Monday 7 April 2014

8 Ways to Keep Cancer Survivors Healthy

Lifestyle Guidelines for Cancer Survivors Promote Continued Health

Exercise provides physiological and psychological benefits for cancer survivors

1. Get Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is one of the primary ways that survivors can stay healthy.  Exercise lowers reported fatigue in cancer patients by 40-50%, and the scientific evidence supporting exercise as the best intervention for fatigue is very strong. In a study on Exercise and Cancer Rehab, evidence indicated that exercise can provide both physiological and psychological benefits for cancer survivors.  As a prescription therapy for cancer survivors, studies have suggested that regular physical activity will help to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence, given the known anti-inflammatory effects of exercise.  Here are 10 things you should know about cancer exercise.

2. Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise both give you energy and help you feel better. The Canadian Cancer Society reports that good nutrition is vital at every stage of your cancer treatment and recovery. Following their nutritional guide will help you heal and recover after treatment.

3. Get Regular Check-Ups with Your Healthcare Provider

Having regular check-ups with your healthcare providers is essential for your preventative care to be ongoing. As well, the long-term care of the cancer survivor can be effectively coordinated in an individualized survivorship plan that takes into account the cancer diagnosis, treatment, side effects, follow-up visits, the availability of psychological and support services, and tips on the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

4. Get Cancer Rehab to Overcome Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Research strongly supports the effectiveness of cancer rehabilitation in improving the quality of life in cancer patients. Early rehabilitation interventions can help with some of the side effects of cancer and its treatments – including fatigue, cancer-related pain, peripheral neuropathy, adhesions & fibrosis, chemo fog, emotional distress, lymphedema and range-of-motion limitations.

5. Don't Smoke

Over twenty per cent of Canadians over the age of 11 still smoke, even though smoking is a known risk factor for many conditions including lung cancer. According to Statistics Canada, however, the rates of smoking in 2012 lowered significantly from 2008 levels. The World Health Organization has declared smoking a preventable cause of death. (2008. WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2008: The MPOWER Package. Geneva.)

6. Avoid Weight Gain

Another important way to improve your health is to keep your weight in check. Cancer treatment can be complicated by weight gain, and excess body weight is also associated with cancer recurrence, reduced quality of life, and reduced survival. 

7. Drink in Moderation

Drinking alcohol in moderation is important for cancer survivors to stay healthy. As described by our guest blogger DebiLyn Smith in Alcohol and Cancer, drinking more than the maximum three alcoholic drinks a week for women, or seven to fourteen for men, can adversely affect health as well as cancer risk.

8. Stay Connected with Family and Friends

Make sure to have regular visits with your family or friends to maintain your overall health. By maintaining these supportive connections, quality of life is improved and stress, depression and fatigue is reduced.

Please contact one of our 48 Cancer Rehab locations across Canada. Links will direct to a Cancer Rehab provider in your area.

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