The blood cancer journey continues beyond recovery. The endurance, strength and perseverance you have demonstrated through your treatment will be helpful as you adjust to a new normal following cancer.
It is important to incorporate changes into your routine to keep you healthy and strong including doctor visits and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Cancer survivors may experience side effects months or even years beyond treatment such as fatigue, psychological and physical effects, or financial challenges.
"Advances in cancer treatment are providing better outcomes for patients allowing them to live longer," said Stephen Mazer, blood cancer nurse navigator at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Methodist Healthcare in San Antonio, Texas. "It is important for survivors to follow healthy guidelines even after completing cancer treatment. Survivors can be at a higher risk for a second type of cancer related to previous cancer treatments and have a higher risk of developing cardiac disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and following survivorship guidelines, survivors can minimize these risks and live a healthier and happier life."
Here are 7 helpful tips for blood cancer survivorship:
- Visit your doctor regularly, even when you feel healthy. You will probably have follow-up exams every 3-6 months following treatment depending on the stage of your cancer.
- Talk to your doctor about any the psychological side effects that you may experience, including depression. It may be helpful to schedule an appointment with a therapist.
- Some survivors experience problems with their thinking and memory – often referred to as "chemo brain" – following treatment. Try doing word puzzles or math games on a daily basis to keep your mind fresh.
- Stay active! An active lifestyle does not have to be high-impact; instead, opt for a walk around the neighborhood once a day.
- Some cancer survivors find it difficult to get health or life insurance after having cancer. If this is the case, speak with your nurse navigator about support groups or other resources they can connect you to.
- Get involved in a community group with other cancer survivors. By meeting with people who understand your journey, it can help you cope with daily challenges.
- Eat a nutritious diet. Eating well can help you feel better and stay strong after cancer treatment, as well as help your body replace blood cells and tissues that were broken down during treatment.
For more information on survivorship, visit Sarah Cannon's Cancer Follow-Up Care.
If you have questions about blood cancer survivorship and resources in your community, call askSARAH now at (844) 482-4812 to speak to a nurse 24/7 at one of our locations who is specially-trained to help with your cancer questions.