WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- With October designated
as National Breast Cancer Awareness month, one expert offers breast
cancer survivors some guidance on what they can do to reclaim and
maintain their health.
Karen Syrjala, director of biobehavioral sciences and
co-director of the survivorship program at the Fred Hutchinson
Cancer Research Center in Seattle, touches upon both the lingering
physical and emotional concerns prompted by a battle with
First, cancer survivors should summarize their prior treatment
for their primary care physician, and enlist the doctor in an
effort to monitor the long-term impact that radiation, chemotherapy
and other aggressive interventions can have down the road, Syrjala
Fear of cancer recurrence should be tackled head on, she said,
by getting a firm understanding of one's particular risk and
seeking out counseling to help manage concerns.
Regular exercise and eating well also top Syrjala's "to-do"
list, as part of an effort to embark on lifestyle changes that
enhance the chances for long-term survival. She also promotes
weight management, particularly as a response to certain cancer
medications such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors, which can
cause women to put on pounds.
Not smoking, having no more than one alcoholic drink a day,
using sunscreen and getting enough vitamin D will also help with
long-term survival, she added.
And for women who struggle with the ongoing fatigue or memory
and concentration issues (sometimes referred to as "chemobrain")
following treatment, Syrjala urges them to seek help rather than
suffer in silence.
Lastly, she encourages women to connect with other breast cancer
survivors, while looking into the many community and online
resources now available to help patients move on with their
For more on breast cancer survival, visit the
National Breast Cancer Foundation.