Survivorship begins immediately after the diagnosis of gestational trophoblastic disease. The patients under treatment and whose disease conditions are cured after the treatment are referred to as the cancer survivors. Survival is considered one of the most challenging aspects of the gestational trophoblastic disease, as every patient has unique conditions as per the severity of the disease. The survivors go through various emotions such as concern, relief, remorse, and terror during their cancer journey. Whereas, the survivors and their caretakers can feel stressed once the frequent visits to the hospital and meetings with the health care team end. They will begin to experience a lack of security or support, as previously, the relationship built with the health care team provided them with a sense of support, comfort, and protection.
Patients and their families may experience powerful emotions after the treatment, such as excitement, concern, relief, guilt, and dread. The coping with such emotional distress is one of the primary goals of survivorship. However, the various coping strategies include, recognizing the difficulties that your family is experiencing, and feeling at ease with the course of action that the family takes are some of the most common coping effective necessitates.
Patients with gestational trophoblastic disease can improve their future quality by following instructions for good health into and through adulthood, such as limiting alcohol, not smoking, managing stress, and eating well. The treatment survivorship can indeed serve as a solid motivation to initiate healthy changes in lifestyle and maintain good health and live a cancer-free life.
Survivorship for Gestational Trophoblastic Disease
Survivorship can have different meanings for different people. But commonly, it refers to;
- Having no signs of cancer post-treatment
- Cancer survivorship initiates from the moment of diagnosis and continues during treatment and throughout a person’s life.
Survivorship is the most complicated part of cancer as it is different for each person. Moreover, there is a difference in the way people treat cancer. Some people go through cancer treatments for a long time to cure and prevent a recurrence, whereas others treat cancer without the complete seriousness of the disease. Survivors usually experience a mixture of strong feelings which may include joy, guilt, concern, and fear. Some people start to appreciate life after a cancer diagnosis and accept themselves, while others become uncertain about their health and vitality 1.
Support groups are present for people diagnosed with gestational trophoblastic disease 2. This not only provides you with an opportunity to talk with people who have had similar first-hand experiences but also help you gain more insight on the disease and treatment. Relationships formed with the cancer care team impart a sense of security during treatment, and people miss this source of support. This can be especially true when new worries and challenges surface over time, such as late treatment effects, emotional challenges including fear of recurrence, sexual health and fertility concerns, and financial and workplace issues. Every survivor has individual problems and challenges. And so, an excellent first step is recognizing your fears and talking about them with any challenge.
Effective coping requires the following:
- Thinking through solutions
- Understanding the challenge you are facing
- Feeling comfortable with the action you choose
- Asking for the support of others
People with gestational trophoblastic disease can further improve their quality of life and future by following instructions for good health into and through adulthood, such as
- Limiting alcohol
- Not smoking
- Managing stress
- Eating well
Regular physical activity can help reconstruct your strength and energy level. The health care team can provide an appropriate exercise plan based on your needs, physical abilities, and fitness level 3.
- 1.Leenharattanarak P, Lertkhachonsuk R. Quality of Life in Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia Patients after Treatment in Thailand. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. Published online January 22, 2015:10871-10874. doi:10.7314/apjcp.2014.15.24.10871
- 2.Singh K, Warnock C, Ireson J, et al. Experiences of Women With Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia Treated With High-Dose Chemotherapy and Stem Cell Transplantation: A Qualitative Study. ONF. Published online May 1, 2017:375-383. doi:10.1188/17.onf.375-383
- 3.Cagayan M, Llarena R. Quality of life of gestational trophoblastic neoplasia survivors: a study of patients at the Philippine General Hospital trophoblastic disease section. J Reprod Med. 2010;55(7-8):321-326. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20795346