There are many long term side effects of cancer treatment and they are different for every patient out there. Many are obvious such as scars and the likes, but many are much less obvious.
For me, I have several long term side effects and things that really, sadly, doesn't let one forget easily.
I have the physical scars as mentioned. I have a ten inch scar on my right leg with a big indent from surgery. Above this, I have an area of extremely smooth and hairless skin from radiation. These long lasting things don't bother me so much, they are easy to hide and keep away from the outside world.
Other things are much less obvious. Chemo sure did a number on my veins and arteries. During chemo I could not extend my arms fully without immense pain as a result of the scaring it did to them. This is healing over time, however I still cannot extend fully without tightness. This is something I deal with all the time. I also really hate getting bloodwork done as well because as a result of these scars, my veins are very tough to poke through. This can make pulling blood to be a painful task.
As a result of surgery, I can't really run very well, I am not as fast as i used to be (not that I would ever call myself "fast"), and it has given out on me from time to time, with stiffness in my hip from radiation also being a problem. I have no feeling still on the inside of my right leg either.
My blood and bones are still recovering from chemo. I remember quite vividly my doctor telling me it will take about five years for that stuff to get back to normal too.
There are plenty of mental scars too. These things I find to be the worst long lasting side effects. The biggest long term effect of cancer for me, is fear. Fear of recurrence, fear of going back to the chemo ward and reliving all those painful memories and times, and fear of maybe not getting through it next time.there is a lot of guilt too, for the pain I have brought to others. This never seems to go away.
It is enough to wear someone out completely that's for sure, and many days recently I feel worn out to the bone. It isn't great but I am doing what I can to get through it. I know it is tough for everyone around me, and I know it makes me a bit of a burden sometimes (more than sometimes?) so I try my best to deal with it on my own. It can be tough, and although many of these side effects will eventually go away, I am certain they won't go away soon enough.