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It's been a while since we talked about nutrition. Your relationship with food is an important one. Eating well gives you energy and nutrients to heal and continue on your path of survivorship. Healing and preventing cancer recurrence are priorities, so with that in mind, try small changes at first, and find nutritious foods that you enjoy.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Some ways to have fun while making these changes might include shopping for a new cookbook with healthy meal plans, planting a vegetable or herb garden, or taking a cooking class that gives you practical ways to incorporate these changes. Keep your kitchen and pantry stocked with your favorite healthy choices.
I'd love to hear how you have changed your nutrition habits to positive ones. Please share your ideas with each other.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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Great discussion as usual on nutrition and diet during cancer. To address a few questions, lemons are a great source of vitamin C, and therefore can strengthen the immune system. However, I can not find any research that shows that lemons can reduce tumor size. Carrot juice also is a good source of antioxidants, including beta-carotene. Beta-carotene has been studied with mixed results related to lung cancer, so I suggest first asking your oncologist about this before giving high doses of carrot juice.
My boyfriend has been diagnosed with small cell cancer in the lymph node between the lungs and heart, wrapped in the blood vessels, non oper. I have started juicing for him and am hearing that carrot juice is not good for lung cancer patients? Is this true? Thanks
What a nice read for me. I was diagnosed with gastric cancer a year ago, took 3 chemo , turned down for surgery and told I had 3 months to live. That was 6 months ago. I put my self on a veggie/fruit diet with vitamins/supplements and doing very good.I am 81 yrs young and talk with God every day.
I would like to know whether lemons and its derivatives can be a cure for reduction of tumour size or even tumour prevention. Thank you
If you continue to do what you have always done; the results will always be the same. Courtesy of "Know the Cause"
I am a regular reader of your Newsletter. Yes I have changed my eating habits alot and i follow most of the dietery instructions by you in this article, altough I live in a totally different country & environnment.
Great discussion everyone! Looks like I need to write about this topic more. Many of you have asked about vitamins and supplements. My colleagues in nutrition do have a good summary on this in their blog - Nutrition and Healthy Eating - see this link http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/multivitamins/NU00651. When in doubt, always ask your treatment team about vitamins and supplements (especially if you are currently receiving treatment). Vitamin D and Calcium have been studied related to cancer and have been found to have positive benefits. See this related link on Mayoclinic.com - http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-d/NS_patient-vitamind and see Mayo Clinic YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgpZ-TylYAM. Thanks so much Annemieke for posting your experience on Sharing My Mayo Story. Look for future blog posts on nutrition and breast cancer as well as other nutrition-related topics.
This article with comments is timely. I reacted to my breast cancer last year with resolve to eat better, and generally do, but often come home too tired to cook. My husband makes fabulous salads twice a week with organic greens, veggies, sprouts, avocado, pecans, grapes or other fruit pieces, topped with a natural dressing (can make your own with olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, natural peanut butter). But I am undone by Halloween chocolate, followed by birthday cakes at work, next holiday foods! It's two months of sweets and treats, unless I can convince myself it is poison. Help!
I also wonder about vitamins. My oncologist recommends D3 for breast health, but I've read that some of the other vitamins are suspected to increase morbidity. Besides, I'm struggling to justify vitamin consumption when I'm 15 pounds overweight, when half the world's women are malnourished.
My husband had radiation/chemo followed by surgery in June 2010. More chemo which ended in March 2011. His cancer was staged after surgery as stage 2 no nodes rectal cancer. He had constant diahrrea from the very beginning of treatment and ended up on a BRAT diet for many months. His bowel symptoms are very slowly improving and he has just now started to be able to tolerate whole grains, fiber and cooked & raw fruits & veggies. He had lost a total of 60 lbs, and has regained 10lbs in the last 4 to 6 weeks. It seems that "time" is required for the body to heal itself after being assaulted with all the chemo and radiation. So, hang in there everyone. It does get better!
If you're interested, please feel free to read:
Hi Sheryl, in my recent posting, "My Mayo Story", I shared the choices I made in working myself through 20 weeks of chemotherapy, surgery (lumpectomy/axillary dissection) and radiation. After my Triple Negative Breast Cancer diagnosis I changed to a Vegan/Raw/Gluten Free diet and I enjoy a healthy daily mix made of fat free cottage cheese, flax oil/fresh ground flax seeds and berries. It really made and continues to make a big difference, my weight is at a healthy level, I have loads of energy and as a result can keep up with my exercise regimen.
I'd love to share some of the healthy and great tasting food choices that are out there without meat, fish and dairy products.
Rita, you may want to talk to someone in integrative medicine about diet and supplements that you can take and do not impact your treatments, that's what I did and I take a mix of things tailored to my needs. Since the last thing you want is to jeopardize the success of your treatments. In my case I was also allowed Curcumin/Turmeric capsuleswhich made among other things makes a difference in joint pains too. But timing and quantity are of the essence.
Re green tea. Ask your doctor, or find out what kind of chemo you're on. Some of them say to avoid green tea.
Has anyone heard about NOT doing any kind of supplements? My oncologist prescribed me a once a week dosage of calcium/D and also told me to take 600 mil calcium and 600 of D of otc caltrate daily. That's ALL !!! She said definitely NO other supplements because the vitamins also strengthen the cancer cells. Help! Since I was a child i took c, e, d2,6,12 plus a multivitmin. Was that the wrong thing to do? I hope you can print this or answer this for me. I had stage 4 cancer (masectomy) and many lymph nodes removed. Tho I am feeling ok now, I wanted to take a supplement for my aching joints. Help!!!!
Lumpectomy only - non estrogen cancer of breast - clear lymph including Sentinel, chose no followup radiation, eating brown rice, many legumes, organic fruits and veggies, 70 per cent raw, nuts, as many grains as I can use (have Celiac) lots of spring water, have infra-red Dome from China, use one hour each day, tumeric, vitamin D, B complex including B12 injections, vegan diet - am free of any observed symptoms so far. Went to Restoration Ranch by Palm Springs Ca for 10 days (online) WONDERFUL/fairly inexpensive
I have recurring (1st time) hormone positive, Her2 negative breast cancer. Am looking at a second round of radiation and chemo, this time via pill vs. iV as in the first round. Besides general good nutrition, are there other foods that boost the fighting power of the body?
Sheryl, is it possible to post a list of foods that us breast cancer survivors should steer clear of due to having estrogen positive cancers? I have heard about avoiding soy, flax seed, fennel, hops, yams, licorice, alfalfa, anise & ginseng. Also, can you pls explain the connection between sugar and breast cancer. Many thanks!
Thanks for discussing food. I shall look for that pedyalite drink in the drugstore that someone mentioned. Every morning, before coffee, I drink a glass of warm water with turmeric, ginger, black pepper and olive oil and I am eating almost all organic foods, to stay as chemical free as possible. I had stage 3 triple negative breast cancer and am in my second year cancer free.
I have read that green tea is a great choice to help prevent the continuation of my disease. I am not fond of the taste of it, so I have simply added it to my regular black tea and do not notice any change in the flavor...
Hi - thanks to everyone for sharing tips. I have had carcinoid of the small intestine for 27 years. When I suffer from excessive diarrhea or nausea it is hard to stay hydrated just with regular liquids, so I also drink pedialyte. This really gives me a boost and helps me to regain my strength. You can find pedialyte at any drug store. Good luck.
Thank you for this information Sheryl! I just signed up for this news letter and especially looking forward to the nutrition information. I have finished with chemo for breast cancer, Hormone negative, HER2neu positive. Do you have a specific "ongoing grocery staple list" that could be helpful for meals as well as for snacks. I need healthy quick breakfast suggestions too! One more thing, for sweetner should I use Agave nectar, stevia, or honey? Thank you so much!
What is it about sweets and salt that has to do with cancer?
Carol I am so sorry about this! I was recommended a very good cookbook by my nutrition oncologist Called The Flexitarian Diet-recipes are for one so you have to adapt for more but a good help in moving away from a meat high in animal fats...but your nutrition oncologist will know specifically for your case what you need to do so spend time w/ him or her --that was so encouraging to me during breast cancer where some of the foods I need to stay away from are specific to estrogen sensitive cancer. God bless you and strengthen your heart -The Psalms are like food to my soul too!
i have stage 4 colon cancer i have part of my colon removed and isn't reattach i have a ostomy bag. i had crohns disease first and even though had my colon check ever 4 years i went unnotice now i have a fight for my live and wonder what kinda foods i should eat to help with chemo and cancer. I'm only 47 so people get check for colon cancer if you notice any blood or changes no matter your age go have it looked at
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