Tips -Cancer and Nutrition
Nutrition absorption can be adversely affected by cancer. This can then be compounded by therapies used to treat the tumors. During recovery from treatment, the body is going placed under extreme pressure as it is not only fighting the cancer cells, but it is working to repair any damage to healthy cells.
It's believed that cancer cells and normal cells can both be equally nourished by nutritional supplements fed to the body. Taking nutritional supplements may well promote the growth of cancer cells. It is important to understand in detail, what is happening in the body, and to be cautious in the use of any nutritional supplements when treating cancers.
Below are some of the conventional methods used to treat cancer, together with their potential nutritional implications.
The effects of surgery will depend on the location and extent of surgery undertaken. Some common surgeries include:
- Gastrointestinal Surgery – impaired nutrient absorption, particularly fat.
- Head and Neck Surgery – interference with chewing and swallowing
- Pancreatectomy – possible secondary occurrence of diabetes mellitus
The nutritional effects of radiation therapy will depend on the location and dose of radiation received. Radiation therapy can have various effects on a person’s ability to absorb nutrients.
- Impaired salivary secretion
- Altered taste sensation
- Nausea and/or loss of appetite
- Sore mouth/throat
- Esophageal irritation
- Gastric ulcers
- Weight loss
The effectiveness of chemotherapy is dependant upon matching the right cocktail of chemicals with the body it is being fed to. Being able to do this well is the job an an oncologist; and a skill that requires years of experience to achieve. Nausea and vomiting are common side-effects of most chemotherapy agents. These can have further effects on nutritional absorption which include:
- Reduced food intake
- Fluid and electrolyte imbalance
- Weight loss
Other negative impacts of chemotherapy are mucosal damage, appetite suppression, malabsorption syndrome, vitamin deficiencies, constipation and diarrhoea. The event and degree of these effects will vary depending on the agent used.
This type of therapy aims to stimulate the immune system. This treatment can cause flu-like symptoms including:
- Body aches
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For more information, here are some books that will help:
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