Staying Healthy Through Cancer and Recovery

Although our bodies have a built-in natural capacity to protect against the growth of cancer cells, sometimes cancer does develop. And though a diagnosis of cancer can be daunting, there are many targeted and effective treatments that have evolved to fight cancer and return the body to good health.

Today, many types of cancer are being successfully treated, and often complete recovery is possible. Part of recovery includes positive lifestyle choices such as maintaining a healthy diet to get essential nutrients the body needs, such as protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (natural compounds found in plant-based foods)[1]. Physical activity is also important, and research has shown that those with cancer who are physically active have fewer relapses than those who are not active[2].

cancer recovery

In addition to healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, tending to emotional health and well-being has been shown to potentially offer protection against both the development of cancer and assist in recovery from cancer. The role of lifestyle factors and the relationship to cancer is compelling; studies have shown that while hereditary factors play somewhat of a role in cancer, they contribute to no more than 15 percent of deaths from cancer[3]. This means that healthy lifestyle choices can help both to reduce the risk of cancer, and potentially prevent relapses of cancer.

Being an active participant in your cancer treatment and recovery is also critically important. Advocating for yourself means being educated and informed about your treatment plan and your future health. Take a proactive approach to all stages of both illness and recovery. Work with your healthcare team to stay informed about how your treatment is progressing.

For example, doctors have many tests they can perform to see how your body is responding to cancer treatments. Some of these tests are invasive, such as bone marrow aspirations and biopsies. However, in recent years, additional non-invasive testing methods have been developed to monitor cancer status. Trovagene provides tests that only require a blood or urine sample, and these tests can provide information about cancer-related gene mutations (changes) and can help doctors know which cancer treatments will be most effective for a patient. Ongoing monitoring of certain mutations can also provide important data about how the cancer is responding to treatment[4], as these tests can actually detect DNA from tumor cells in the body, giving doctors valuable information about the best treatment.

Medical advances such as this type of non-invasive testing, along with advances in surgery and medications for cancer, have improved outcomes and increased survival rates among many types of cancer. The population of cancer survivors will continue to grow as researchers make more discoveries about cancer and develop better ways to treat and monitor cancer.

Your health is your most precious asset. With today’s medical advances in cancer treatment and with a better understanding of how healthy lifestyle choices can protect and support our bodies in healing, recovery from many types of cancer is more than possible. Monitoring your health, making important lifestyle choices, and being an advocate for your care all contribute to the protection of your health and well-being during cancer treatment and beyond.

[1], Accessed May 31, 2015.

[2] Ogunleye AA, Holmes MD. Physical activity and breast cancer survival. Breast Cancer Res. 2009;11(5):106. doi: 10.1186/bcr2351.

[3] Servan-Schreiber D. Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life. New York, NY: Viking Penguin; 2009.

[4], Accessed May 31, 2015