Wellbeing and living beyond cancer
More people than ever are living with and beyond cancer. But managing the day-to-day impact of living with a cancer diagnosis can be difficult. The team at our QVH Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre are there to help anyone affected by cancer, not just QVH patients. You can contact them at 01342 414369.
The team has put together the following information and advice to help you:
After a cancer diagnosis, many people find making the decision to follow a healthy, balanced diet helps give them back a sense of control. It can also help you feel that you are doing the best for your health. Eating well and keeping to a healthy weight will help you keep up your strength, increase your energy levels and improve your sense of well-being.
After cancer treatment, some people have a higher risk of other health problems, including diabetes, heart disease or osteoporosis (bone thinning). Before making changes to your diet, it can help to talk to a dietitian, your GP or specialist nurse.
When you are living with or after cancer, becoming more active can be a positive change to make in your life. Being active before, during and after treatment can:
- reduce tiredness (fatigue)
- improve your quality of life
- help look after your heart
- reduce anxiety and depression
- help you maintain a healthy weight
- strengthen your muscles, joints and bones
- improve your flexibility and help keep you supple
- increase your confidence.
Your cancer doctor, GP or specialist nurse can tell you what type of exercise is most appropriate. You can also get support from a physiotherapist or occupational therapist.
Living a healthy lifestyle can help your body recover after treatment. It can also help to reduce the risk of other illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes.
After cancer treatment, some people choose to make some positive lifestyle changes. We can provide more information for you about well-being and signpost you to support groups in your local area to help with this.
Living with cancer can affect your money, whether you are working, unemployed or retired. You may earn less if you stop working or reduce your hours. You may spend more on everyday costs like heating or getting around. If you are affected by cancer there are a range of benefits you may be entitled to which we can advise on.
Symptoms to look for
When your treatment has finished, it is common to worry that every ache and pain you have is linked to cancer. You will still be getting used to what now feels normal for you. You will also get the usual aches and pains that most people get. This means it can be hard to know what you need to pay attention to. If you know your body and what is normal for you, it will help you to be aware of any changes. Ask your cancer team about:
- any symptoms you should look out for
- possible late effects that may develop due to your treatment
- what the symptoms are.
Always make sure you get your symptoms checked, even if you think they are not serious. Inform your cancer doctor or nurse if you have any new symptoms, or similar symptoms to those you had when you were diagnosed. You do not have to wait until your next follow-up (check-up) appointment. Your GP can check your symptoms and refer you for advice if needed.
Work and cancer
When you are ready to think about going back to work, talking to your employer can help. Deciding on a flexible return-to-work-plan can help both of you to understand:
- how your employer can help you
- what you are capable of
- when changes might be needed.
The plan might include changes to your hours, your duties, or your workplace. This could include changing the requirements of your role, making sure have suitable access to the workplace, or providing you with different tools.
QVH Macmillan Cancer Support and Information Centre
The Centre is open Monday-Friday 9am-4pm for you to visit. You can also call the team on 01342 414369 - if the team are busy please leave a message and they will come back to you as soon as they can.
** The Centre will be closed on Thursday 26 May, Friday 27 May (am) and all day Monday 30 May. **
What we offer
* We are a drop-in centre where people affected by cancer can get information.
* We are a listening ear for people who just want to talk.
* We are a library, with comprehensive information and internet access.
* We have a quiet room for private conversations
* We are here to help with completing forms and how to apply for benefits.
* We offer welfare benefits advice in conjunction with Citizens Advice Bureau
* We provide complementary therapies for people affected by cancer.