If you’re facing cancer, then you probably feel like you’re in it alone. You can’t help but wonder if your friends and family are judging you or questioning your ability to make it through the battle. Don’t give up—it’s possible to fight from cancer and win. Here are seven ways to stay positive and beat cancer one day at a time
Take care of yourself physically
When facing a cancer diagnosis, it’s easy to let your life go on autopilot and devote all of your attention and energy to treatment. But you don’t want to give up living just because you will Fight From Cancer. That means finding ways to maintain your physical health, get enough rest, stay active, spend time with friends and family members who support you, eat well (unless a nutritionist advises otherwise), and so on. Maintaining your physical health will also help boost your emotional health—and take some pressure off as you deal with everything else that comes with a cancer diagnosis.
Take care of yourself mentally
It’s easy to put all of your energy into fighting cancer and dealing with symptoms, which is necessary. But making sure you take care of yourself mentally can help prevent burnout, maintain your sanity, and keep you strong physically. Tips include exercising daily (your body and mind need it), eating well (which can boost your immune system), and getting enough sleep (sleep deprivation makes people sick). Join a support group if that helps you. Make time for fun things as well, so you don’t feel like every minute of every day is spent fighting cancer. Having some me-time is essential for staying positive about surviving cancer.
It’s no secret that exercise can help people fight off cancer and stay healthy in general. Research has shown that when it comes to cancer, lifestyle choices like diet and exercise play a key role in prevention. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) encourages individuals at risk of developing or being diagnosed with cancer—as well as those who’ve beaten it—to work physical activity into their daily routine. Physical activity is an essential part of treatment for breast cancer survivors because it boosts immune function and increases lean muscle mass which helps lessen joint pain. Even if you are undergoing chemotherapy, there are many types of exercises you can do during treatment such as yoga that won’t interfere with your therapy or other treatments. Don’t forget about complementary therapies; they can help too!
One of the worst aspects of Fight From Cancer is feeling alone. But even though there’s no magic wand or miracle cure for it, there are things you can do to minimize feelings of isolation and helplessness—such as reaching out to others who are facing a similar challenge. One study found that patients receiving treatment for their breast cancer were less likely to develop depression if they had strong social support. Even small gestures, like inviting another person with cancer over for dinner or attending a support group meeting together, have been shown to have lasting positive effects on mental health and self-esteem.
Let go of being in control
No matter how sick or anxious you are, remember that you are not in control of your situation. This might be difficult at first, but try to embrace it as best you can. You might not have any more control over your illness than a person who is blind has over their vision. But by learning as much as possible about your disease and connecting with others in similar situations, you can take back some of that lost sense of control and live life more fully—even with cancer.
Rely on your support system
There’s nothing like a good friend, family member, or loved one when you’re facing a tough challenge. They’ll listen without judging, support your decisions and be there with a hug (or glass of wine) when you need it most. Your friends and family may not always say everything you want to hear — especially if they think you’re too hard on yourself — but that doesn’t mean they don’t care about what happens to you. Don’t ignore them during treatment just because it makes things easier for you; lean on their support as much as possible instead. You never know when cancer will rear its ugly head again; before then, make sure everyone knows how much they mean to you.
Connect with others who are going through the same thing
When you’re diagnosed with cancer, it can be isolating. There are others out there who have been through similar experiences, though. It’s important to find them—not only so you can get a better idea of what lies ahead but also so that you can lean on them for emotional support. We’ve seen a lot of patients take comfort in support groups and forums. Where they talk about their diagnosis and treatment options with people who know what they’re going through. Several other cancer organizations also offer supportive communities, too. They provide valuable information and encouragement from people who know exactly what you’re dealing with.