Thyroid Cancer Treatment Self Care

While you’re focusing your energy on beating cancer, remember there’s one person you need to be gentle with — yourself. You’re facing one of life’s biggest challenges, and that can take a lot out of you. Fortunately, from support groups to biofeedback, there are a number of ways you can take control of your own care. Both self-care and cancer treatment from medical professionals are important parts of your recovery.

The Basics: Taking Control of Your Health

The essential elements involved in self-care for cancer patients aren’t that different from the basic health guidelines anyone should follow. They include:

  • Adopt or maintain a regular exercise plan.
  • Eat a balanced and nutritious diet.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

However, the demands thyroid cancer puts on your body and mind up the ante for self-care. Coping with the disease is challenging, and so is dealing with the treatment. Whether they’re recuperating from surgery or going through genetic testing, cancer patients have their work cut out for them.

Give your body the fuel it needs to heal from surgery or other treatments by eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates and limiting fats and sugars. Discuss the possibility of vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements with your health care provider.

Emotional Care for Cancer Patients

As you deal with a cancer diagnosis, it’s also important to ensure you’re getting enough emotional support. Whether you’re dealing with diagnosis, treatment or genetic testing, as a cancer patient, you face an onslaught of stress. Coping with thyroid cancer can feel like an emotional roller coaster, and bounce you from anger to fear to guilt to terror and back again.

Family, friends and spiritual counselors are important sources of support for many thyroid cancer patients. So are other people living with thyroid cancer. Your fellow thyroid cancer patients can provide you with practical tips, encouragement and further resources. Organizations such as the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association can help you hook up with fellow patients in person and online.

Dealing with Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the most common complaints of patients undergoing care for cancer. Brought on by a combination of factors that can include surgery, tumor growth and cellular disintegration, this is more than the garden-variety fatigue most people experience.

Gentle exercise is a great way to deal with this kind of fatigue. So is setting reasonable expectations for yourself, avoiding too much rest and celebrating your steps along the way to recovery.

How Biofeedback Can Help

Biofeedback is a relaxation technique that can help thyroid cancer patients gain control over body functions that aren’t usually subject to conscious control, like heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tension and more. Cancer patients have found biofeedback helpful in dealing with pain, stress and sleep problems. Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking about beginning a biofeedback treatment plan.

Resources

American Cancer Society staff. (2008). Biofeedback. Retrieved April 1, 2010, from the American Cancer Society Web site: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/eto/content/eto_5_3x_biofeedback.asp.

Cimprich, B. (1993). Restorative intervention: Standard protocol. Retrieved April 1, 2010, from the Duke Medicine Web site: http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/care_guides/ cancer/treatment_instructions/activitiestohelpcancerpatientsrestorefocusandattention.

Rosenbaum, E., et al. (2008). Fatigue reduction and management for the primary side effects of cancer therapy. Retrieved April 1, 2010, from the Cancer Supportive Care Programs Web site: http://www.cancersupportivecare.com/fatigue.html.

Turim, G. (2009). Coping with thyroid cancer fears. Retrieved April 1, 2010, from the Everyday Health Web site: http://www.everydayhealth.com/thyroid-cancer/thyroid-cancer-fear.aspx.

The Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. staff. (n.d.) Support groups. Retrieved April 1, 2010, from the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association Web site: http://www.thyca.org.