Cancer In Relation To Nutrition
Cancer is a general term used to designate a group of some 250 diseases distinguished by abnormal cell growth. Although some of the causes and risk factors are being identified, cancer is still an unexplained disease. Under normal conditions, each cell in the body develops in a very orderly fashion. In cancer, cell undergoes uncontrolled, abnormal growth and a mass (tumor ) is formed. If these cells stay exactly where they are formed the cancer is said to be localized. If the cells spread to adjoining tissues or organs, or are carried to other parts of the body, the cancer is said to be regional or metastasized. Cancers that have spread are more difficult to control and cure, so early detection and proper diagnosis translate into a better chance for successful treatment.
Cancer treatments vary with the type of spread of the cancer. Surgery radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, either alone or in some combination, have been used to treat many forms of cancer. Chemotherapy refers to the delivery of anticancer medications into the body to destroys the cancer causing cells. Chemotherapy, in most cases has the additional side effect of suppressing the patient’s immune system, making them more vulnerable to infection. Patients receiving chemotherapy require proper nutrition to maintain their immune system, strength, and vitality.
Benefits of proper nutrition during chemotherapy are; it will improve tolerance of therapy. A well-nourished body is stronger and more resilient than a poorly nourished one. Studies have shown that nutrition can decrease the severity and duration of chemotherapy side effects such as vomiting, nausea, weakness, lowered immunity, and susceptibility do infection. There may be other specific side effects, but in general, people who eat well while on chemotherapy tend to fell better and stay more physically active and alert mentally.
Good nutrition will increases the effectiveness of therapy. When patients feed themselves they also feed their cancer cells. Studies have shown that “well fed” cancer cells multiply more readily and are more susceptible to anticancer drugs that are slow growing undernourished cells. A good nutritional status may allow patients to withstand higher doses of drugs and increase the effectiveness of the therapy.
Nutrients are the building blocks the body uses to rebuild the normal tissues that have been affected by the chemotherapy. If the proper nutrients in the adequate amounts are available, this recovery process takes place much more quickly and efficiently than when deficiencies are present.
Many patients lose weight on chemotherapy, but some gain weight. Underweight and overweight are both undesirable for the chemotherapy patient. Both of these conditions can lead to weakness, lethargy, depression, embarrassment, and a lack of self-esteem.
Adequate calories to meet energy requirements, sufficient protein to permit tissue growth, fats minerals, vitamins, and fluids all must be supplied in appropriate amounts to meet the patient’s requirements. Careful attention to nutrition is important because malnutrition induced by cancer and its treatment adversely affects the patient and complicates further treatment of the disease.
Practical guidelines for eating
Give food a chance; remember that what sound unappealing may sound good tomorrow. When you feel well, take advantage of it by eating well land by preparing meals that you can freeze for the down days. On the good days, eat when you fell hungry, even if it isn’t mealtime. It is important to eat foods with good nutritional value; many nutrients can be stored in your body for later use.
Discuss your eating problems with your doctor: before you try home remedies, be sure your problems are not symptoms needing medical attention, or unwanted side effects associated with the chemotherapeutic agent. Do not hesitate to ask your physician questions and to tell the doctor what seems to be bothering you
Avoid foods that don’t interest you. Stay away from raw eggs and raw meats: this is particularly important if your chemotherapy makes you more susceptible to infection.