Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Blog Post by Jillian McKee

This blog continues to get a lot of search engine hits for vegan related topics, even though I am no longer eating a plant based diet (I do continue to make much more healthy choices compared to the time before my 2011 Vegan Lent experience).

I was approached by guest blogger Jillian McKee, and am posting her new article here, as her message about nutrition for those facing disease is important.

Jillian is a blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.  Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.

Read more:

The Importance of Nutrition For Cancer Treatment & Care

Whether you have just been diagnosed, undergoing treatment or are in remission, nutrition plays an important role in the care, treatment and recovery of cancer patients. Having a nutritious diet may help to prevent slow and poor recovery and healing after surgery.

The Relationship between Nutrition and Cancer

With all the emotional, mental and physical stress and challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis, eating a nutritious diet along with healthy eating habits is essential for healing and recovery. For pre and post treatment and care, patients who have healthy weights, energy and a strong nutritious body may better resist infections and have quicker recovery. In some cases, the care and treatment of cancer patients may lead to side effects such as loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea and vomiting that may affect nutrition and eating habits in many ways.

Patients who undergo cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy need to have energy to help with recovery. Some of these therapies involve the neck, throat and head, which may affect the taste buds, smelling, chewing as well as swallowing and making saliva. Digestion and the ability to absorb nutrients may also result from stomach and intestinal cancers and surgeries.

Nutritional Benefits for Cancer Treatment and Care

Patients and survivors who eat nutritional meals while coping with cancer treatment and remission stand to gain from improved health and overall wellbeing. Some advantages of a healthy diet during cancer are as follows:

-Improved prognosis and helping with faster healing
-Lowered risk of infections and malnutrition
-Increased strength and energy
-More tolerance of treatment-related side effects
-Better managed and maintenance of a healthy weight
-Prevention of bone and muscle loss
-Enhanced general health and quality of life

Nutritional Tips for Cancer Patients

The type of nutrition for mesothelioma patients and those with other forms of cancer will vary from person to person. This will depend on special dietary plans, the treatment methods and side effects that the patient is experiencing. In some cases, eating a balanced diet may not be possible right away. Nutritional tips that may be considered for pre and post cancer treatment include:

-Following dietary plans designed by dietitian and care team
-Drinking nutritional supplements especially if you have problems swallowing or chewing
-Eating foods that are high in protein and calories such as peanut butter, cheese, eggs, fish and whole milk to help improve energy and speed up healing
-Increasing fiber rich foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables
-Eating smaller meals and drinking adequate amounts of water

The importance of nutrition for cancer patients and survivors cannot be underscored. Good nutrition can be the difference between a weak recovery and a healthy and speedy one or having infections and preventing diseases. Maintaining a nutritious diet along with healthy lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and managing stress are also important factors for successfully coping with cancer. For more information on nutrition and its impact on cancer, visit the website of the National Cancer Institute.