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8 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

1. Regularly see your care providers

If you are going through treatment for childhood cancer, it is important to attend all your medical appointments. Childhood cancer survivors are at an increased risk of developing other medical issues such as heart disease, weak bones, and lung problems. Regularly seeing your doctors will help prevent or manage these potential issues.

Attend all of your appointments and complete any recommended screening tests.

2. Move everyday

Physical activity is important for weight management, disease prevention, and cardiovascular health. It is recommended to get 300 minutes of physical activity every week.

Get 150 minutes every week or 20-30 minutes every day of physical activity. It can be anything that increases your heart rate.

3. Eat a balanced diet

Eat a variety of foods that include lean meats (chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish), colorful vegetables (leafy greens, carrots, zucchini, eggplant, squash, peppers, fresh fruits (apples, grapes, pears, oranges, bananas, cherries), and complex carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, whole grain pasta, beans).

Choose all the colors of the rainbow. The substances that give fruits and vegetables their bright color may protect us from cancer and other chronic diseases.

4. Get plenty of sleep

During and even after cancer therapy, many patients feel very tired all the time. If you do not sleep enough, or sleep poorly, you are at an increased risk of obesity, getting sick, and depression.

When you sleep, your body repairs any normal damage that happened during the day. Try to find a balance of rest and activity during treatment.

5. Take care of emotional health

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health – and they can affect each other. Make sure you take time for yourself when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. Read a book, go for a walk, spend time with a pet, or meditate. Ask to speak to a psychologist, social worker, or clergy member if you need to discuss your mental health.

Make sure you take time for yourself when you feel overwhelmed.

6. Spend time with family and friends

During cancer treatment, you may not be able to spend quality time with family and friends because you spend a lot of time at the hospital or you do not want to be exposed to illness. If you can’t spend time with your loved ones in person, make sure you connect with them virtually.

Being social with friends and family improves mood and can have positive impacts on physical and mental health.

7. Manage your screen time

Too much screen time can lead to obesity, sleep problems, headaches, and vision problems. Try turning off the TV and staying off your phone an hour before bedtime so that your brain has time to “wind down.”

Too much screen time can be harmful. Consider reading a book or meditating before falling asleep.

8. Exercise your brain

Did you know it’s important to exercise your brain just like you exercise your body? Childhood cancer survivors are at an increased risk for memory problems, thinking abilities, and problem solving.

Did you know it's important to exercise your brain just like you exercise your body? Help improve your memory and ability to think.

Research spotlight

A recent study highlights the value of leading a healthy lifestyle for cancer survivors.

Read the blog post.

Reviewed: November 2020