Everyone’s capable of being diagnosed with cancer. As they say, cancer doesn’t choose who to hit or not to hit. Once diagnosed, various sicknesses and pain are present to challenge your whole being’s ability to conquer all. The battle of the one suffering is such an inspiration, and surviving cancer is both a miracle and a blessing.
Celebrities like Lance Armstrong and Suzane Somers fought and survived their battles with cancer along with the 14.5 million cancer survivors as of this year. It’s a great improvement, knowing that the number of cancer patients from 3 million in 1971 has increased to 13.7 million today.
However, surviving cancer isn’t the end of the battle yet, for there are still issues that cancer survivors have to be aware of. Aside from the risk of having new cancer, the side-effects of their previous treatments to their physical, psychological and social roles and functions requires a lot of work to get you back to normal.
How to stay a survivor? Here are some practical and medical tips to help you fight the battle without the fear of losing.
Post-treatment Care for Long-term Health
Cancer survivors can have their long-term health by doing “follow ups,” staying in touch with their doctors and having post-treatment or survivorship care. According to the research co-chaired by Barbara L. Andersen, PhD and Julia Howe Rowland, PhD of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), neuropathy, fatigue and depression, and anxiety are the symptoms that may affect the cancer survivors.
By applying the following, a cancer survivor will have long-term health and will stay as a survivor:
- Exercising. It increases and speeds your recovery by having improved mood, caused by improved sleep, confidence, strength and endurance, and decreasing the symptoms that are mentioned above. The most recommended is exercising for 30 minutes for five or more days a week.
- Balancing diet. The main food groups that must be on your plate are carbohydrate-rich ones like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Proteins come from lean meats, eggs, legumes and the like. Healthy fats are omega-3 fats. Eat these daily for a healthy state.
- Maintaining healthy weight. Gaining or losing too much weight will be clearly seen after surviving cancer. And to look like and stay as a survivor, you must not look like you still suffer from cancer. It’s best to consult your doctor for a proper program to maintain/retain a healthy weight.
The ASCO release such proven clinical guidelines to make survivorship care a success. Here are its three guidelines to avoid such symptoms:
- “Managing Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy.” This type of neuropathy comes from certain chemotherapy that contains medication such as taxanes, vinca alkaloids and platinum drugs. Treatments offering duloxetine and other medication to select patients such as tricyclic antidepressants, gabapentin, and a topical gel containing baclofen, amitriptyline, and ketamine could be tested.
- “Screening and Management of Fatigue in Adult Cancer Survivors.” Primary fatigue treatments and managements through screening and assessment are offered to adult cancer survivors. Screening must be done from the point of diagnosis until the survival. Keep your doctor aware of your fatigue history, status and factors that may prevent you from it. Physical endeavors, psychological interventions and mind-body interventions must be planned well while the cancer survivor keeps himself knowledgeable about every aspect of having cancer-related fatigue.
- “Anxiety and Depression Management in Adults with Cancer.” Depression has such a big effect on cancer survivors for their emotional state greatly affects the increase in their physical health problems. Be evaluated for a certain schedule and the doctor should document and record every detail. Be aware about the causes and effects of being depressed and the ways on how to manage and reduce its possibilities. Just like what the program offers for fatigue management, depression management also requires psychological, psychiatric and psychosocial interventions.
The Battle Worth Surviving for
Yes, surviving cancer is such a relief and a freedom to be grateful about. But being a survivor may or may not be long-term if you are not aware of the post-treatment care and ways you should be taking. Being diagnosed and bombarded by various treatments make you used to it, so having post-treatment or survivorship care is just a piece of cake to you as survivor.
Through your own ways, with your doctor’s ways, battling and surviving cancer not only gives you healthy mind and body, but also your view about living with everything that makes life worth the hardships in your battle.