Holiday health tips for cancer survivors

March 24, 2016

7.Know how alcohol affects your health. Alcohol use has been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. If you drink, do so in moderation (one drink a day for women and two for men). Before a social event, plan ahead what and how much you'll drink. Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, such as sparkling water with lime, to help pace yourself and stay hydrated. If it's hard to say no once you've started drinking, then plan to stick with non-alcoholic drinks.8.Relax your body and mind. When you are more relaxed you sometimes get more done - and feel better doing it. When you feel wound up or overwhelmed, take five minutes to breathe deeply and scan your body from head to toe. Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose to a count of four, hold your breath for a count of two, breathe out through your mouth for a count of four, and repeat. Check your forehead, jaw and tongue for tightness, relax; then check your neck and shoulders, stretch and move them to find a comfortable position, then continue with your arms, chest, abdomen and legs. You can even breathe and relax your body while driving - just don't close your eyes!

9.Tend to your body's needs. Notice if there are parts of your body that aren't working well. Make a list and an appointment with your doctor for after the holidays. Talk with your doctor if you have fatigue that hasn't improved with time; mental fog that makes it hard to work or remember things; neuropathy (numbness or pain in your feet, hands or elsewhere), incontinence or other problems that affect your quality of life. Knowing you have a plan for attending to these problems can ease your mind during the holidays and let you focus on other things.

10.Have a long-term plan for your survivorship care. Schedule an appointment to go over your survivorship needs if you aren't sure about your risks for long-term problems or you aren't sure what symptoms to watch for to maintain your health. Tap into a survivorship program to help you detail a follow-up care plan to share with your primary care provider. Make appointments now so you can forget about them during the holidays.

Source: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center