Living a Healthy Life After Cancer
- “General Hospital” star Cameron Mathison, 54, has embraced a healthy lifstyle — which includes daily ice baths — after beating kidney cancer.
- Mathison was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer, in 2019. According to the National Cancer Institute, common symptoms of kidney cancer include blood in the urine, persistent pain in your side, unexplained weight loss, or a lump in your abdomen.
- Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and managing stress are some of the things SurvivorNet experts recommend for cancer survivors to lead healthy lives. Getting regular checks for recurrence may also be recommended.
- One benefit of maintaining optimal health for those with cancer is they are more likely to endure treatment better and experience fewer side effects, MD Anderson’s Dr. Sairah Ahmed told SurvivorNet.
The popular soap opera star said cancer has given him a different perspective on life, and focusing on his physical and mental health is part of his recovery plan.
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“Morning routine,” Mathison captioned his Instagram post that shows the toned star taking a dip into the icy water.
The short video clip shows him taking a deep breath before taking the cold plunge.
His supportive fans commented on the video, complimenting him on his healthy choices and thanking him for inspiring others living with cancer.
“So happy to see you in a good, healthy place after your cancer battles. I show your posts to my brother for encouragement. He’s stage 4,” Instagram user Morgan Griffith wrote in the comment section.
“So handsome and so talented. I am so glad you are so healthy. You are my favorite on General Hospital and Hallmark. All my best,” Instagram user Margaret Insalaco wrote.
Mathison dedicates many social media posts to his healthy lifestyle, including “easy-to-make protein shakes.” He also makes many posts about his children, whom he loves dearly.
Helping You Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Mathison’s Cancer Battle & Its Impact on Fans
Mathison’s cancer journey began in 2019 when he was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, common symptoms of kidney cancer include blood in the urine, persistent pain in your side, unexplained weight loss, or a lump in your abdomen.
Mathison underwent surgery to rid himself of the cancerous tumor.
Last year, he told Entertainment Tonight that he was “feeling strong” and healthy after his cancer.
“I think I’m as strong as I was in my mid-20s. I have more energy than I had 20 years ago,” Mathison said.
He said his experience with cancer changed his outlook on life.
“If you go through a cancer journey, where I didn’t know if I was going to die or not or what, you can’t go through something like that without it moving you. My willingness and desire to help others have really increased my gratitude for enjoying life. I think maybe it’s also influenced my decision to have more balance in my life and not work nonstop,” he said.
He still undergoes health checks to ensure the cancer has not returned.
“I’m back here at USC Keck for my CT scan, chest X-rays, and bloodwork to make sure I can say three years cancer-free,” Mathison wrote in a previous Instagram post.
Earlier this summer, he reflected on his journey for National Survivors Day.
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“Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You may not be where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be. It can be easy to get caught up in how far you have to go. Don’t forget to look back and recognize how far you have come. Every day brings you one step closer,” he said in an Instagram post.
Mathison previously said he’s heard from fans who credited him with helping them discover their own cancers or health issues.
While a guest on “The Tamron Hall Show,” Mathison explained how he felt about the impact his cancer journey had on others. “It means sort of everything. It’s like we’ve got all these incredible things in life, and sometimes our conditions can be quite great, but at the same time, if you’re not kind of using your life in a way to help others and benefit others, it all seems sort of hollow.”
“So when you hear [people say ‘thank you’] … I’ve heard people say literally from my own cancer experience. I was my own best advocate for my health. I begged for an MRI, and it was just a fluke that I found my own cancer. And so many people have heard that story and literally have saved their life or their spouse’s life. It brings so much meaning to my every day,” he said.
Living a Healthy Lifestyle
The general recommendations for a healthy lifestyle are similar whether you have cancer or not.
Dr. Ken Miller, the Director of Outpatient Oncology at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, shared some guidelines for cancer survivors who are concerned about a recurrence with SurvivorNet:
- Exercise at least two hours a week, and walking counts.
- Eat a low-fat diet.
- Eat a colorful diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. The American Cancer Society recommends aiming for two to three cups of vibrant vegetables and fruits each day.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Studies have shown that being obese can increase your risk for several types of cancer.
“The more physically fit you are going through your cancer treatment, the fewer side effects you’ll have and the faster you’ll get back to your normal quality of life,” Dr. Sairah Ahmed told SurvivorNet.
Dr. Ahmed is an associate professor in the Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma, Division of Cancer Medicine, at MD Anderson Cancer Center.