Feeling better really might save your life.
Studying thousands of cancer patients, researchers measuring specific physical dimensions in several studies found that patients with great quality of life (QOL) live longest while those with deteriorating QOL resulted in earlier death.
By identifying these factors, we can introduce changes that might lengthen our life. Some doctors encourage QOL assessments of cancer patients before treatment and again after six months, one year and two years. These factors include:
Cognitive functioning (memory, sleep, depression, anxiety)
Nausea / vomiting
Dyspnea (painful, difficult breathing)
If you are a cancer survivor experiencing lower QOL, seek an evaluation through a cancer center or with a holistic nurse. Unfortunately, our medical and insurance systems are not designed around integrative medicine, so patients are generally their own.
The most effective - yet under utilized - methods of improving QOL are exercise and diet. Physical activity can improve energy, stimulate appetite, build muscle, improve circulation, reduce depression and offset side effects. And, it's available free.
Likewise, diet impacts energy, physical function and emotional well-being. A nutritionist is really helpful for a personalized plan, but simple changes of bad habits can make significant improvement.
Finally, finding joy is key to improving Quality of Life. Make it a daily goal. At the very least, you'll have a much better day. But you may be adding years to your survival.