Your Best Defense In A Battle With Cancer
No one is ever truly prepared for a cancer diagnosis. But unfortunately, every year millions of Americans face the reality of diagnosis and living with this disease. After the initial emotions are faced, then comes the challenge of choosing the best treatment and maintaining the highest level of health possible in the face of cancer. So what can be done do stay healthy and strong, and to build the best possible defenses to beat this disease?
Cancer patient Billy Bynum shared some of his personal strategies, while his oncologist Dr. Frank Franzese of WellSpring Oncology gave advice to those living with cancer.
“Good nutrition is important for everyone,” Dr. Franzese said. “However, for those in the midst of chemotherapy or radiation, getting the vitamins and minerals needed in order to stay strong is more important than ever.”
For Bynum, eating well and changing his diet wasn’t only about eating better foods. His cardiologist also recommended weight loss, and other doctors informed him that losing weight would help him win his battle against cancer.
“I became a huge fan of fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods,” Bynum said. “Not only did I lose 50 pounds, I also gained more energy that has helped me in my journey to beat this disease.”
Exercise can also have a huge effect on boosting energy and creating an overall better sense of well-being. Physical activity lessens fatigue, creates a better body image, improves fitness and strength and results in a better quality of life. It can also lessen the anxiety, nausea and depression that may result from dealing with a serious disease like cancer.
“Just remember to start slowly and listen to your body,” Dr. Franzese said. “If it hurts, you may be overdoing it. You don’t have to push yourself beyond your limitations in order to reap the benefits of exercise.”
Finding time to rest and relax is also important for cancer patients, and is essential in order to prevent serious fatigue. Whether patients simply spend some quiet time alone or retreat to take a nap, relaxing activities will alleviate some of the fatigue.
“Not only can a lack of sleep add to fatigue, but stress plays a big role in it as well,” Dr. Franzese said. “In addition to lowering your energy levels, stress can also depress the immune system and interfere with the body’s natural ability to heal. Living with cancer isn’t easy, but to maintain strong levels of both physical and emotional health, managing stress is a must.”
Dr. Franzese recommends that cancer patients create realistic expectations for themselves, practice relaxation techniques and consider attending a support group. Staying healthy despite the disease can make a big difference both physically and emotionally. Just ask Bynum.
Now 73, he’s still undergoing therapy to treat his cancer, but is doing quite well.
“Call me in a year, and I’ll tell you I’m cured,” he said. #