This is a difficult subject. I’ve talked about it in other blog posts, but I believe it is so important it warrants more focus. In facing up to melanoma or other cancer being positive is essential, it may be hard sometimes, but it’s possible, and can provide benefits to physical as well as mental health. State of mind can be very powerful in challenging disease and illness.

There’s a huge range of emotions when you’re faced with the realities of having cancer, and not one of us know exactly what to expect. We don’t know exactly how we will be affected by what we have, how we’ll respond to treatment, how we’ll feel both physically and mentally, how our lives will turn, what our future might look like. We’re in a situation we don’t want to be in and we don’t have much control over what’s happening, we don’t know how lucky or unlucky we will be, but we hope we will come through it.

We probably agonise on a daily basis about our situation, or at the very least consider it, our nature is to be apprehensive, we cannot forget what we have, and we shouldn’t forget it.

But can we make our position better? Can we influence what happens to us? I think so to some degree. I’m not suggesting we can cure ourselves of course, but we can work towards helping our treatment, keeping our lives as normal as possible, being active as possible and otherwise healthy as possible while we’re dealing with melanoma

My belief is if you feel well enough, carry on. Keep doing what you’re doing or even start doing something else. Don’t put a block in the way. Be careful of course, don’t take unnecessary risks, but maybe you don’t have to put your life on hold. Think like it’s business as usual, unless you’re told not to. Post operatively, follow the advice, but push yourself a little to get back to that normality, have it in mind that you will return to the status quo. It may never be quite the same as it was before, if you have side effects like lymphoedema, nerve damage, numbness etc but you can exercise willpower to do what you can to get back or towards where you want to be.

Consider what you’re eating and drinking. Diet rarely gets mentioned by the medical profession, but we all know there are rights and wrongs, we choose what we want to consume and that’s fine, it’s an individual decision. Some foods are linked with stimulating cancer and others in resisting it. Same with different drinks. The reality is that there’s no panacea here, you can be incredibly fit and healthy and still get melanoma or other cancer, you can be positively unhealthy and escape it, so there isn’t a 100% logic we can follow.

But you can tell yourself you’re doing something good, and that is really important. You’re helping your body prepare by what you consume and how fit you keep yourself. That can manifest itself physically and also mentally. If you feel in good shape before an operation you might recover better and more quickly from it. If you’re going through immunotherapy treatment the same should apply. There’s no guarantee, but there is the benefit of perception – that belief that can keep you going, if you feel good in yourself because you’re playing your part, looking after your diet, staying fit are you mentally more prepared to face treatments and help your body fight back physically against the disease?