June 7th is National Cancer Survivors Day. This day celebrates the lives of those affected by cancer including those who are currently undergoing treatment, as well as those who have won their battle against cancer.
A study conducted in 2012 concluded that there were more than 13 million cancer survivors living in the United States. Experts credit advancements in cancer research and treatment technologies as one of the reasons that the number of cancer survivors continues to increase. As the number of cancer survivors continues to grow, more attention is being given to the kinds of activities that may benefit cancer survivors. These activities include joining support groups, staying physically active even through treatments, and maintaining a healthy diet.
Support groups are a good way for cancer survivors to meet other survivors who they may be able to relate to and who can understand the unique challenges they face. Support groups may also be beneficial to patients because they are a place where survivors can share their inspirational stories and provide hope to others. There are a wide variety of cancer support groups that may be based on the type of cancer, age group of members, or other criteria.
Physical activity during and after cancer treatments has been proven to be beneficial for many cancer patients. Although some patients are not able to exercise, those who are able may consider want to consider the benefits. Exercise may benefit patients by keeping their body in good physical shape, promoting blood flow to prevent blood clots, lessen nausea, help prevent depression, and improve self-esteem. In addition, some studies have shown that cancer survivors who are physically active may be less likely to have a cancer recurrence.
Maintaining a healthy diet and weight is important after cancer treatment. Survivors should consult with their doctors about what changes to make to their diets. Eating foods that are rich in antioxidants may help survivors prevent the development of a second or new form of cancer. Another reason that a healthy diet is important for survivors is because it may help them maintain a healthy weight. Many studies suggest that those who are overweight have a higher rate of cancer recurrence, as well as a higher risk at developing certain kinds of cancer.
Jaime Venditti, State Coordinator, New York Health Works