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Cancersmarts: Self-Care makes cancer treatment easier on your mind and body

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Prioritizing self-care is always a healthy thing to do, but it’s even more important if you’re receiving cancer treatment. You could say it’s having cancersmarts!

People respond to cancer treatment differently; get informed and strategize to more easily navigate your personal recovery. Focus on these key areas to discover what will make a difference for you.

Nutrition

Nutrition during chemo and radiation can be tough. Loss of appetite, mouth sores, and major taste changes all increase the risk of malnutrition. Your favorite foods may not taste like you expect them to, so experiment with dishes you’ve never had before. Try flavor changers like lemon juice or sea salt where you wouldn’t normally use them. When nausea or mouth pain flare up, bland foods, including Cream of Wheat, oatmeal, hard-boiled eggs, and cottage cheese, are easier to eat.

Support

Consider what might lighten your day-to-day load: help with transportation, running errands, or simply seeing a friendly face. Then reach out. Other survivors can be invaluable resources. You can create a private support website here, and view the National Cancer Institute’s list of support providers here.

Do You

How can you feel like yourself when everything’s changed? Look for ways to lift your mood, even for a moment. Sit outside, listen to music you love, wear your favorite color, or pick a hobby. Some people struggle with changes in appearance and find that a little attention to their style pays off emotionally. Others respond to visits from therapy dogs. Whatever it is that lifts your mood, do you. It’s your recovery.

Cancer treatment is hard on patients’ bodies and emotional well-being. These tips, focused on encouraging you to surround yourself with friends, family, and the things you love as you navigate chemotherapy and radiation, might even help you create some good memories with the people who help you through it. And if you need support or have questions about cancer care, contact us at the Sue Ann Wortman Cancer Center at 317-325-2273.  

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