[ 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.
found to be beneficial in
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
APRIL 10, 2013