Dr. Shoba Kankipati shares tips for liberated living after cancer
July 2, 2012 (East Bay, Cali.) – There is always a discussion about how to prevent cancer. But what needs to be done after cancer? The American Cancer Society estimates there are more than 1.5 million survivors living in California alone. For these individuals, their family and friends, Shoba Kankipati, M.D., a Board Certified Medical Oncologist and Hematologist at Epic Care, Partners in Cancer Care, is sharing the top three ways to declare independence from cancer this Independence Day.
“Getting my patients through the last treatment is only half of my job,” Dr. Kankipati explains. “Cancer will always be a part of their life, but by no means does it have to embody them.”
For her patients, Dr. Kankipati stresses three factors in moving forward from a diagnosis:
Nutrition, Exercise and Support.
“It may sound elementary, but taking control of your diet is a huge step in controlling your health,” she says. “Eating natural, less processed foods can be crucial to your body healing after treatment. A good rule of thumb – if you can’t pronounce it, it doesn’t belong in your body,” Dr. Kankipati explains. “From one day to six years past your diagnosis, properly fueling your body is beneficial.”
Patients may not be able to immediately return to three meals a day. Instead, Dr. Kankipati encourages eating five smaller meals throughout the day, as suggested by the American Cancer Society. It’s also important to get at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day and stick to whole grains. “Superfoods like blueberries and quinoa provide the necessary nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, to sustain a healthy life.”
Dr. Kankipati also advocates physical activity to fight fatigue, build muscle strength and even ward off depression. “Exercise may start off slow for some, but that’s ok. Even a walk around the block is good for your body’s recovery,” she explains. The goal she sets for her patients is to work up to 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week. “This doesn’t have to be time spent in the gym. You can play outside with your grandkids or take your girlfriend for a walk,” Dr. Kankipati suggests. “Claiming this time as your own and making it about what you can do now will help keep up the routine.”
The journey from diagnosis to survival can take an emotional toll on anyone. “Cancer can raise a lot of questions and generate fear, and that’s completely normal. Finding a group or a counselor to talk you through these emotions can and will help you move forward,” Dr. Kankipati states. “Support groups help survivors talk to other survivors and connect in a way only they can. It’s just another reminder that no one is alone in this process,” Dr. Kankipati shares.
“Every journey and story is different,” Dr. Kankipati says. “Being a survivor doesn’t just happen one day, it takes hard work. And with smart lifestyle choices and the right tools and support, it can mean a life full of possibilities and continued health.”