Monday, 18 June 2012

Guest Blog - Nutrition Improves Quality of Life for Cancer Patients

The latest blog post is a guest blog from Jillian Mckee.  Jillian has written about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition in coping with cancer.  We thank Jillian for taking the time to send us this piece, and hope that it can help educate those suffering from cancer as well as those caring for individuals with the disease.  Would would welcome your thoughts on this as well as your personal experiences.  Please feel free to use the comment tool below.

Cancer is a major cause of death in the US and worldwide.  it will affect one-third of the population at some stage of their lives, and over 70 percent of cancer cases occur in people over 65 years old.

Cancer is caused by genetic mutations in cells, which cause an overabundance of abnormal cells.  Only about 6 percent of cancers are belived to be caused by inherated mutations, while 95 percent are considered ''sporadic'' meaning they are the unpredicatable result of a combination of genetics, chance, and environment.

Cancer patients typically develop a wide range of physical symptoms, including weight loss, anorezia, fever or fatigue, and malaise.  Also, different forms of cancer cause different symptoms.  Teh actual treatments for cancer, like chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and immunotherapy can produce a number of serious side effects.  This is because they cannot usually target the cancer cells only, but instead cause 'collateral damage' to healthy cells as well.

Most cancer patients have already had significant weight loss before they are diagnosed.  malnutrition is very common among cancer patients, with an incidence of anywhere from 30-90 percent, depending upon factors such as gender, age, type, location, and the stage of the cancer.  Patients who have gastric or pancreatic cancer seem to experience the highest rate of weight loss.  Also, patients with cancers of the nexk and head, lungs, and oesophagus are often victims of malnutrition.

The nutritional needs of cancer patients often vary widely from that of healthy people.  They may need more nutrition because of impaired organ function, hypermetabolism, the need for weight gain, or greater nutritnt losses.

It is believed that people with low folate levels are more likely to experience DNA mutations that can cause cancer.  Folate is a B-complex vitamin that can be gotten thorough foods or supplements.

Vitamin D
Current research suggests that vitamin D slows the growth of cancer cells.  Recently, the American Association for Cancer Research demonstrated a connection between higher vitamin D consumption and a lowered risk of developing breast cancer.  Vitamin D was found to lower the risk by up to 50 percent.

Vitamin D may also be good nutrition for mesothelioma patients.  A Harvard study found that lung cancer patients who had surgery for their cancer in the summer, when vitamin D is most prevalent from sun exposure, had 33 percent higher survival rate than those with winter surgeries and lower vitamin D intake.

Cruciferous vegetables
These members of the cabbage family can help prevent some cancers.  This includes turnip greens, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.  REsearch on cruciferous vegetables showed great promise in fighting colon and prostate cancers.  These veggies are great in soups, salands, or lightly steamed.

1 comment:

  1. You really need to modify you eating habits if you have a pancreatic cancer. You need to discipline yourself in only eating healthy foods.