A female Right at Home caregiver is helping a senior female client make a pie in a kitchen A female Right at Home caregiver is helping a senior female client make a pie in a kitchen

After a Cancer Diagnosis: Tips as You Go Through Treatment and Recovery

The American Cancer Society estimates that for the first time, new cases of cancer in the U.S. will cross the 2 million mark in 2024; that’s over 5,000 a day. However, great progress has been made in treating the many forms of the disease. Even with that, cancer can be a frightening illness, and its treatment can be exhausting and uncomfortable. Here are tips to help you or your senior loved one ease their journey through it:

  1. Mental health can play an important role in recovery. Anxiety, stress, and depression are often a part of the journey. It’s important to seek help if you need it. Always let your health care provider know how you feel. They likely have recommendations to help, such as a referral to a mental health professional, joining a support group in your community or online, staying physically active, and maintaining social connections. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a helpful resource, offering a free helpline by calling 800-950-NAMI, support group suggestions, and a wealth of information.
  2. Keep moving even if you don’t feel like it. Physical activity boosts overall health, including mental health. Start small and build over time. Begin with a short walk. Do some stretches several times a day. If you have stairsteps, try a trip or two up and down each day. Join a yoga or tai chi class when you’re up for it. If you need help with any exercises, ask.
  3. Being outside in fresh air offers many benefits, such as reducing stress, providing vitamin D, and raising oxygen levels. Be sure to protect your skin all year long with sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect you from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Sunscreen should be applied year-round, even if it’s cloudy.
  4. Eating healthy is important for everyone, especially cancer recovery patients. A healthy diet includes fruits and vegetables, and don’t forget dark leafy greens, whole grains such as wheat bread and oatmeal, and lean meats. Limit fast foods and frozen entrees. Eliminating alcohol is best. To help you find the recommended proportions of each of the above, visit the Harvard School of Public Health.
  5. Stay socially connected with family and friends. If you’re a volunteer, continue contributing. Visit your local senior center for activities and social groups, such as book clubs and hobby groups. You can also find online communities, called chat rooms, that match your interests. One source is Senior Planet from AARP, where you can type in what interests you and find others who share your interests. Another source is Senior Living, where you can find online chat rooms for seniors and important information to keep you safe online.
  6. Keeping medical appointments along your journey is as vital as ever. In addition to your regular appointments, you should always remember to get annual screenings, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, cholesterol, and prostate cancer, among others your primary care provider recommends. Always take your medication as directed. If you’re having trouble paying for your prescriptions, visit WebMD for suggestions.
  7. Stop smoking if you do. Of course, it’s hard, but you can add years to your life by quitting. Check out smoking-cessation programs in your community. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where you’ll find many resources that can help. In addition to quitting, avoid secondhand smoke, and ask the smokers in your life to join in your effort.

How Right at Home Can Help

Following the tips provided can help ease the recovery journey for you or your loved one. But there may be times when additional help is needed. Right at Home can be there if that time comes. Our trained and compassionate caregivers provide a wide range of services* including:

  • Companion Care and homemaking services for help with light housekeeping, grocery shopping, transportation, and more.
  • Personal Care for personal hygiene, bathing, dressing, and mobility assistance.
  • Nursing Services for in-home medical care, such as ostomy care, simple wound care, and medication management.

To learn more, use our office locator to find the closest location to you and request a FREE in-home consultation.

*In-home care services may vary by location.

Marsha Johns, blog author

Marsha Johns is a veteran health care marketer and award-winning writer. She strives to make medical topics understandable and relatable for all readers.

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