How to Survive Cancer: 10-Step Guide for Patients and Caregivers
Posted On June 30, 2022
When you are diagnosed with cancer, it is probably the most frightening moment of your life. You may be confused and have so many questions running through your mind: How will I tackle this? How long do I have to live? What should I eat? Which treatment should I go for? How can I make myself stronger against cancer? Is there a way to fight this beast from within? These are some of the questions that may occupy your mind. But what you need to understand at this point is that you don’t have to face it alone. There are many ways in which you can not just survive but also thrive with cancer.
Be informed and know your options
First and foremost, you need to become aware of what you are up against. By this, we don’t mean that you should go and read up on all the different types of cancers there are. But, rather, understand what treatment options are available for your type of cancer. Most cancers are now detected at an early stage, which means there are a number of treatment options available. Some of the most common ones include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, and immunotherapy. You may also have to undergo a combination of these therapies to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. There are still a few cases where patients are advised to go for surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. It all depends on the type, stage, and grade of the cancer. Your doctor will be able to tell you more about your specific case.
Caregivers are the best medicine
Cancer may be a scary thing but it can also bring a lot of love and compassion into your life. A cancer diagnosis can be a really powerful thing, especially if you have a strong support system behind you. Your family, friends, and even colleagues at work can become your caregivers. They will definitely go out of their way to make sure that you get the best treatment and are comfortable during the entire process. Consider taking advantage of this support and have a caregiver. The benefits of having a caregiver include having someone to take care of you, share your feelings with, get you food and drinks, help you with household chores and even massage you. You can also use this person as the best source of emotional support. No matter how bad you are feeling or how lost you are, there will always be a shoulder to cry on.
Exercise to stay strong
Exercising during and after cancer treatment has multiple benefits. It not only helps you stay fit and healthy but also improves your mental health, makes you feel good about yourself, and helps you cope with stress and anxiety. There are many types of exercises that you can do depending on your health condition. These include walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, tai chi, and qigong. Make sure that you consult your doctor before starting any exercise regimen. This is essential for people who are undergoing chemotherapy or hormone therapy. During chemotherapy, it is important that you stay as active as you can. Research shows that physical activity during chemotherapy can reduce fatigue, improve your mood, and improve your overall quality of life. It is also important to reduce the risk of serious side effects like infection and heart problems.
Fight depression with happiness
Being diagnosed with any kind of chronic illness can definitely bring on feelings of sadness and depression. In fact, many cancer patients suffer from depression before, during, or after treatment. This is when you need to find ways to deal with your emotions. For this, you can try meditation, yoga, going to therapy, listening to music, reading books, or writing in a journal. Anything that can help you get in touch with your feelings and find a way to deal with them is good. It is also important to maintain a healthy social life. This will not only help you find ways to deal with your emotions but also give you a chance to help others who are also suffering from cancer.
Help others while helping yourself
There is no better way to deal with and fight depression than helping others. This can come in many forms: visit someone in the hospital who has cancer, go to support groups, donate blood, or become a volunteer in a cancer centre. Cancer is a horrible disease that touches the lives of many people every year. If you have cancer or know someone who is battling it, you can help by raising awareness about the condition, reducing stigma, and supporting those who are dealing with it. One of the best ways to do this is to participate in a walk or organize one in your community. Or you can also fundraise for an organization that supports people with cancer.
Watch what you eat and drink
Nutrition is an important part of both cancer prevention and treatment. Studies show that eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of developing cancer by up to 80%. But, when you are undergoing cancer treatment, you need to be extra careful about what you eat and drink. This is because certain foods and beverages can react badly with certain cancer drugs. For example, grapefruits contain a compound called bromelain, which breaks down drugs like Herceptin, Taxotere, and certain types of chemotherapy drugs. So, if you are consuming grapefruits during treatment, you may have to avoid certain foods like yogurt, iced tea, and cola.
Learn how to breathe properly
The biggest stressor in our lives is not knowing how to take control of our breathing. We don’t know how to breathe deeply and fully. And this leads to a lot of complications and health issues such as hypertension, heart problems, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. So, if you want to remain calm and in control of your emotions, you need to start with your breathing. Here is how you can go about it: – Take a few minutes out of your day and sit comfortably in a quiet place. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Focus on how air travels in and out of your nostrils. Feel how the air touches your upper lip, travels down your throat, and goes inside your lungs. – Practice this for 10–15 minutes every day and you will soon feel the difference. You will start feeling calmer, more relaxed, and less anxious.
Cancer is an unfortunate reality for many people. But it doesn’t mean that you have to face it alone. There are many ways in which you can not just survive but also thrive with cancer. Be informed and know your options, care for yourself, exercise, fight depression with happiness, and help others in need. You can also learn how to breathe properly and watch what you eat and drink. Follow these simple steps, and you will be able to tackle cancer from within.