Living with cancer blog

Quality of life issues key factor for cancer patients

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. June 8, 2013

Living with cancer is the name of our newsletter and the blog. However, only you know what it's like to live with cancer — and everyone's experience is different.

This week, I'd like to explore your quality of life concerns. Quality of life can be defined in so many ways. Your quality of life can be significantly affected by pain, fatigue and other symptoms of cancer and treatment side effects. Stress, family issues and financial concerns can also impact quality of life.

Researchers study cancer patients frequently to understand quality of life while going through cancer treatment. However, we're also aware that quality of life is affected long after the treatment is over. It's not uncommon to hear that people are struggling with fatigue, pain and stress for years after cancer treatment has been completed.

What's your quality of life? What makes a difference for you? Here are a few thoughts:

  • Do you have continuing pain? Tell your physician. Many times, people think they just have to live with pain. Explore your options with your health care provider.
  • Are you experiencing peripheral neuropathy? There may be new strategies to try.
  • What about your level of fatigue? Explore incorporating moderate exercise, which has a strong link to relieving fatigue. Other considerations include prioritizing activities and taking short rest breaks instead of longer naps.
  • What's your stress level? Stress is a huge factor in quality of life. Find ways to deal with stress — such as tai chi, yoga, meditation and guided imagery. Do what works best for you. If you don't know where to begin, ask your health care provider if you can be referred to someone who can teach you about stress reduction.

Feel free to add your thoughts to the discussion. What's most important for your quality of life?


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

June 08, 2013