Cancer Care. An In Great Health eNewsletter.
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Thank you for subscribing to Cancer Care, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with useful information about cancer care and prevention. To learn more about our services and community events, or to find a physician, visit

To your health,

The Avera Staff


Stress can affect anyone, but as a cancer survivor, you may find stress affects you more than it used to. Maybe you're stressed more often, or you find yourself worrying about treatments. It's normal to feel overwhelmed at times, and it's not easy to fight worry and anxiety when you don't feel well. As the holidays approach, it may help reduce your stress level if you have some strategies in mind before holiday celebrations begin.

Take on only what you can handle. Do you usually cook Christmas dinner, but you don't know if you want to this year? Don't feel obligated if you don't feel well. Or ask family and friends to help you. Maybe just being in the kitchen while others cook will give you the feeling you have when you cook (or do other holiday activities).

Say no. If family members or friends want you to participate in activities but you're not up to it, don't be afraid to say so. If certain traditions make you feel sad, perhaps try some new activities. The change in activities may result in fewer feelings of sadness or grief.

Let it go. Emotions can be overwhelming and complex for a cancer patient during the holidays. Acknowledge what you're feeling, and don't be afraid to cry, yell, laugh or do whatever your emotions make you feel.

Take time for yourself. Participate in activities that make you feel good. Exercise, meditation and art are some common stress relievers. Find what makes you laugh, and actively seek it out. Don't feel guilty if you want to be alone during gatherings.

Remember what you're celebrating. Especially this time of year it can be easy to lose focus on the things that truly matter. Keep in mind that the holidays are meant for joy and hold the promise of life and peace.

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While you're going through cancer treatment, massage may not be the first thing on your mind. But studies have shown that massage can help reduce some of the stress or fatigue you're feeling.

Massage is an integrative medicine (also called alternative medicine ), which is a treatment that pairs with traditional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Other integrative medicines include aromatherapy, the fine arts, nutrition counseling, movement therapies and acupuncture. According to the American Cancer Society, research does not support that massage slows or reverses the growth of cancer; however, it has been shown to relieve symptoms.

The healing touch of massage can help eliminate the worry you may be feeling about treatment. It also can ease physical pain, reduce nausea and lessen the pain of headaches. Massage releases certain endorphins such as serotonin and oxytocin that help people feel relaxed.

Some cancer patients who receive massage therapy during their chemotherapy treatments say they find it to be a relaxing experience during a stressful time. Click here to watch a video about one cancer patient's experience with massage.

Many Avera cancer centers offer massage therapy. You can work with your doctor or certified massage therapist to find the type of massage that meets your needs. Massage may need to be modified due to the type of cancer you have, and you should only receive massages from a certified massage therapist who has expertise working with people who have cancer. Click here to find more information about cancer services at an Avera facility near you.

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In Great Health online archive.

In Great Health is one in a series of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.