Breast Cancer has become a familiar diagnosis for women in America. It' s likely you know someone who has been diagnosed or you have received a diagnosis yourself. Thanks to early detection and improved treatment options, it is also a very survivable disease. Dietitians play an important role in a comprehensive survival plan, and nutrition should be a vital component of cancer treatment. It is critical that a nutritional program for breast cancer should focus on maintaining a healthy weight during cancer treatments. Many patients find themselves gaining weight during treatment, even though the opposite occurs with other types of cancer. Research indicates that weight gain during breast cancer treatment is associated with increased risk of recurrence and death.
Physical activity is a must, regardless of difficulty and lack of energy. Exercise helps maintain muscle mass which provides energy and reduces fatigue.
The diet should include 4 to 5 cups of colorful fruits and vegetables daily, plenty of fiber, fluids, and healthy fats such as cold water fish and walnuts. For post-operative healing, high quality protein such as eggs, fat free and low fat dairy, and lean meats are recommended. Preoperative patients should refrain from taking supplements that could alter clotting in relation to post-operative bleeding.
The right nutrition program is not only helpful and healing to the body, but also the mind. It is one of the few things we can have some control over during chemo and radiation treatments.
Ask your health care provider for a referral for an oncology RD. They have the knowledge base to sort through the questions and bring relevant research to the discussion regarding how various foods, diets, and herbal and vitamin supplements can impact the cancer process.