Your natural guide to healthy living after breast cancer

Anyone who has received a breast cancer diagnosis will confirm that it is an absolutely terrifying experience. Battling the disease is both physically and emotionally devastating. Winning that battle and entering remission is only the first step on the road to long-term health, however. Knowing just what changes to make to stay cancer-free are vitally important.

Johns Hopkins Breast Center warns that the risk of breast cancer recurrence is highest in the first two years of remission, and that no breast cancer patient will ever be out of the woods entirely. Nonetheless, there are positive steps that all of us can take to avoid getting breast cancer in the first place, as well as to prevent it from recurring.

Life after breast cancer

MedicalXpress recently reported that the steps to take to prevent cancer recurrence are the exact same steps everyone should be taking to prevent cancer, with the three most important revolving around diet, nutrition and exercise.

“If you can lower your risk factors for breast cancer, which are mostly the same ones for preventing cardiovascular disease, it’s huge for your chances of cancer prevention,” said Dr. Susan Tannenbaum, chief of oncology at the University of Connecticut’s Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We must return to basics and follow a daily prescription of a healthy diet and exercise to prevent cancer.”

The American Institute for Cancer Research advises that the following steps be taken to prevent primary cancers and cancer recurrence:

Tannenbaum makes some further recommendations, including:

  • Don’t smoke, or if you already do, then quit right away.
  • Go for regular check-ups at the doctor and don’t forget monthly breast self-exams.
  • Be moderate in your habits.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure. Be aware, however, that the right amount of sunshine is vitally important to preventing cancer. A study by researchers from Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska found that supplementing with vitamin D and calcium can reduce your risk of cancer by an astonishing 77 percent.
  • Get sufficient sleep but don’t overdo it.
  • Avoid the use of medications by making necessary lifestyle changes.

Your emotional needs

Johns Hopkins advises cancer survivors to put themselves first sometimes and to take care of themselves emotionally. This might include the need for therapy or a breast cancer support group to help you cope.

After the emotional roller coaster of the battle to beat breast cancer, a new opportunity arises to seize life and live it to the fullest. Make the best of that opportunity by pushing to make the needed changes to maximize your health and longevity. Your body will reward the effort.

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