Lifestyle and well-being

After treatment finishes, you’ll need time to recover and feel better again. Some treatments can be hard on the body and cause side effects that may last for some time. Living a healthy lifestyle can help you recover more rapidly and help reduce the risk of developing other illnesses.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t mean that you should give up on all the pleasures in life. Any changes you make will be individual to you. Positive changes can include making sure you have a healthy diet, giving up smoking and being physically active. It can also involve finding ways to reduce stress and becoming involved in your healthcare. This means taking your medication as prescribed and going to follow up appointments.

If you decide to be more active and want to do some physical activity, it is important not to do too much too soon. Whatever the changes you want to bring in your life are, make sure you get all the support you need. Your doctor or specialist nurse will be able to advise you.

Beginning to recover

Treatment can be very hard on the body and it may be some time before you are feeling fit and well again. Some people have treatment side effects that gradually improve over time, while others may have ongoing effects.

You may have a range of other effects such as trouble sleeping, or feeling weaker and more tired than usual, rather than more specific side effects.

Living a healthy lifestyle can help your body recover more quickly and return to normal, and may help to prevent the cancer from returning. It will also help reduce the risk of illnesses such as heart disease and strokes.

Positive lifestyle changes

Some people want to make changes to their lifestyle after cancer. You might choose to make just a few changes or completely change the way you live. It doesn’t have to be very difficult or expensive.

Living a healthy lifestyle can sometimes appear to be a lot of hard work, and as if you will be denying yourself all of the pleasures in life. However, it’s about making small, achievable changes to the way you live that will improve your health and well-being.

Your healthy lifestyle will be individual to you, and what is right for you may not be right for someone else. A healthy lifestyle can include having a well-balanced diet, getting some exercise, reducing stress and being involved in your healthcare. You’ll need to think about any side effects of treatment when planning changes to your diet and exercise. Don’t try to do too much too soon.

If you’re thinking about making some major changes to your lifestyle, it’s a good idea to discuss your plans with your doctor or specialist nurse.

Stop smoking

If you smoke, giving up is one of the healthiest decisions you can make. Stopping smoking has many other health benefits and reduces your risk of other diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Our section about giving up smoking has more information and tips to help you quit.

Get physically active

Exercise doesn’t have to be particularly strenuous. You can start gently and build up the amount of physical activity you do. Whatever your age or physical health, there will be some kind of exercise you could try, such as walking, hiking, cycling or swimming. Activities like gardening, dancing and playing sport are also good to try. We have more information about exercise after cancer treatment.

Reduce stress

There are lots of ways to reduce the stress in your life. You could make time to do things that you enjoy or that make you laugh. Some people find it relaxing to meditate or pray, or to start a new hobby or an evening class. You may find it helpful to write a journal or online blog.

Get involved in your healthcare

Being involved in your healthcare means taking your medications as directed, always going for follow-up appointments and being aware of symptoms of a possible recurrence. We have more information about self-management and cancer.

I take care of myself now and I wouldn’t have done that before. I enjoy life so much more and notice the little things, like the leaves falling or snow outside.


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