Relapsed blood cancer means cancer has returned after remission. Remission is when there is no cancer, or very little, left in the body.

Refractory blood cancer means the cancer is not responding to treatment or there is still cancer left after treatment.

Coping with cancer relapse

It’s incredibly challenging to hear your cancer has come back or treatment isn’t working. Every feeling you have is valid.

Everybody responds to challenging situations differently. You may have feelings that you experienced when you were first diagnosed with cancer.

Common feelings include:

  • fear and anxiety about the future
  • worry about side effects
  • work and financial stress.
How you cope is as individual as you are. Spend some time to develop coping strategies you can use.
Karen Sadler
Epworth Haematology

Advice from a haematology nurse

Karen Sadler, Epworth Haematology Nurse, says every person has a unique way of managing these feelings: “Spend some time to develop coping strategies you can use. These may include staying informed about your illness and treatment and learning how to recognise and manage stress. It's helpful to talk things through with family, friends, a support group or a counsellor. Aim to control what you can: eat healthily, exercise, laugh. Some people enjoy complementary therapies, for example, massage.”

You can talk to your specialist doctor and nursing staff about your relapse and what this means for you. In 2022, we understand more about blood cancer and treatment than ever before. Treatments are constantly improving and survival rates keep growing.

Our Centre of Excellence invests in research for people with relapsed and refractory blood cancer. You may be eligible to take part in our clinical trials.

If your cancer is hard to control, there are treatments to keep you comfortable and enjoying life for as long as you are able.

Your specialist, GP or nursing staff are available to help with information. They can share coping strategies and other services such as physiotherapy, counselling and social work.

Clinical trials and research at the Epworth Centre for Immunotherapies and Snowdome Laboratories

Speak to our team

How to see a specialist at the Epworth Centre for Immunotherapies and Snowdome Laboratories

Our experienced Haematology Nurse Coordinator can call you to discuss personalised treatment at Epworth.

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