5 Tips for Living Well if You've Put Breast Cancer Behind You


After the dramas of breast cancer, you may be tired of tending to your own body and soul, but putting the illness behind you requires a commitment to healthy habits and sometimes a little change in thinking.

1. Eat well: Taking the time to prepare healthy meals pays off by helping you feel energized and balanced, and it also keeps your weight in check. That's important, since studies hint at a link between obesity and poorer survival rates among women who've had breast cancer. (Which is not to say you should pass up your husband's famous pasta puttanesca or the world's best burger and fries. Some pleasures make life worth living.)

2. Exercise: Regular workouts really can save your body and mind. But it also counts when you take a flight of stairs instead of the elevator, park at the far end of the lot, or just take a walk around the block—if you keep doing it.

3. Take a chance: One of the dividends of the cancer experience, many survivors say, is that it's easier to take risks and seize the moment. Adding spontaneity to your life may be more realistic than the cancer survivor's cliché of "living life to the fullest, as if each day were your last."

4. Reach out to friends, relatives, and colleagues, and let your needs be known: By now you may have noticed that no one crumbles under the weight of your requests. They may even want to help, so let them.

5. And now for something completely different: Every year, pick one activity or goal that seems outlandish, farfetched, so unlike you—and work toward it. How about that trip to Patagonia—or Pittsburgh. Surmounting large obstacles is already a specialty, so why not?
Lead writer: Lorie Parch
Last Updated: April 18, 2008

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