Something that cancer highlighted for me was how important it is to look after yourself. Not because I blame my lifestyle for my cancer as I was an active healthy 35 year old and cancer still snuck up on me but because being healthy made my treatments and recovery more straight forward and faster. It’s very easy to get obsessed with looking for the reason that one day some cells in you body went rogue, started multiplying far to quickly and needed a surgeon and a whole lot of very strong drugs to sort them out. For now there is no explanation for my cancer and I’ve come to terms with that but for a while I got sucked in to the Google vortex where you can find endless unreliable information about all sorts of wonderful things that will stop, start or cure cancer. You could drive yourself mad staring at your screen for hours and for a while I did.
Getting to speak to the highly trained dietician Nathalie Jones at the second Breast Cancer Care ‘Moving Forward’ course really helped settle many of my worries. She recommended a great section of the NHS website called “Behind the Headlines” where news stories are explained in greater detail and misleading information is revealed. Nathalie also answered a host of questions and worries I had about diet following cancer. Sugar, dairy and soya have been up for discussion in relation to cancer but up to date studies show there is no reason to avoid them. Being overweight is a big risk factor for cancer so if you’re trying to shed a few pounds then reducing your sugar intake is a great idea but having the odd piece of cake or a Jammy Dodger with your cuppa is not going to affect your chance of getting cancer.
One of the best things I’ve come to realise is that after a cancer diagnosis you need to trust your oncologists and cancer nurses and ask them about any worries you have. If there is something you should or should not be doing they will keep you well informed. Lots of people think they are doing you a favour by telling you all about the latest buzz story around cancer when in fact these articles are often based on information which has been taken out of context, is out of date or has not been studied rigorously.