Surviving Cancer

Frequently Asked Questions

7. What does a wellness plan include?

When you meet with your doctor about follow-up care, you should also ask about developing a wellness plan that includes ways you can take care of your physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. Many cancer survivors benefit from the same advice given to anyone who wants to improve his or her health.

  • Exercise.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Reduce alcohol use.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Discuss any health concerns that you have with your doctor.

Exercise. People who exercise regularly experience less fatigue, fewer symptoms of depression, and increased strength and endurance. Exercise can make you feel better and improve your overall well-being. Adding exercise to your daily routine can be as simple as taking a walk or joining an exercise class at your local wellness center.

Learn more about the health benefits of exercise.

For examples of exercises for older adults, visit Go4Life®, the exercise and physical activity campaign for older adults.

Eat a Healthy Diet. Maintain a Healthy Weight. Eat a balanced diet every day to get the nutrients that your body needs. You should focus on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats and other proteins. Go easy on fat, salt, sugar, and alcohol. Try lower-fat cooking methods such as broiling and steaming. These tips will also help you maintain a healthy weight.

For information on healthy eating as you age, see Eating Well As You Get Older.

Quit Smoking. Quitting smoking and other types of tobacco use can reduce the risk of your cancer coming back, as well as your chance of developing other types of cancer. If you have trouble quitting tobacco on your own, talk to your doctor about resources or medications that can help you. Call 1-800-44U-QUIT between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time or 1 (800) QUIT- NOW to get help.

(Watch the video for tips on customizing your smoking quit plan. To enlarge the video, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner. To reduce the video, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)

Cut down on how much alcohol you drink. Research shows that drinking alcohol increases your chances of getting certain types of cancers.

Protect your skin from the sun. Try to limit your time in the sun, and seek shade when you can. When you must be in the sun, choose clothing that covers your skin and wear sunscreen, applying as recommended.

Get other tips on how to protect yourself from the sun.

Discuss Health Concerns. Don't be shy about talking to your doctors about health problems or concerns that you have. They can help you assess the situation and get the help you need to deal with the issues. For example, if you are experiencing fatigue, perhaps you are taking a medication that can affect your energy level.