A recent survey showed that less than half of cancer survivors receive counseling from their physicians about leading a healthy lifestyle, according to a recent study in Cure. This is astonishing, especially as a healthy lifestyle can help prevent a recurrence of breast cancer. I am so fortunate that oncologists and my nurse spoke to me about ways in which I can change my lifestyle to reduce my risk of cancer recurrence. I also sought the advice of an oncology dietitian and continue to do so if I have questions.
What if your health care providers did not speak to you about a healthy lifestyle post-active treatment?
Ask your oncologist what changes you should make to your diet;
Also, see an oncology dietitian for specific diet information. Your cancer center should have access to such a dietitian and can refer you to her or him. Some cancer wellness centers, which are often non-profits, also have oncology dietitians on staff and their services may be free;
Ask your oncologist what impact carrying extra weight will have on the recurrence of cancer;
Always ask your oncologist how supplements could interact with any cancer maintenance drugs before you take supplements;
There is a lot of information on Dr. Google about how certain supplements or even foods could increase estrogen production, which is of concern to those diagnosed with estrogen positive breast cancer – meaning their cancer feeds on estrogen. Ask your oncologist if these are accurate claims and what is safe for you to take if you were diagnosed with estrogen positive breast cancer; and
Check out Livestrong at the YMCA for free fitness programs at your local Y for those who have been diagnosed with cancer. Ask professionals how to ease into a workout program.