Exercise and Nutrition

Long-Term Follow-Up

Exercise and Nutrition


Q. Will exercise help the long-term effects of my treatment?

Yes, most people benefit from some form of physical activity, during treatment and in early recovery. Exercise reduces fatigue and pain, improves mental and physical stamina, reduces stress, controls weight, prevents heart disease and improves overall quality of life. Weight-bearing exercise is the one of the most important things that you can do to preserve bone and muscle strength. Read more about exercise during treatment.

You should consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. This is especially important for patient who might have hip damage (avascular necrosis or AVN) because of treatment with steroids.

Q. What is the right exercise program for me?

The right exercise program is one that starts slowly and gradually increases in time and intensity. Your muscles will tell you when you need to slow down and rest. Strength, flexibility and aerobic fitness are all important features of an effective exercise program. Most importantly, do activities that you enjoy.

Read more on developing an exercise program and adding activity into your daily routine in an article from the American Cancer Society.


Q. Should I take extra vitamins and minerals because of the treatment I had?

We recommend vitamin supplements (without iron) for the first year after transplant. Immunosuppressed individuals need to be careful about the kinds of supplements they take. See the following resources for more information on nutrition for immunosuppressed individuals from these two sources: Adult Nutrition Guidelines for Discharge Home and Guidelines for the Use of Herbal and Nutrient Suppliments.

The American Cancer Society has published a report with guidelines on nutrition and physical activity to prevent cancer and to improve quality of life after treatment.


Q. Since my treatment, I sometimes don't feel like eating. What can I do to ensure that I am getting proper nutrition?

One recommendation is to try eating small, frequent meals and snacks every one to two hours. Another recommendation is to keep high-protein, high-calorie snacks and foods handy to eat when you are hungry. Some people find that they are sensitive to certain foods after the transplant. Avoiding these foods may help maintain a good appetite. Additional information on this subject is available on the American Cancer Society Web site.

Immunocompromised patients should also refer to the Diet Guidelines for Immunosuppressed Patients.