Promoting adjustment after treatment for cancer


  • Presented at Cancer Survivorship: Resilience Across the Lifespan, Washington, DC, June 2–4, 2002.


The transition from the period of diagnosis and medical treatment of cancer to survivorship (i.e., the reentry phase) is an understudied phase in the cancer trajectory. The objectives of this report were 1) to illustrate several adaptive tasks of the reentry phase, 2) to provide examples of research on factors that predict positive adjustment during this phase, and 3) to discuss interventions that address the adaptive tasks of early cancer survivorship. Although the pertinent empirical literature is scarce, accounts from cancer survivors, healthcare professionals, and qualitative researchers converge to suggest several themes in adaptive tasks during reentry. Drawing from the authors' work and that of others, the authors have described common expectancies held by many individuals approaching reentry (e.g., “I shouldn't need support”), typical concerns during this phase (e.g., concern over cancer recurrence), and personal and contextual factors that can facilitate and hinder adjustment. Promising psychosocial interventions have been developed for individuals in the reentry period. Continued research will be necessary to characterize this important phase of cancer survivorship. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.