Life After Cancer
- Symptoms that you think may be a sign of cancer’s return
- Pain that you are experiencing
- Physical problems that interfere with your daily life or that bother you, such as fatigue, insomnia, sexual problems, or weight changes
- Emotional problems, such as feelings of anxiety or depression
- Changes in your family history
Dealing With the Fear
- Be informed about your cancer. Ask your doctor to explain what specific signs you should watch for and learn what you can do for your health.
- Express your feelings, even if it is fear, anger, or sadness. Talk with friends, family, other cancer survivors, or a counselor. When you express strong feelings, it is sometimes easier to let them go.
- Work towards developing a positive attitude. Focus on wellness and attempt to look for the good, even in hard and trying times. It is not necessary to be upbeat all the time, but try to rely on a positive attitude to help you be hopeful.
- Find ways to help you relax and relieve stress. These can be simple activities that help take your mind off your situation; read a new book or see a movie. Soak in the bathtub or try a meditation class.
- Be as active as you can. Try to get out of your house and get involved with something you find worthwhile. Taking the focus off cancer can help alleviate some of the worrying that comes with it.
- Control what you can, and know what you cannot control. Be an advocate for yourself and be involved with your healthcare. Things you can control include keeping your medical appointments, setting a daily schedule, and making healthy changes in your lifestyle.
Developing a Wellness Plan
- Eat a variety of healthy foods.
- Eat plenty of fruits and veggies. Strive for at least 2-½ cups every day!
- Instead of refined grains, choose whole grains, which give you more fiber and nutrients.
- Try to avoid eating foods that are high in fat. Choose foods that help you maintain a healthy weight.
- Try to maintain a healthy weight by eating better and by participating in a regular exercise program. It is important, though, that you talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- If you smoke, ask your doctor about strategies to quit.
- If you feel tired, make sure that you rest as needed.
- To relieve stress, practice relaxation techniques.
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/
National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov/
BC Cancer Agency http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/default.htm/
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca/
Add fruits and veggies to your diet. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/EatHealthyGetActive/EatHealthy/add-fruits-and-veggies-to-your-diet. Updated January 17, 2012. Accessed April 12, 2012.
Cancer: after treatment. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/ . Accessed November 7, 2003.
Facing forward series: life after cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/life-after-treatment. Accessed April 12, 2012.
Follow-up care after cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Therapy/followup. Accessed April 12, 2012.
Low-fat foods. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/EatHealthyGetActive/TakeControlofYourWeight/low-fat-foods. Updated June 7, 2011. Accessed April 12, 2012.
Shopping list: basic ingredients for a healthy kitchen. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/EatHealthyGetActive/EatHealthy/shopping-list-basic-ingredients-for-a-healthy-kitchen. Updated May 16, 20122. Accessed April 12, 2012.
- Reviewer: Peter J. Lucas, MD
- Review Date: 05/2012 -
- Update Date: 05/07/2012 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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