Realizing a Healthy Lifestyle and Self-Respect During the Incurable Stage of Cancer – Your Say
As the prevalence of patients living longer with incurable cancer rises, taking responsibility for one’s own health becomes increasingly important. While anti-cancer treatments have improved, living with cancer requires lifestyle adaptations and a certain level of responsibility. In this blog post, we explore how patients living longer with incurable cancer can take charge of their own health, including their body image if they desire to do so.
Coping with Mental and Physical Symptoms
Being diagnosed with incurable cancer and undergoing different treatments can lead to burdensome mental and physical symptoms, including uncertainty and anxiety. However, patients may also experience unexpected beauty and appreciation. Some symptoms require lifestyle changes, such as getting more rest, while changes to their changing bodies can be associated with anxiety and a sense of vulnerability.
Managing Disease with Little Changes
Interestingly, patients seem to manage their disease either consciously or subconsciously. By adapting to new habits, like taking medication and sleeping more, they find ways to cope. Patients in our study seldom mentioned healthcare professionals who (could have) assisted them. They primarily seemed to worry about their physical condition and appearance and less often adapted their eating behavior.
Coping Strategies of Cancer Patients
Changed bodily appearances have been shown to impact well-being and their relations with themselves and significant others. Cancer patients either double down on rigorous lifestyle changes or adopt a ‘carpe diem’ attitude. The latter happened most often in our group, mostly because they considered their lifestyle as good already. Female patients in our explorative study seemed to be more inclined to experience their disease as something negative, and they were more likely to experience a negative body image.
Communicating Dilemmas with Close Relatives
The experience of external pressure from being perceived as ‘healthy or normal’ to ‘someone with cancer’ could be perceived as a barrier. Moreover, experiencing less self-esteem because they were having cancer, they also stigmatized themselves, being afraid to talk about their disease, even with close relatives. Although this can be regarded as an appropriate way to live a high-quality life, it is essential to discuss dilemmas with either close relatives or some professional in this disease stage.
Patients living longer with incurable cancer must take charge of their health. They can cope with their disease by adopting new habits and changing their lifestyle. Communication with close relatives and healthcare professionals can be helpful. Accepting their changing body and maintaining a positive mindset is also necessary for these patients to lead a fulfilling life.
– Patients living longer with incurable cancer can take charge of their health by adapting to new habits, changing their lifestyle, and speaking to healthcare professionals.
– Changed bodily appearances can impact a patient’s well-being and their relationships with themselves and significant others.
– Accepting their changing body and maintaining a positive mindset is necessary for these patients to lead a fulfilling life.
Patients living longer with incurable cancer face many challenges. However, they can still lead a full and meaningful life by taking charge of their health, accepting their changing bodies, and maintaining a positive mindset. By communicating with their healthcare providers and close relatives, they can receive the support they need to cope with their disease and live life on their terms.