Mary Calvagna, MS
By adopting certain lifestyle changes, you can help speed your recovery from cancer.
The treatments for cancer, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy will add to the fatigue you already feel from fighting cancer. It is important to allow your body to rest. This will help your body maintain the strength to heal itself.
You may continue your usual activities to the extent that you feel able. Check with your physician before attempting strenuous activity, even if you fell well. Be aware that it may take some time for you to recover your pretreatment activity level.
Smoking exposes your body to many cancer-causing chemicals. Smokers are about twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop cervical cancer.
now will help you recover. In addition, recent studies have shown that smoking during treatment (particularly radiotherapy) causes an increase in side effects from the treatment.
Good nutrition is essential for health and well being. To aid in your recovery, make sure you are getting all the nutrients that your body needs to heal itself. Try to increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and high-fiber foods.
However, if you develop gastrointestinal complications from your treatment (soreness in the anal area,
diarrhea, abdominal pain) be aware that your diet may actually make the problem worse. If you develop these symptoms, consult with your physician about your diet to determine whether you need to make an adjustment in what you are eating, particularly high-residue foods.
Once you are feeling better and have been given the okay by your doctor, start a moderate stretching and exercise program. This will help you have more energy throughout the day.
For more information about starting a regular exercise program,
If you feel extreme fatigue or severe pain, talk with your doctor. It is important to know your limits when you are recovering from cancer.
American Cancer Society
website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp. Accessed January 3, 2014.
Cervical cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 7, 2013. Accessed January 3, 2014.
National Cancer Institute
website. Available at:
http://www.cancer.gov. Accessed January 3, 2014.
Last reviewed January 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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