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Trying to Live Healthy after Cancer

Posted 2/12/2016

Posted in

  Most of us think about our lives and habits after a cancer diagnosis. As you know (I hope!), there is ZERO evidence that stress plays any role in the development of cancer or the risk of a recurrence, and there is limited evidence that other lifestyle habits have much of an impact. There are a few things, however, to consider.

  There have been a number of studies that suggest that regular mild to moderate exercise may reduce the recurrence risk in many cancers. There is some evidence that moderate alcohol use may play a role in breast cancer or, perhaps, other hormone-linked cancers. There is some evidence that an old-fashioned healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and little red meat may help us stay well. The bottom line, and please believe this, is that almost everything about getting cancer or having cancer return is not at all in our control. It is a biological, very complicated, process. There has to be almost a perfect storm in our cells for cancer to develop as nature built in many safeguards. Once we have cancer, what matters is getting the right treatment and hoping that our particular cancer cells are responsive to whatever drugs we receive. We can't control that response with any amount of positive thinking.

  From Cancer Net: 

Many patients and survivors worry about cancer coming back after treatment. Evidence suggests that making positive lifestyle changes during and after cancer treatment may help prevent a recurrence or second cancer. But many survivors are more likely to develop other chronic health issues, such as:

Obesity or being overweight

Heart problems, such as congestive heart failure

Thinning of the bones and bone breaks

High blood pressure

High cholesterol levels


You can help prevent and manage these health issues by talking with your primary care provider and your oncology team. They will give you suggestions for improving your health and quality of life, such as:

Eating healthier foods

Finding safe and effective ways to add physical activity to your life

Stopping tobacco use

Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink

Finding positive ways to manage stress

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