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VNA of Care New England

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Cervical Cancer

Exercise
By adopting certain lifestyle changes, you can help speed your recovery from cancer.
The treatments for cancer, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy will add to the fatigue you already feel from fighting cancer. It is important to allow your body to rest. This will help your body maintain the strength to heal itself.
You may continue your usual activities to the extent that you feel able. Check with your physician before attempting strenuous activity, even if you fell well. Be aware that it may take some time for you to recover your pretreatment activity level.
Smoking exposes your body to many cancer-causing chemicals. Smokers are about twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop cervical cancer. Stopping now will help you recover. In addition, recent studies have shown that smoking during treatment (particularly radiotherapy) causes an increase in side effects from the treatment.
Good nutrition is essential for health and well-being. To aid in your recovery, make sure you are getting all the nutrients that your body needs to heal itself. Try to increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and high-fiber foods.
However, if you develop gastrointestinal complications from your treatment (soreness in the anal area, diarrhea , abdominal pain) be aware that your diet may actually make the problem worse. If you develop these symptoms, consult with your physician about your diet to determine whether you need to make an adjustment in what you are eating, particularly high-residue foods.
Once you are feeling better and have been given the okay by your doctor, start a moderate stretching and exercise program. This will help you have more energy throughout the day.
If you feel extreme fatigue or severe pain, talk with your doctor. It is important to know your limits when you are recovering from cancer.

References

American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp. Accessed January 3, 2014.

Cervical cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 7, 2013. Accessed January 3, 2014.

National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov. Accessed January 3, 2014.

Revision Information

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