Lifestyle and well-being

Improving your lifestyle after cancer treatment

One of the positive steps you can take after cancer treatment is thinking about how you can improve your well-being and your long-term health. Your cancer team and GP can give you advice on this.

Ask if there are any health and well-being clinics in your area. These clinics are run by volunteers and Macmillan professionals. They can give you support and advice on diet, lifestyle and adjusting to life after treatment.

Physical activity

Being more physically active is an important part of your recovery and improves your long-term health.

During treatment, you may have been less active. This can make you feel more tired and makes your muscles lose some strength. Even a little regular physical activity like short walks will help to increase your energy levels. It helps you to feel stronger and less stressed. But don’t do too much, too soon. Build it up gradually.

Being more physically active also reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and bone thinning (osteoporosis ). It may also help to reduce the risk of certain cancers coming back and helps to keep you to a healthy weight. Some hospitals have exercise programmes especially for people recovering from cancer treatment. Your doctor or specialist nurse can tell you what’s available in your area. Being active can help you to:

  • strengthen muscles, joints and bones
  • look after your heart
  • reduce anxiety and depression
  • improve mood and quality of life
  • maintain a healthy weight.

Aerobic activity such as brisk walking, running, skipping, cycling, dancing or swimming may help to protect your heart. This may help to reduce the risk of late effects developing.

Hormonal therapies for breast and prostate cancer, and early menopause due to cancer treatments can increase the risk of bone thinning. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, dancing or resistance training, will help keep bones strong.

It’s a good idea to talk to your cancer doctor or GP before you start. They can advise you on the type and amount of exercise that’s safe for you to do. Some people may need to take special care when exercising.

Focussing on eating well, cutting down on alcohol, stopping smoking and dealing with stress may also make your recovery much easier too.

‘It is the mental attitude that comes from being fit and healthy that matters to me.’ Jonathan

Jonathan

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