Cancer Management Through Nutrition

Cancer is a condition characterized by abnormal cell growth with the ability to spread to other parts of the body
It’s a chronic disease that is treated through chemotherapy, use of drugs and proper diet to manage
signs and symptoms.

Causes Of Cancer

Cancer is caused by variety of agents which are referred to as carcinogens. These agents doesn’t mean that an exposure to them will automatically lead to cancer. People react differently hence being exposed to these agents can lead to cancer in one individual and not in the other. Causes of cancer include but not limited to:

1. Genetic makeup: One can be born with genetic mutation that can lead to them developing cancer. However only a few cases present from this cause.

2. Smoking: Can lead to development of cancer in the lungs, mouth, pharynx, pancreas etc

3. Excessive alcohol intake : Excessive consumption of alcohol damages the lining of the mouth and throat causing cancer of these parts and liver.

4. Processed meat: Some of the preservatives used have chemical substances which are carcinogenic eg benzene, nitrite and nitrate substances which are associated with cancer.

5. Red meat( group 2): These upon breakdown will release nitrates and nitrites, red meat is associated with Colorectal cancer.

6. Hot beverages: Very hot drinks above 65 degrees Celsius have an increased risk of causing esophageal cancer.

7. Air/water pollution : A contaminated environment from chemicals eg welding fumes, wood dust, pesticides, agricultural contaminants, lead compounds, combustion products among others.

8. Viruses: Some viruses are associated with cancer eg hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, HPV viruses among others.
9. Ultra Violet (UV) radiation: From sunlight

10. X and gamma radiation

11. Saturated fats : When used over a long period of time.

Cancer and Lifestyle

Apart from the above,lifestyle has become a key factor in the development of chronic diseases like
diabetes, high blood pressure, over weigh and obesity, cancer and arthritis. Faulty lifestyles that can
lead to increased risk of having cancer include smoking, excessive alcohol intake and obesity and
sedentary life.
For a healthy lifestyle, quit smoking restrict alcohol intake, exercise regularly and lose some weight if overweight or obese ( BMI above 24.9)

Types Of Cancer

Carcinoma: Cancer of the skin
Sarcoma : Cancer of the bone, cartilage and muscle
Leukemia: Blood cancer
Lymphoma : Cancer that attacks white blood cells
Cervical cancer
Breast cancer
Prostrate cancer
Colorectal cancer among others

Cancer and Diet

Some foods are associated with increased incidence of cancer e.g

A low fibre diet
Increased intake of animal fat and protein
Salted fish
Pickled vegetables

Other foods are known to prevent cancer or as modifiers of carcinogens e.g
High fiber diet
Foods rich in vitamin C eg citrus fruits
Foods rich in vitamin A eg carrots
Cabbage family foods eg broccoli
Omega 3 fatty acids
Cinnamon
Garlic  and Olive oil

DIETARY MANAGEMENT OF CANCER DURING TREATMENT

Each patient presents with signs and symptoms different from one another. Hence its advisable to visit your clinic nutritionist or dietitian for management depending on the signs and symptoms one has. The nutritionist will carry out nutrition assessment and manage the patient accordingly. Your specialist will advice you on what foods to take and what to avoid or restrict and at what state.

Majira

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