Cancer is known to be one of the most lethal and prolific diseases of our times. Modern science has however made significant advances in the field of cancer research over the last decade and it is increasingly common to see patients posting a full recovery if their disease is diagnosed and treated at early stages.
It is, however, important to note that full recovery does not signal an end of precaution when you're a cancer survivor. Here are 8 health aspects you need to keep in mind as a cancer survivor
How To Stay Healthy After Cancer
Start Enjoying Exercising
Being active and fit will make you feel positive about your body and help speed your recovery. It is ok if on some days you are unable to achieve much but the goal should be regular, wholesome exercise. You will feel the strength come back, your mood will be more upbeat and very importantly, you will sleep better. Music along with your fitness regime can help alleviate your mood. Ask your doctor about the best exercise plan to follow.
Have a Healthy Diet
During treatment, your weight would have gone down or in some cases, increased. Consult your doctor and dietician to get it to the ideal level with diet and exercise. Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds are essential. Avoid processed food and red meats. An important point for cancer survivors is to eat healthy, low saturated fats and proteins, to rebuild strength.
Work On Your Emotional Health
You will find it difficult to pursue health improvement if you are not strong emotionally. Coming out of cancer has been difficult for you and your family, and going back to normal life will also take its time. Give it time but make sure you work hard on staying positive and not sink into melancholy. Depression will hold you back from taking other steps towards a healthy body.
At the same time, you need not ‘act’ happy to make people around you feel comfortable. If you are feeling low, acknowledge it and speak to a friend or your doctor.
Sleep problems are more common either as side effects of treatment, stress or some other reasons. But getting good sleep is very important to rest and rejuvenate your body. You will know your body rhythm best but plan your sleep times to get as much rest as required. Build a pre-sleep schedule where you gradually lull yourself to a calm state. This means no TV, electronic screens or any high energy activity like exercise 90 minutes before bedtime. Have a healthy, light dinner, dim the light in the house and go to sleep.
Avoid All Vices
If you have any bad habits, they need to be stopped immediately. Absolutely no consumption of tobacco, very limited alcohol (only if the doctor allows). Equally bad for your bodies are sugary foods and trans fats.
Get Regular Checkups
Once you come back to normal life, still be vigilant and at the first sign of any abnormality, reach out to your doctor. Get regular health check-ups and keep a health diary.
Perhaps not forever but immediately after your treatment is over, you will need some help to navigate through daily tasks like transportation, cooking, converse, etc. Your family will return to their normal schedule, as should you. But in your case, it will take some time and if your financial situation allows, get someone to be with you, even if it is for a few hours.
This is not just for your emotional wellbeing. Stress hormones weaken the immune system, which can be counterproductive. If your job before cancer was a high-stress one, you need to figure out how to address the problem. If there are any stress triggers at home, you need to actively resolve them. Use a counsellor to guide you through this time.
Understand that you have to get there slowly - not overnight with these goals. Surviving cancer is a blessing and a second chance at leading a happy, healthy and full life.