Find information to help you plan your care, resources for managing your health and links to help you find support from other women who have been there.

Planning Your Care

Choosing a Doctor: If you haven’t already, you need to choose doctors for follow-up cancer care and other medical care.

For follow-up care, many women choose the same doctor who treated their cancer. For regular medical care, many see their main provider, such as a family doctor. For specific concerns, you may want to see a specialist. Talk to all of your doctors as you make this transition. Remember, always tell new doctors about your breast cancer history including the type of cancer and the type of treatment you had.

Insurance: Some insurance plans limit coverage of follow-up care to certain doctors, a set number of visits or a set period of time. That means it may make more sense to get follow-up cancer care from your family doctor or primary-care physician. Check what your plan covers—but remember, finding doctors who make you feel comfortable and have the best knowledge about breast cancer is always most important.

Manage Your Health

All young women affected by breast cancer want to reduce the chances of their cancer coming back. Luckily, you have the ability to make smart decisions to help keep yourself healthy:

Your Care Plan

Develop or update your survivorship care plan. Find some helpful tools in YSC's Post-Treatment Navigator.

Caring for You

Research shows that making these healthy choices can help reduce your risk of recurrence:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit alcohol
  • Keep moving: Exercise moderately (walking, biking, swimming) for about 30 minutes every – or almost every – day. Talk to your doctor about an appropriate program for you. Even small things like stretching or moving your arms and legs can help. Exercise can also:
    • Reduce anxiety and depression
    • Improve mood and self-esteem
    • Lessen fatigue, nausea, pain and diarrhea
  • Eat smart:
    • Eat a plant-based diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains
    • Choose foods low in fat and salt
    • Strive for a healthy weight
    • Plan for any special dietary needs with your doctor or a nutritionist
  • Read more about diet and fitness guidelines at AICR.org

Re-Reconstruction

Your long-term care might involve attending to your breast reconstruction. If you had your reconstruction 10 or 15 years ago, a “tune up” can help you stay your best. Since surgeons continue to make advancements, learn what’s new as you find a specialist who’s right for you.

Learn more about reconstruction procedures through Cancer Support Community's online and print resources.

Find Support

Even if you beat your cancer many years ago, fears and anxieties can return. That’s completely normal—but often difficult to deal with. You may not feel mentally or emotionally prepared to think about cancer again. But remember—you have support to help you through these times.

You can still rely on the community of strong, understanding women at YSC. Visit our community boards to connect with other long-term survivors. Call or email our SurivorLink program to find the priceless support of a one-on-one connection with another long-term survivor.

Keep Learning and Get Involved: