Staying well during and after treatment

How do I manage the side effects associated with my treatment?

You may find the information on our Coping with physical impact of cancer page helpful. We also have free Life Now Programs available that may be helpful. For more information please go to the Life Now page.

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Will eating well help me with side effects of my cancer treatments?

Good nutrition helps you to cope better with treatment, any side effects and to recover sooner.

Eating well means giving your body the food it needs to keep working properly and will:

  • Improve your body’s immune system and ability to fight infection.
  • Help you to heal damaged body tissues and wounds (which is important after surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other medical treatment).
  • Maintain your weight within a healthy BMI.
  • Allows your body to regain its strength.

One of the best ways to eat well is to eat a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables each day.

It is important to talk with your doctor or healthcare team about your dietary concerns and to get some tips to overcome any eating difficulties you may be experiencing. Report any weight loss to your doctor who can arrange for you to see a specialist cancer dietitian.

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Is there information available on nutrition, eating right and tips for improving my appetite?

For more tips on what to eat and information on nutrition there is a booklet called Nutrition and cancer (available from our Publication page). This booklet has been written to assist with understanding the importance of good nutrition and to provide information about how to cope with eating problems that may occur due to cancer or it's treatment. It covers topics such as food for people with cancer, basic daily food plan, unproven diets, overcoming eating problems and notes for carers. This 32 page booklet designed as a guide for people with cancer, their families and friends.

The Cancer Council also offers a Dietetics Service. Dietitians with oncology experience are available to answer questions about good nutrition and coping with eating problems that may occur due to cancer or its treatment. This service is available via Cancer Council 13 11 20.

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Can I exercise with cancer?

Exercise can improve your mood, boost your appetite, reduce feelings of fatigue and help you to maintain a healthy weight. However, it is important that you check with your doctor before you start an exercise program. Perhaps work with a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist on developing an exercise plan, and always start gently. Cancer Council WA offers free exercise classes for people affected by cancer. For more information please go to the Life Now page.

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Is there information on exercise for people living with cancer?

There is a booklet available called Exercise for people living with cancer. This booklet aims to help people understand the importance of exercise and also provides information about the benefits exercise may have during and after cancer treatments. It provides information on getting started, training, overcoming common side effects with exercise and sample exercises. This 52 page booklet written for people with cancer, their families, carers and friends.

There is also an Eating Well and Keeping Active CD available for free download which gives advice on staying well both during and after treatment.

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Are there any programs that can assist me to stay well after a cancer diagnosis?

Often the diagnosis, treatment and subsequent recovery from cancer can leave people feeling flat and exhausted. Cancer Council WA offers a number of programs to assist you with staying well both during and after your cancer treatment. These programs are designed for people who have cancer or are recovering from cancer and include:

Information about Cancer Council programs are provided on the Life Now page,  and also the Complementary Therapies page.

For advice or information, contact Cancer Council 13 11 20.

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What can I do now that my treatment is over?

Your treatment is over and you probably have a mixture of feelings. For many people who finish their cancer treatment, it isn't that simple. You may no longer feel sick because of your cancer but you might not be feeling that great either.

It’s time to figure out what a normal life after cancer treatment is and knowing what to expect after your treatment can help you and your family cope with the future and any changes that you may have to make. A large number of people who have had a cancer diagnosis will go on to lead a normal, healthy life following their treatment.

The booklet Living Well after Cancer is designed for people who have finished active treatment. It offers information on what people may experience after treatment, either physically or emotionally, to enable them to better understand what to expect and where to go for additional support and information. Throughout this booklet, more ways of coping with specific feelings and concerns are discussed. You can download the Living Well after Cancer booklet or contact Cancer Council 13 11 20 to request a copy.

Cancer Council WA provides Patient Education Seminars for cancer survivors and other programs such as the Healthy Living after Cancer program that may suit you.

Other useful links

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Tips for Living Well

As well as talking to others about how you feel, there are other things that you can do to support yourself. For example:

  • Try being active and getting daily exercise to help improve your mood.
  • Eating well and staying healthy.
  • Avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs: they may make you feel better for a short time but generally the after effects just make you feel worse.
  • Practising some form of relaxation, such as meditation, visualisation, yoga, massage and deep breathing.
  • Learn more about your feelings – reading, speaking to a counsellor or attending a support group can help some people understand their feelings better and not feel so alone.
  • Writing about your feelings in a journal.

For further advice, support or information, please contact Cancer Council 13 11 20.

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