Survivor is a word that is commonly used to attribute to a person that once had cancer. Not everyone who once had cancer identifies with that word, but there is something inherent about the word survivor that lends itself to support and admiration. That’s why survivorship has become a way of life for many who currently have or once had cancer.
Survivorship is Different for Everyone
Survivorship is a different experience for everyone.
Cancer can renew your appreciation for what you currently have and some decide to live their life to the fullest. There are no wrong ways to approach survivorship, but it is not as simple as taking a stance.
Survivors may need consistent therapy or coping support. This may help to identify your fears and take them head on. Survivorship doesn’t have to be taken on alone. Consider calling on your friends, family, or co-survivors- those who are supporting you during this transition- to help you through the difficulties you are experiencing as a cancer survivor.
3 Phases of Survivorship
According to Cancer.net, there are three phases of survivorship- Acute, Extended and Permanent.
- Acute Survivorship focuses on the cancer treatment. It starts at the official diagnosis and extends through the end of treatment.
- Extended Survivorship picks up at the end of the initial treatment and continues many months after. The focus of extended survivorship is on the effects of the cancer and any other treatment that is occurring.
- Permanent Survivorship focuses on long term effects and treatment of cancer. This phase is typically in the years after your initial cancer treatment has ended.
A Fresh Perspective
Many see their cancer survivorship as an opportunity to make lifestyle changes. Smokers turn into non-smokers. Unhealthy eaters eat more vegetables and make better decisions when choosing what to put in their body. The unfit pick up exercising. Making these changes aren’t just about being different from before, it’s about being healthier than before.
We can all stand to better ourselves. Yes, survivorship is about coping mentally and physically with cancer and its effects, but it’s also about developing a plan that puts your mind and body in a consistent mode of positive health. A better perspective on your life doesn’t mean you can’t be cautious, however.
Regardless of your story, if you are someone who has beat cancer, it is important that you stay on the lookout for other instances of cancer. Here are some tips to keep you living life to the fullest:
- Visit your doctor regularly for exams and checkups.
- Perform routine imaging and diagnostics.
- Be aware of changes in your body.
- Be mindful of your cancer, what may have caused it and change your habits to avoid recurrence. For instance, if you received radiation therapy for breast cancer, wear more sunscreen on that part of the body to protect it from the sun’s natural radiation.
- Make healthy lifestyle decisions. Eating healthy, getting the proper amount of sleep at night and regular physical activity can significantly improve mental and physical health.
Don’t Just Survive- Thrive!
Whether you call it survivorship or not, it’s important to know that there is a community and lifestyle that can help cancer survivors cope with their illness and live their lives as full as possible. It is easier said than done, but life is about getting back up when you get knocked down. Survivorship is about never having to get back up alone. Embrace your support group. Embrace your new routines. Embrace your life! Thrive!
Choosing a healthcare professional is an important decision. Christopher K. Quinsey MD, P.A. has been serving women in the northern Orlando area for over 21 years. If you are interested in a consultation, contact us today.
*This blog is for general informational purposes only. Christopher K. Quinsey MD, P.A. does not distribute medical advice through this blog. As such, this blog does not constitute a patient-client relationship between the reader and Christopher K. Quinsey MD, P.A.