Lifestyle After Cancer
After you have completed your cancer care it is important to begin or resume living a healthier lifestyle. What you do AFTER a cancer diagnosis can have a major impact on your risk of recurrence and your quality of life. The following recommendations are a good start for living a long and healthy life after cancer care.
- Resume all your recommended cancer screenings and other health screenings.
Studies show survivors often stop getting additional screening tests or forget about other health concerns other than cancer. It is important to have regular health screenings after a cancer diagnosis. Most survivors don’t die from cancer – but from other chronic illnesses. Make sure you are taking care of all your health concerns, whether it’s high blood pressure or diabetes or other conditions.
- Avoid tobacco and tobacco products for the rest of your life.
Tobacco use after (and during) cancer treatment can increase the likelihood of cancer recurrence and cause cancers to behave more aggressively. If you need help quitting, our Freedom from Tobacco program can help you quit. Call 253-426-6746 and ask about this free, award-winning program.
- Maintain a healthy body weight or work on sensible weight loss if you are overweight.
Extra pounds or weight gain after a cancer diagnosis can increase the chance of cancer recurrence. This is particularly true if your cancer was influenced by hormones like estrogen or testosterone. Getting some more exercise and watching your diet can both contribute to healthy and lifelong weight control.
- Eat a plant-based diet
Focus on getting more plant foods in your diet. This includes fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Cancer survivors are encouraged to reduce their intake of red meat, high-fat dairy products and cured, smoked and pickled foods. For the latest recommendations on diet and cancer survivorship please go to: www.aicr.org
- Ask your doctor to complete a Cancer Survivorship Plan and Treatment Summary once you have finished your cancer treatment
A survivorship care plan and treatment summary can help you find your way as a cancer survivor. It will identify the cancer treatments you’ve had, what side-effects you may have from treatment, how often you need to be seen after active cancer treatment, what screening and other medical tests you will need and when you need them and lay out a plan for your diet and lifestyle to reduce your risk of recurrence and other lifestyle related disease.
- Find your physical, mental and spiritual joy
Find your fulfillment – use your strengths and gifts to live the best life possible!