MD Andreson Cancer Center categorizes stages of the cancer survivorship as:
- Living with cancer
- Living through cancer
- Living beyond cancer
Stage 1 - Living with Cancer
This is the period that is after one is diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. Depending upon the kind and location of the cancer, the treatment is either single or combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. These treatments are lifesavers but not without side-effects.
During this period there will be:
- Coping with the symptoms of cancer treatment
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in the emotional health
- Changes in the psychological status
Stage 2 - Living through cancer
In the period that is just after the cancer treatments are over and one is in the recovery period, the following needs to be taken care:
- Emotional support
- Physical activity
- Social relationships
Stage 3 - Living beyond cancer
This period is when the cancer is in remission and one is cancer free post treatment. The goal in this period is to attain long-term survivorship and free from after effects of intense treatment. Other objective will be to keep the causes of relapse at bay and follow a regimen that allows one to follow a normal life.
Integrative approach for Cancer Survivors:
All 3 stages of survivorship and recent research in causes and management of Cancer, point that the disease has to be managed with a multi-pronged strategy by integrating different therapies.
Stage 1: Living with cancer
An integrative approach to the cancer care will help to cope with the co-symptoms of primary cancer treatment whether its Surgery, Radiation or Chemotherapy:
- Stress Management: Cancer specific Yoga Therapy, relaxation with Naturopathy Massages and Psychological Counseling play a very important role in managing Stress during this period.
- Pain management: Use of therapies like Acupuncture, Ayurveda for the pain relief & treating neuropathy.
- Nutrition: As the diet plays an important role in the cancer management, a good diet plan will be useful in managing the bad appetite & digestive issues and also to provide the better nutrition.
Stage 2: Living through cancer
- Recovery: During this period, more and more physical & emotional empowerment is requires along with the conventional management. So practicing Yoga based postures, breathing techniques, meditation will be the better options to integrate.
- Nutrition: Healthy food inclusive of anti-carcinogenic diet with dietary supplements and pure herbs is required.
- Psychological Counseling: One must learn to have structured leisure and have normal social interactions during this period. The transition from intensive treatment to a normal lifestyle is key for sustained recovery
Stage 3: Living beyond cancer
- Be Active: The cancer survivor needs long term care to avoid the relapse. This is the time when you start going back to the work place, get back to the normal routine. Now the lifestyle intervention plays the important role in creating the healthy environment, structured routine including bits of exercises doses to keep you energetic through the day, recreations for the healthier body & calmer mind. Lifestyle Intervention includes being active with Yoga, eating right and psychologically strong.
- Eat Right: Nutrition with the right functional foods and supplements can keep the body healthy and provide immunity from various diseases which one may become vulnerable to after all the cancer related treatments are over.
- Remain Stress Free: Stress is one of the leading causes of Cancer. So it becomes imperative to use Yoga, Ayurveda and regular Counseling sessions to remain stress free post remission.