Post-Treatment Questions to Ask Your Oncologist
Today’s guest article is provided by Healthline. Healthline’s mission is to make the people of the world healthier through the power of information.
When you’re diagnosed with cancer, all you can think about is fighting it. No matter what stage of cancer you have, following a precise treatment plan is your best key to success. Still, going through treatment is just half the battle. From side effects to decreased energy levels, cancer can take its toll even after the cells are removed from your body. Preparing for such effects is critical to your quality of life post-treatment. Asking your oncologist questions after your treatment regimen can help you better prepare for life during remission.
What Type of Diet Should I Eat?
There is a lot of hype when considering the link between diet and cancer. It’s a fact that a poor diet can increase your risk for cancer later in life. Still, that doesn’t mean that healthy eaters are completely immune to cancer. Once you’ve successfully completed treatment, you may be scared that your diet will make you get cancer again. Do not fall for supplements and products that promise to prevent cancer. Instead, ask your oncologist about specific dietary recommendations. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends a primarily plant-based diet for cancer survivors.
How Can I Get Back to a Normal Weight?
During cancer treatment, your dieting and workout schedule is most likely out of whack. Furthermore, the treatments themselves can often take a toll on your body. This is why it’s common to experience changes in weight. Whether you want to lose weight, or gain weight lost during treatment, your oncologist can offer some insights into how to safely and effectively help you reach your goals. In both cases, some of the following tips can help:
- eat small meals throughout the day
- focus on healthy fats and lean proteins
- work out to build muscle mass
Avoid focusing on weight changes until you’ve reached remission. During treatment, it’s important to take care of yourself through healthy habits, and not to achieve a perfect number on the scale.
Why Am I Still Tired?
One of the most common symptoms experienced by cancer survivors is excess fatigue. This goes beyond feeling sleepy—you might have the need to take several naps a day. Taking a nap when you can is important, but you should still discuss excessive tiredness with your oncologist. A doctor might recommend dietary changes to help combat fatigue, as well as a specialized exercise program.
What Are The Details of Follow-up Care?
Despite getting through a cancer treatment or entering remission, you may not be out of the woods quite yet. Follow-up care is important in ensuring that the treatment worked, and that no new cancer cells have formed. Understanding the details of your follow-up care plan is important so you don’t skip out on any important tests or exams. Ask your oncologist all of the details and mark your calendar for important test dates.
Life After Cancer Treatment
Whether you’re in remission or between treatments, some unexpected changes may come up. Good lifestyle choices can help, but it can be difficult determining which are the most useful. Talk to your oncologist about all of the ways you may change your lifestyle to ensure success after cancer treatment. Fighting cancer is no easy task, so it’s important to make your body as strong as possible. As always, talk to your doctor if something doesn’t feel right after your cancer treatment.
You may even consider post-treatment support. Friends and family are important allies during any cancer treatment, but sometimes it helps to be a part of a network of patients going through the same challenges as you. Ask your oncologist about support groups in your area.
About The Author
- Kristeen Cherney is a freelance health and lifestyle writer who focuses on preventive measures for a better quality of life. Cherney holds a BA in Communication, and is currently finishing her MA in English.
After Treatment FAQs (2012, November 15). American Institute for Cancer Research. Retrieved June 23, 2014 from http://www.aicr.org/patients-survivors/patients_survivors_after_treatment_faqs.html
Questions to Ask the Doctor (2011, October). American Society of Clinical Oncology. Retrieved June 23, 2014 from http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/diagnosing-cancer/questions-ask-doctor