Staying healthy during bladder cancer treatment
Making healthy choices during cancer treatment may help you feel stronger and healthier. These healthy habits may make it easier for you to cope with treatment side effects and to complete all of your bladder cancer treatments.
If you smoke, stop now. Even if you've tried to quit before and haven't had success, try again. Ask your doctor about strategies to help you quit.
Quitting smoking may:
- Improve your quality of life
- Lessen treatment side effects
- Help you recover more quickly from treatment
- Reduce your risk of second cancers
- Make cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, more effective
Medications and counseling may make it easier to quit. Ask your doctor for help.
Choose a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet during and after cancer treatment can help ensure that your body has the nutrients it needs for healing.
Cancer treatments sometimes make it hard to eat by changing the way food tastes or reducing your appetite. If you're having trouble eating, it may make sense to eat what tastes best to you in order to make sure you get enough calories. Let your doctor know, too. Your doctor can refer you to a professional who can help you find ways to make food more appealing.
If you aren't having difficulty eating, choose a balanced diet that includes a lot of fruits and vegetables. In general, a healthy diet includes:
- Whole grains
- A variety vegetables
- Whole fruits
- Healthy proteins, such as nuts, fish and lean meats
- Low-fat dairy products
Drink alcohol in moderation
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. That means no more than two drinks a day for men under 65, no more than one drink a day for men 65 and older, and no more than one drink a day for women.
Some cancer treatments are hard on your liver — the organ that processes alcohol and chemicals in your body. So your doctor may ask you to stop drinking alcohol during these treatments.
Exercise most days of the week
Exercise during cancer treatment can help you feel healthier and might help reduce side effects of treatment, such as fatigue. Recent data suggests those who can exercise during cancer treatment may have better outcomes against the cancer.
Try to exercise most days of the week if you feel up to it. You can continue your usual exercise routine, or you may find you need to exercise with less intensity during treatment. Some days you might not feel like exercising and that's OK.
If you haven't exercised in a while, start with something gentle such as short walks. Pick activities you enjoy. Start out slow and increase the distance or speed as you feel up to it.
Oct. 03, 2017
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- Rock CL, et al. Nutrition and physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2012;62:242.
- Benefits of quitting. Cancer.Net. http://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/prevention-and-healthy-living/stopping-tobacco-use-after-cancer-diagnosis/benefits-quitting. Accessed March 8, 2017.
- Physical activity and cancer. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet. Accessed April 4, 2017.
- Moynihan TJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 29, 2017.