Britta Aragon of CV Skinlabs is an adamant proponent of living well through and after cancer treatment, as her own personal care brand helps so many to do. After supporting her father through his own health battle, Britta set her mind to supporting others with helpful information and gentle, all-natural skin care appropriate for cancer patients. In her first piece with us, she explains a few simple life changes that can improve your health and happiness after the treatments are over.
You made it. Cancer treatments are over, and the doctor has pronounced you in remission. Happy day!
But then you go back to your life and that silent shadow of fear follows you. What if the cancer comes back? What if you have to go through treatments all over again? What if…?
Fear of recurrence is a very real challenge facing survivors. One of the best ways to tackle it is to put healthy habits into place that will help reduce your risk of getting cancer again.
No one can absolutely guarantee that if you do certain things, you will remain cancer-free. However, you can definitely tilt the odds in your favor by doing some things that will make your body stronger, more resilient, and better able to repair itself, in order to stay well after cancer treatment. First, you must make a choice: Will you live in fear, or will you do what you can to stay well, and trust that God (or whatever power you believe in) will handle the rest? You probably can’t stop those fearful thoughts from popping into your head, but you can choose to let them go, and take action for your best health.
How do you take control of your health after cancer? Please share your thoughts.
7 Tips for Staying Healthy After Cancer Treatment
Studies have shown over and over again that exercise helps reduce the risk of cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends 30 minutes a day of aerobic activity: that can be a 30-minute brisk walk, swimming, jogging, biking, playing tennis or racquetball, or anything that gets your heart pumping. If you’re still recovering, try a yoga or tai chi class. Though not as taxing to the heart, they will get you breathing a little harder, and will get you back in touch with your body.
Keep the heat down
If you are used to blackening your meat, it’s time to turn the heat down. Blackened beef, poultry, and fish have more heterocyclic amine compounds (HCAs), which have been linked to cancer. Keep the heat low, use aluminum foil on the grill to protect your food, flip burgers often, and always choose medium over well-done.
Spice things up
A number of spices have been shown to be good for your health. For example, turmeric, which comes from curcumin, actually stopped cancer cells from growing in laboratory tests. Other cancer-fighting spices include ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and garlic.
Stress weakens the immune system – and it’s your immune system that keeps cancer at bay. You can’t help but have stressful events come into your life, but you can learn how to better cope with them. Adopt regular stress-relieving activities that you schedule every week. These could include a yoga class, a massage, a trip to the spa, a walk in the park, a warm bath with some aromatherapy, journaling, meditation or muscle relaxation…whatever helps you feel more calm.
Pesticides have been linked to cancer in a number of studies. Organic foods rate consistently lower than standard foods in pesticide content, so whenever you can, choose organic. If you’re on a budget but still want to make smart choices, the Environmental Working Group has put together a list of the produce that are most likely to be contaminated.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Even if you had a healthy diet before cancer, now is the time you’ll want to fortify your body with disease-fighting compounds. Fruits and vegetables are our best weapons against DNA-damaging free radicals. This may be a great time to start juicing. For example, you can get a greater dose of antioxidants in one glass filled with spinach, green tea powder, cinnamon, avocado, and apple juice than if you just eat an apple.
Reduce your intake of sugar
Sugar not only adds to your waistline, but it may actually encourage the growth of cancer cells in some situations. A 2010 study found that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation. Researchers suggested that cutting back on refined fructose may disrupt cancer growth. Watch out for added sugars (like high fructose corn syrup) in your soups, yogurts, condiments, cereals, and more. Read labels, drink tea and water instead of sugary sodas, and try honey, stevia, or xylitol as a sugar substitute.
Source: Britta Aragon, When Cancer Hits, Cinco Vidas Press, New York, New York.