Thursday, December 9, 2010

Finding the key to health as a cancer survivor: a new 8 ways

For a long time, the CNiC team has talked about 8 ways you can prevent cancer. This week, we're proud to announce our 8 ways to stay healthy AFTER cancer. With over 12 million cancer survivors in the US alone, addressing the chronic health needs of cancer survivors is a priority.

Readers will notice that there is a lot of overlap. This is in part because the leading causes of health challenges for cancer surviors (e.g., diabetes, heart disease) share risk factors with cancer itself. The time during and after cancer treatment can be a particularly challenging one, with information overload and an internet full of "miracle" promises. The key to these 8 ways is to not let them add to those feelings - start small, making 1 or 2 changes and add more as you are able.

1. Don't smoke. This is the single best thing you can do for your health as a survivor.
2. Avoid secondhand smoke. Avoid smoky bars and restaurants and make your home smokefree.
3. Avoid inactivity! Regular exercise helps improve the quality and quantity of your life.
4. Avoid weight gain. Eating is a common stress coping mechanism, but weight gain can increase your risk of recurrence and diminish your quality of life.
5. Eat a healthy diet. Focus on fruits and vegetables and whole grains, keeping red meat to a minimum. Avoid messages talking of miracles and quick fixes.
6. Alcohol is something to be consumed only in moderation, if at all.
7. Stay connected. Friends, family and other survivors can all provide important social and emotional support.
8. Get regular check-ups. This means getting necessary screening tests for other cancers and chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

It is never too early or too late to start making these changes to boost your health!

Here's a free printable guide to staying healthy after cancer.

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