Although breast cancer in men only accounts for less than 1% of all cancer cases, its physiological and emotional impact cannot be disregarded. Breast cancer can affect the immune system in multiple ways. While cancer itself can weaken the body’s immune responses, conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, targeted cancer drugs, and radiotherapy can have an undesirable effect as well. Thankfully, there are a number of things that can be done to help ensure that your body is in the best possible position to ward off illness and infection.
Follow a nutrient-dense diet
Following a balanced and nutrient-dense diet is one of the easiest ways to give your immune system a much-needed boost. When you are receiving cancer treatment, however, it may become more difficult than normal to avoid malnutrition. While it may be tempting to simply invest in a range of supplements that claim to have immune-boosting qualities, nothing beats eating a diet filled with lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy grains. Try to eat food from all the food groups every day, and don’t make drastic changes to your diet without consulting with your healthcare team. In many instances, your doctor may recommend that you see a qualified nutritionist to help you determine and meet your nutritional requirements.
Remember that sleep is of the utmost importance
Getting between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep a night allows your body to heal. Unfortunately, the added stress brought on by a cancer diagnosis, together with cancer treatment, can have a huge impact on the quality of your sleep. If you do not get enough quality sleep, you're already-compromised immune system is going to take another knock. While the occasional night of disrupted sleep is normal, it is important to address any persistent sleep concerns as a matter of urgency. Try to make your bedroom as comfortable as possible, and steer clear of electronic devices shortly before bedtime.
Try to stress less
While there is no denying that a cancer diagnosis can cause immense stress, it is important to be aware of the impact stress can have on your immune system. When large amounts of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released into the body, the body’s ability to repair and heal itself is severely compromised. If you want to keep your immune system functioning well, it is vital to control your stress levels as much as possible. For this reason, many cancer treatment facilities have started to introduce stress management therapies alongside conventional treatments. You can reduce your stress in a number of ways, such as by engaging in yoga and meditation, spending time in nature, listening to music, or finding a hobby that takes your mind off your condition.
The immune system is the body’s most powerful ally when it comes to fighting cancer. It is therefore important to do what you can to ensure that your immune system is as strong as it can possibly be.