Nutrition Therapies and Lifestyle Modifications!
“Every dietary and Lifestyle choice you make daily,Will either fuel Cancer risk or reduce it;Choose the later
Tolani [Union Television]
Welcome back to our beautiful discussion on Breast Cancer, after giving detailed medical explanations of what Breast cancer is and causative factors in part 1 of the series. Now we move deeper into the Nutritional and Lifestyle Preventive measures for the health condition. Come with me!
CANCER DIET AND LIFESTYLE PREVENTIVE MEASURES
BODY FATNESS: Be as lean as possible, and avoid unhealthy weight gain, especially an increase in waist circumference throughout adulthood.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: 30mins of exercise daily, slowly increased to 60mins per day is advised.
FOOD AND DRINKS THAT PROMOTE WEIGHT GAIN: Limit consumption of energy-dense foods [225/100g energy content]. The average Energy density of diets should be lowered towards 125KCAL/100g.
AVOID SUGARY DRINKS: Mostly those with added sugars should be limited, and fruit juices should be freshly squeezed/smoothies without added sugar or preservatives. SUGAR IS A STRONG STIMULANT FOR CANCER GROWTH.
PLANT FOODS: Individuals should consume at least five portions/serving of a variety of non-starchy vegetables and fruits per day. Eat relatively unprocessed cereals [grains like oats, brown rice, rye, etc.], and pulses [legumes like peas, beans, chickpeas, etc.] with every meal. LIMIT REFINED CEREAL INTAKE.
ANIMAL FOODS : Limit intakes of red meats [beef, pork, lamb, goat meats] and avoid processed and cured meats like sausages, corn beef, and suya’s [especially meat preserved by smoking, curing, salting, or addition of chemical preservatives].
The goal for individual consumption of meats should be Boiled Fish and White meats e.g., chicken, turkey, etc. a good choice for a healthy individual.
About 500g [that is 0.5kg vis a vis ½ kilogram per week of White/ Red meats per week is advised.
ALCOHOLIC DRINKS: If alcoholic drinks are consumed, limit consumption to no more than 2 drinks/ day for men and one drink/ day for women [10g – 15g of alcohol is one drink]. Children and Pregnant women should not consume alcohol.
PRESERVATION, PROCESSING, AND PREPARATION: Limit salt consumption [population avg. consumption <5g [2g of sodium/ day] and Individual salt consumption <6g [2.4g of sodium/ day]. AVOID MOLDY CEREAL/PULSES, Aflatoxin contaminates is in spoilt foods and this damages organs in the body. Methods of preservation that do not use salt include Refrigeration, Freezing, Drying, bottling, canning, fermentation, etc. Use those listed methods instead!
DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS: Aim to meet Nutrition needs through diet alone, in some cases of acute illness and nutritional inadequacy/ nutritional unavailability, supplements may be a valuable timely choice. Remember, DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS ARE NOT RECOMMENDED FOR LONG TERM USE, IT IS NEITHER RECOMMENDED FOR CANCER PREVENTION EITHER!!!
BREASTFEEDING: Mothers are to eat adequately nutrient-balanced meals and a soft diet to enable proper lactation, Children [0-2yrs] should be well breastfed along with home food. Aim to breastfeed infants exclusively for up to 6 months and continue with complementary feeding [home food mostly] thereafter.
NOTE: Cancer survivors can follow the above preventive measures too.
BREAST CANCER SURVIVAL RATES/ LIFE EXPECTANCY:
The average 10years survival rate estimated for women with non-invasive/non-metastatic [non-spreading] breast cancer is 84%.
This is if the cancer cell remains in the breast region alone.
Reports also hold that 90 out of 100 women are alive 5years after they are being diagnosed with breast cancer.
84% out of 100 women are alive after 10 years…
Some reports however also state that women who are 40yrs or lesser have over 25% chance to die from Breast Cancer than women who are 60yrs or older.
EARLY DIAGNOSIS IS THE KEY!!!
MEDICAL CANCER THERAPIES AND EXPECTED SIDE EFFECTS
Side effects to be listed are not meant to create fear but to enable awareness of potential cancer medical therapies and possible results on the body. This is also to repeat the saying, proverbial saying ‘Prevention is better than cure to our ears again.
It is more cost-effective and almost stress and pain-free to live healthy, to do early breast cancer screening especially when it runs in a family gene.
Below is a list of Procedures and nutritional side effects:
- hemotherapy on Abdominopelvic Region: Abdominal discomfort, anorexia, gastric intestinal ulceration, nausea, and possibly vomiting.
- Radiation Therapy: Bowel damage, diarrhea, obstruction, and malabsorption.
- Surgery: Abdominal bloating and cramping, achlorhydria with lack of intrinsic factor, diarrhea, dumping syndrome, hypoglycemia [low blood glucose], minimal deficiencies, and vomiting.
- Radiation therapy to the abdomen/ pelvic area, including cancer of the cervix, colon, rectum, pancreas, and prostate, etc. may include acute diarrhea, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, colitis, and in severe cases, ulceration, and perforation, owing to irradiation damage to GIT Mucosa.
- Chemotherapy on ENT regions: Difficulty in swallowing, bland taste, loss of sense of smell, nausea, etc.
FOR PATIENTS ON IMMUNOSUPPRESSANTS
Heart, Lung transplants, Leukemia, and other hematological malignancies often involve bone marrow/ peripheral blood cell transplantation and requires patient immunosuppression.
Recall that in the process of immunosuppression, immunity is usually low hence it is easy for infections and whatnot, to invade the body if proper care is not taken.
During immunosuppression, foods that are generally contraindicated are those which are UNCOOKED/ HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO AIR and hence likely to be contaminated with bacteria and fungi.
Immunosuppressed patients should therefore avoid the following:
- Raw and undercooked meat, fish, shellfish, Eggs unpasteurized milk, processed meats like salmon and Pete, Sushi, live or bio yogurt, soft cheese, and mayonnaise.
- Raw vegetables and fruits with skins, I mean those which are partially damaged.
- Spoilt or damaged foods, that is foods that have grown molds on them like spoilt cereals and pulses and rancid oily nuts, oil, and seeds. These can aggravate organ damage because of the aflatoxin present in such foods.
CANCER DIET THERAPIES
The major foods to watch out for in cancer therapies are majorly CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES and Foods rich in PHYTOCHEMICALS plus ANTIINFLAMATORY/ANTIOXIDANTS-rich diets.
Phytonutrients and Cruciferous vegetables [rich in Isothiocyanates]
- Reduces carcinogens from attacking body cells
- They stop the formation of potential cancer-aiding substances from invading the body
- They halt and assist the natural body metabolic action in wiping out all cancer-causing tendencies
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in Isothiocyanates, examples of such vegetables are Cabbage [avoid these if you have thyroid problems], Beetroot, Kale, Collards, Turnip greens, Broccoli, Celery, Green leafy vegetables, etc.
Foods rich in Phytochemicals can be found in Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, tea, nuts, beans, and spices. Phytonutrients are produced majorly by plants; they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help as good cancer healing therapies. The most known Phyto nutrients are Carotenoids, ellagic acid, resveratrol, flavonoids, phytoestrogens, glycosylates, etc.
Carotenoids are antioxidants, they are pro-vitamin A and they support the immune system and reduce the risk of cancer. Examples of such foods are Spinach, Pumpkins, Tomatoes, Oranges, Mango, Pumpkins, Kale, and majorly sweet potatoes, especially yellow yams, etc. Carrot for example has more than 100 phytochemicals in them.
Ellagic acid is also a phytonutrient that reduces cancer risk. It is good therapy for cancer patients also. Ellagic acid has antioxidant, and antithrombotic abilities, hence it is good for lowering hyper cholesterol diseases. The food with the highest content of Ellagic acid is Raspberries, followed by Grapes, Walnuts, Strawberries, blackberries, lemon peel, garlic, and pecans.
Flavonoids are also a phytonutrient and the largest of the phytonutrient group as it contains many subgroups like Flavones, Anthocyanins, Isoflavones, Anthocyanins, etc. Examples of foods rich in flavonoids are green tea, Apples, Onions, Legumes like beans, green peas, Ginger, turmeric, coffee, and grapefruit.
Glycosylates are mainly found in cruciferous veggies. They reduce inflammation, crush viral infections, and improve body metabolism. Studies from research on rats show that they inactivate carcinogens and protect the DNA from damage.
Examples include Cabbage, Broccoli, Bok choy, Brussels sprouts, mustard, cauliflower, etc.
Resveratrol is majorly in red wine! A red wine made from grapes. They help brain and heart health and increase cerebral blood flow. They also have anti-cancer tendencies.
Examples include Grapes, Pistachios, Strawberries, Blueberries, Cashew nuts, Almond nuts, Walnuts, Dark chocolate, and red wine.
Phytoestrogens are the biggest in the phytonutrients fight against breast cancer! Phytoestrogen mimics estrogen actions in the female body, hence they relieve hot flashes and menopausal problems. They also reduce cancer risk, especially breast cancer, osteoporosis, that is bone problems, and heart diseases.
However, there is little caution about their intake as it is known to disrupt hormone function. Based on different individual body responses to phytoestrogen, be careful and watch out for possible body reactions.
Examples include Soybeans, Tofu, Chickpeas, licorice, Peanuts, Legumes, Coffee, and Oranges.
Some effective anti-cancer condiments and seasonings present in Cruciferous Vegetables/ fruits etc. are found in Cinnamon, Apple, English Pear, Black seeds oil, Carrots, and finally, THE ALLIUM FAMILY, consisting of:
The bottom line of this whole epistle on Breast Cancer; is its causes, prevalence, prevention, and nutritional/lifestyle therapies. The major take-home is that Nutrition and Lifestyle remedies are most effective if taken as a daily practice whether there is cancer on not.
Nutrition is more result proven as Preventive Medicine rather than Curative, do not get me wrong, Nutrition cures too, along with medications but it is stronger before the disease is full-blown.
So, dear females, males concerned, and sundry; check your bodies frequently, go for screenings if you have a family history of breast cancer, master the lifestyle and diet advice in the Cancer prevention part of this article, and love! Yes, love everyone!
Are you such malignancies that might require losing one or both breasts? Go for it if that is the only choice remaining.
Isn’t it better to stay alive than die when there is an artificial breast prosthesis on the market that can be used?
Brace up! When there is Life, there is hope.
Because research holds that some cancers are usually prevalent in patients who are nursing grudges and dealing with deep hurts and pain.
Let go of
Tolani Fasehun, RD.
Registered Dietitian/ Clinical Nutritionist.
Producer – Union Television, Lagos, Nigeria.