Family Peace May Boost Your Cancer Fight: What You Need to Know

Cancer claims the lives of almost 600,000 Americans every year. If you’re diagnosed with cancer and undergo treatment, one crucial lifestyle factor can make all the difference between life and death: your stress levels and family relationships. Studies at the Mayo Clinic indicate that surviving cancer may depend as much on your lifestyle as it does on the quality of your medical care.

Managing Stress and Relationships

Before undergoing cancer treatment, researchers recommend addressing any quality-of-life issues that might affect your stress levels. During one study, scientists analyzed data from colon cancer patients and discovered that those with high levels of family conflict and poor quality of life tripled their chance of postoperative complications when compared to individuals with more peaceful relationships.

When it comes to surviving cancer, managing stress and nurturing healthy relationships are just as important as receiving proper medical care. Your emotional, mental, spiritual, financial, and social well-being all play a significant role in your ability to fight the disease.

Understanding Quality of Life

Contrary to popular belief, the term “quality of life” isn’t limited to happiness or physical well-being. It encompasses multiple aspects of life, such as how well your emotional, spiritual, mental, financial, and social needs are met. As Juliane Bingener, M.D., a gastroenterologic surgeon at Mayo Clinic explains, “We can say, ‘This is good, this is in the normal range, but this one here, that is not good, and maybe we should do something.’”

Dr. Bingener’s research explores how understanding and addressing quality-of-life issues before surgery can help patients better cope with the stress and challenges of cancer treatment. So, it’s crucial not to focus solely on treating the disease, but also on improving your life and maintaining good relationships with your family members.

Addressing Emotional Health

Aside from managing stress and maintaining healthy relationships, another essential factor in improving your overall quality of life is taking care of your emotional health. Mental health cannot be sidelined when it comes to battling cancer, so it’s crucial to seek support and develop coping mechanisms to help you manage any emotional challenges during your treatment. offers comprehensive resources and advice on dealing with the emotional side effects of cancer treatment.

Staying Positive

A positive attitude can play a significant role in your cancer journey. Throughout the process, surround yourself with people who encourage and support you, and maintain a hopeful outlook. According to the American Cancer Society, staying positive doesn’t mean you have to ignore your feelings, pretend everything is fine, or avoid discussing your cancer with friends and loved ones. It means focusing on the good aspects of your life while acknowledging the challenges.

Focusing on Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Making healthy lifestyle choices is a crucial factor in managing your stress levels and improving relationships with family members. Eating a nutritious diet, getting regular exercise, and staying active can contribute to your overall wellness. A healthy lifestyle is more than simply treating your disease; it’s about taking a comprehensive approach to improving your daily life. The National Cancer Institute offers helpful advice on adopting healthy habits during and after cancer treatment.

Prioritizing Self-Care

Throughout your cancer journey, don’t forget to prioritize self-care. This means setting aside time for yourself and engaging in activities that bring you comfort and relaxation. Listening to your body, setting boundaries, and asking for help when you need it are all essential for maintaining your well-being.

Seeking Support

Having a strong support system can make all the difference when facing cancer. Family members, friends, health professionals, support groups, and social workers can all provide valuable resources and assistance during this difficult time. Stay connected with those who care about you and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice when needed. The American Cancer Society is an excellent resource for finding support options in your area.

Taking Charge of Your Cancer Journey

In the end, surviving cancer is about more than just treating the disease. It’s about taking charge of your life, managing stress, and focusing on improving your quality of life. By addressing the various aspects of your life that can help or hinder your recovery, you’ll be better equipped to face the challenges of cancer treatment and come out stronger in the end.

Remember, dealing with cancer is not just a physical battle, but an emotional and mental one as well. Tending to your relationships, stress levels, and overall quality of life are essential components of your path to recovery. So as you face your cancer journey, don’t forget to focus on the whole picture – the mind, body, and spirit.