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Living With Colorectal Cancer: 6 Things Every Patient Must Do

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jan 22, 2023

Living With Colorectal Cancer: 6 Things Every Patient Must Do

The degree by which colorectal cancer influences a person’s life depends on several factors like the cancer stage, kind of treatment, and symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about living with colorectal cancer.

Learn everything about your condition

First, you need to learn everything about colorectal cancer. What stage is your cancer? So far, what symptoms are you feeling? Whether, where or when do you want to receive treatment?

When you equip yourself with the knowledge about colon cancer, you’ll be better prepared for when the doctor talks to you about test results and treatment options.

Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as you can to your physician. Additionally, you can gather information from reputable websites and institutions.

Carefully consider your doctor’s recommendations

The next thing to do in managing colorectal cancer is to consider your doctor’s recommendations carefully.

You see, after the staging process, the doctor will discuss with you the most appropriate treatment options. Keep in mind that each one is going to impact your life differently.

For instance, colon surgery means the doctor needs to remove a portion of your large intestine that contains the tumor. If they can reconnect the remaining healthy parts of the colon, you may only need to follow their orders to recover.

However, if they cannot reconnect parts of your large intestine, then you may need a stoma – an opening in your abdominal wall where the stool will be collected. Having a stoma means you’ll need different care.

Receiving another kind of treatment, such as radiotherapy or chemo, also means different care.

The bottom line is, living with colorectal cancer means you need to work closely with your physician. You’ll need to consider their recommendations regarding tests, treatment, and of course, lifestyle modifications.

living with colorectal cancer

You may need to change your diet

Managing colorectal cancer also means you might need to change some aspects of your diet. Case in point, there’s a good chance that the physician will be strict about your:

  • Portions. Instead of three huge meals, they may recommend small, frequent meals.
  • Red meat consumption. They might ask you to be careful with your protein source. Rather than getting it from red meat, you can get it from chicken, beans, eggs, nuts, and low-fat dairy products.
  • Fruits and vegetable consumption. The doctor will most definitely recommend that you load up on fruits and vegetables because they are great for your overall health.
  • Alcohol intake. Living with colorectal cancer means you need to consume alcohol in moderation or ideally, give it up completely.

Get adequate rest and sleep

Living with colorectal cancer means you need to give yourself enough time to recover from treatment. This means you must get adequate rest and sleep.

You might be eager to go back to your previous activities, but remember that overexerting yourself may only do more harm than good.

Ask your doctor about regular exercise

Exercise will be, in no doubt, a part of managing colorectal cancer. Not only does exercise help control your weight, but it also helps foods move through the digestive tract.

Interestingly, some studies revealed that exercise (along with diet) could “improve the negative effects of cancer and its treatment.”

Furthermore, a particular type of physical activity called high-intensity interval training seems to positively affect tumor size.

High-intensity interval training or HIIT is a workout regimen where the person performs several intense exercises in short bursts and alternates it with rest intervals.

The researchers found out that the participants had a reduced colon cancer cell number right after the workout session. And while they emphasized the need for further studies, they also agreed that a physically active lifestyle will likely be vital in beating colorectal tumors.

As such, ask your doctor about the best workout regimen for you.

Take care of your emotions

Living with colorectal cancer can take a toll on one’s emotional health. For this reason, don’t hesitate to ask and receive help from your friends and family. Make time for yourself and talk to other colorectal cancer patients or survivors to draw courage and inspiration.

If it becomes too overwhelming, you can also talk to an expert. In case you don’t know a therapist or counselor, discuss it with your doctor. They may be able to recommend an expert for you.

Learn more about Colorectal Cancer, here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jan 22, 2023

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