How to improve quality of life during cancer treatment

Fighting cancer is the biggest priority for people when they have been diagnosed with the disease. After the initial shock of diagnosis has worn off, patients can then take their first steps towards recovery.

Powerful chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatments can kill cancer cells and prevent them from spreading. Individuals may also need other medications to help mitigate the side effects of these treatments. At the end of the day, treating cancer can become a full-time job and one that can have a significant impact on the quality of life of the patient and his or her loved ones.

According to the Mayo Clinic, stress, pain and fatigue can severely diminish quality of life during and after cancer treatment. What’s more, family members caring for cancer patients also may experience diminished quality of life. Incorporating some strategies during and after treatment can help cancer patients and their caregivers maintain a high quality of life.

Exercise

Exercise pays numerous dividends for cancer patients. Exercise may help keep cancer, particularly breast cancer, in remission. The American Cancer Society says physical activity has been linked to a 24 percent decrease in breast cancer coming back, and a 34 percent decrease in breast cancer deaths.

Exercise also can affect the following:

· balance

· control weight

· self-esteem

· strength of bones

· lessening risk of blood clots

· reduction of nausea and fatigue

Stress reduction

Cancer patients also can benefit from therapies that promote the reduction of stress and anxiety. The Mayo Clinic studied formal sessions that promoted physical therapy, coping strategies or addressing spiritual concerns, and deep breathing or guided imagery to reduce stress. Those who engaged in these therapies showed marked improvement at a critical time in care.

Exercise, talking about the cancer and reducing feelings of stress are important to maintaining quality of life during cancer treatment.