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HEALTH&BEAUTY [ CANCER UPDATE by sara savat More than 1 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Medical breakthroughs in cancer treatment are helping more people win the fight against this disease. But nothing is more effective than prevention through healthy lifestyle habits, smoking cessation and vaccines. [ living with cancer] Even when cancer cannot be cured, patients may have options to manage their disease. >> dr. petra ketterl, CANCER TREATMENT CENTERS OF AMERICA IN TULSA The treatment goal is always to eliminate the cancer. But in some cases, when it resists or returns, we can opt to manage the cancer instead. In these cases, the patient still has cancer, either active or inactive, but is able to enjoy a good quality of life with medication and other targeted therapies. For example, breast cancer is one of the most frequently managed cancers because there are so many ways to treat it with technologies like the CyberKnife, which delivers high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy. The good news is that innovative medications with fewer side effects are being developed and released regularly. These targeted therapies should be combined with supportive therapies that help boost the immune system, like proper nutrition, exercise, pain management and mind-body support. With all of the newer targeted therapies available, we can manage cancer better than we could 10 years ago. >> dr. angela alt, ST. LUKE’S HOSPITAL For patients with prostate cancer, sometimes the best treatment is no treatment at all. In particular, older patients with other health problems and men whose prostate cancer will likely grow slowly are good candidates for active surveillance. In these cases, patients receive regular prostate exams and prostate-specific antigen blood tests, as well as occasional prostate biopsies to ensure the cancer is not progressing. If something changes, they can then consider treatments such as radiation or surgery. These treatments are not risk-free, though. Some of the most common side effects and complications include damage to bladder or bowel function and erectile dysfunction. However, early stage prostate cancer is typically asymptomatic, and some men with slow-growing prostate cancer will never experience any symptoms. Some patients cannot cope with the idea of active surveillance, so treatment is offered. A cancer diagnosis makes patients consider their own mortality, something we all cope with differently. [ cancer-fighting foods] Although there is no one food or nutrient that can prevent cancer, area dietitians say a healthy diet is one of our best defenses. >> jessie germanese, REGISTERED DIETITIAN >> luann swehla, REGISTERED DIETITIAN, CLINICAL BLUEBERRIES >> Researchers believe anthocyanin, the NUTRITION MANAGER, SSM ST. MARY’S HEALTH CENTER powerful phytochemical that gives the berries their blue SWEET POTATOES >> These spuds are excellent color, may protect DNA cells from free-radical damage. CARROTS >> Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene, an antioxidant that protects cell membranes from damage and may slow the growth of cancer cells. TOMATOES >> Eating tomatoes is strongly associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene, the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red hue, may play a role in cancer prevention by inhibiting abnormal cell growth. KALE >> Like spinach and other leafy greens, kale is an excellent source of lutein and flavanoids, which have been shown to protect against mouth, pharynx, larynx and stomach cancers. WINTER SQUASH >> Winter squash is a great source of vitamin C and fiber. Vitamin C is associated with lower risk of esophageal cancer, because it may prevent the formation of cancer cells. sources of beta carotene, potassium and vitamins A and C. Beta carotene is associated with a decreased risk of many cancers, including lung, colon and stomach cancer. WHOLE GRAINS >> Breads and pastas made from 100-percent whole grains are high in fiber, which has been shown to prevent colon cancer. Make sure to read labels and avoid mixtures of whole and refined grains. BEANS >> Dried beans are another great source of fiber. They also offer antioxidants, protein, folic acid, potassium and B vitamins, and they are fat-free and low in calories. TEA >> Tea contains polyphenol antioxidants, found to be beneficial in cancer prevention. stress & cancer // A cancer diagnosis brings many emotions, including fear, sadness, anger and loss. “We often hear people refer to the cancer experience as a roller coaster ride, including test results and severity of side effects from treatments,” says KATHY BEARMAN, LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER AT CANCER SUPPORT COMMUNITY OF GREATER ST. LOUIS. There’s growing evidence that reducing stress can result in better health outcomes and quality of life for cancer patients. “Although the exact connections between stress and cancer progression are not completely understood yet, there has been emphasis on understanding how to reduce the effects of stress to positively impact immune system function,” Bearman says. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, mindful meditation and music therapy are particularly beneficial, she adds. However, advising someone with cancer to ‘have a positive attitude’ can add pressure rather than help, Bearman cautions. “Such a message implies that normal feelings, such as sadness and anxiety, aren’t acceptable, and that a person can somehow control the course of their cancer with a more positive attitude.” APRIL 10, 2013 | | 29