Optimizing Quality of Life During and After Prostate Cancer Treatment

image of healthy foodsLifestyle changes are among the top recommendations for the prevention of prostate cancer and recurrence according to the American Cancer Society. Their recommendations include eating at least 2 ½ cups of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight. You may also limit calcium supplements, avoid eating overcooked or charbroiled meats, and include more cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cauliflower) and cooked tomato products that are rich in lycopene.

How can nutrition and exercise help during treatment? If you are having side effects from your treatments, adjusting your diet or lifestyle can help alleviate them.

If you are undergoing radiation and diarrhea is plaguing you, avoid hard-to-digest foods such as citrus or acidic foods, foods high in insoluble fiber (such as wheat and bran), fatty and greasy foods and beverages with caffeine. Focus instead on foods rich in soluble fiber and pectins that have a binding effect such as white rice, applesauce, pears, oatmeal and other oat-based foods. Continue reading

Tips to Help Curb Nausea

Nausea and vomiting are probably among the most feared side effects to cancer patients and their families — and with good reason. If left uncontrolled, nausea and vomiting can significantly hinder how a person can eat or drink, which can lead to dehydration, an inability to fuel the fight against cancer, loss of important nutrients and inability to continue treatment as prescribed.  But there is good news. Advances in anti-nausea medications and non-medication related treatments have made controlling nausea and vomiting more successful.

If you are experiencing nausea or vomiting, let your oncologist know as he or she can best assess which anti-nausea medication might be the most helpful.  Know that there are many different anti-nausea medications and if one is not working for you, there likely is another one that may be more beneficial.

In addition to medications, you have several additional options that have shown good results. These can be used in combination with anti-nausea medications and may help the drugs work better.

Adjusting the foods that you eat as well as how and when you eat them may be one of the easiest ways to help manage nausea and vomiting.

  • Eat small, frequent meals about every 2-4 hours. Do not let your stomach get empty as this can make nausea worse.
  • Drink plenty of liquids, but drink slowly and in small amounts continuously throughout the day.
  • Try ginger-flavored teas, beverages or even chewing on fresh ginger root. Ginger contains a food compound that can calm queasiness.
  • Do not recline or lie down immediately after eating. Sitting up promotes digestion.
  • Find out your triggers and try to avoid them. Potential triggers: hot, stuffy rooms or cooking odors.
  • Cool and room temperature foods may be better tolerated.
  • Do not take medication on an empty stomach unless told to do so by your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Avoid foods that are greasy, fried or spicy such as sausage, bacon, full-fat milkshakes, doughnuts, pastries, potato chips and foods with chili powder, pepper or hot sauce.
  • Foods to include are saltines, toast, cold cereal, plain noodles, white rice, pretzels, potatoes without the skin, baked or broiled meats, low fat dairy products, eggs, decaffeinated beverages, sherbet, popsicles and sports drinks.

Other anti-nausea methods have been studied and shown to have good results:

  • Acupuncture and acupressure
    These methods may work by causing physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland and parts of the brain
  • Behavior therapy
  • Systematic desensitization
  • Relaxation methods such as guided imagery and hypnosis
    These methods can help with nausea caused by anxiety or fatigue

More information on nutrition and cancer can be found on the Cancer Center’s website.  Please share your suggestions or if you have found other solutions that help.


Nutrition and Sarcoma: Overcoming Roadblocks During Treatment

Sarcoma is a term used to describe a whole family of cancers that arise in the body’s connective tissues, which include fat, muscle, blood vessels, deep skin tissues, nerves, bones and cartilage. Drug-related side effects for sarcoma often include nausea, mouth sores and lack of appetite that hinder one’s ability to consume adequate food and/or beverages.

Proper nutrition can help you tolerate treatments better, minimize complications and maintain a better quality of life.  Even if you are overweight, weight loss is not usually recommended during treatment. It boils down to being able to consume enough calories, protein and fluid to maintain your usual weight and muscle strength.

How can one continue to eat and drink sufficiently when appetite is poor or it is painful? Continue reading