By Sara Bondell
June 3 is National Cancer Survivors Day. It’s a time to celebrate life and if you’re a survivor it’s a good time to reflect on your health.
Here are some tips to help cancer patients and survivors stay healthy:
- Be physically active—Studies show physical activity after cancer diagnosis is linked to living longer and reducing the risk of cancer recurrence. Physical activity can also improve muscle strength, balance, fatigue and depression. Choose activities you enjoy doing like walking, dancing or even gardening and stay motivated by exercising with someone. You should talk to your health care provider to see what is right for you.
- Maintain a healthy diet—A healthy diet can keep your weight in check, give your body the nutrients and energy it needs and improve your quality of life. You should focus on eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains and avoid saturated and trans fats. Cut back on fast food and store-bought snacks and choose chicken, fish or beans instead of red meat. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
- Get recommended cancer screenings—Cancer survivors should go to all of their follow-up visits their care team recommends to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned or they don’t have another type of cancer. Keep up with the recommended screenings for your age-group here.
- Have a survivorship care plan—Did you know Moffitt has a Survivorship Clinic? The goal of the clinic is to help transition you from treatment to survivorship care, which includes a personalized care plan you can share with your primary care physician. The plan outlines your cancer treatment, recommendations for healthy living, screening information and emotional support resources. There is also a special clinic for adolescent and young adult patients. If you’re interested in the Survivorship Clinic, talk to your oncologist to find out if it’s right for you.
- Stay connected with friends, family and other survivors—Keeping up relationships can significantly improve your quality of life as a cancer survivor. Cancer can seem isolating, so it’s important you keep building your social network. Schedule a weekly time to get together with friends of family—online or in person—or go regularly to support groups.