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Post Treatment 6 months +

There is no guarantee that your cancer won't come back. Help lower your risk of recurrence or developing a second cancer: Adopt a cancer prevention lifestyle.

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According to the American Cancer Society: "It is not possible to guarantee that a person who has completed cancer treatment will never have their cancer come back. Even though your doctor may say, "Your cancer is gone," or "I think I removed all the cancer," or "I see no evidence of any cancer," the fact remains that there is always a chance that some cancer cells are left in your body and survived, even though they cannot be seen or found with any test used today. Over time, these cells can begin to grow and cause your cancer to recur.... Cancer is not predictable. In some cases it will never come back, but in some cases it will. No doctor can guarantee cancer will stay gone forever."

A cancer prevention program helps to reduce the chances of your cancer returning and to maximize the body's defenses in case it does. It also helps you feel in control. Not incidentally, a cancer prevention program also helps protect against heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other illnesses.

A cancer prevention program should consider y our physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs and include the following:

  • Healthy eating guidelines. Your doctor can help you create a healthy diet which can also help prevent cancer. He or she can also inform you about any food or diet restrictions due to your cancer or treatment. A few sources for cancer prevention recipes are:

  • Supplements which provide the nutrients your diet doesn't provide. Before taking supplements, check with your cancer doctor to be sure they don't adversely interact with the residue of your cancer treatment. Also check to see that the supplements do not negatively interact with any medications you are taking. Since supplements are not regulated, your doctor may have a brand to recommend, or look for brands that have helped other people you know (rather than what you find online).
  • Exercise. A recent study found that interviewees who exercised more and had better dietary habits experienced better vitality and physical functioning. On the other hand, individuals who were obese had worse physical quality of life.
  • Reducing the stress in your life to the extent you can. There are stress reduction techniques for the stress that you cannot eliminate.
  • Sharing your emotions.
  • Engaging in a supportive social life.
  • Hope.

Many long term survivors find strength and purpose in spirituality and/or religion.

Drop unhealthful activities such as smoking or chewing tobacco. Do what you can to avoid second hand smoke. Limit your direct exposure to the sun.

If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation.

Avoid unnecessary infection. A few techniques have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of infection. For instance:

  • Keep your hands away from your face - particularly around your mouth, nose and eyes.
  • Wash your hands regularly. When you wash your hands, use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds ( the amount of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday).
  • Wash your hands before leaving the gym and after being in other highly trafficked areas.
  • Eat a healthy diet - such as the cancer prevention diet described elsewhere in this document.

NOTE: Don't try to change everything overnight, or expect that you could. Change takes time - especially when habits build up over a lifetime. Start slowly, perhaps in one area at a time. Do small steps you can accomplish. Then build on them, one at a time.

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