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Relapse is something most people understandably want to avoid thinking about. Many young people struggle with the fear of cancer coming back, even years after they have finished treatment.


If you’re facing the reality of cancer returning, you might have questions like the ones below. Don’t forget the Redkite support team is here to help you through this.

why didn’t treatment work?

It seems unfair that after going through all the challenges of treatment, cancer has come back. Unfortunately despite the best efforts of doctors, cancer cells sometimes survive and reappear, either soon after treatment ends or later.


If cancer returns it can be in the same place (the primary site) or it might have spread to other parts of the body. This is known as metastatic cancer.


Relapse does not mean you had the wrong treatment or that you did something wrong. Cancer cells are tough and sometimes they just survive treatment, but your medical team will help you decide how to manage this. The Redkite support team will also still be here for you.

I don’t know if I can handle more treatment

It’s understandable that having gone through treatment once, you may not want to face it again. We don’t want to pretend it will be easy, but it can help to remember that this time you’ll have experience on your side. You know so much that you didn’t before. Some of that will make this harder and some will make it easier too. You know how strong you can be, you know what to expect and you know where to get help.

I’m struggling with this

If you’re facing a relapse, you might feel angry, scared, overwhelmed or just numb. You may be struggling to accept the news. These are all normal responses.


Remember two important things: don’t underestimate yourself, and know that you don’t have to face this alone.

support through relapse

Redkite is still here for you and those close to you with information, support, counselling, financial assistance and more. Even if you’re just worrying about the possibility of relapse and want someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Last updated September 2015.