In the battle against cancer, hearing your cancer is in remission is welcome news. However, several questions may linger as you begin to experience life as a cancer survivor. Most questions revolve around what lies ahead and how you can best maintain a positive outlook while staying committed to your follow-up care. The good news? There are more than 12 million cancer survivors in the United States. Here are some common questions cancer survivors may have at this important crossroad: 1. What does remission really mean? Remission can be partial or complete. In a complete remission, there are no cancerous tumors that can be detected through a doctor’s exam or testing. A partial remission means the cancer did respond well to treatment—typically the tumor is reduced by at least 50%—but did not go away completely. To truly be in remission, your condition must be stable for at least one month. 2. Is it OK to say I’m “cured”? Remission can last months, years, or even decades. If your body is in complete remission for 5 years or more, some doctors may say you are “cured,” but that term can be misleading. There is a chance some cancer cells will remain in your system many years after you finish treatment, which may cause the cancer to recur in the future. 3. What are my odds of living cancer-free? Try to remember your post-cancer journey will be unique to you. Everyone is different. Your doctor may be able to give you the latest statistics on survivor rates for your type of cancer, but because those numbers are based on large groups of people, they cannot predict exactly what will happen to you. 4. What can I do to stay healthy? It’s essential to commit to your follow-up care. Your doctor will want to keep an eye out for any late side effects you may experience as a result of your treatment, while monitoring you for many years after you’ve completed your treatment with physical exams, blood tests, X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. And keep good records that allow you to give any healthcare providers a clear picture of your previous issues and a complete list of the surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, prescriptions and imaging that was done during your treatment. 5. What else can I do to regain health and strength? Adopting a healthy diet is an important component of your follow-up care. Your tastes or appetite may have changed during treatment, but eating a balanced diet filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is important. As a general rule, try to avoid overly processed meats and foods that are high in fat, and limit your alcohol consumption. It’s also essential to keep moving. It may be hard to think about embarking on an exercise routine right now, but that is one of the best ways to regain your energy, in addition to muscle strength and endurance. Regular exercise can also boost your mood and relieve stress. Time to Start a New Chapter Be kind to yourself. You’ve likely experienced an array of extreme emotions over the course of your diagnosis and treatment. Now that you are moving on to the “survivor” phase, you may be feeling a whole new wave of emotions, from relief and gratitude to depression and anxiety. Be patient with yourself—it may take a long time to return to feeling “normal.” If you need support, don’t be afraid to reach out to family, friends, cancer support groups, church groups, or other counselors.