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Get Support, Ease the Stress

Don't go it alone after cancer. Reach out to family and friends, and connect with other survivors.

After cancer, you may have a brand-new appreciation of the value of good health — both mental and physical. You and the ones close to you also may need a little help dealing with the changes cancer can bring.

On the physical side, stay at your best by taking care of yourself in these ways:

  • Eat a healthful diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Set aside time for exercise.
  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Relax, possibly with the help of meditation.
  • Have regular checkups as recommended by your health-care practitioner.

Intimate relationships may be affected by cancer or its treatment, especially in the physical realm. Remember that love and affection can be expressed in many ways. Talk honestly and openly to your partner and to your health-care provider about sexual concerns.

Your family members and friends may be feeling many of the same anxieties you are, and they need understanding and patience, too. Meeting and talking with others in similar situations may help them adjust to the changes they are experiencing.

Most communities have cancer groups that will help you and your family members meet others who have had similar experiences. And Online resources can also provide support. Here are just a few.

The Anderson Network is a survivor- and caregiver-support organization that is a program of the Department of Volunteer Services at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. It offers publications, an annual conference, online programs and a patient- and caregiver-support line.

The Association of Cancer Online Resources offers information on more than 130 online mailing lists, including a listserv for long-term survivors.

CancerCare is a national nonprofit organization that provides one-on-one counseling and support groups led by oncology social workers working online or via telephone.

The National Cancer Institute includes links to organizations that offer assistance and information and details about cancer-related events.

The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship is a survivor-led cancer advocacy organization that offers a step-by-step cancer survival tool box in English and in Spanish and links to resources listed by specific cancer and treatment. Also included is information to help cancer survivors become advocates on the national level.

Printed with permission from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center ©2010. 

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