After cancer treatment, you should be eager to return to optimum health. There are things you can do to enhance your long-term health status so that you can relish the years ahead and be proud to announce that you are a cancer survivor.
First of all, you should know that the recommendations for someone who has survived cancer are no different than those for people who simply want to live a healthy lifestyle
. This includes eating a balanced diet, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and preserving your health from infection. By following these steps, you can not only improve on your quality of life, but you can assure that your survivorship is filled with happiness and good health.
Drinking Alcohol in ModerationIf you must drink, do so in moderation. Women should have no more than one drink a day, and men should limit alcohol consumption to two drinks a day. Researchers tell us that low alcohol consumption can lower the risk of heart disease, but drinking excessively puts you at risk for liver conditions and other forms of cancer. Not only that, drinking makes you feel sluggish and tired. You won’t feel like eating right and exercising as long as you are drinking. Weigh these risks against the benefits and discuss this with your doctor.
Visiting Your Doctor OftenBe sure to make frequent follow-up visits with your Oncologist and Family Physician to address, check, and monitor any lingering health problems. You will need to make these visits a priority for the remainder of your life. Ask questions, seek advice, and follow instructions to remain healthy and cancer free.
Visiting a Specialist when NecessaryIf you experience memory or thought impairment, it may be best for you to visit your specialist. This phenomenon is called “Chemo Brain,” the name for the cognitive issues that people face after they undergo chemotherapy. Ask to be referred to a neuropsychologist, who can help you adapt to the changes in your memory and repair your thinking patterns. You can ‘retrain your brain’ by doing repetition exercises that will help your memory function.
Protecting Yourself Against InfectionNow that you have a weakened immune system, you will want to stay away from hospitals, nursing homes, and other places where you can pick up an infection. Always wash your hands after using the bathroom and before you eat, too. If your children or grandchildren are ill, seek out help from a family member to provide care for them while they recover. Do everything you can to remain infection free while you are on the road to your own recovery.