Living with the Cervical Cancer

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Toxic habits

Two beer mugs crossed out indicating that alcohol is forbidden.

Alcohol. Alcohol should be avoided or consumed in moderation.

Cigarette crossed out on a "no smoking" poster

Tobacco and recreational drugs. We advise strongly against these. Smoking, in particular, is considered a cofactor that contributes to the persistence of HPV and, therefore, increases the risk of precancerous lesions. Women who smoke do not respond to chemoradiotherapy as well as nonsmokers.

Diet

Patients should follow a balanced, healthy and varied diet that includes fruit, vegetables, meat and fish.

pot, steamer

Eat fresh foods and use simple cooking methods: grill, steam, boil, roast or eat them raw.

sausage, down arrow

Low intake of animal fat, meat and cured meats.

fish, microwave

Oily fish cooked in the oven, microwave or under the grill.

Oil in an oilcan

Consume 3 to 5 spoonfuls of raw olive oil daily.

fruit, vegetable, cereals

Five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, bread and cereals each day.

Exercise

Mujer hace ejercicio para fortalecer los músculos del adbomen y espalda

Moderate exercise tailored to each patient is helpful both during and after treatment. Regular exercise reduces anxiety and depression, helps you feel better and therefore improves your quality of life. Walk, cycle, run, use stairs instead of lifts, etc. Each patient should adapt the exercise to their personal circumstances. If you have not done any exercise before, you should start gradually and progressively increase the duration and intensity based on your tolerance.

Sleep

Woman getting out of bed with unrefreshing sleep

Applying the following recommendations may help you sleep better:

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule.
  • Sleep in a relaxing room (no noises, light or electronic devices).
  • Do not do any intense exercise just before going to bed.
  • Eat your evening meal at least 2 hours before going to bed.

Sex

símbolo sexualidad mujer1

A large proportion of women who have had cervical cancer subsequently manifest some sort of sexual dysfunction.

The most common problems are a loss of sexual desire, discomfort during and even the inability to have intercourse, and a reduced capacity to achieve orgasm. They can depend on the location of the tumour on the genitals, the long-term consequences of the treatment and the psychological effect of the whole process.

In some cases, intercourse may prove difficult or impossible as a result of certain treatments. If so, the couple is advised to focus on a pleasure-centred sexual relationship involving non-penetrative activities such as the use of creams, massages and, if necessary, for example, sex toys.

Social and emotional support

Emotional support between two women

After completing your treatment, returning to your normal, everyday life can prove difficult for several reasons, including the emotional and physical aftereffects of the therapies, the fear of relapse, concerns about your body image, worry or anxiety.

It is important that you seek support from those around you, your friends and family. Reach out – sharing your worries and feelings will help reduce any stress.

Substantiated information by:

Aureli Torné Bladé
Lydia Gaba
María Jesús Sánchez
Àngels Rovirosa

Published: 21 February 2020
Updated: 21 February 2020

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