Essential nutrients in food and why we need them

Nutrients are compounds in foods essential to life and health, providing us with energy, the building blocks for repair and growth and substances necessary to regulate chemical processes.organisms need to make energy, grow, develop, and reproduce. Nutrients are digested and then broken down into basic parts to be used by the organism.

Essential nutrients are compounds that the body can’t make or can’t make in sufficient quantity. According to the , these nutrients must come from food, and they’re vital for disease prevention, growth, and good health.

While there are many essential nutrients, they can be broken into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients are eaten in large amounts and include the primary building blocks of your diet — protein, carbohydrates, and fat — which provide your body with energy.

Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients, and small doses go a long way. The three main categories of macronutrients include carbohydrate, protein, and fat. The two types of micronutrients are vitamins and minerals, and these are extra molecules that cells need to make energy. Let’s take a look at the three groups of macronutrients mentioned.


Carbohydrates are a type of macronutrient used for quick energy in cells. The basic unit of carbohydrates is a monosaccharide. An example of a monosaccharide is glucose or sugar. Glucose can be by itself, or assembled into long chains to make things like starch, which can be found in potatoes.

Proteins are a macronutrient that the cells in your body use for structure. Protein is very important for building tissues, such as muscle. Muscle is mainly made up of proteins. Think how bodybuilders are always eating plain chicken and protein bars – they’re trying to build their muscles by getting lots of protein in their diet.Proteins are made from smaller monomers called amino acids. There are twenty amino acids that make up all the kinds of protein your body needs.Your body can make some of the amino acids you need, but there are nine that you must consume in your diet. These are called essential amino acids. Meat, fish, beans, and eggs are examples of foods rich in protein.

Fats are called lipids and are a macronutrient in your body that stores energy. Fats have long chains of carbon and hydrogen, which store lots of energy in the chemical bonds. Fats are important in our body to cushion organs, protect our cells, and send signals in the form of hormones around our body. Foods that are rich in fats are butter and oil.healthy fats can be found in nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetable oils (like olive, avocado, and flaxseed).Avoid trans fats and limit your intake of saturated animal-based fats like butter, cheese, red meat, and ice cream.


Vitamins: common vitamins include the water soluble B group vitamins and vitamin C and the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K

Fruits and vegetables are generally good sources of Vitamin C and A and folic acid (a B group vitamin)

Grains and cereals are generally good sources of the B group vitamins and fibre

Full-fat dairy and egg yolks are generally sources of the fat soluble vitamins A, D and E

Milk and vegetable or soya bean oil are generally good sources of vitamin K, which can also be synthesised by gut bacteria.

Vitamins are vital for warding off disease and staying healthy. The body needs these micronutrients to support its functions. There are 13 essential vitamins that the body needs to function properly, including vitamins A, C, B6, and D.Each vitamin plays an important role in the body, and not getting enough of them can cause health problems and disease.Vitamins are essential for healthy vision, skin, and bones.Vitamins are essential for healthy vision, skin, and bones.Vitamins may lower the risk of lung and prostate cancer, and they’re powerful antioxidants. Vitamins like vitamin C boost the immune system and help the body heal.

Minerals: (sodium, calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, etc.): all foods contain some form of minerals.

  • Milk and dairy products are a good source of calcium and magnesium
  • Red meat is a good source of iron and zinc
  • Seafood and vegetables (depending on the soil in which they are produced) are generally good sources of iodine.

They’re essential for many body functions, including building strong bones and teeth, regulating your metabolism, and staying properly hydrated. Some of the most common minerals are calcium, iron, and zinc.

In addition to strengthening bones, calcium helps with nerve signal transmission, maintaining healthy blood pressure, and muscle contraction and relaxation. Iron supports your red blood cells and hormone creation, while zinc boosts your immune system and wound healing.


Water is absolutely crucial for every system in your body. It’s also the main thing you are made of. About 62 percent of your body weight is water.

Water improves your brain function and mood. It acts a shock absorber and a lubricant in the body. It also helps flush out toxins, carry nutrients to cells, hydrate the body, and prevent constipation.

The best way to know if you’re properly hydrated is the color and volume of your urine. If your urine isn’t frequent and pale yellow or nearly clear, you need more water.



Stroke recovery and rehabilitation

stroke is a medical condition in which poor blood flow to the brain results in cell death.There are two main types of stroke: ischemic, due to lack of blood flow, and hemorrhagic, due to bleeding.Both result in parts of the brain not functioning properly. Signs and symptoms of a stroke may include an inability to move or feel on one side of the body,problems understanding or speaking,dizziness, or loss of vision to one side.Signs and symptoms often appear soon after the stroke has occurred. If symptoms last less than one or two hours it is known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke.A hemorrhagic stroke may also be associated with a severe headache.The symptoms of a stroke can be permanent.Long-term complications may include pneumonia or loss of bladder is medically known as cerebrovascular accident(cva) or cerebrovascular insult(cvi).


*inability to move or feel on one side of the body

*difficulty in speech


*loss of vision to one side


*ischemic( blockage)


Risk factors

*High blood pressure



*diabetes mellitus

*high cholesterol level

*atrial fibrillation

The main risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure.An ischemic stroke is typically caused by blockage of a blood vessel, though there are also less common causes.A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by either bleeding directly into the brain or into the space between the brain’s membranes.Bleeding may occur due to a ruptured brain aneurysm.Diagnosis is typically based on a physical exam and supported by medical imaging such as a CT scan or MRI scan.[A CT scan can rule out bleeding, but may not necessarily rule out ischemia, which early on typically does not show up on a CT scan.Other tests such as an electrocardiogram(ECG) and blood tests are done to determine risk factors and rule out other possible causes.Low blood sugar may cause similar symptoms.[Prevention includes decreasing risk factors, as well as possibly aspirin, statins, surgery to open up the arteries to the brain in those with problematic narrowing, and warfarin in those with atrial fibrillation. A stroke or TIA often requires emergency care.[An ischemic stroke, if detected within three to four and half hours, may be treatable with a medication that can break down the clot.Aspirin should be used.[Some hemorrhagic strokes benefit from surgery.[Treatment to try to recover lost function is called stroke rehabilitation and ideally takes place in a stroke unit; however, these are not available in much part of the world.

What Is a Mini-Stroke?

A TIA, or transient ischemic attack, can be secondary to a temporary blockage caused by a blood clot.

TIA is sometimes referred to as “mini-stroke” or “warning stroke,” because it can be a warning sign of a future stroke.

More than a third of people who have a TIA will have a major stroke within a year if the condition is not treated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Emergency treatment for stroke depends on whether you’re having an ischemic stroke blocking an artery — the most common kind — or a hemorrhagic stroke that involves bleeding into the brain.

Ischemic stroke

To treat an ischemic stroke, doctors must quickly restore blood flow to your brain.

Emergency treatment with medications.Therapy with clot-busting drugs must start within 4.5 hours if they are given into the vein — and the sooner, the better. Quick treatment not only improves your chances of survival but also may reduce complications. You may be given:

  • Intravenous injection of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). This injection of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), also called alteplase, is considered the gold standard treatment for ischemic stroke. An injection of tPA is usually given through a vein in the arm. This potent clot-busting drug ideally is given within three hours. In some instances, tPA can be given up to 4.5 hours after stroke symptoms begin.This drug restores blood flow by dissolving the blood clot causing your stroke, and it may help people who have had strokes recover more fully. Your doctor will consider certain risks, such as potential bleeding in the brain, to determine if tPA is appropriate for you.

Emergency endovascular procedures. Doctors sometimes treat ischemic strokes with procedures performed directly inside the blocked blood vessel. These procedures must be performed as soon as possible, depending on features of the blood clot:

  • Medications delivered directly to the brain. Doctors may insert a long, thin tube (catheter) through an artery in your groin and thread it to your brain to deliver tPA directly into the area where the stroke is occurring. This is called intra-arterial thrombolysis. The time window for this treatment is somewhat longer than for intravenous tPA, but is still limited.
  • Removing the clot with a stent retriever.Doctors may use a catheter to maneuver a device into the blocked blood vessel in your brain and trap and remove the clot. This procedure is particularly beneficial for people with large clots that can’t be completely dissolved with tPA, though this procedure is often performed in combination with intravenous tPA.

Several large and recent studies suggest that, depending on the location of the clot and other factors, endovascular therapy might be the most effective treatment. Endovascular therapy has been shown to significantly improve outcomes and reduce long-term disability after ischemic stroke.

Other procedures. To decrease your risk of having another stroke or transient ischemic attack, your doctor may recommend a procedure to open up an artery that’s narrowed by plaque. Doctors sometimes recommend the following procedures to prevent a stroke. Options will vary depending on your situation:

  • Carotid endarterectomy. In a carotid endarterectomy, a surgeon removes plaques from arteries that run along each side of your neck to your brain (carotid arteries). In this procedure, your surgeon makes an incision along the front of your neck, opens your carotid artery and removes plaque that blocks the carotid artery.Your surgeon then repairs the artery with stitches or a patch made from a vein or artificial material (graft). The procedure may reduce your risk of ischemic stroke. However, a carotid endarterectomy also involves risks, especially for people with heart disease or other medical conditions.
  • Angioplasty and stents. In an angioplasty, a surgeon usually accesses your carotid arteries through an artery in your groin. Here, your surgeon can gently and safely navigate to the carotid arteries in your neck. A balloon is then inflated to expand the narrowed artery. Then a stent can be inserted to support the opened artery.

Hemorrhagic stroke

Emergency treatment of hemorrhagic stroke focuses on controlling your bleeding and reducing pressure in your brain. You might also need surgery to help reduce future risk.

Emergency measures. If you take warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) or anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix) to prevent blood clots, you may be given drugs or transfusions of blood products to counteract the blood thinners’ effects. You may also be given drugs to lower pressure in your brain (intracranial pressure), lower your blood pressure, prevent vasospasm or prevent seizures.

Once the bleeding in your brain stops, treatment usually involves supportive medical care while your body absorbs the blood. Healing is similar to what happens while a bad bruise goes away. If the area of bleeding is large, your doctor may perform surgery to remove the blood and relieve pressure on your brain.

Surgical blood vessel repair. Surgery may be used to repair blood vessel abnormalities associated with hemorrhagic strokes. Your doctor may recommend one of these procedures after a stroke or if an aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation (AVM) or other type of vascular malformation caused your hemorrhagic stroke:

After emergency treatment, stroke care focuses on helping you recover as much function as possible and return to independent living. The impact of your stroke depends on the area of the brain involved and the amount of tissue damaged.

If your stroke affected the right side of your brain, your movement and sensation on the left side of your body may be affected. If your stroke damaged the brain tissue on the left side of your brain, your movement and sensation on the right side of your body may be affected. Brain damage to the left side of your brain may cause speech and language disorders.

In addition, if you’ve had a stroke, you may have problems with breathing, swallowing, balancing and vision.

Most stroke survivors receive treatment in a rehabilitation program. Your doctor will recommend the most rigorous therapy program you can handle based on your age, overall health and degree of disability from your stroke. Your doctor will take into consideration your lifestyle, interests and priorities, and the availability of family members or other caregivers.

Your rehabilitation program may begin before you leave the hospital. After discharge, you might continue your program in a rehabilitation unit of the same hospital, another rehabilitation unit or skilled nursing facility, an outpatient unit, or your home.

Coping and support

A stroke is a life-changing event that can affect your emotional well-being as much as your physical function. You may experience feelings of helplessness, frustration, depression and apathy. You may also have mood changes and a lower sex drive.

Maintaining your self-esteem, connections to others and interest in the world are essential parts of your recovery. Several strategies may help you and your caregivers, including:

  • Don’t be hard on yourself. Accept that physical and emotional recovery will involve tough work and that it will take time. Aim for a “new normal,” and celebrate your progress. Allow time for rest.
  • Get out of the house even if it’s hard. Try not to be discouraged or self-conscious if you move slowly and need a cane, walker or wheelchair to get around. Getting out is good for you.
  • Join a support group. Meeting with others who are coping with a stroke lets you get out and share experiences, exchange information and build new friendships.
  • Let friends and family know what you need. People may want to help, but they may not know what to do. Let them know how they can help, such as by bringing over a meal and staying to eat with you and talk, or attending social events or religious activities.



Managing and maintaining blood pressure

Blood pressure is a vital part of how your heart and circulation works.

Your blood pressure naturally goes up and down all the time, adjusting to your heart’s needs depending on what you are doing. High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is persistently higher than normal.High blood pressure is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too is also called hypertension

A blood pressure reading under 120/80mmHg is considered optimal. Readings over 120/80mmHg and up to 139/89mmHg are in the normal to high normal range.

Blood pressure that’s high over a long time is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. As you get older, the chances of having persistently high blood pressure increases.

It’s very important to get your blood pressure checked regularly, and if it’s persistently high it needs to be controlled. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke. It may also affect your kidneys.



The exact causes of high blood pressure are often not clear. Your blood pressure may be strongly influenced by:

  • family history
  • eating patterns, including salty foods 
  • alcohol intake 
  • weight 
  • how much physical activity you do.

Some medicines can also raise blood pressure.


You can’t feel high blood pressure. There are usually no warning signs, so you can have it and not know. That’s why it’s important to get it checked.


The best way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked by your doctor or health practitioner.

They will take your blood pressure using an inflatable bag (cuff) that goes around your arm. It’s joined to a device that measures the pressure. 

Blood pressure can vary at different times of the day. Sometimes it can even go up just because someone is taking it, so it’s important to have an accurate measure of your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor or health practitioner about what your blood pressure level should be.

Controlling high blood pressure

If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about the best way to control it.

Lifestyle changes

Your doctor may recommend that you make some healthier lifestyle choices, like changing the food you eat or getting more exercise.

Find out more about important lifestyle changes to manage your high blood pressure. 


Many people also need medicine to control their high blood pressure. Your doctor will tell you if you need medicine, and monitor its effects. Blood pressure medicines don’t cure high blood pressure, but they help to control it. You have to keep taking the medicines regularly, often for the rest of your life. Don’t stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor first. 

If you take medicine for your blood pressure, it’s still important to have a healthy lifestyle.

Monitoring your blood pressure 

Your doctor may want you to monitor your blood pressure at home, or wear a monitor over a 24-hour period, to check how it varies. 

Manage your heart disease risk factors

High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease.

Know your risk factors and how to manage them. 

When Does Blood Pressure Become High Blood Pressure?

According to guidelines followed by doctors, blood pressure is normal if it’s 120/80 or below. The range of 120/80 to 139/89, which was once classified as normal to high, is now considered to be prehypertensive.

If your blood pressure falls somewhere in the prehypertensive range, it may quickly develop into high blood pressure, or 140/90 or above. Most doctors now recommend lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure for anyone with a reading above 120/80. If you have added risk factors such as being overweight or having high blood sugar or cholesterol, the concern is even greater. Even though you may not have any symptoms, high blood pressure increases your risk for cardiovascular disease. Since cardiovascular disease is the cause of death for one out of every three persons, any evidence of high blood pressure is cause for concern.

How Can You Lower Your High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is a treatable condition. Most doctors recommend starting with these lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure:

  • Stop smoking
  • Lose weight
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine
  • Exercise
  • Eat a healthy, low-sodium diet
  • Reduce your stress levels

When lifestyle changes are not enough, your doctor may prescribe one or more antihypertensive medications. You may need to take blood pressure medication for the rest of your life to keep your condition under control. Remember: Stopping medication on your own can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

How Do You Handle Resistant High Blood Pressure?

What happens if you’ve made lifestyle changes and you’re taking medication, but your blood pressure is still out of control? Doctors call this resistant hypertension. Resistant hypertension occurs in about 20 to 30 percent of people with high blood pressure. Some common causes include:

  • Uncontrolled risk factors. Poor control of risk factors such as obesity and diabetes can contribute to resistant hypertension.
  • Not taking medications as directed. Failure to take medication on schedule or stopping medication without a doctor’s approval can cause blood pressure to go up.
  • Alcohol and salt intake. Many people with resistant high blood pressure are not controlling their intake of salt and alcohol.
  • Effects of other drugs. Over-the-counter pain relievers, decongestants, and some herbal compounds can interfere with blood pressure control.
  • Other health conditions. Medical conditions such as sleep apnea and diseases of the adrenal glands or kidneys can cause resistant high blood pressure.

If you are having trouble controlling your blood pressure, work with your doctor to find out how you can better manage risk factors. Your doctor may want to perform additional tests to make sure there are no other medical conditions contributing to your high blood pressure.

THE HBP(high blood pressure)DIET

If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), it’s best to eat meals low in saturated fat, trans-fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

This is, of course, good dietary advice for everyone, regardless of blood pressure. For people with high blood pressure, the main thing to watch out for is salt. Too much salt or sodium can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.

You should focus on heart-healthy foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and rich in nutrients, protein, and fiber.

These foods may include the following:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Nuts

THE HBP DIET limits the following:

  • Red meats (including lean red meats)
  • Sweets
  • Added sugars
  • Sugar-containing drinks

when is low blood pressure too low?

Low blood pressure, or hypotension, may be a sign of good health and of a decreased risk of heart disease. But not always. At times, continually low blood pressure or a sudden drop in blood pressure can lead to worrisome symptoms and even serious health problems.

A blood pressure reading contains two numbers: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the top or first number in your blood pressure reading; it indicates the pressure within your arteries when your heart pumps out blood. Diastolic pressure is the bottom number, and shows the pressure in your arteries while your heart is filling with blood.

If your blood pressure is 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or lower, it’s considered normal. Generally, if the blood pressure reading is under 90/60 mm Hg, it is abnormally low and is referred to as hypotension. Some adults regularly have a blood pressure in the hypotensive range, but have no symptoms at all and do not require treatment. In serious cases, though, hypotension can result in a decreased supply of oxygen and nutrients to your brain, which can eventually lead to life-threatening shock.

Anyone can develop hypotension, but certain groups of people are more likely to experience it, and there are different types. For instance, orthostatic (positional) hypotension, which occurs when you stand up after sitting or lying down, is more common in older adults.  

Symptoms of hypotension

Most doctors do not consider hypotension a problem unless it is associated with certain signs and symptoms, which may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Problems concentrating
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Clammy, pale skin
  • Shortness of breath

An onset of hypotension is more likely to occur when you:

  • Are on bed rest for a long period of time, and then resume an upright posture
  • Are in your first 24 weeks of pregnancy
  • Have lost a large amount of blood
  • Are dehyrdrated
  • Are taking certain medications, such as blood pressure lowering medications; certain heart medications; certain Parkinson’s disease medications; tricyclic antidepressants; or medications to treat erectile dysfunction.
  • Have a heart problem, such as a very slow heart beat, heart valve problems, heart attack, or heart failure.
  • Have an endocrine problem, such as hypothyroidism, parathyroid disease, Addison’s disease (an adrenal gland disorder), low blood sugar, or diabetes.
  • Have a severe infection that enters your blood stream.
  • Are experiencing anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.
  • Have a neural disorder that affects your blood pressure
  • Have a nutrient deficiency, such as low vitamin B12 and folic acid levels

If your blood pressure is always on the low side and you do not have any of the above symptoms, there is usually no cause for concern. Similarly, if you have a single at-home blood pressure reading that is abnormally low without any symptoms, you probably do not need to see your doctor. It is normal for your blood pressure to rise and fall over time, and your body is usually able to get your blood pressure back to normal.


Getting a good sleep

We do it every night, and over the course of our life we will spend approximately a third of our time doing it: sleep. But what is it really?

“Sleep is a natural, restorative, physiological process characterized by a perceptual disengagement [meaning you tune out from whatever’s going on around you], and must be rapidly reversible.”

Sleep can be characterized as:

  • A period of being less active
  • A function of the body typically associated with a lying down posture and closed eyes
  • A process whereby you’re less responsive to external stimuli
  • A state of consciousness that’s easy to get out of (unlike other states of consciousness, such as hibernation or coma)
  • Being associated with certain brain wave activity patterns and certain physiological changes, including a drop in blood pressure and body temperature

Regardless of the words used to describe it, the bottom line is that we need sleep to function.It’s a critical process that allows the body to function and stay healthy and it’s especially important for the brain.

“The entire body takes advantage of sleep,” For example, the kidneys slow down production of urine and digestion slows in the gut.“But sleep is really how the brain gets reset for the next day. Sleep restores the brain.”

That means not getting enough sleep or good quality sleep will damage many systems of the body and over time can contribute to risk of chronic disease and health problems, but the most immediate consequences of not sleeping that you’ll notice are those that affect your mind and thinking.

Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Having healthy sleep habits is often referred to as having good sleep hygiene. Try to keep the following sleep practices on a consistent basis:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.
  3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
  4. Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep.
  5. Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool.Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices.
  6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up during the night.
  7. Use bright light to help manage your circadian rhythms. Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning. This will keep your circadian rhythms in check.
  8. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening.Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry.
  9. Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. If you have trouble sleeping,avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.
  10. If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine.
  11. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or to find a sleep professional. 

There are two general states of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.

Sleep disorders are disruptions of the sleep cycle and it could be as a result of stress.insomnia,sleep apnea,narcolepsy,snoring are types of sleep disorders.

Sleep problems occur with chronic pain and conditions in which pain is worse at night, because the pain may interfere with sleep. Pain medications and other types of medications taken on a regular basis for chronic conditions can also have an effect on an individual’s sleep pattern. Those suffering from cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and brain injury are also commonly affected by sleep disturbances.

Psychiatric diseases such as depression are also associated with sleep problems. This condition can be associated with both too much sleep and too little sleep. In fact, sleep problems are associated with a majority of mental disorders, and poor quality or insufficient sleep can worsen the symptoms of mental or psychiatric conditions.

How to handle Stress

Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. 

There are two main types of stress:

  • Acute stress. This is short-term stress that goes away quickly. It helps you manage dangerous situations. It also occurs when you do something new or exciting. All people have acute stress at one time or another.
  • Chronic stress. This is stress that lasts for a longer period of time. You may have chronic stress if you have money problems, an unhappy marriage, or trouble at work. Any type of stress that goes on for weeks or months is chronic stress. You can become so used to chronic stress that you don’t realize it is a problem. If you don’t find ways to manage it, it may lead to mental health problems.


Your body reacts to stress by releasing hormones. These hormones make your brain more alert, cause your muscles to tense, and increase your pulse. In the short term, these reactions are good because they can help you handle the situation causing stress. This is your body’s way of protecting itself.

When you have chronic stress, your body stays alert, even though there is no danger. Over time, this puts you at risk for health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Skin problems, such as acne or eczema
  • Menstrual problems

If you already have a health condition, chronic stress can make it worse.


Stress can cause many types of physical and emotional symptoms. Sometimes, you may not realize these symptoms are caused by stress. Here are some signs that stress may be affecting you:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Forgetfulness
  • Frequent aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Lack of energy or focus
  • Sexual problems
  • Stiff jaw or neck
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Upset stomach
  • Use of alcohol or drugs to relax
  • Weight loss or gain

Stress can be a motivator. It can be essential to survival. The “fight-or-flight” which is triggered by the sympathetic nervous system can tell us when and how to respond to danger. However, if this mechanism is triggered too easily, or when there are too many stressors at one time, it can undermine a person’s mental and physical health and become harmful.

The body produces larger quantities of the chemicals cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These trigger an increased heart rate, heightened muscle preparedness, sweating, and alertness. All these factors improve the ability to respond to a hazardous or challenging situation.

Factors of the environment that trigger this reaction are called stressors. Examples include noises, aggressive behavior, a speeding car, scary moments in movies, or even going out on a first date. The more stressors we experience, the more stressed we tend to feel.

Changes to the body

Stress slows normal bodily functions, such as the digestive and immune systems. All resources can then be concentrated on rapid breathing, blood flow, alertness, and muscle use.

The body changes in the following ways during stress:

  • blood pressure and pulse rate rise
  • breathing is faster
  • the digestive system slows down
  • immune activity decreases
  • the muscles become tense
  • a heightened state of alertness prevents sleep

How we react to a difficult situation will affect how stress affects us and our health. A person who feels they do not have enough resources to cope will be more likely to have a stronger reaction, and one that can trigger health problems. Stressors affect individuals in different ways.

Some experiences that are generally considered positive can lead to stress, such as having a baby, going on a trip, moving to a nicer house, and being promoted.

This is because they often involve a major change, extra effort, new responsibilities, and a need for adaptation. They are also steps into the unknown. The person wonders if they will cope.

A persistently negative response to challenges can have a detrimental effect on health and happiness. However, being aware of how you react to stressors can help reduce the negative feelings and effects of stress, and to manage it more effectively.

Everyone reacts differently to stress conditions.What is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another. Almost anything can cause stress. For some people, just thinking about something or several small things can cause stress.

Sometimes, there is no identifiable cause.Mental health issues, such as depression, or an accumulated sense of frustration and anxiety, can make some people feel stressed more easily than others.

Some people experience ongoing stress after a traumatic event, such as an accident or some kind of abuse. This is known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those who work in stressful jobs, such as the military or the emergency services, will have a debriefing session following a major incident, and they will have to be monitored for PTSD.

Diagnosis is complex. It depends on many factors. Questionnaires, biochemical measures, and physiological techniques have been used, but these may not be objective or effective.

Treatment includes self-help and, in instances where the stress is caused by an underlying condition, certain medications.

Therapies that may help to induce relaxation include aromatherapy or reflexology.

Here are a few lifestyle choices you can take to manage or prevent the feeling of being stressed.

Exercise: Studies have shown that exercise can benefit a person’s mental and physical state.

Reducing intake of alcohol, drugs, and caffeine: These substances will not help prevent stress, and they can make it worse. They should be cut out or reduced.

Nutrition: A healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables helps maintain the immune system at times of stress. A poor diet will lead to ill health and additional stress.

Prioritizing: Spend a little time organizing your to-do list to see what is most important. Then focus of what you have completed or accomplished for the day, rather than what you are yet to finish.

Time: Set aside some time each day just for yourself. Use it to organize your life, relax, and pursue your own interests.

Breathing and relaxation: Meditation, massage, and yoga can help. Breathing and  relaxation techniques can slow down the system and help you relax. Breathing is also a central part of mindfulness meditation.

Talking: Talking to family, friends, work colleagues, and your boss about your thoughts and worries will help you “shake it off .” You may be comforted to find that you are “not the only one.” You may even find there is an easy solution that you had not thought of.

Acknowledging the signs: A person can be so anxious about the problem that is causing the stress that they do not notice the effects on their body.

Noticing symptoms is the first step to taking action. People who experience work stress due to long hours may need to “take a step back.” It may be time to review their own working practice or to talk to a supervisor about reducing the load.

Find your own destressor: Most people have something that helps them relax, such as reading a book, going for a walk, listening to music, or spending time with a friend or a pet. Joining a gym helps some people.



Living with depression;it’s time for a change

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth is not easy to snap out of it.Depression is a serious disorder that can take a terrible toll on you and your family. Depression often gets worse if it isn’t treated, resulting in emotional, behavioral and health problems that affect every area of your life.

Everything feels more challenging when you’re dealing with depression. Going to work, socializing with friends, or even just getting out of bed can feel like a struggle.In some cases,it comes with thoughts of suicides.

Here are symptoms to look out for:

Mood: anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness.

Behavioural: agitation, excessive crying, irritability, restlessness, or social isolation.

Sleep: early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep.

Whole body: excessive hunger, fatigue, or loss of appetite.

Cognitive: lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide.

Weight: weight gain or weight loss.

Also common: poor appetite or repeatedly going over thoughts.

But there are some things you can do to cope with your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

1.Reduce Your Stress

When you’re under stress, your body produces more of a hormone called cortisol. In the short-term, this is a good thing because it helps you gear up to cope with whatever is causing the stress in your life.

Over the long run, however, it can cause many problems for you, including depression.

2.Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

Sleep and mood are intimately related. 

you might feel like you just can’t fall asleep. Or perhaps you struggle to get out of bed because you feel exhausted all the time.

Good sleep hygiene could be key to improving the quality and quantity of your sleep.

3.Improve Your Eating Habits

improving nutrition can prevent and treat mental illness

There are many brain-essential nutrients that can affect depression. For example, zinc deficiency increases symptoms of depression. 

Depression doesn’t just make you feel bad, it can also cause you to think more negatively. Changing those negative thoughts, however, can improve your mood. 

Improving your diet could be key to reducing your symptoms. But before you make any major changes to your diet or begin taking vitamins or supplements, talk with your physician. 

4.Avoid Negative Thoughts

Depression doesn’t just make you feel bad, it can also cause you to think more negatively. Changing those negative thoughts, however, can improve your mood. 

5.Create a Wellness Toolbox

A wellness toolbox is a set of tools that you can use to help soothe yourself when you are feeling down.

The tools you find most helpful might not work for someone else so it’s important to carefully consider what things can help you feel your best.

Think of things you like to do when you’re happy. Then, when you’re feeling down, try one of those activities.

Cuddling your pet, talking to someone,listening to your favorite music, taking a warm bath, or reading a good book are just a few tools you might find helpful.

Create a list of the activities you might try when you’re feeling bad. Then, choose an activity to try when you’re having a particularly rough time. 

6.Don’t Punish Yourself for Feeling Bad

Feeling embarrassed or self-hating over your depression will only increase your symptoms and discourage you from seeking help. Your critical thoughts toward yourself will try to keep you down any way they can, including by attacking you for feeling down. It’s important to take your side and have compassion for yourself at those difficult times. You can be curious, open, accepting, and loving toward yourself, a much more appropriate attitude. Take your mental health seriously. Remember, depression is a very common and highly treatable disease. It is just a matter of recognizing you’re feeling bad and finding the treatment that works for you.

7.see a Therapist

Talking is a powerful way of combating your depression. If you feel bad, don’t let anyone tell you it’s no big deal or that you’ll just get over it. There is nothing shameful about recognizing you have a problem you alone cannot seem to resolve and to seek the help of a therapist. Asking for help is a brave act and speaking to a therapist is a healthy, productive endeavor from which every individual would benefit. Learning about the source of your pain can truly help alleviate its impact on your life by helping you to recognize and combat your critical inner voice.




Beautiful yet healthy skin;The magic

A Healthy, beautiful skin; is all we want.The interesting fact about skin is that it can be a big indicator for overall health. Our skin can have rashes or breakouts, it can age too quickly or become thin and brittle, it can even be dried out and flaky. All of these can be a clue that something else is going on within our bodies that we may want to explore.There are many things you can do to support a beautiful and healthy skin.

1.Drinking plenty water

water is like panacea to our body. It hydrates the body from the inside out, it flushes out toxins and waste and it even regulates body temperature.

2. Eat healthy fats

Your skin needs healthy fats as well as fatty acids to be its best. The fats you should avoid are trans- fats and saturated fats. These are typically found in processed foods like french fries, instant noodles and cakes and other sweets.

Healthy fats on the other hand are unsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. These are typically found in nuts, seeds and fish.

Here are some good things that you get from healthy fats:

Omega-3 fatty acids — You’ve heard these are good for your heart, but they are also great for the skin! They are shown to reduce inflammatory conditions of the skin as well as lead to a smoother skin.

You can find Omega-3 in cold water fish and walnuts.

Vitamin E — It helps with the skins collagen production for firmness and elasticity and fights free radicals which can cause aging.

You can find vitamin E in almonds, sunflower seeds and avocado.

Antioxidants — These are very protective of the skin cells and helps eliminate toxins from the body.

You can find antioxidants in avocado and brazil nuts.

3. Maintain a healthy gut

One of the main components to having beautiful skin on the face as well as the rest of the body is to have a healthy gut.

Acne, eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin are all conditions of the skin that can indicate poor gut health.

Your gut starts at your mouth and goes all the way down through the body to the anus. A healthy gut absorbs nutrients, is an environment for both good and bad bacteria and eliminates waste daily. The primary role is to absorb nutrients. If we aren’t giving our body enough of the right nutrients, then our skin is one of the first places to show it.

Eating fruits and vegetables as well as foods rich in high fibres,avoiding excess sugar,alcohol and gluten and observing food cleansing as frequent as possible would leave the gut well nourished.

4.Eating healthy foods and fruits.

Fruits such as mangoes which are rich in anti-oxidant properties and tomatoes, has skin cancer prevention properties.studies has proved that tomatoes protects against sunburn and uv damage.

Olive oil is known with a lower risk of severe facial photoaging which results from long-term sunlight exposure.

Cocoa flavonols found in dark chocolate improves the structure and function of skin. It increases skin hydration, and helps to support the skin’s defenses against damage from UV rays.

Green tea has been tied to many skin benefits. Compounds found in green tea called polyphenols rejuvenate dying skin cells, which suggests that they may be useful for healing wounds or certain skin conditions.

These health tips helps to banish wrinkles and provide a radiant glow, it keeps your skin supple,sweet and soft all around.



Youth Care Resource Materials


resource is a source or supply from which a benefit is produced. Resources can broadly be classified upon their availability—they are classified into renewable and non-renewable resources. They can also be classified as actual and potential on the basis of level of development and use, on the basis of origin they can be classified as biotic and abiotic, and on the basis of their distribution, as ubiquitous and localized (private resources, community-owned resources, natural resources, international resources). An item becomes a resource with time and developing technology. Typically, resources are materials, energy, services, staff, knowledge, or other assets that are transformed to produce benefit and in the process may be consumed or made unavailable. Benefits of resource utilization may include increased wealth, proper functioning of a system, or enhanced well-being

This section offers various resources for young adults with cancer, including websites and educational information. Find more resources for young people with cancer.

  1. St. Cyril Cancer Treatment Foundation
    St. Cyril Initiative For Patients’ Support (S.C.I.P.S.) is set up to support patients who are registered with the Foundation and need financial support to receive proper and holistic treatment.
    Our Vision is to improve the delivery of cancer treatments in Nigeria. 
    Our Mission is to increase the number of treatment facilities available and provide quality holistic care for cancer patients.
  2. Ego Bekee Cancer Foundation
    A non-profit organization founded in 2006 involved in advocacy and support of people with cancer in Nigeria.
  3. Sebeccly Cancer Care Sebeccly Cancer Care (Sebeccly) is a not-for-profit cancer care and advocacy organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to women living with breast cancer care. Our mandate is geared towards the provision of cancer information services and supportive services to those affected by cancer, with the vision to reduce the cancer burden in Nigeria by advocating for improved conditions of care in our health institutions. Sebeccly was founded in 2006 by Dr Omolola Salako out of a need to improve cancer services. These services range from prevention to early diagnosis, effective treatment, rehabilitation, and supportive care. Sebeccly works with newly diagnosed patients, survivors, caregivers; patient advocates, journalists, and health care professionals. We are passionate about cancer advocacy: by providing a platform for those affected by cancer to voice their opinions, share their stories, engage with cancer stakeholders and be influential in policymaking.
  4. Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria BRECAN
    Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) is a leading not-for-profit and non-governmental organization galvanizing action against breast cancer in Nigeria. Founded in 1997 by Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, a breast cancer survivor herself, BRECAN is increasingly improving the lives of many touched by breast cancer who would have succumbed to the disease due to ignorance and lack of support. She was inspired by the strength gained from her traumatic experience and the indifference surrounding the disease. Quoting her
  5. Nigerian Cancer Society
    On October 12, 1968, the Nigerian Cancer Society (NCS) was founded with the objective to assist in the development of facilities for diagnosis and treatment of cancer, to educate the public on ther problems of cancer, and to conduct research in all aspects of cancer. Since its founding, the society has expanded beyond the original founding town of Ibadan, and branches now exist in six geo-political zones of Nigeria. NCS’ first major successful publication was in 1982 with the book “Cancer in Nigeria-the proceedings of the NCS conference held in December 1979.” Since 1970, Nigerian Cancer Society has been associate UICC member.
  6. Cancer Education & Advocacy Foundation CEAFON CEAFON is a Non-governmental organization with a mission to ensure timely and optimal management of all Cancer patients in Nigeria such that Cancer is no longer a death sentence but a potentially curable disease. Our Vision is to improve Cancer care in Nigeria through Education of Health care Practitioners, Patients, Policy makers, the general public and other relevant stakeholders and to increase Patient access to treatment. Our programs are designed to improve Public (Government, Patients, Healthcare Professionals & general public) knowledge of Cancer Diagnosis and Management and also serve as a platform for developing core competencies in Cancer care of patients.
  7. Cancer Aware Nigeria Globally, the cancer incidence continues to rise. In Nigeria, breast cancer and cervical cancer are the most common cancers among women.  At this time, attention should turn to prevention and early detection.​CancerAware is a Lagos based cancer intervention charity. Our mission is simple, yet bold – to reduce the rising cancer incidence in Nigeria, especially among women, through education, advocacy and patient support. We focus primarily on breast and gynaecological cancers as they account for high cancer fatalities in Nigeria. 

Camps and Retreats

Whether it is a summer camp, a week-long retreat, or a weekend gathering, children, adults, and families can come together to experience new adventures, find support, and learn something new about themselves.



Pattern for Publication of Cancer Research Analysis and Studies

During the past few decades cancer has become one of the most important causes of death. Hence, the cancer research has been the hottest and most pressing topic in the contemporary biology

Doctors and scientists are always looking for better ways to care for people with cancer. To make medical advances, they conduct research studies. They carry out these studies in the lab or with volunteers in the clinic. Studies that involve people are known as clinical trials. Well-designed research helps answer key questions about how cancer works in the body. They also show what tests and treatments may work best.

However, the results of these studies cannot improve cancer care unless other doctors know about them. The main way that scientists can share their findings is by publishing it in medical journals. They may publish their own research, which describes the results of a study they conducted. Or they may write a review article. A review article looks at all of the published research on a certain topic.

Most cancer research studies are written for other doctors and scientists. But it is becoming more common for patients to read these studies. Patients may do this while researching their type of cancer and the treatment options. Since research studies use scientific terms, it may be hard for a person without a science background to interpret them. Therefore, it is important to talk with your health care team about the research in a journal article.

Cancer Research and Treatment is published quarterly on the 15th January, April, July, and October. Cancer Research and Treatment accepts manuscripts for submission under a broad scope of topics relevant to experimental and clinical cancer research. Subjects include carcinogenesis, tumor biology, molecular oncology, cancer genetics, tumor immunology, epidemiology, predictive markers and cancer prevention, pathology, cancer diagnosis, screening, and therapies including chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, gene therapy, multimodality treatment, and palliative care. Physicians or researchers throughout the world can submit a manuscript if its scope is appropriate. 

Research publishing process

Scientific research studies are published in journals. Journals focus on a specific topic, such as clinical cancer research. These journals help present new findings to the research field. Also, they show the type of research method that was used.

Cancer research journals are published in print and online formats. This includes the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO’s) journals. Most journals are published on a weekly, biweekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.

Before appearing in a journal, an article is reviewed by subject matter experts. This means that editors ask peer reviewers to read the articles. Peer reviewers are researchers who are experts in the subject and were not involved in the study. These experts decide whether the research data and results are valid.

Structure of a research article

Research studies published in journals follow a certain format and structure. This format presents the data in a way that allows others to repeat the study. Most articles include background information, the researcher’s methods, results, and the meaning of the findings. This structure is known as Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion, or IMRAD. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors endorses this format. But some journals may use different names for these sections.

  • Introduction. This section answers 2 questions:
    • Why was this study done?
    • What is the research question? For example, does this treatment extend the lives of patients with stage IV colon cancer?
  • Methods. In this section, authors describe how they answered the research question. They explain the study’s design. They also describe the study participants, including:
    • Age, sex, and other general information about the volunteers.
    • The type and stage of cancer, such as stage I lung cancer.
    • How the volunteers were chosen for the study.
    This section includes data about how, how much, and how often the treatment was given. The researchers also state what outcome, or result, they were measuring. For instance, this may include the length of survival or the amount of tumor shrinkage. It also shows how the data were analyzed.
  • Results. This section focuses on the most important findings of the study. Tables and graphics may show the data in different ways.
  • Discussion. This section is also called the conclusion. It describes what the results mean in relation to the study’s purpose. It also places the results within the larger context of cancer research and notes whether the results confirm or contradict previous research. This section helps to explain the importance of the findings.

The abstract

An abstract is a summary that is at the beginning of published articles. It shows the most relevant data from the study. It allows readers to quickly learn about the important aspects of the research. Researchers often present their abstracts at scientific meetings. In fact, they often announce their initial study results at these meetings before they are published.

Searching for research studies

There are many ways to find articles about the latest advances in cancer treatment. To locate an article, visit the journal’s website. Then you can use either the search function or the online archive to find the article.

You can also use large, online databases, which provide study abstracts. One popular database that is used in the cancer research field is PubMed. PubMed is a service of the National Library of Medicine. It includes more than 22 million citations from a wide range of scientific journals. A citation is a reference to a source that provides information. This includes the article title, author names, and journal title.

Using this database may be hard. It contains huge numbers of articles. But you can make it easier by searching for only cancer-related articles. If you cannot find details on a certain topic, try to include more medical terms in your search. For example, try “renal cell carcinoma” instead of “kidney cancer.

Research And Publication Ethics

The journal adheres to the ethical guidelines for research and publication by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

Registration of Clinical Trial Research

It is recommended that any research dealing with a clinical trial be registered at on appropriate online public registry. Manuscript with non-registered interventional clinical trials will not be considered for publication.

Conflict-of-Interest Statement

The corresponding author must inform the editor of any potential conflicts of interest that could influence the authors’ interpretation of the data. Examples of potential conflicts of interest are financial support from or connections to pharmaceutical companies, political pressure from interest groups, and academically related issues. In particular, all sources of funding applicable to the study should be explicitly stated.

Ethical Statement

All of the manuscripts should be prepared in strict observation of research and publication ethics guidelines recommended by International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE, 

Data Sharing Statement

CRT accepts the ICMJE recommendations for data sharing statement policy ( All manuscripts reporting clinical trial results should submit a data sharing statement following the ICMJE guidelines.

Description of Participants

Ensure correct use of the terms sex (when reporting biological factors) and gender (identity, psychosocial or cultural factors), and, unless inappropriate, report the sex and/or gender of study participants, the sex of animals or cells, and describe the methods used to determine sex and gender. If the study was done involving an exclusive population, for example in only one sex, authors should justify why, except in obvious cases (e.g., prostate cancer). Authors should define how they determined race or ethnicity and justify their relevance.


Authorship credit should be based on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; 3) final approval of the version to be published; and 4) agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. Each author should meet these four conditions.

Originality and Duplicate Publication

All submitted manuscripts should be original and should not be considered by other scientific journals for publication at the same time. No part of the accepted manuscript should be duplicated in any other scientific journal without the permission of the Editorial Board. Submitted manuscripts are screened for possible plagiarism or duplicate publication by CrossCheck upon arrival. A letter of permission is required for any and all material that has been published previously. It is the responsibility of the author to request permission from the publisher for any material that is being reproduced. This requirement applies to text, figures, and tables.

Secondary Publication

It is possible to republish manuscripts if the manuscripts satisfy the conditions of secondary publication of the “ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals”

For printed copies of medical journals, visit a local library or university



Surviving Cancer: The Way Forward

A person who has had cancer is commonly called a cancer survivor. “Co-survivor” is sometimes used to describe a person who has cared for a loved one with cancer.

Life after cancer can be anything but ordinary.  Survivorship is a broad term that includes not only people who have been diagnosed with cancer at some point in their life but also the friends and family members of people who have been diagnosed with cancer.  Following the treatment period, during which cancer patients have an abundance of support and helpful information, survivors may feel at a loss for this support, with many unanswered questions. It is important that survivors know it takes time to recover and readjust to life.  It may not be possible to immediately return to their previous version of “normal”.  They may need to take some time to determine what is normal for them at the current time.

Quality of life is usually measured with a survey taken by a person about their general situation and feelings. If a cancer patient or survivor is not happy with their condition, they are said to have a low quality of life. This may lead the patient’s doctors to change the treatment or follow up program in order to make the patient feel better. Having a high Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) is important to cancer patients and survivors because they tend to receive more consistent care and follow through with the suggested treatments. Some recent studies have shown that patients with a higher quality of life may live longer. 

Some people do not like being labelled at all and do not identify as a cancer survivor. Others prefer to look forward to a future that is not focused on their past cancer experience. You may find it difficult to relate to the term survivor. Instead, you may refer to yourself as someone who has had cancer or is living with cancer.

Because there are so many things that can decrease quality of life, doctors are still working on the best ways to improve this important aspect of cancer care. 

Living with a history of cancer is different for each person. But most people have the common belief that life is different after cancer.

Other common reactions that people have after cancer include:

  • Appreciating life more.
  • Being more accepting of themselves.
  • Feeling more anxious about their health.
  • Not knowing how to cope after treatment ends.

Understanding survivorship

Cancer survivorship has at least 2 common meanings:

  • Having no signs of cancer after finishing treatment.
  • Living with, through, and beyond cancer. This means that cancer survivorship starts at diagnosis. It includes people who receive treatment over a longer time. Their treatment can lower the chance of the cancer coming back or help to keep the cancer from spreading.

The phases of survivorship

There are 3 phases of survivorship:

  • Acute survivorship starts at diagnosis and goes through to the end of initial treatment. Cancer treatment is the focus.
  • Extended survivorship starts at the end of initial treatment and goes through the months after. The effects of cancer and treatment are the focus.
  • Permanent survivorship is when years have passed since cancer treatment ended. There is less of a chance that the cancer may come back. Long-term effects of cancer and treatment are the focus.

Talking with Your Primary Care Doctor After Cancer Treatment

  1. Before Leaving the Care of the Oncology Team
    1. Get a treatment summary. Should provide a detailed list of all treatments you received.
    2. Make sure you have a copy of all of your cancer-related medical test results and/or get a copy of all medical test results sent to your primary care provider (PCP). You may need to talk to your team to find out how to request all information for your PCP.
    3. Get a ‘long term care plan’. Your cancer care team should provide you with this before you are discharged from their care. The plan should describe the types of things you need to look out for in the near and distant future. It may also include recommended screenings and other information specific to patients with your type of cancer/types of treatment.
  2. Items to Discuss with Your Primary Care Doctor : To best serve you, your primary care provider will need access to all of your cancer-related medical information. It is a very good idea to make sure that you and your PCP are ‘on the same page’ with respect to your follow-up care. The list presented here includes some of the most common things that patients should consider discussing with their doctors.
  1. How and when will you be screened for a recurrence of your cancer?

You should have a plan in place for regular checkups and relevant screening exams.

  1. How and when will you be screened for secondary cancers?

Because some cancer treatments raise the risk of other, new cancers (secondary cancers), it is important to know what to look for.

  1. How will you be treated for long-term side effects?

Some cancer treatments can lead to side effects that can last a very long time. An example is the pain/burning (neuropathy) caused by nerve damage due to some kinds of chemotherapy.

  1. How will you be checked for late effects?

Some cancer treatments may cause side effects that do not show up for months or years after the treatment stops. An example is heart damage caused by some chemotherapy drugs.

  1. Sexuality

Some cancer treatments can impact sexual performance and/or desire. These include hormonal treatments for breast and prostate cancer, and surgery that impacts sexual functioning. Body image is also a major concern for some cancer survivors, as surgery can leave them feeling unattractive. Sexuality is part of the human experience, and it is important to address any issues, psychological or physical.

  1. Lifestyle changes

Items to consider include diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, and cessation of tobacco usage. If you do not currently exercise regularly, a plan should be created to maximize the benefits and minimize any risks.

  1. Fertility

Cancer treatments can impact the ability of a survivor to have a child. If this is something that you are considering, you should talk with your physician about any concerns or risks.

  1. Integrative Oncology

Many cancer survivors utilize integrative oncology treatments/practices. These include yoga, Tai Chi, herbal supplements, ‘food therapy’, and acupuncture. Unfortunately, most patients do not discuss these practices with their doctors. That is a mistake!

It is important that all supplements and other treatments are documented and discussed. There is good evidence that some treatments can have beneficial effects, but some herbal remedies can interfere with medications or have other effects that need to be addressed. Natural does NOT mean safe.

If you are using or considering a complementary medicine approach, discuss this with your physician.

  1. Emotional and psychological issues

Cancer is stressful!!! The impacts can last a lifetime. It is very common for cancer survivors to suffer from depression and anxiety. Make sure that you discuss this with your physician and seek appropriate counseling/medication when it is warranted. Addressing psychological concerns is as important as dealing with physical issues.

Surviving cancer: What to expect

At the end of treatment, a person has less frequent contact with the health care team. Survivors may have:

  • Relief that treatment is over
  • Uncertainty about the future
  • Increased anxiety
  • Fear that the cancer will come back
  • Guilt about surviving, having lost others to cancer
  • Physical, psychological, sexual or fertility problems
  • Relationship struggles
  • Discrimination at work
  • A social network that now feels like it is not enough

Changes in Relationships

When active treatment is over, some survivors’ needs change and relationships may shift. For example:

  • Some friends may become closer, while others keep themselves at a distance.
  • Families can become overprotective. Or it may feel as if they are no longer being as supportive.
  • Relationship problems from before the cancer diagnosis can surface again.

What you can do:

  • Understand that the entire family changes from the cancer experience in ways they may not be aware of.
  • Work through these changes to get the support you need.
  • Maintain open and ongoing communication.

Getting back to work

Going back to a regular work schedule is a way to get back to a normal routine and lifestyle. Most people need their job and the health insurance it provides.

People with cancer may:

  • Work during treatment
  • Take time off for treatment and return to work when treatment ends
  • Be unable to return to work due to the effects of the cancer or its treatment

At work, you may find that:

  • Coworkers may want to help but do not know how
  • You are treated differently or unfairly compared with before cancer treatment

What you can do:

  • Realize that when and how you share your diagnosis is a personal choice.
  • If you do choose to talk about your journey, set limits on what you share.
  • Think about what coworkers might ask you about during and after treatment. Decide in advance how you want to answer their questions