After receiving a diagnosis of skin cancer or treatment for skin cancer, many individuals wonder, “What’s next?” This does not necessarily mean asking when a next appointment is or when to taper off of a treatment. Often, this question centers around lifestyle changes. Post-diagnosis or treatment, many may wonder if there are steps they need to take or adjustments to their routine that need to be made in order to prevent recurrence or accommodate treatment regimens. Below are some examples of potential lifestyle changes that can be made once receiving a skin cancer diagnosis or treatment, in order to promote a better quality of life.
Take positive steps in your overall health
Beyond working toward preventing skin cancer recurrence, you can also decrease your risk of developing other conditions or cancers. Cutting back or removing risky behaviors such as tobacco use or excessive alcohol consumption will help keep your body in shape to fight whatever comes your way.
Similar to cutting back on risky behaviors and controlling what goes into our body, it is also important to fuel ourselves in the best way possible. Eating a balanced diet can help maintain a productive invader-fighting body, as well as a healthy weight, both of which can decrease the risk of developing further conditions. It may even be a good idea to talk with a nutritionist about what kinds of vitamins or nutrients your body needs most at this point in your life, and coming up with a plan tailored specifically to you. Additionally, if you have started or received treatment, you may have an altered sense of taste, nausea, or other side effects. While these tend to diminish over time, working with a specialist may help combat these issues and help you fuel your body right.
Exercise and manage fatigue
Exercise is a great way to keep our body healthy and ready for whatever comes our way. It is also a way to reduce anxiety and depression, while positively impacting the way we think about ourselves—all of which may be greatly needed post-diagnosis or treatment. Additionally, receiving a life-altering diagnosis or undergoing intense treatment can lead to unrelenting levels of fatigue. There are different ways to manage this fatigue, including exercise. It may seem backward, but exercising can lead to heightened energy levels that will help combat fatigue.
Take caution in the sun
While monitoring for recurrence and avoiding the sun are great skin cancer-specific ways to decrease the risk of future complications, it is important not to let them become all-consuming. Going out in the sun is not necessarily a bad thing or something you need to avoid at all costs. However, it is important that if you do go out, you are mindful of how you protect yourself. Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen, as well as sunglasses, hats, and appropriate clothing are crucial for everyone, especially those with a previous skin cancer diagnosis.
It comes as no surprise to hear that upon receiving a diagnosis of skin cancer, many make positive lifestyle changes to decrease their risk of recurrence as well as risk of developing other conditions or cancers. Let us know if you have made any of these lifestyle changes and how they have impacted your health and life. Also, let us know if there is a lifestyle change you have made that we have not listed.