It’s difficult having cancer. There is no denying it. Even after overcoming these obstacles, you must learn how to navigate life as a cancer survivor. Diagnosis and treatment can be terrifying and draining. But because of modern medicine, many survivors are living longer and doing so in better ways. And taking action to take control of your health is one of the most acceptable ways to achieve that.
These eight “ways” can serve as your road map for laying the groundwork for the many years of good health most survivors experience.
There is rarely a wrong time to begin. These eight habits can improve your health regardless of whether you have recently received a diagnosis, are through, or have finished treatment.
The only reasonable restriction is when you want to start, though your doctor can offer advice. Start with one or two, then move on to the others after you’ve mastered those.
1. Do not smoke
Naturally, you’ve heard it before. The best thing you can do as a survivor if you smoke, though, is to stop.
It will lessen your risk of getting another cancer, heart disease, and stroke. It is challenging, yes. But it’s not insurmountable.
Don’t give up! Before you give up permanently, it usually takes six or seven attempts.
Speak with a healthcare professional. You may see a twofold increase in success.
A quit-smoking program can help you. You might have one through your job or health insurance.
2. Abstain from using tobacco.
Avoid being around secondhand smoke, whether you smoke or not. Spending time in smoke-filled areas can increase your risk of heart disease and cancer, even if it’s not as dangerous as smoking.
Avoid dining at smokey establishments.
Try to work in a smoke-free environment.
Don’t cave in to pressure from partners, kids, or friends; make your home a smoke-free environment.
3. Consistently work out
Many people struggle to fit exercise into their busy lives. It can be particularly challenging for survivors whose daily habits have been drastically disrupted and who may have recently finished therapy. But even for people in the middle of treatment, it is well worth the effort to fit in regular exercise, given the benefits. In addition to enhancing health, it uplifts the spirit and lessens exhaustion from cancer. Regular exercise may help reduce the incidence of recurrence and other chronic diseases.
Focus to complete 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily, such as brisk walking. Even better is more. Strength training must be incorporated as well. Increase to twice a week or more gradually.
Pick pastimes you find enjoyable. Walking, gardening and dancing are all considered forms of exercise.
Set up the same amount of time each day to exercise to make it a habit. For example, go to the gym every day at lunch or go for frequent walks after night.
Exercise with a friend to keep your motivation high.
4. Continue to Be a Healthy Weight
It can be challenging for survivors to maintain a healthy weight because of the stress, adverse effects of therapy, and changes to the daily routine that a cancer diagnosis can bring. Nevertheless, all survivors should work toward maintaining a healthy weight or, at the very least, refraining from gaining weight. The most essential action you can take to enhance your health and quality of life is to stop smoking.
Observe time limits when using the computer and TV.
Include movement and exercise in your daily life.
A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should be followed.
Eat more slowly and in smaller portions when possible.
5. Eat a Balanced Diet.
It knows how to eat as a survivor might be challenging. The reality is that healthy eating is the same for cancer survivors as for everyone else, notwithstanding the “miracle” diets promoted in books, articles, and websites. A nutritious diet may give your body the nutrition it requires, the energy it needs to go through the day, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Red meat should be limited, and you should prioritize fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Additionally, consuming less unhealthy fats (trans and saturated fats) and more poly- and monounsaturated fats is crucial.
Daily use of a 100% DV multivitamin with folate is a great nutrition safety net.
Ensure to include fruits and veggies at every meal.
Top your cereal with fruit. As a snack, consume vegetables.
Red meat can be substituted with chicken, fish, or beans.
Brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and whole-grain cereal are preferable to their more refined equivalents.
Pick foods high in healthy fats, like those cooked with olive or canola oil.
Reduce your intake of sweets and fast food, which are high in unhealthy fats.
To prevent food poisoning, follow these guidelines.
6. Use alcohol sparingly, if at all.
Alcohol use can be challenging, especially for survivors. A significant benefit of moderate consumption is heart health. However, it can also raise cancer risk later in life. Additionally, some people may find that drinking alcohol is a harmful method of coping with cancer’s mental and physical stress.
Don’t feel pressured to start drinking if you don’t already. If you do, keep it within acceptable bounds (one drink a day for women, one to two drinks a day for men). Drinkers should limit their intake.
At meals and parties, choose nonalcoholic beverages.
Stay away from events where alcohol is involved.
If you believe you have an alcohol problem, consult a health care provider.
7. Keep in touch with your loved ones, friends, and other survivors.
Keeping in touch with friends, family, and other cancer survivors has a meaningful impact. Maintaining and expanding a social network can significantly enhance the quality of life and perhaps even the prognosis of cancer survivors. Maintaining these ties can need work, even for individuals with strong family and friend support, as cancer can seem to isolate.
Make a weekly appointment to get together with friends or family.
Attend survivors’ support groups frequently; they’re beautiful venues for exchanging thoughts and worries with people who have experienced similar situations.
Take advantage of technology. Social media, real-time video, traditional telephones, and email are all excellent ways to stay in touch with loved ones, friends, and other survivors.
8. Take Screening Tests and Visit Your Doctor Frequently
Nothing is more crucial for a survivor than keeping up with post-treatment checkups with your general care physician and oncology team. These appointments are essential for your overall health as a survivor and an excellent opportunity to discuss any health-related worries or queries you may have. Work as a team with your doctors to handle your medical requirements. It’s crucial to continue receiving the advised screening exams for other cancers and heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis risk factors, in addition to any follow-up testing specifically related to your cancer.