June is National Cancer Survivor Month. And Therapy Achievements wants to celebrate our patients who are in the fight and who have won the fight.
What is Survivorship?
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Cancer survivorship has at least 2 common meanings:
- Having no signs of cancer after finishing treatment.
- Living with, through, and beyond cancer. This means that cancer survivorship starts at diagnosis. It includes people who receive treatment over a longer time. Their treatment can lower the chance of the cancer coming back or help to keep the cancer from spreading.
What are the Phases of Survivorship?
The American Society of Clinical Oncology also identifies 3 phases of survivorship:
- Acute survivorship starts at diagnosis and goes through to the end of initial treatment. Cancer treatment is the focus.
- Extended survivorship starts at the end of initial treatment and goes through the months after. The effects of cancer and treatment are the focus.
- Permanent survivorship is when years have passed since cancer treatment ended. There is less of a chance that the cancer may come back. Long-term effects of cancer and treatment are the focus.
How Do You Stay Healthy?
So how do you stay health after a fight with cancer? The Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Control Program shares the following tips with cancer survivors on maintaining a healthy lifestyle:
· Stay away from tobacco. If you smoke, try to quit. Avoid second-hand smoke.
· Limit the amount of alcohol consumption.
· Protect skin from UV exposure from the sun and tanning beds.
· Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
· Maintain a healthy weight.
· Be as physically active as possible.
· Stay in touch with your healthcare and Cancer Rehab teams.
· Follow recommendations regarding future cancer screenings.
· Manage stress by finding ways to relax, taking time for yourself, and working toward having a positive attitude.
What’s the Next Step?
It is important for cancer survivors to maintain a strong support system of family members, friends, and trusted professionals especially during this time of uncertainty. A survivorship care plan might be the next step to maximizing health and personal well-being to have the best quality of life.
For more information about developing a survivorship care plan and for additional resources to help live your healthiest life after cancer, please visit https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/cancer/life-after-cancer.html.