Survivorship of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma

Executive Summary:

Survivorship begins immediately after the diagnosis of cancer. The individuals under treatment and whose disease conditions are cured after the treatment are referred to as the cancer survivors. Acute, extended and permanent survivorship are the three phases of survivorship. The survivorship of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Cancer varies as per the different individuals. Individuals with chronic conditions continue to receive treatment and care for an extended time. It helps in managing and reducing the risk of cancer recurring again. The survivors of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Cancer have joined a support group or an online community who have helped them to cope confidently with the drastic phase of the cancer journey. ACC survivorship serves as a solid motivation to initiate healthy changes in lifestyle and maintain good health and live a cancer-free life.

Survivorship for Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma

A person who already had cancer is referred to as a cancer survivor. The meaning and perception of “survivorship” varies as per the individual. It can mean having no signs or symptoms of cancer post-treatment. Or it can tell, “living with, through and beyond cancer”. This definition implies that cancer survivorship begins right after the disease is diagnosed. People who have been taking treatments and whose disease condition has been cured post-treatment are also considered cancer survivors.

Phases of survivorship

  • Acute survivorship begins at the diagnostic stage and goes through until the initial set of treatments. Here the focus is on treating cancer by using suitable strategies.
  • Extended survivorship begins at the end of the initial treatment phase and goes through the months following. The prime focus is on the effects of cancer and treatment.
  • Permanent survivorship refers to a permanent condition where it’s been years since cancer treatment has ended, and there is less or no chance of cancer recurring back in the body. The focus is on the long-term side effects of the treatments. Follow up care is essential in this phase.

Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Cancer survivorship is one of the most complex parts of having cancer. It is because survivorship varies from one person to the other. Some people whose cancer condition is likely to become chronic continue to receive treatment and care for an extended time. It is also to manage and reduce the risk of cancer recurring again in the body.

Cancer Survivors can experience a mix of emotions. They may portray strong feelings like relief, joy, fear, concern, or guilt. Many cancer survivors say that they have learned to appreciate life more and accept themselves for whatever they are after being diagnosed with the disease. At the same time, some others have become more tense and anxious about their health and seem uncertain about what lies ahead. These people may lose interest in their life and find no meaning in leaving. They are primarily apprehensive of a bright future.

Cancer survivors can feel stressed once their frequent visits to the hospital and meeting the health care team ends. They will begin to experience a lack of security or support, as the relationship built with the health care team provides them with a sense of support, comfort and protection. It may be triggered even more if any new worries or challenges like any side effects of the treatment, emotional challenges like the fear of recurrence, metastasis, sexual well-being, fertility concerns, financial and professional issues have started to bother the survivor. 

Also Read: Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Treatment

The concerns and challenges every survivor may experience will be different. The prime step to overcome any hurdle or challenge is to recognize your fears and speak out about them. To effectively cope and outshine any challenges, one needs to:

  • Understand the challenge they are facing
  • Attempt to think and find solutions
  • Asking for and allowing others to support and help.
  • Feeling comfortable and confident with the course of action one chooses or initiates.

Many Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Cancer survivors say that joining a support group or an online community of survivors has helped them come to terms and confidently cope with their situations. Support groups or survivor communities allow survivors to interact with people from different walks of life who have had similar first-hand experiences with cancer. To find such groups or match support options, patients can talk with a friend, approach their health care team or a counsellor or ask for assistance at the learning resource Centre of the hospital or clinic where the patient received the treatment.

Role of Caregivers

A caregiver or a loved one who takes care of a dear one with cancer is often called a “Co-survivor”. Caregivers play a pivotal role in cancer treatment and cure. The family and friends, just like the patient, undergoes a lot of changes during the cancer treatment and survivorship journey. A caregiver’s role in providing emotional, mental, physical and practical care and daily support is beyond explanation. They accompany the patient throughout their treatment and recovery period, which may sometimes last for months or years after active treatment. 

But as the active treatment comes to an end, the role of caregivers may also change. Sometimes, the patient may need less or no care after successful treatment. In such a case, caregivers can slowly try to cope with their surroundings and learn to carry on with their daily life.

Not just caregivers, changes can happen with almost all relationships. During Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Cancer survivorship, family members of the survivors can become overprotective. Or sometimes they tend to care very little or no more after cancer treatment. In the case of friends, some may become closer, whereas some others will keep a distance. So as a survivor, the best you can do is to understand that most people connected with you might change because of the cancer experience they have been through in ways they may not be aware. Work through these changes, vocalize your needs, and get the desired support.

Follow Up Care for Survivors

Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Cancer Survivorship can serve as a solid motivation to initiate healthy changes in lifestyle. Cancer survivors must follow some established guidelines to maintain good health and live a cancer-free life. The procedures include no smoking, limited alcohol intake, eating healthy and managing stress and anxiety. People who have ACC are also encouraged to perform physical activities regularly, which can help them to regain their energy level and strength. Seek the help of your healthcare team to design an exercise plan as per your needs, physical capabilities, fitness level and health condition.

Follow up care is pivotal in cancer treatment and cure. Communicate with the doctor or health care team regarding creating a survivorship care plan that best suits your abilities and needs.