Facing cancer poses many challenges. The first one, probably, to stop assuming that it will bring us a safe game. Today we have great therapeutic and diagnostic options that have made the survival rates of patients with this pathology grow widely. Taking into account the advances and improvements, it is very important to overcome this initial fear and to look at the disease head on, with optimism, to be able to lead a full life throughout the duration of the treatment and the subsequent recovery.
A process that can be hard and generate exhaustion and boredom in the patient, especially during the cycles of chemotherapy, but which has greatly improved thanks to the increasingly customizable customization of therapies. Through new diagnostic tools such as genomic analysis and treatments such as immunotherapy, oncologists can offer each of their patients a solution adapted to the characteristics of its ailment, being able to avoid in some cases large doses of toxicity that are unnecessary and that leave the patient without strength.
In this way, it is easier for the patient to lead an active life rhythm, a positive aspect that should be strengthened as much as possible, since it will also help him to overcome his ailment and accelerate his later recovery. From the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC) it is advised that, despite being tired, it is advisable to exercise moderately to control the symptoms and reduce the side effects of the treatments.
During the first weeks, it is recommended to dedicate between 10 and 15 minutes a day to perform simple tasks, like walking or cycling on flat terrain. From the third week on, the exercise times can be increased by five minutes, up to a maximum of 30 minutes per day. This guideline should be varied on the day the treatment is received and in the subsequent ones, between 5 and 10 minutes a day three or four days in that week.
There are tricks to turn this activity into a more pleasant routine, away from the imposition. For example, accompanying a friend to take a pleasant walk, or walk to nearby places: to the corner store to make the purchase or visit a relative who lives in the vicinity … If we have to move to some point further, we can go by public transport and get off one stop before to cover that distance on foot.
For those who want a more personalized table of exercises, we can hire the services of a coach who specializes in cancer patients (certifications exist). However, before starting up, it is important to consult the oncologist beforehand, as each tumor is different and its care is also different. For example, in cases of anemia, special care must be taken, since the body's capacity to transport oxygen to tissues is lower.
Can I go on vacation?
With good planning it is possible to escape and enjoy some days of disconnection, something very positive for the patient's well-being (as long as he claims it). That yes, considering the dates of visit to our specialist and without missing the appointments of the chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions. We are in the period that we are, we must be prepared and always carry with us the medicines that we need and telephone numbers of reference. Also have located the nearest medical or hospital center to our holiday destination in case emergencies arise.
However, it is always necessary to discuss all these decisions with the oncologist in order to have him on notice and who can even recommend destinations with greater benefits for the patient's health. Or to discourage their exit, as it happens with all those who have just gone through the operating room and who may have problems after the operation.
In any case, the patient as the loved ones that are around him must be realistic and assume that the physical and mental conditions of the patient are not going to be the best. During the duration of the treatment you will need support points in which to delegate many tasks and be able to rest. And, of course, you have to let yourself be loved, one of those great challenges that requires a good dose of patience and, above all, the love and love of family and friends.
Adriana Terrádez is the director of OncoDNA for Spain and Portugal and promoter of the platform Personalized Oncology.