Nutritional Needs For Cancer Patients
Women and Cancer
In women, the most prevalent cancer is breast cancer, affecting as many as 50% of all female cancer cases. The largest amount of female cancer patients die from lung cancer. Other cancers found in women include endometrial and ovarian cancers, and in order to know if these conditions exist in the body, women, especially those who are in certain risk groups, need to be tested for these cancers regularly. Tests can include mammograms for breast cancer and pap smears for ovarian cancer.
Although the best way to diagnose any type of cancer is through medical testing, there are warning signs for certain types of cancers in women. Remember, these are only signs, and some cancers may give no warnings at all. Still, it never hurts to be aware of what is going on in your own body. The warning signs for certain cancers include:
– Lump in the breast
– Uncommon vaginal discharge or bleeding
– Digestion troubles
– Difficulty swallowing
– Persistent cough
– Uncommon hoarseness
– Changes in bowel and bladder habits
– Sores that do not heal
If you notice any of these warning signs, or anything else that you think is unusual, talk to your doctor and ask for tests to be performed. If you do have cancer, the sooner it is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated and the better your prognosis will be.
One way for women to have an early diagnosis of cervical cancer is to have a yearly pap test. If a woman is healthy, these tests may be performed once every two to three years, but if there are any risk factors involved, these tests should be annual. It is possible that the HPV test is even better than the traditional pap smear for catching cervical cancer in its earliest, and most treatable, stages.
Prostate cancer is a disease that affects thousands of men each year. This is a cancer that can lay dormant and go unnoticed for many years before the patient is affected in any way. In fact, there are a number of men who have died from other causes who have also had prostate cancer, without even knowing that they had the condition in the first place. Just like women, men must also be tested regularly for prostate cancer so as to be diagnosed as soon as possible in order to receive life-saving treatment.
There are many tests that can be performed to detect cancer in the body which are recommended by the American Cancer Society. These are for people who do not fall into any specific risk factor categories. If you are in a high risk category, such as having a family history of cancer, there are things that you can do to detect cancer in your body as early as possible, including:
– Annual rectal exams, for both sexes, after the age of 40
– Annual pap tests for women after the age of 18 or after becoming sexually active, whichever comes first
– Pelvic examinations every one to three years for women beginning at age 18. After age 40, exams should be every year.
– Annual mammograms for women over 40. By age 18, women should be performing self exams.
– Annual fecal occult blood tests for both sexes over age 50.
– Endometrial tissue samples when women reach menopause.
– Sigmoidoscopy (flexible is best) for both sexes beginning at age 50, and every three to five years thereafter.
A Healthy Diet Can Help Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
We all understand the role a healthy, well-balanced diet plays in our survival. There are a number of ways that you can reduce your risk of cancer, as well as many other diseases, just by making some simple changes to your diet. Some foods that you should be eating to lessen the risk of cancer include soy and other beans, which, because they contain plant estrogen, both may reduce the risk of breast cancer and certain pelvic cancers. Other foods that should be eaten to lessen your risk of cancer are:
– Greens and Cruciferous Vegetables – Here are some foods that may help to reduce the risk of such conditions as lung, colon, stomach, esophageal, breast, bladder, pancreas, larynx and rectal cancers.
– Olive Oil – This is a tremendously healthy alternative to other oils, and may also help in reducing the risk of breast cancer in women and men.
– Tomatoes, Carrots, and Red Peppers – All of these foods are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids and may help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
– Garlic, Onion and Leeks – May reduce the risk of breast cancer due to the fact that they contain allium compounds.
– Milk and Milk Products – May reduce the risk of colon and breast cancers.
– Oily Fish, Including Salmon – Just a healthy food in general, oily fish can help to reduce the risk of cancer in general.
There are a number of dietary sources that have all of the nutrients that you need, and when eaten in combination, can increase their power to help reduce certain cancers. Some food combinations can include mixing flax seed with berries and cottage cheese or soy beans. This combination may help to reduce the risk of such cancers as breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. Other tasty food combinations that can help in the fight against cancer include:
Olive Oil and Vegetables: Here you will find plenty of Omega-3’s, along with many other essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs. When eaten, especially in combination, these foods protect the body from certain cancers and promote nutrient absorption within the body. A quick and easy way to get a great-tasting, healthy combination meal is to stir-fry your favorite vegetables in a tablespoon or so of olive oil.
Low-Fat Dairy Products: These are loaded with vitamin D and calcium, which can help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Tea and Tofu: These both provide anthocyanin, catechin, soy protein and proanthocyanin, which can stop cancer in its tracks before it even starts. A delicious way to combine tea and tofu is in a tasty dessert. Brew your favorite tea (green, herbal, black, red or orange). While you let tea cool to room temperature, soften the tofu. Mix the tofu and tea, add some berries or raw almonds for texture and added flavor and spoon into dessert cups. You can serve it at room temperature, or refrigerated if you prefer a firmer texture.
You Need Protein in Your Diet
Protein is an essential macronutrient that the body needs in order to survive, and according to the American Cancer Society, it is also beneficial for cancer patients. Because protein plays a large part in the effectiveness of the immune system, cancer patients need to eat high protein foods or have protein supplements in their diets. There are also a number of essential amino acids that can only be found in protein foods, such as red meat, poultry, milk products and soy. Protein supplements can help greatly.