Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the ovaries, which are the organs that produce eggs. This type of cancer can be difficult to detect early, as many women don’t develop symptoms until the cancer advances.
When symptoms do occur, they’re often vague and nonspecific. Signs of ovarian cancer can include abdominal pain and bloating, fatigue, and back pain.
Ovarian cancer is treatable with surgery or chemotherapy to either remove or shrink tumors. Undergoing treatments can weaken you physically, though. And even after treatments, it can take a while to feel like yourself again and resume your everyday activities.
Chronic low energy and fatigue can interfere with your quality of life. Plus, if you’re in remission, you may worry about the cancer coming back.
Although cancer is unpredictable, here are some ways to feel better after treatment.
Eating properly is always important, but particularly after cancer treatment. A healthy diet can increase your physical strength and improve your overall well-being.
Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. The American Cancer Society suggests consuming about 2.5 cups of them per day. Although no single food can prevent or cure cancer, fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. These can help maintain your body’s ability to fight diseases.
Additionally, consider eating healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and avocado. Include protein, lean meats, and healthy sources of carbohydrates like legumes and whole grains to help build your energy and stamina, too.
Fatigue after cancer treatment is common, and it can linger for days or months, reducing the quality of your life.
Your energy levels may improve gradually. In the meantime, it’s vital to get enough rest at night. This can help you feel better and give you more strength to get through the day.
Sleeping only a few hours at night, on the other hand, can worsen fatigue. This can then affect your mood and concentration.
To improve the quality of your sleep, try not to drink any caffeinated beverages 8 hours before bed. Avoid stimulating activities before going to sleep, and don’t exercise 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
Also, remove electronic devices from your bedroom, and create a comfortable sleep environment. Turn off the lights, music, and television. Close your drapes and consider wearing earplugs.
Exercise may be the last thing you want to do, especially if you have low energy following your treatments. But physical activity can help improve the quality of your life.
Exercise can improve your strength, energy levels, and the quality of your sleep. Plus, exercise can have a positive impact on your mental health.
Some people may experience depression during or after ovarian cancer treatment, as well as anxiety or fear about their future. Physical activity can stimulate the release of hormones in the brain that can help lift your mood.
Start slowly with a 10- or 15-minute walk. As your energy level improves, you can increase the duration and intensity of your exercises. Try riding a bike, swimming, or using equipment like a treadmill or an elliptical.
The American Cancer Society recommends that you aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week. This is the equivalent of 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.
After treatment for ovarian cancer, you may be eager to resume your normal activities as soon as possible. But it’s important to pace yourself. Don’t do too much too soon.
Overexertion can deplete your energy, causing more fatigue. Also, taking on too much can lead to stress and affect your emotional state.
Know your limits and don’t be afraid to say no. Although it’s important to be physically active, listen to your body and learn how to relax.
Joining an ovarian cancer support group can help improve the quality of your life. Even if you’re in remission, it may be difficult to process or express how you feel after all you’ve been through.
It’s important to have friends and family you can confide in. But you might also enjoy going to an ovarian cancer support group. Here, you can connect with women who know exactly what you’re going through.
They understand your fears and concerns. As a group, you can share your experiences, coping strategies, and suggestions.
This isn’t the only type of support, though. Some women also benefit from one-on-one counseling or family group counseling. Your loved ones may need support, too.
Ovarian cancer treatment can take a toll on your physical and emotional health. But with the right support and a little patience, you can gradually improve the quality of your life.
Your life today might be different from before. However, learning how to accept this new normal can bring peace of mind and help you feel better about each day.