Steroids and Cancer

Steroids are substances that you make naturally in your body. They can be replicated in the lab to help treat certain side effects or symptoms, or to increase the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy drugs. Steroids play important roles in several different mechanisms throughout the body, including fight and flight (stress) and immune responses.

steroids for cancer - cancer and steroids image

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Thanksgiving Alternatives – What To Eat When Cancer Steals Your Appetite

The thought of a full Thanksgiving meal might be overwhelming if you’re living with cancer, so we’ve put together a yummy list of alternative thanksgiving recipes that are tailored to help you manage your symptoms and side-effects.

Thanksgiving alternatives

Some of the most common side effects reported by people living with cancer are eating difficulties, including nausea, mouth soreness, trouble swallowing, dry mouth, or a loss of taste. So how can you still be part of the Thanksgiving celebrations if a huge roast dinner with all the trimmings is out of the question?

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‘It is incredibly rewarding to see how much nutrition can influence people’s health with cancer’

We speak to Liz Butler, a cancer-specific nutritionist, about the best foods to eat when you are diagnosed with cancer, and the foods you should stay far away from

cancer food nutrition

Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after cancer treatment can help you feel better and stay stronger. But we know it’s not that simple, is it?

There may be times during your cancer treatment when you are unable to eat as healthy as you would like. When you’re experiencing sore mouth, difficulty swallowing, and general loss of appetite, how are you supposed to keep your diet balanced and nutritious?

Good nutrition is especially important if you have cancer because both the illness and its treatment can affect your appetite. Cancer and cancer treatments can also affect your body’s ability to tolerate certain foods and use nutrients.

Here’s where Liz Butler steps in. Liz is a nutritional therapist and has been working with people with cancer for the last 17 years. 

Continue reading “‘It is incredibly rewarding to see how much nutrition can influence people’s health with cancer’”

Are you experiencing changes to your taste during chemotherapy?

Taste changes chemotherapy cancer

From a metallic or chalky taste to food tasting bland or different, it is common to experience changes to taste while undergoing cancer treatment

During chemotherapy or radiotherapy, you may notice that you no longer enjoy certain foods, find that all foods taste the same or notice a metallic or chalky taste in your mouth. This can mean you no longer enjoy the foods you used to like before you developed cancer, and struggle to find new things to eat.

Figures show that 50% of people on chemotherapy will be affected by taste changes and it can last up to one month after treatment stops. Other causes for taste changes are usually due to damage to the taste buds either from radiotherapy to the area or from the tumour itself.

Here are some taste changes you may notice: 

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Eating Better With Cancer Part 2: Foods to Eat When You’re Feeling Sick

Cancer patient eating healthy food

Eating better with cancer is possible – even when food seems completely unappealing. We’ve collected hundreds of helpful products to help you manage your diet throughout cancer, and we’ve also written a comprehensive guide to eating during cancer treatment. 

If you’ve read part 1 of our Eating Better With Cancer series, you’ll know that it’s best to prioritise two things: keeping your calories up during treatment, and doing what feels best for you.  Continue reading “Eating Better With Cancer Part 2: Foods to Eat When You’re Feeling Sick”

Nic Naish: Foods to Help With Chemo Brain

Nic Naish's Weekly Exercise and Nutrition Tips - 18th May

During my chemotherapy months I definitely experienced what I called “chemo fog”.
Chemo brain or to give it it’s proper names ” Mild Cognitive Impairment – MCI ” or “Chemotherapy-induced Cognitive Dysfunction” is a real issue for some people. I didn’t suffer too badly and apart from funny stories of misplacing my husband’s shoes and finding them a couple of days later in the freezer (true story!) I was able to work around the odd foggy day.

However, for some it is quite debilitating. This frustrating phenomenon can have a significant impact on daily life at an already challenging time. Chemo brain refers to changes in memory, concentration and the ability to think clearly and process. Accompanying extreme tiredness, patients complain of a lack of alertness and energy levels, trouble with multi-tasking and decision making, retrieving words and names and general processing speed.

Brain imaging studies clearly indicate that anti-cancer drug therapies cause both acute and chronic changes in brain structure. Cell studies suggest that the symptoms are likely due to drug-induced neurotoxicity. Our wondrous bodies are constantly monitoring levels and triggering automatic responses to changes in temperatures, chemicals, concentration levels etc., etc. One such defence mechanism is the release of tiny proteins called cytokines that attack any ‘nasties’ in our body. Think of them as little cell signalling molecules that aid cell to cell communication within the immune system. They stimulate movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection and trauma. Chemotherapy drugs have been shown to significantly increase the production of these cytokines which can cause detrimental effects across the entire body.

If it seems that I’m attributing all the blame to chemotherapy drugs, I apologise. The blame lays almost completely with one thing… chronic INFLAMMATION!

Cancer itself will cause inflammation and this may result as inflammation in the brain also.

Anxiety will undoubtedly cause inflammation.

Depression causes inflammation.

Smoking causes inflammation.

Lack of exercise can cause inflammation.

A poor diet, high in sugars and processed foods will most definitely cause inflammation – as will a diet rich in meat, alcohol and dairy.

However not all inflammation is bad. Your body’s inflammatory response is essential and natural for you to heal. This response tells your body to send white blood cells and chemicals to help fight off infection or repair an injury. Prolonged inflammation on the other hand can damage your body’s healthy cells and weaken your immune system and as we have just learned…cause chemo fog/brain!!

So can we lessen the effects of chemo fog/ chemo brain?

Absolutely!

By reducing the inflammation.

Here are my top anti-inflammatory foods…

*ADD MORE PLANT FOODS TO YOUR PLATE*

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Broccoli
  • Green leafy veg
  • Celery
  • Beetroot
  • Blueberries
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Pineapple
  • Salmon (wild is best)
  • Bone broth

If you want any recipe ideas give me a shout, remember the WHOLE family will benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet. Have fun cooking and trying new things!

Nic x