Did you know that people who have had cancer before are more likely to get a second cancer than people who have never had cancer at all?
Cancer survivors around the country are learning the importance of staying as healthy as possible after cancer diagnosis and treatments. There are certain steps you can take if you are a cancer survivor to keep your mental, physical, and emotional health at its highest.
Understand that health is a main priority.
Pam, a 2013 breast cancer survivor, says that after her treatment ended she found a “new normal” that now includes putting her health at the top of her priority list. She eats well, exercises regularly, and makes sure to keep her stress levels in check. She understands that her health is a priority and she takes everyday precautions to maintain it
Attend your regular checkups
After you are done with your cancer treatments, your doctor should let you know about your checkups or your follow-up care. This is an important aspect of staying healthy post-cancer and the tests done at these checkups can help discover any potential new signs of the same or a different cancer.
Learn more about a survivorship care plan here.
Be intuitive and aware of how your body feels.
You know your body better than anyone else so be aware and alert for any changes, discomfort or if something feels “off.”
Jenny Allen, for example, initially had uterine cancer. She said she didn’t feel well but she brushed it off for some time and in the midst of her surgery the doctors found ovarian cancer too. While the chances are you do not have cancer, it is good to be safe and find out exactly what is going on if you are not feeling well or not like yourself.
Say “No” to tobacco.
Smoking raises the risk of getting cancer on any part of your body. Do not smoke tobacco and if you are already a smoker, work persistently on quitting the habit.
Even white and red wine is linked with some types of cancer. And the more a person drinks, the higher their risk for cancer. So be very aware and limit alcohol consumption.
Say “Yes” to sunscreen: Protect your skin.
Dangerous UV rays can cause skin cancer which is the most common cancer in the U.S. Remember to slather on your sunscreen and protect yourself if you are going to be outside.
Don’t forget about your mental health.
A cancer diagnosis is a very scary event, and can evoke a range of different emotions before, during, and after treatment. A healthy mental outlook and good psychological and emotional wellbeing is the foundation for staying healthy post cancer treatment. Talk to your health care provider about how you are feeling, not only physically but emotionally; reach out to a therapist if needed. Even low cost community clinics for mental healthcare may provide more affordable mental healthcare options.
For more information and resources about how to stay healthy after cancer treatment click here.