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We've been hearing a lot lately about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight for cancer survivors. Excess weight and obesity can make a difference in outcomes for cancer patients.
The research is strong for a few cancers in particular, including breast, colon, uterine, kidney and esophageal cancers. Extra pounds can boost the harmful effects of hormones such as estrogen and insulin and may cause excess inflammation in the body.
We have much to learn about how excess weight influences the development and recurrence of cancers. However, considering that excess weight can also increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and mobility problems, if you're a survivor and overweight, it might be time to make a few changes.
As a cancer survivor, your weight may fluctuate quite a bit — especially during treatment. Steroids, lack of sleep, and stress can all have an effect on weight. It's best to wait until your treatment is completed to make long-term changes that are needed to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Here are a few ideas to try:
I plan to check in with you regularly on this topic. I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to post ideas to add to this list. What's worked for you?
Follow me on Twitter @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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Here's what's new in the Mediterranean pyramid:
All plant foods — fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, seeds, olives and olive oil — are grouped together and form the largest part of the pyramid.
Herbs and spices are now part of the pyramid. They add flavor and aroma and reduce the need for fat and salt when cooking.
Fish and shellfish are recommended more often, at least twice a week, in recognition of their unique health benefits.
The pyramid still emphasizes:
Being physically active and enjoying meals with others as the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.
Choosing the least processed forms of plant foods. Fresh, raw and lightly cooked vegetables, fruits and whole grains retain fiber and most of their nutrients.
Using olive oil for cooking, baking, and for dressing salads and vegetables. Extra virgin olive oil is highest in monounsaturated fat and phytonutrients.
Enjoying cheese and yogurt in moderation — preferably low-fat versions.
Serving poultry more often than red meat. Lean red meat should be limited to several times a month.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
Hi everyone...great discussion! At our Mayo Clinic Living with Cancer Patient conference last week we discussed the benefits of following a Mediterranean diet. It is one of the best ways to control weight and eat healthy. Check out the Nutrition-wise blog post at this link on Mayoclinic.com http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet-pyramid/my00663
What do you think? Have any of you tried following this diet?
Hi i have Breast Cancer and i had a lump removed in OCTOBER 2011,then i am taking 20 treatments of radiation then i take tamoxifen for 5 years.This is for HILDA i would really like your input about loosing weight.
I'm new to blogging & I'm not complaining (at all) but, I was wondering if any Mayo doctors/nurses ever respond to our questions/comments/troubles from cancer? I haven't seen a response from this nurse, Sheryl Ness, yet either. It's great to hear from so many of "us" going through cancer but, when do we hear from the professionals? A little helping hand ("professional support" from doctors/nurses who have seen & heard it all!) would be so appreciated. Example: my friend suggested that I "bring milk just to a boil, let it cool down BEFORE you drink it & it'll help ease the stomach & diarrhea." So, I read on line that "boiling milk" changes its' chemistry & it helps with diarrhea. It did help my husband! So, some of the old medical "home tested" therapies/treatments are proven to help. With my Mom in heaven, I don't get the "Dr. Mom" advice anymore. Harmless hints...such as "boiling milk"...could be shared amongst us & used with common sense. Do we always have to pay for professional "Dr. Mom" remedies? I'm not suggesting that we forgo our Doctors. I think the world of our doctor. All I'm saying is: "eat a tablespoon of yellow mustard to relieve a charlie horse cramp!" It works, I've tried it & I hate yellow mustard. Oh well, here's to 2012 & looking forward to some sensible home grown remedies/secrets to help relieve some after effects of che
i have done my chemo/radiation for my cervix for few months now but still i put my weight and i did asked my doctor and he told it could be on my thyroid medicine...
I am so incredibly fortunate to have so much time to exercise... My daily routine includes a mile long swim, yoga and walking. being a survivor has taken my level to new heights.
In a way, my cancer saved me from my life as it was:)
I appreciate every information , though I sometimes file the good advice, I need the continuing help.. thank you
After my chemo treatments were over I had lost almost 30lbs. having no appetite. I joined the livestrong program and go 3 times a week. I eat 3 times a day, not because I am hungry just by the clock. I now weigh 135.I had gone down to 121, so I am improving and hope to stay at this weight.Exercise helps!
Maintaing a normal weight after cancer/chemotherapy treatments is very hard. You are dealing with lack of energy, stress, trouble sleeping probably depression.
Is there any any research/info on weight and ovarian cancer survival?
I have lymphoma and finished chemo a year ago. i am now doing rituxin every 3 months.
my problem is not being able to lose any weight. I walk/run 20 - 25 miles a week and do strength training with a trainer 2 - 3 times a week. i eat sensibly/actually pretty healthy and limit to no more than 1500 cals a day. I have done this for two months steady...and have not lost an ounce. Any advice
I have colon cancer, with a tumor very low on my bowel, almost rectal like your husband, with similar pains. and loss of control. Still doing chemo. I have lost around 90 lbs. I need a weight gain diet, which does not cause me to run. I am not at a point where I can exercise.
But I would offer that there are many cancer survivors who need to gain weight, not lose more. And we need to gain with a wide range of needs, such as low or no fiber.
It's been a year since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage 1; had lumpectomey and underwent 7 weeks of radiotheraphy, and is now on Tamoxifen 20 mg daily. I took a conscious effort to lose some extra pounds and it's been an overwhelming success since then--lost 20 lbs already simply by walking every morning, cutting my rice intake and eating lots of leafy green vegetables. My goal is to shed off 20 lbs more from my current 140. I love myself (and my family) even more now so I am determined to make my body healthy and cancer-free forever. Think positive! You can do it!
Many YMCAs have the Livestrong Program, an exercise program designed for cancer survivors that takes into account the losses in muscle mass or joint issues leftover from chemo and surgery. It's been great for me. I lost a total of 24 pounds during my treatment putting me in the "underweight" class of BMI. I wanted to regain some wieght but did it be regaining muscle, not trying to eat my way to weight gain. Also, my diet is lean protein plus veggies, if still hungry, a little fruit, and very little grain other than quinois and amaranth. Take your body weight, divide in half, that's how many grams of protein you need a day. Get it from lean chicken, fish, eggs, beans, legumes, nuts or grains high in protein mentioned above. I am 18 months from the end of my treatment and have never felt healthier. Plus my hair grew at hyperspeed!
I had lost 8kgs. from the date of my diagnosis of breast cancer 18months ago.It's been a year after the chemo treatment and I managed to keep off the weight because my doctors say I can lost a few pounds but NOT gain. I keep saying to myself that if it is something I CAN CONTROL, I WILL because weight gain or to be overweight increases the risk of recurrence. With this in mind,it helps me keep in track with the "more vegetables and fruits" diet.
I finished chemo one year ago for lymphoma and was doing great until this summer when i had a set back with abdominal issues....So through that I lost weight again....not after trying to get back to a healthy weight I find myself getting to comfortable with the fattening foods, so i went to wright watchers not so much to lose weight but to track what I eat and to eat healthier with less sugars. I feel amazing after two weeks of doing it. It is a great program.!
I read in Discover Magazine that the odor of peppermint oil can help reduce the urge to overeat (average 2800 cal.per week less). Not sure if it isn't psychological but it does seem to be helping me.
I got a new Iphone a few months ago, there is an app, it is free, called "my fitness pal" It is so easy to keep a diary of foods you eat, Definitely helping me keep track.
Re Susan's comment - I was interested in your hypothesis of a peak recurrence period and did some searching about it. I saw several articles that indicated a peak up to year two and then another at year 5.
Keep up your good work - I am closing in on year 5 and have lost 30lbs since the end of my treatment (treadmill and weight bearing resistance training) and am no longer osteopenic.
A year ago, I finished radiation therapy for breast cancer. I taake tamoxofen 20mgs a day, try to eat and sleep well, go for walks e.d. and I feel very well. Hope to go on like this.
I finished treament two months ago. After chemo and radiation I have started to gain weight after losing 20 lbs. I really don't want to add any pounds. I am happy with my weight now, so I plan to keep it that way. Thanks for your suggestions.
My husband is having the opposite problem. He cannot gain weight. He had rectal cancer, his rectum was removed and has a j-pouch now. He's a 4-yr cancer survivor. He has extreme pain with abdomin pain and Bowel Movements. We think that there is a link between the chemo's after effect on the intestines so, does anyone know how to combat chemo intestines? I've heard of a breast cancer survivor that has had bowel/intesintal issues for 8-yrs and that's 8-yrs a cancer survivor. So, how many people suffer with chemo intestines issues and what can be done to fix/repair the chemo damage on ones intestines? Thanx...Diane
I love to walk outside..but with the coming of several inches of snow today I joined our university's rec center to continue walking safely on an indoor track and take advantage of resources of a nutritionist and trainer.
I am a breast cancer survivor who needs to lose 40 pounds to get to my ideal weight. It has been a little over a year since the end of active treatment. Frankly, last year I was too depressed to find the willpower to change my bad habits. Now I am eating differently and exercising but it is a slow process and at this rate it will take at least 6 months if not longer to lose all the weight. I read that breast cancer recurrence increases in year two and peaks in year three. Is that correct? Is there anything more/different I should be doing? Thanks!
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