Cancer Care. An In Great Health eNewsletter.
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Thank you for subscribing to Cancer Care, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with useful information about cancer care and prevention. To learn more about our services and community events, or to find a physician, visit

To your health,

The Avera Staff

Cancer patients often report that fatigue is the most common side effect of cancer treatment. It's not known what exactly causes fatigue during treatment, but there are steps you can take to feel more energized.

Talk to your health care providers. If something specific is causing your fatigue, they may be able to offer treatments.

Eat well. Keep your diet as nutritionally balanced as you can, and make sure you're getting protein during your meals. Even if you're not hungry, try to eat several small meals throughout the day.

Stay hydrated. Water helps the entire body function better and keeps you more mentally alert.

Keep moving. Exercise will help fight fatigue. Walking several times a week can help. Ask your doctor or social worker about creating an individualized exercise plan.

Be involved in hobbies that make you happy. Activities that make you feel good will transfer to all parts of your life, including treatment. Try gardening, listening to music, practicing yoga, spending time with your family or anything else you like to do for fun.

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Even after cancer treatment, there is a possibility of cancer coming back. This is a common fear for cancer survivors, and living with uncertainty can be difficult. As a patient, you want to be informed about risks, recurrence and treatment options. Although you can't affect whether or not cancer comes back, you can control how much your concerns affect your quality of life.

Many factors can affect recurrence, including type of cancer, treatment, genetics and time in remission. Generally, recurrences are unpredictable. Eating right, exercising and visiting your doctor are good choices for optimal health, but recurrences can happen even for patients who have healthy habits.

Cancer survivors make different choices about what will help ease their worries about recurrence. For some, knowing the risk of recurrence for their type of cancer can ease their fears, while other people would rather not know. If you think it will help you to learn more about your risk, talk to your health care providers. They can give you more information about recurrence, perhaps including symptoms or preventative measures.

No matter what choice you make in learning about recurrence, remember that every person and every type of cancer is different. Try to find what helps you focus on the positive in life rather than the uncertainty.

The following are some ideas to help lessen stress and continue living a fulfilling life:

  • Talk to a mental health professional, trusted friend or family members about your feelings.
  • Join a support group or religious organization. These groups may give you comfort when dealing with fears about recurrence.
  • Keep a journal to help work out your feelings.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Keep your sense of humor intact. Watch a comedy or read a humorous book.

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In Great Health online archive.

Cancer Care is one in a series of In Great Health™ eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.