Cancer and cancer treatment affect everyone in different ways. You may have had lots of trouble with your appetite, making you lose weight or you may have had tablets that made you ravenously hungry and at times gain a lot of weight. If you have had trouble gaining weight during treatment, the chances are that once you have finished treatment you will slowly begin to put on weight.
It is important that you do not become overweight in the future so returning to a healthy diet and physical activity is important.
Advantages of good diet and physical activity...
- They help to heal your tissues and organs that have been damaged by the cancer and the treatment
- They build up your strength and stamina
- They reduce the risk of developing other health problems as you grow older
- They help you generally to feel fit and energetic
The every day foods you eat should contain a balance of the following five foods: * bread, cereal and potatoes * fruit and vegetables * milk and dairy * meat, fish and alternatives e.g. nuts and pulses * foods containing fat and foods and drinks containing sugar (Foods in this group are not essential to a healthy diet)
Being healthy means eating a low fat, high fibre diet (e.g. lots of fruit and vegetables, brown bread and cereals) not smoking, exercising regularly and avoid drinking too much alcohol.
Examples of healthy eating include: * Choosing jacket potatoes instead of chips * For breakfast cereal have shreddies not frosties * Choose fruit for pudding rather than cake
You should try and fit in some physical activity every day.
Most people love to sunbathe, but it is very important to use a high factor sunscreen to avoid developing skin cancer.
“I found that meeting other young people and doing normal things, like bowling etc, really helped me come to terms and cope, with coming off treatment.”
What is transition?
Transition is a word we use for the time you move through the growing up years from being a child dependent on mum and dad to becoming an independent adult.
This transition happens when you move from being at school/college to going to work or college, from living at home to perhaps living away from home. This also happens with your health. You will gradually take charge of your health, so you will need to know all about your cancer and treatment and the importance of staying healthy.
This section of the booklet talks a little bit about the long term plan of how you will be looked after in the years after your treatment is over. You will need to continue coming to the hospital for many years after your treatment has finished.
As a teenager, when your cancer treatment is several years behind you, you may attend a follow up clinic purely for teenagers, if your hospital has one. As you grow up, the doctors will talk more to you and less to your parents about the cancer and treatment. It will be important for you to understand why you need to continue to see the doctors and nurses at the hospital even though it may be many years since you had your treatment. This will be explained to you on your visits to clinic. During these visits you will also talk about keeping fit and healthy, as this will be very important for the rest of your life (you can read about healthy living on page 20).
Eventually, when you feel confident enough, you will be able to see the doctors on your own. Hopefully, you will feel able to talk to them about the things that matter to you about your cancer and treatment.
© CCLG 2007 This information has been provided by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group. It is aimed at 10 – 16 year olds although it may be of interest to other young people.
Authors: Katherine Green, Moira Bradwell and Annie Griffiths on behalf of the CCLG Publications Committee. All quotations have been supplied by 10-16 year olds.