While cancer is life-threatening, the fact remains with the right amount of care and precise treatment, the disease can be managed. When a patient is diagnosed, their thoughts are clouded with how best to navigate the situation, especially when it comes to treatment and subsequent follow-ups.
Biopsy or screening is the initial step to diagnosing cancer, followed by treatment with three arms of care, namely systemic therapy, surgery, radiation either alone or in combination. These procedures may get difficult for people mainly due to the fear of the treatment, the financial burden, access to the latest diagnostic and therapeutic modalities, etc.
Taking a step towards self-care
Patient care should not end after the completion of treatment but should continue post-treatment as well. In fact, the initial months post-cancer treatment should focus on slowly adapting and getting back to a normal routine. It is an evolving process as one begins their journey to recovery. The thought of cancer-recurrence or cancer relapse is also quite common among patients.
Keep a check on personal health
Few ways to deal with cancer post-treatment is to be informed about the healthcare services available and consulting with your clinician on the course of care post-treatment. If you are worried about the side effects and health risks because of the treatment, be open to your clinician and ask questions that will help you be at ease.
Seek help from friends and family
The next best option is to reach out to family, whether it is your parents, children, spouse or close friends, relatives, etc., if you are facing any uncertainty. The biggest caregivers apart from the healthcare providers in this time of recovery are family and friends who need to constantly motivate the cancer survivor, says Dr Vishal Kulkarni, Oncologist, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru. Their role is more important to help resume normal day-to-day activities. Getting back to your normal routine may be overwhelming initially, but it is important and contributes to better health outcomes.
A balanced diet and exercise never fails
For long-term health benefits, it is important to improve the health by being physically active, consuming a balanced diet, keeping a calm mind, complete abstinence from smoking and limiting alcohol consumption. “Start with physical exercises slowly and increase activity over time in regular consultation with your doctor. If one is advised to stay in bed during the recovery, smaller activities like stretching or moving your arms or legs can help you stay flexible and relieve muscle tension. Additionally, reach out to occupational therapists, nutritionists, physiotherapists, home care providers and mental health care providers who can guide you during your recovery phase,” adds Dr Kulkarni.
The journey of cancer treatment has come a long way from trial and error to targeted therapy, immunotherapy and personalised medicine. This, in turn, is changing the definition of cancer management and palliative care. However, there are still a lot of people who are not aware of the common symptoms of cancer due to which cancer diagnosis and treatment gets delayed. Please visit an oncologist or a physician for better awareness of symptoms of cancer which is even more important in people with a family history. Being aware is the first step toward fighting cancer.