[Skip to Content]
Rock Cairn

Every point on the journey is a destination unto itself

Kaushal B. Nanavati, MD

To make an appointment to talk to someone about the Survivor Wellness Program, please call:


Survivor Wellness Program

After cancer treatments have been completed, people are often left with questions. What should I be looking for? What should I be eating? How do I make side effects from my cancer treatment better or easier to live with? What can I do to keep myself healthy? Upstate's Survivor Wellness Team can help answer these questions and more. The team works in conjunction with your existing healthcare providers to ensure communication and to create a wellness plan that works for you. We are here to assist with:

  • Coordinating care with your primary care physician. Basic healthcare needs can change after a cancer diagnosis.
  • Understanding your treatments and their late effects
  • Genetic counseling
  • Addressing your mental health needs
  • Evaluating fertility concerns
  • Fitness and nutrition counseling to improve the quality of life after cancer

Upstate's Survivor Wellness Team can help you thrive! A good place to start is incorporating core fundamentals of wellness into each day, including nutrition, physical exercise, stress management and spiritual wellness. Read below to learn about Dr. Nanavati's Core 4 Fundamentals of Wellness.


Keep It Simple

Refer to the “Food Plate” (USDA or Harvard) as a guide or follow this information:

  • 7-9 servings of vegetables daily.
  • 1-2 servings of fruit daily (1 serving for diabetics earlier in the day or split into ½ serving twice a day).
  • Protein with each meal (10 grams minimum). Beans/legumes as your primary source of protein. If you are going to eat meat, eat fish, turkey, chicken. Try to get organic, grass-fed meat when possible. Limit red meat due to increased risk of certain cancers. Avoid processed meats (cold cuts), bacon, sausage, ham.
  • Grains (oats, whole grains, barley, quinoa, etc).
  • Nuts (walnuts and almonds are better for cholesterol than peanuts or cashews).
  • Dairy – primarily yogurt or smoothie/buttermilk (yogurt diluted with water).
  • Drink – water as your primary drink. Limit juice (better to eat the fruit than to just have juice as eating the fruit gives some insoluble fiber that can help with bowel movement regularity and keep your intestines clean).

Meat comes on the plate after you’ve loaded the vegetables, grain, beans, and fruit on the plate and placed the water and yogurt/buttermilk on the side.

Bread, rice, potato, pasta – don’t have these after lunch. Dinner should be vegetables, protein (legumes/beans primarily or meat such as fish, turkey, chicken in that order), nuts (almonds, walnuts), yogurt/buttermilk and water.

Physical Exercise

Make It A Daily Appointment

Get 30-60 minutes on most days even walking at a brisk pace. Get a pedometer and walk:

  • 10,000 steps a day to roughly maintain weight.
  • 12-14,000 steps a day to burn more calories.
  • Working out first thing when you wake up, before you eat, will give you a better chance of fat burning for the same amount of time compared to other times of the day.

If you’re going to lift weights and do cardiovascular exercise as part of a workout, then after you have stretched, do the weights first and then do the cardio. During the cardio, do an interval workout as this will lead to greater calorie burning and a higher metabolism for a longer time after you’re done versus going at the same pace.

  • Make sure to stretch after the workout as this is as important as stretching before to prevent injury. Also, get at least 10-15 grams of protein and not more than 20-25 grams within 30 minutes of finishing the workout as this will help with muscle recovery.
Make sure you do something you enjoy and can do regularly. Tai Chi is one of the most complete forms of mind, body, spirit strengthening and balancing exercise systems. Choose what you enjoy!

Stress Management

Know What's Really Yours

Remember that there is only one person that can truly balance your life and that, my friend is YOU!

Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

There are two kinds of stresses: things that you can do something about and things that you cannot control.

So do the following exercise:

  1. Take a sheet of paper and make a list of all of the things that give you stress, tension, worry, anxiety or concern.
  2. On a second sheet of paper make two columns. Label the first column "stress that I can do something about" and label the second column "stresses that I cannot control".
  3. Now take the list that you first made and sort out the list into the two columns on the second sheet.
  4. The stresses you cannot control will remain on the list until someone else takes care of them as you can do nothing about them (for example, what other people say or do. You can control what you say or do but you cannot control other people’s reaction to it or their expectations).
  5. The stresses you can do something about are truly yours to deal with! Take one item at a time and make a written ‘action’ plan to get it off your list and resolved. Then when it’s done, cross it off your list. This act of physically crossing it off will give you a sense of control over your stressors as well.

Spiritual Wellness

Peace & Contentment

This term may scare some people into not reading further. But that would be your loss. This term can mean many things to many people. I define it here as meaning the achievement of peace. This word, peace, can mean different things to different people and you have to figure out what it means for you. Once you define it, make a plan to get to that place in your life where you have a sense of peace. Then, and this is the important but tricky part, don’t let anyone get you out of this place. There will be give and take and you will have to figure out what is important and what is not so important to you.

Breathing exercise: it is well known that deep slow abdominal breathing can do everything from reducing anxiety, averting anxiety attacks, and reducing blood pressure, to increasing focus and concentration. 10-12 minutes per day of deep breathing; breathe in through the nose for a count of 5-10. When you breathe in, your shoulders shouldn’t rise but your abdomen should push out. When you breathe out, the abdomen sucks back in.

Many Things Can Change Once You Become a "Survivor" of Cancer

Watch this video to learn how our Survivor Wellness Program can help you.

Survivor Wellness Staff

Our team works with your existing healthcare providers to create a wellness plan that works for you.

Kaushal Nanavati, MD FAAFP, ABOIM, ABIHM, is the Assistant Dean of Wellness and Director of Integrative Medicine & Survivorship at Upstate Cancer Center and an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at Upstate Medical University. Dr. Nanavati is also a motivational speaker and author with a passion for leading people toward improved wellness, self-care, and peace in life.

Susan Tiffany, BSN, RN, CCM, OCN, is the Survivorship Navigator at Upstate Cancer Center. Sue has worked in oncology for over 19 years and began her role at the Cancer Center in December 2021. Prior to that, Sue was an Oncology Case Manager at Upstate University Hospital.

Survivor Wellness Resources

By offering this evidence-based link we are by no means suggesting that you should use one or more of these herbal remedies, as preventive or curative, for your particular health condition. If you are interested in any of these remedies, please speak with your Oncologist as there is limited data about herb-drug interactions and sometimes herbs can reduce effectiveness of your cancer therapy, magnify the effect and potentially side effects, or potentially be harmful to your health. Your comprehensive cancer team will be able to help provide guidance for your choices to help optimize your overall health and health outcomes.