How can Cancer be managed as a Chronic Illness?

By | February 17, 2021
How can Cancer be managed as a Chronic Illness

Cancer can be chronic just like diabetes or heart disease. Cancer may not grow or spread and remain the same with treatment.

When cancer does not change with time then the cancer is considered chronic cancer. Chronic cancer needs regular check-ups and must be kept in close watch to remain sure that it does not change.

Chronic cancers are usually not curable but certain cancers can be controlled for months or years and there are few cancers that have a natural tendency of recurrence and remission.

Chronic cancer doesn’t have a cure just like diabetes or asthma but one lives with it and can manage the symptoms. Cancer treatments are getting advanced as a result people are living longer even with cancer.

Treatments to manage chronic cancer

Chronic cancer treatment depends on the location of cancer, type of disease, amount of cancer, the extent of spread, and patient’s health condition.

Maintenance chemo helps to restrain cancer and is kept under observation to notice if any changes take place. To increase survival and curb its spread, chemo may be given. Chronic cancer is uncertain, either it may go away or remain the same.

Living with cancer is different as there is no such getting back to normal as the new normal may be making changes in lifestyle like food habits, exercises, activities, etc.

Cancer treatment and check-ups become part of life. Life may change from the life that they had once.

Cancer treatment decision becomes difficult as they may not respond to many different treatments and cancer remains the same without showing any changes.

It becomes resistant to all the treatments. At that time new treatment option may be taken and the doctor may help to clear the doubts about the side-effects and benefits of that particular treatment.

They can even take a second opinion before starting a new treatment to acquire reconfirmation or reassurance on their treatment plan. The patient can understand their health condition better after consulting their second opinion doctor.

By learning more about their disease and health condition they can take better decisions on their treatment plan.

There are many factors that may affect the treatment duration:

  • Type of cancer
  • Treatment schedule
  • The time length between cancer recurrences
  • The aggressiveness of the cancer
  • Age
  • Overall health condition
  • Treatment tolerance
  • Treatment response
  • Treatment types

Lifestyle changes to manage chronic cancer

Lifestyle changes can significantly improve mental and physical health. Lifestyle choices are modifiable and can bring a huge difference for the betterment of health and decreases disease burden and improves the quality of life.

Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity increases the chances of cancer. The lack of physical activities and an unhealthy diet leads to obesity. It is important to maintain a healthy weight to reduce the chances of recurrence of cancer. Being active aids in reducing cancer risk and help in acquiring a healthy weight. 

It also improves the hormone level and increases immunity. Physical activity helps in reducing risks of other chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. It is important to restrict a sedentary lifestyle and remain active physically.

Intake of a healthy and well-balanced diet

Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet is important to remain healthy. It helps in reducing further complications. It is important to follow a healthy eating pattern and include nutritious food. A low-calorie diet helps to maintain healthy body weight. 

A well-balanced diet with a variety of vegetables, fruits, good fat, and fiber-rich food helps in maintaining a healthy body.

Avoid tobacco

Tobacco has been linked to several types of cancer. Tobacco is one of the leading causes of cancer and death from cancer. The quitting of tobacco has substantial benefits in gaining life expectancy compared to those people who smoke.

The risk of death is reduced from cancer. It is important for a chronic cancer patient to avoid tobacco. It increases the risk of health issues and must be completely avoided to avert deterioration of health conditions. Even passive smokers have a higher risk of cancer.

Limit alcohol consumption

It is important to limit the consumption of alcohol. It increases the chances of numerous types of cancer. To remain healthy one must limit the intake of alcohol.

Managing stress and anxiety

A chronic cancer patient can manage their emotional and mental well-being by adopting a better lifestyle. it has been observed that stress and anxiety deteriorate the health condition. Support from family and friends helps them to overcome their emotional stress and anxiety. Cancer is a debilitating disease and living with it is very difficult. A chronic cancer patient needs to take it as a part of life and engage themselves in different activities that make them happy to overcome the stress of chronic cancer.

Conclusion

Living with uncertainties is not that easy and chronic cancer may get complicated or may not.

Cancer that cannot be cured and chronic cancer patients may suffer from fatigue, nausea, cancer pain, and the side-effects of treatment.

During the progression of cancer, they may need symptomatic treatment and radiotherapy. A few lifestyle changes may help to manage chronic cancer. 

A regular follow-up with the doctor is very much important to notice any further changes and control chronic illness.

The patient must indulge themselves in some physical activities such as exercise and yoga to stay active and fit. They need to take up a hobby that gives them pleasure to do and keeps them happy.

Staying active helps them to divert their mind and do some productive work. They need to enjoy their time alone or with friends or family and find ways to relax their minds.

Dealing with chronic cancer is tough but not impossible and a healthy lifestyle improves the health condition. Chronic cancer is an ongoing illness and a few behavioral changes will help them lead a better life.

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