7 Tips for Staying Healthy as a Cancer Survivor
Data shows that cancer survivors are living longer than ever before. The prognosis for individuals diagnosed with cancer continues to improve. Whether you’re currently a cancer patient or in remission, it’s useful to do what you can to stay healthy. Here are a few ways you can do that.
1. Get some physical activity
Oncology experts and physicians suggest cancer survivors get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. That’s roughly over 30 minutes of activity a week How much activity you get can sometimes depend on how much energy you have. If you’re struggling with having enough energy, try just walking on a treadmill while reading a book or watching a show on your phone. You can also ride a stationary bike or go for a jaunt around your neighborhood.
2. Eat a balanced diet
What you eat can directly impact your health. Eating a plant-based diet can even be a technique that makes some cancers more treatable. You may already have a strict diet due to your treatment, so make sure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs. Eating more vegetables and fruits can help you get those nutrients, and if you make a goal to eat around five different types of fruits and veggies a day, it can make a big difference.
3. Control food quantities
Reducing caloric intake is often recommended as an effective way for cancer survivors and patients to reduce the chance of cancer recurrence. Try using digital scales and measuring cups when preparing your food, as these can help you with your portion control. It’ll help keep you on track as you work to stay healthy.
4. Don’t underestimate psychology
The emotional, physical and financial stressors that often accompany a cancer diagnosis can adversely affect overall well-being. This is why taking care of mental health is so important for cancer patients and survivors. Taking care of yourself physically will do a lot for your mental health. It’s also important that you find therapeutic ways to help yourself, whether that comes from professional treatment, getting in touch with loved ones or helping other people.
5. Moderate alcohol consumption
Drinking regularly has its limits. According to Science Daily, research has shown that alcohol can cause cells to undergo transition from normal cancer cells to more aggressive malignant ones. Try to reduce your alcohol consumption in order to maintain balance.
6. Find ways to reduce stress
Stress flips a switch in cancer cells that helps them to metastasize and become more dangerous in some kinds of cancer. Try to reduce stress wherever you can in your life, whether that means eliminating clutter in your house, reducing responsibilities or saying “no” a little more often. For the rest of the stress, learn coping mechanisms such as meditation or cognitive behavioral therapy so you can manage your stress in a healthy way.
7. Focus on sleep
Cancer treatment can be exhausting. Sleep is important both during and after treatment. Prioritize sleep and do what you can to make your bedroom a conducive environment for sleep. Get blackout curtains, use a sleep mask, use a noise machine or use a weighted blanket. Establish a bedtime routine where you stop using electronics at least 30 minutes before bed and do relaxing activities that will help you reach the shores of sleep.
Cancer can be unpredictable and difficult to control. However, you can still control what you eat and how much sleep and exercise you get. Focus on what you can do to take charge of your own health. Taking care of yourself can help you discover fun new recipes and new exercises to try out, and can help you enjoy different sides of life, even when it’s difficult.
Thank you once again Scott Sanders for contributing to the Survive & Thrive blog! Check out Cancer Well for more resources and support.