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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 have strong feelings, it is sometimes easier to express them then 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 making and keeping your medical appointments, setting a daily schedule, and making healthy changes in your lifestyle.
Developing a Wellness Plan
- Returning to your normal diet may be difficult at first. Start with smaller, more frequent meals. Include foods that are familiar and make you feel comfortable.
- Consider making more than one meal of the same foods and freezing leftovers for later use.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. 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
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
It's east to add fruits and vegetables to your diet. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/EatHealthyGetActive/EatHealthy/add-fruits-and-veggies-to-your-diet. Accessed January 9, 2014.
Cancer: after cancer treatment. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/cancer/treatment/after-cancer-treatment.html. Updated September 2010. Accessed January 9, 2014.
Facing forward series: life after cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/life-after-treatment. Updated July 31, 2012. Accessed January 9, 2014.
Low-fat foods. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/EatHealthyGetActive/TakeControlofYourWeight/low-fat-foods. Updated June 7, 2011. Accessed January 9, 2014.
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. Accessed January 9, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 01/2014
- Update Date: 00/10/2014