Healthy Decisions, Strong Immunity

Mar 30, 2020
Healthy Decisions, Strong Immunity
Now more than ever, keeping your immune system strong is a necessity. For a breast cancer patient and during your treatments, this can be a very difficult task. How does breast cancer attack your immune system, how do treatments keep it weak,...

Now more than ever, keeping your immune system strong is a necessity. For a breast cancer patient and during your treatments, this can be a very difficult task. How does breast cancer attack your immune system, how do treatments keep it weak, and what can you do to improve its strength and your quality of life? 

Having cancer gives your life, and the lives you affect, a very unknown and sometimes scary feeling about what could or couldn't happen almost every day. Cancer treatments are changing every day, how your body responds to your treatments changes every day, and how you feel changes every day. The world today is starting to fill up with daily unknowns, uncertainties, and fear. What can happen, what could happen, and what is already happening is frightening. It is especially very frightening for people with compromised immune systems. Who has some of the most compromised immune systems? You do, my dear friend, as I am sure you have already been told many times before. Your body is already working against you as your cancer sets in, and then your immune system is completely compromised once you begin treatments. How unfair is that? In your daily battle, that is one of the most heartbreaking things we see every day. 

But where is the science behind all of it? Cancer cells can sneak past your immune system and the white blood cells used to attack invaders in our bodies because they can look so similar to our normal healthy cells. It's almost like a game of hide and seek inside your body. Some cancer cells can even turn off part of your immune system once they attack, allowing the cancer cells to grow and multiply without being stopped. Cancer can also weaken your immune system if it travels and makes its way inside of your bone marrow. Inside your bone marrow is where your white blood cells are produced and cancer can shut down that production stripping your immune system of its power. But it's not just the disease itself that can lead to your immune system becoming weak, so can your treatments. These life-saving treatments that are needed to destroy the cancer cells can leave your body's immune system weak and not ready to fight. But they are still so important when it comes to saving your life. 

Chemotherapy is the leading cause of damage to your immune system, but radiation and surgery can harm it as well. Chemotherapy is designed to kill rapid growth cells, which cancer is. But other rapidly growing cells are found in the most delicate parts of our body like in your bone marrow, blood, hair, and others. This will hurt the production of white blood cells, making your body more vulnerable to infection, sickness, and other issues. 

During your cancer treatments and in the state of the world now, keeping your immune system as healthy as possible needs to become one of your top priorities. With that in mind, what can you do to keep yourself healthy and happy, while building up your immune system to whatever dangers are lurking out there? Follow these tips and suggestions to help you in your continued battle day in and day out! 

  • As you begin your battle with breast cancer and throughout your treatments, make sure your doctor takes stock of your white blood cell count. Keeping a healthy level of blood cells is extremely important. When your levels are low, take every precaution to strengthen and protect yourself and your immune system, and let your doctor help with these precations. If you can, make sure there is a decent amount of time between your chemo treatments to allow your system to bounce back. Antibiotics can be given during your treatments to avoid other sicknesses and infections from sneaking in. You can also take medications that will stimulate the growth of your white blood cells and keep up in the fight. It's not impossible to keep your white blood cell count up! 
  • We have said it before, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for every aspect of your life during your treatment, along with keeping your immune system strong. Plenty of sleep relaxation, exercise, drinking plenty of water, and eating a balanced diet all play a huge factor in keeping your immune system strong and keeping you healthy. You may be unable to eat a lot during your treatments and your sleep schedule could be all out of whack. Through these difficulties, try your hardest to keep up with a good diet and to get as much sleep as possible. 
  • Self-care is so important. It is not selfish nor is it a waste of your time. It is a necessity during your cancer battle, and it is also a great way to manage your stress and anxiety. High levels of stress can damage your immune system and wear it out. We know this is already a difficult time for you, especially now more than ever, but managing your stress levels needs to be on the top of your list with self-care. Exercising can help with this, spa days are always recommended, and hobbies can all be a great way to manage the stress and anxiety you could be dealing with every day. 
  • When going out of your home, be prepared and think ahead. Avoid germ heavy environments like schools, nursing homes, large meeting spaces, and even hospitals. The hospital might be your biggest challenge to avoid, but always practice cleanliness to the extreme when you visit the hospital during your treatment and care. Wash your hands as often as possible, disinfect the gadgets you use daily, and even wear a mask. Avoid traveling on planes or public transportation. It is also in your best interest to avoid someone who is already ill and could pass something along to you that could turn into something much worse. 

You are fighting a battle inside your body and waging a war on the outside to keep yourself healthy and strong. Now more than ever it is so important to focus on keeping your immune system strong and to be as mindful as possible. It might be hard to not visit or see some of your family or friends to keep yourself healthy, avoiding public gatherings, and avoiding doing things you love doing. But, making these decisions could save your life and keep you healthy. Think smart and stay healthy, it will all be worth the trouble you are going through in the end.