Lifestyle development

Three key messages

  1. Goal Setting is very important. Setting short-term, achievable goals helps build your confidence so you can achieve more difficult, long-term goals and a sustainable healthy lifestyle. 
  2. A Registered Nurse who is specialised in the Wellbeing after Cancer program can help you identify your barriers and support you to keep on track to achieve your goals. 
  3. The Wellbeing after Cancer Care Plan can help you capture all of your information in one document to develop a comprehensive ongoing care plan.

Introduction

When people have experienced a cancer diagnosis and have had treatment, it can result in wanting to set some new priorities to try and become as healthy as possible. Establishing a healthy lifestyle both mentally and physically can be challenging. The idea of setting new goals and coming up with solutions can seem daunting, especially considering some of the side-effects of cancer treatment that may be present. This can be considered an opportunity to make a change and with support, you can achieve a healthy lifestyle.

In a nutshell, setting goals, coming up with solutions to any problems, achieving them and reflecting how you are going, all leads to you achieving your aims. Keeping on track comes with practice.

Goal Setting is very important. Goals can be made for all priorities but in particular for physical activity, diet and weight management.

To assist with this, a Cancer Council WA Wellbeing after Cancer Registered Nurse can call you and discuss your challenges and goal setting with you. Please submit the Request a Wellbeing after Cancer Callback form to get started.

S.M.A.R.T goals – what does this mean?

Specific/ Measureable/Achievable/Relevant/Timely

It is important to set some short term goals and achieve them. This builds confidence to achieve the more difficult long-term goals and a healthy lifestyle.

Check out some tips for goal setting at the LiveLighter website.

Problem solving  

When setting a goal, look at barriers or what may get in the way of achieving your goal. By identifying the concerns, a plan can be made to work around any problems.

Keeping on track

Keeping on track is a way of identifying what you really are doing to reach your goal. You can use the tracking documents below to record what you eat and how much physical activity you do on a daily basis. These will help you keep on track and you can see the patterns which may allow you to be able to make some changes.

It is important to remember that sometimes we do not keep on track and this is okay. It is just a case of picking up where you left off and not being too tough on yourself.

Wellbeing after Cancer Care Plan

Another thing that is very helpful to keep focused on life after cancer treatment is having a survivorship care plan, such as the Cancer Council WA version below called the Wellbeing after Cancer Care Plan.

Survivorship care plans are emerging as an important tool in addressing the needs of cancer survivors. The Institute of Medicine recommends that all people who have completed primary cancer treatment receive a comprehensive follow up care plan which can help improve communication between you, your family and all the health care professionals involved in your care (eg your GP, treatment centre, psychologist, exercise physiologist, dietitian and physiotherapist).

A survivorship care plan should include:

  1. Your diagnosis and the type of treatments received
  2. The short term and long term effects of treatment (what to be alert for and when to visit doctors for checkups)
  3. How the care plan will be coordinated between all your health care providers
  4.  Lifestyle changes you may need to reduce the risk and severity of treatment side effects and promote better health
  5. Useful community resources, including support groups and Life Now Programs.
The Cancer Council WA Wellbeing after  Cancer Care Plan (pdf, 745kb) includes all this information and can be completed online and then printed, or printed out and completed by hand, for you to take along to discuss with your health care professionals.
You can submit a Request a Wellbeing after Cancer Callback form to discuss with a Registered Nurse how to keep your survivorship care plan updated.

Important links

The expert content on this page has been informed by Rosemerry Hodgkin, Registered Nurse and Cancer Council Western Australia Program Development Coordinator for the 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support Line. Rosemerry is an experienced oncology nurse and has more recently been the Lead Nurse for the Healthy Living after Cancer Research Program.  Her experience also includes an education role with motivational interviewing and Chronic Disease Management. Rosemerry believes in Wellbeing after Cancer enabling cancer survivors to take the next step to live a healthy lifestyle.