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Tips and resources to navigate cancer survivorship

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For National Survivor’s Month, we’ve compiled resources to support you in the period following your active treatment.  Taking care of your well-being and focusing on your quality of life is crucial, particularly when you may no longer have access to your active care team. 

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), cancer survivorship starts on the day of diagnosis and continues throughout and after treatment. For cancer patients who no longer have active tumors–or have “no evidence of disease” or NED–you might be embarking on a life that feels very different than it did before your cancer diagnosis. Here are some resources that can support the next stage of your cancer experience.

Manage your emotions

Experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions as a cancer survivor is completely normal. Some days you might feel strong and confident, while other days you might feel anxious and stressed. It’s normal to worry about the cancer returning, particularly as annual scans approach. That’s perfectly okay.

Learning how to navigate through these emotional ups and downs can significantly improve your overall quality of life.

Here are some ways to manage your emotional health:

  • Have open communication: Talk openly with your friends, family, and loved ones. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and express what kind of support you need. 
  • Find community: Support groups, both virtual and in-person, can offer a sense of community and remind you that you’re not alone. Connecting with peers who understand your experience can be comforting.
  • Seek counseling: Consider talking to a therapist who specializes in working with cancer survivors. Professional guidance can be illuminating and make a significant difference. You can use a resource such as Psychology Today to locate a mental health professional in your area and to determine if they take your insurance.

Obtain your survivorship care plan

Your survivorship care plan contains important information about your cancer treatment and helps ensure that you and your care team are up-to-date on your diagnosis. This guide includes follow-up tests, contact information, and wellness recommendations. The plan should also define the responsibilities of each of your healthcare providers. If you have not received a survivorship care plan, be sure to speak to your doctor to obtain a copy. It’s an important step in ensuring your ongoing care is comprehensive and coordinated.

Avoid risk factors

As a cancer survivor, making certain lifestyle changes can optimize your health and reduce the risk of recurrence or secondary cancers. 

  • Adopt a nutrient-rich diet: A nutritious diet is essential during and after treatment. Staying hydrated and keeping your body strong with whole foods can play a significant role in recovery.
  • Limit or eliminate alcohol: Be aware of how much alcohol you consume. Alcohol can also increase your risk of developing certain cancers.
  • Incorporate movement: Regular exercise can build muscle strength, improve cardiovascular fitness, and boost your mood. Make sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

Survivorship resources

 

The Outcomes4Me app is here to support you every step of the way of your cancer diagnosis. With our platform, you can access oncology nurse practitioners for support and find resources tailored to your specific needs.

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