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by Polsdorfer R

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Testicular Cancer

Lifestyle changes do not directly affect the cancer itself but some changes can help:
  • Strengthen your body so that you can withstand some of the rigors of treatment.
  • Optimize the function of your immune system to aid in the fight against cancer.
  • Improve your emotional outlook, so you can enjoy life to the fullest.
  • Avoid other medical problems that could complicate your health.

Quit Smoking

Smoking introduces toxic chemicals into the body and increases the risk of cancer. It also decreases the immune system, slows tissue healing, and can increases the risk of complications from medical procedures.
When you quit smoking, the body immediately begins to repair itself. Quitting will help boost your immune system to help fight the cancer and improve recovery from treatment.

Reduce Your Risk of Infection

Cancer and its treatments suppress the body's immune system. This can increase the risk of infection, or increase the severity of common infections, like a cold or the flu. To decrease the risk of common infections:
  • Wash hands thoroughly and often. Hand washing is the most effective method of decreasing the chance of catching colds and flu. Carry hand sanitizer for times when washing is not convenient.
  • Try to avoid crowds, especially during cold and flu season.
  • Avoid touching eyes, mouth, and nose to after coming in contact with surfaces or objects.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects often.
  • Ask your doctor about immunization against the flu and pneumonia.

Make Dietary Changes

A healthful diet can help the body and mood. A diet can provide fuel to help your body function at its best, and nutrition to help tissue heal and recover.
Cancer itself and some cancer treatments can reduce your appetite and change taste preferences. A registered dietitian can help manage challenges that may be found with cancer or cancer treatments, and develop an effective meal plan.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise has many benefits that may help to withstand the physical and emotional stresses of cancer and cancer treatment including:
  • Promoting overall fitness
  • Boosting your energy level
  • Improving your immune system
  • Boosting your spirits and improving your emotional outlook
The medical team and specialized exercise specialist can help develop an effective program that does not add to fatigue.

Manage Fatigue

Fatigue is the most frequently experienced symptom of cancer and cancer treatments. Seeking help during worse periods, and allowing flexibility in the day for rest are important.

Seek Support

The diagnosis of cancer is a life-defining event that can be difficult to handle. Facing the uncertainty of a serious disease, feeling anxious about how you will feel during treatment, lifestyle changes, and worrying about the impact of both the diagnosis and treatment can be overwhelming. It is important to rely on family, friends, and other people in your life. People who allow themselves to seek help while they are recovering from cancer can often maintain better emotional balance. Other sources of support include:
  • Religious community
  • Support groups for people with your type of cancer
  • Professional support from social workers, psychologists, and/or psychiatrists who are trained to help support cancer patients and their families
Family and caregivers may also need support. Encourage them to seek support groups or counseling geared toward them.

Comfort Measures

Testicular cancer found in advanced stages can be harder to treat. Some people choose treatments to ease cancer complications or choose to stop treatment completely. End-of-life planning may be a necessary step to help make your wishes clear. Considerations may include:
  • Choosing home or hospice care
  • Financial decisions
  • Advance directives—includes legal issues, like wills, hospital orders for your care, and power of attorney for medical care and finances
  • Insurance coverage
If you need guidance, talk to a member of your healthcare team. You can be referred to a trained professional to guide you through the process.

References

General information about testicular cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/testicular/patient/testicular-treatment-pdq. Updated July 7, 2016. Accessed September 14, 2017.
Stay healthy. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/healthy.html. Accessed September 14, 2017.
Testicular cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T907377/Testicular-cancer. Updated May 31, 2017. Accessed September 14, 2017.
Testicular cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/testicular-cancer. Updated November 2013. Accessed September 14, 2017.

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