Cancer is often referred to as the Big C. The use of this euphemism to often refer to the malignant disease can be associated with the fact that across the globe, whatever be the age, gender, race, nationality or financial position, cancer strikes fear in hearts. Dr Sajjan Rajpurohit, Senior Director – Medical Oncology, BLK-Max Cancer Center reminds readers that the disease which terrorises most is unfortunately a reality for millions around the world. “However, in the journey of battling cancer, what lies beyond treatment is equally significant – the journey of living with cancer,” shares the doctor. In this article, Dr Rajpurohit attempts to shed light on the dos and don’ts for ensuring the best possible quality of life while living with cancer, alongside insights into suitable exercises and considerations tailored to different types of cancer.
Living With Cancer: Dos and Don’ts
Dr Sajjan Rajpurohit shares the following dos and don’ts for people who have cancer and are looking to have the best possible life:
1. Do Prioritise Self-Care: One of the most crucial aspects of living with cancer is prioritising self-care. This includes maintaining a nutritious diet, staying hydrated, getting enough rest, and managing stress levels effectively. Self-care forms the foundation for coping with the challenges that cancer may bring.
2. Don’t Neglect Emotional Well-Being: Cancer not only affects the body but also takes a toll on mental and emotional health. It’s essential to seek support from loved ones, join support groups, or consider therapy if needed. Keeping a positive outlook can significantly impact one’s overall well-being.
3. Do Stay Active: While it’s essential to listen to your body and not overexert yourself, staying physically active can have numerous benefits for individuals living with cancer. Engaging in gentle exercises such as walking, swimming, or yoga can help improve mood, energy levels, and overall quality of life.
4. Don’t Ignore Symptoms: Regular monitoring of symptoms and seeking prompt medical attention for any changes or concerns is vital. Early detection of potential issues can lead to better outcomes and more effective management of the disease.
5. Do Communicate With Your Healthcare Team: Establishing open communication with your healthcare team is key. Be proactive in discussing any questions, concerns, or treatment options. Your medical team is there to support you every step of the way.
Exercise Recommendations For People With Cancer
Different types of cancer may present varying challenges and considerations when it comes to exercise, says Dr Rajpurohit. However, he shares some general recommendations below:
1. Aerobic Exercise: Activities such as walking, cycling, or swimming can improve cardiovascular health, boost mood, and increase energy levels.
2. Strength Training: Incorporating strength training exercises using light weights or resistance bands can help maintain muscle mass and bone density, especially important for individuals undergoing certain cancer treatments.
3. Flexibility and Balance Exercises: Yoga, tai chi, or simple stretching routines can enhance flexibility, improve balance, and reduce the risk of falls, particularly relevant for individuals dealing with treatments that affect mobility or coordination.
Life With Cancer: Considerations and Deterrents
While exercise can be immensely beneficial, it’s essential to consider individual limitations and potential deterrents. “Factors such as fatigue, pain, or treatment side effects may impact one’s ability to exercise. It’s crucial to listen to your body, start slowly, and modify activities as needed. Consulting with your healthcare team before starting any exercise regimen is advisable, as they can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific situation,” says Dr Rajpurohit.
The doctor admits that living with cancer presents its own set of challenges, but it’s also a journey filled with hope, resilience, and the potential for meaningful moments. “By prioritising self-care, staying active, and maintaining open communication with your healthcare team, individuals can enhance their quality of life and navigate their cancer journey with strength and dignity,” Dr Rajpurohit shares.