The National Cancers Survivors Day Foundation celebrated over 15.5 million cancer survivors alive on June 4, and the American Cancer Society wants to ensure they remain healthy by following six steps it posted on its website.
"Achieve and maintain a healthy weight," Stacy Simon, senior editor for the American Cancer Society, said in the posting. Simon recommends cancer patients avoid overeating, unhealthy foods and weight gain while in treatment or thereafter, and if help from a physician is needed, ask about how to safely lose weight.
The second step is to be physical, move and get active. "Studies show that exercise is generally safe during cancer treatment and can improve many aspects of health, including muscle strength, balance, fatigue and depression," Simon said. In fact, data has shown that those who engage in physical activity after cancer treatment live longer and have a lower possibility for returned cancer.
Next, Simon said to eat a balanced diet of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables. Simon said studies have shown immense health benefits are related to diets filled with these healthy foods. Processed foods such as sugary items, deli meat and fried foods are discouraged.
The next two steps are similar in nature and focus on cancer surviviors' futures. Simon said to get routine cancer screenings and draw up a care plan. Follow-up screenings will keep health records up to date and check for new cancer. A care plan allows survivors to know in detail their doctors and specialists. This is an organized way to keep track of all medicare care, Simon added.
The last step in ensuring continued health is to effectively manage emotional and mental health. Simon recommended to spend time with loved ones, focus on things that make one happy, and join local support groups if needed.
These six steps should help in maintaining health for cancer survivors and allow them to live prosperous, long lives, Simon said.