Cancer is a pretty common condition and the second-leading cause of death in America. Thankfully, many people are fortunate enough to survive it, with the National Cancer Institute projecting that there will be 22.2 million cancer survivors in the United States by 2030.
Getting diagnosed and treated for cancer is frightening and draining, and you have to learn how to navigate your new life as a cancer survivor. Luckily, there are several ways to enjoy many years of good health after overcoming cancer. Below are some of the best things to do to boost recovery after beating cancer.
- Revive your emotional health
It isn't uncommon for cancer to take a significant toll on the emotional wellness of many patients in addition to physical health. For example, it is estimated that depression is a popular syndrome found in 15% to 25% of cancer patients.
You can get depressed when you have cancer because the condition is simply depressing. The pain, rigorous treatment, burden you place on caregivers, and financial stress can easily leave you regularly feeling down in the dumps.
Additionally, the medical treatment for some cancers often causes some damage to your body even though its optimal goal is to restore it to full health.
For instance, you may feel depressed about how your body looks and feels after a bone marrow transplant or skin damage due to radiation therapy.
Loss of self-esteem, identity, and significant appearance changes can also emotionally affect women who have undergone mastectomies.
Fortunately, you can take practical steps like signing up for breast augmentation to feel like your old self. You can follow several helpful tips to guarantee rapid recovery breast augmentation if you choose this procedure, so keep this in mind.
Furthermore, speaking to a friend or doctor can also help you unload the emotional baggage you may be carrying as a cancer survivor, reducing depression and improving your mood.
- Exercise regularly
Many health experts agree that frequent exercise improves your sense of well-being after cancer treatment and can accelerate recovery. As a cancer survivor, you may experience more strength and endurance, less anxiety, fewer signs of depression, reduced fatigue, higher self-esteem, and better sleep if you exercise.
The good news is that fitting exercise into your everyday routine doesn't demand significant work. It can be as simple as taking small steps to introduce more activity into your life, like using the stairs more regularly and parking farther from your destination to walk more.
According to the American Cancer Society, adult cancer survivors should exercise for at least two and a half hours weekly, including strength training at least two days every week. However, remember that it is fine if you sometimes don't feel like exercising.
Therefore, don't feel too guilty or force yourself to exercise if persisting treatment side effects like fatigue keep you inactive.
- Eat a healthy diet
Knowing what to eat can be challenging since several articles, websites, and books advertise various types of "wonder diets." However, the simple truth is that healthy eating is the same for survivors as for anyone else.
A healthy diet will help you remain trim and provide your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to get through busy days. It is prudent to eat at least three cups of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains every day, so keep this in mind.
You can also replace bad fats with healthier options like omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts and fish.
Furthermore, eat proteins low in saturated fats like legumes, eggs, fish, and lean meats. Also, you may be considering supplementing your diet with several mineral and vitamin supplements, but it is best to resist that urge.
You can hurt yourself by routinely taking in too many vitamins and minerals. Therefore, consult your doctor first to see if taking a daily multivitamin is ideal if you are concerned about receiving all the vitamins you need.
- Rest well
Sleep issues are quite common in cancer patients and survivors alike. Fewer people experience sleeping problems after treatment, but they persist in nearly 40% of survivors up to five years after diagnosis.
These sleep problems can be due to side effects of treatment, physical changes, stress, anxiety, and other reasons. However, getting enough sleep is a crucial aspect of your recovery. Your body and mind have time to rejuvenate when you sleep, ensuring that you function at your best while awake.
In addition, good sleep can lower your blood pressure, boost hormone function, sharpen cognitive skills, and make you feel better overall.
You can enhance your chances of getting great sleep by avoiding screens 1-2 hours before bedtime, keeping your bedroom dim and quiet, and sticking to a regular sleep schedule. In addition, avoid caffeine at least 8 hours before bedtime and finish working out at least an hour before sleeping.
It would be best to talk with your doctor if you feel too sleepy during the day, even after trying these recommendations. You may have a sleep disorder or an issue caused by your cancer or its treatment's side effects, so consulting your physician is your best bet to identify and correct any sleep-related problems.
- Ditch alcohol and tobacco
According to several health experts, ditching tobacco and alcohol is one of the best things you can do to recover after beating cancer. Smoking or chewing tobacco puts you at a higher risk of several cancers.
Therefore, quitting is the best to lower your cancer recurrence risk and even develop a second primary cancer. You can talk to your doctor and join a quit-smoking program if you struggle with quitting.
This way, you can increase your chances of kicking the habit once and for all. Also, research shows that head and neck cancer survivors who keep drinking suffer a higher risk of recurrence.
Therefore, it may help to give up drinking altogether as part of your recovery. If you can't give up drinking completely, limit your consumption to no more than two drinks per day.