Quality Of Life After Breast Cancer Treatment: A Simple How-To
There’s an easy Rx that will boost the quality of your life after breast cancer: Healthy lifestyle choices
Quality of life is really the ultimate goal of every human, right? We’re only given one chance, after all. After breast cancer treatment, quality of life might seem like a fleeting thing. But there are steps you can take to improve your health, and therefore, your life — that may help you actually live that quality life even longer.
Discovering the Key to Better Quality of Life after Breast Cancer
Getting breast cancer is a life-altering experience… and often times, life-altering for the better. During treatment or shortly thereafter, it is common for women to take a step back and decide that this is a turning point in their lives—a turning point to start living a healthier lifestyle than before.
Whether they leave stressful jobs or vow to take more vacations, they’re thinking about the value of each of their days. And oftentimes we don’t even realize it, but that value can be improved with the smallest of health and lifestyle changes.
Inspiration to Live a Healthier Lifestyle
Some of the changes that will improve your quality of life after breast cancer treatment will also help reduce risk of recurrence and boost your overall health. These include the following:
- Eating healthy — This doesn’t mean never eating cheesecake again, but it means eating smart. Concentrating on eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and replacing pastries and sugary treats with whole grains and proteins. It’s good for your breast health and also good for your heart, colon and the general quality of your health. Read more about improving your quality of life after breast cancer by changing your diet here.
- Exercise — I don’t mean having to live at the gym. Exercise is quality over quantity, even after breast cancer. Simply walking more can be one of the best things you decide to do for yourself. It will improve your quality of life after breast cancer even if you’ve never exercised before. Exercise such as walking three times a week can reduce the risk of breast cancer by one third for women who are at high risk for breast cancer. So take a friend with you, and walk together. Exercise also helps us to reduce the negative ways our body reacts to stress.
- Say no to smoking — If you are a smoker, here is your opportunity to do something really wonderful for yourself and your family: Stop. The American Cancer Society states that if smoking were eliminated, 80% of cancers in general would never occur. If your friends smoke, tell them that they can’t smoke around you anymore — secondary smoke also affects your health.
- Limiting alcohol —One drink a day is enough, and none is even better for breast cancer survivors’ quality of life. Women who drink more than one alcoholic beverage a day increase their risk of breast cancer. Pass the word along.
Making these lifestyle changes will give you more energy, reduce your risk of recurrence, improve your general health, and reassure you that you ARE doing the right things to keep your body and especially your breasts healthy. Your quality of life after breast cancer treatment may even be better than it was before.
by Lillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, ONN-CG, breast cancer survivor, University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer and Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine