Oncological disease in its development and course makes significant adjustments in the life of the patient. The treatment should be accompanied by changes in lifestyle, diet correction in particular. Nutrition in cancer is subject to a number of principles, special attention should be paid to the diet, as it contributes to the restoration of forces and ensures the normal development of internal processes.
What is the basis of nutrition in cancer?
Oncological diseases – a group of serious diseases, to combat which the body spends, including its reserve capabilities. The earlier and more adequate the anticancer therapy will be, the more successful the outcome of the disease will be. Against the backdrop of multiple consultations with doctors, drafting treatment strategies, staying in a profile hospital, performing surgery, supplemented with outpatient treatment, dispensary supervision and aimed at restoring and preventing relapse, measures in cancer may seem to be a secondary aspect, but this is misleading. What are the goals of properly formulated nutrition in cancer?
The diet, balanced to the needs of the body, weakened by the tumor, pursues several purposes:
- provide the body with energy reserves;
- to ensure the development of metabolic processes – the formation of hormones, enzymes, immune substances;
- contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system and the development of protective properties of the body;
- supply the body with natural substances that inhibit the proliferation of malignant cells;
- to neutralize and remove toxins from the body, the products of tumor disintegration;
- support the functioning of the digestive tract, liver, kidneys.
Drawing up a diet for the cancer patient can not be universal. It is necessary to take into account the localization and type of tumor, the course of the disease and its stage of development, the nuances of the prescribed therapy – the approach must be strictly individual. In the process of making nutrition with cancer, it is absolutely necessary to track the number of calories consumed daily by patients. Cancer patient against the background of debilitating and obviously toxic treatment experiences a loss of appetite, difficulty in eating, which means that the energy supply hardly reaches 200-1000 calories, which is obviously not enough for an adult. As a result, the normal metabolism is disrupted, destabilization of weight occurs, and this clearly does not contribute to an early recovery, even with the proper medical treatment. The decrease in the volume of food affects the mental state of the patient, because he feels weak, doubts arise in recovery.
When selecting food for a cancer patient, the recommended ratio of nutrients should be taken into account: carbohydrates – 55%, fats – 30% and proteins – 15%. Assimilation of nutrients in one way or another occurs at all stages of food intake:
- in the oral cavity the food is crushed and processed by saliva, special enzymes stimulate metabolic processes;
- in the stomach with the participation of gastric juice, the food gruel is processed further;
- in the small intestine, bile acids and pancreatic enzymes have a final effect on the processing of food, nutrients are absorbed into the blood, microparticles of proteins, fats and carbohydrates are delivered by blood to the tissues of organs;
- in the large intestine, the fluid that has entered the body is sucked out and feces are formed.
Failures in the development of cancer can occur at any of the listed stages of digestion of food, especially if the cancer is localized in adjacent organs with the digestive tract. Minimize the risk of this called the same diet, appointed by the doctor, taking into account the individual characteristics of the patient, as well as the situation created in the family in relation to his disease and general condition, the difficulties in organizing daily life. Oncological pathology and the associated need for prolonged and complex treatment impose an additional burden on the patient, relatives and friends. The patient has a fear of illness and probable helplessness, encumbrance, rejection of excessive custody by relatives. If this is added to changes in taste habits caused by disabilities associated with treatment, the need to change the daily routine, the risk of conflict situations in the family is obviously increasing.
Relatives, as well as the patient himself, need to heed the recommendations of the doctors regarding favorable nutrition regimens that can improve the general condition of the patient, and alleviate the side effects of the treatment, and restore and strengthen the body’s own capabilities to resist cancer. With all this, it is not necessary to avoid the fact that the main methods of cancer treatment will remain three methods – surgical, chemotherapeutic and radiotherapy, and not the magic of diet therapy. With what myths do you have to face a healthy diet? After all, a balanced diet is not so much a weapon against a cancerous tumor as only a condition for improving the condition of the patient.
Myths about nutrition for cancer patients
Treatment of malignant diseases is often accompanied by massive misconceptions. People who are confronted or fearful of experiencing disappointment from the treatment, risking not getting the expected result, are often ready to believe in a miracle. As a result, they experience very questionable methods of treatment, consult with healers more often than with professional medics, and dietotherapy in the perception of anticancer therapy by such persons is often overestimated. You should read more in detail with the most popular myths about nutrition in cancer.
Myth – diet therapy alone is enough to defeat cancer.
Reality. Malignant neoplasms can not be destroyed only with a certain diet, whatever it is. Balanced, taking into account the individual needs of the body and taking into account the characteristics of the developed and undergoing tumor treatment, nutrition should be perceived solely as an addition to the basic treatment. The latter can be represented by surgical intervention, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormonal treatment, but the importance of diet should not be underestimated. Skeptics should be informed that it has been proved by medical practice that ignoring the basic principles of nutrition makes it difficult for basic treatment, resistance of the organism to negative influences, slows down the process of recovery.
Myth – with the existing tumor, the same diets can approach, as in the prevention of cancer.
Reality. Recommended diet for cancer prevention is somewhat abstract, in the treatment of cancer requires a maximum of specificity. Dietotherapy with existing tumors is diverse, it is adjusted for various features of the disease. It is represented by a high-calorie diet, specialized concentrates, preparations for intravenous administration, which is combined with active consumption of certain categories of food at a certain stage of treatment. Prophylaxis of cancer due to nutrition is rather the minimization of carcinogens in their diet, the management of a healthy and balanced diet, but these measures with the existing tumor will already be completely ineffective.
Myth – strengthened nutrition gives strength not only to the body, but also to the developing cancer.
Reality. Opinions of scientists on the caloric intake of food at different stages of cancer disagree. Some argue that limiting caloric content should be in all cases, except for severe patients. Others believe that extremes are not appropriate – neither high-calorie nutrition, nor curative fasting. The truth is in the middle – a caloric intake of about 1800 kcal will be very suitable. In this case, the benefit from a rational, balanced diet exceeds the risk of tumor growth. This method of general restorative treatment is especially relevant in case of exhaustion and severe weakness, which can develop at this or that stage of treatment of a cancerous tumor. When there is a significant increase in weight due to surgery or hormonal therapy, the correction of the diet should be aimed in the opposite direction. A universal approach to nutrition in cancer can not be. The concept is adjusted to a specific case, correcting at various stages of treatment.
Myth – with cancer effectively curative fasting.
Reality. This opinion represents one more extreme in judgments. His adherents believe that if the excess of calories entering the body “saturates” the tumor, then malnutrition will be the right way to recovery. Experience shows that fasting, in the final analysis, will only provoke serious disorders in the body. In addition to functional disorders, weakness and fatigue develop. Fasting is a kind of stress for the body, absolutely inappropriate, when there are already health problems like cancer. Vigorous, rapidly multiplying cancer cells will always find their nourishment, taking it away from healthy, but weakened cells of the body. A full-fledged diet will help to retain strength to fight cancer.
Myth – the best indicator of the needs of the body in food is the appetite.
Reality. The existing disease has a significant effect on appetite. Acceptance of a large number of pharmacological preparations, exposure to radiation or chemotherapy, localization of a tumor nearby or in the digestive tract, the presence of pain, development of exhaustion, a combination of physical and psychological stress all contribute to a decrease in appetite, which does not mean that the body does not need a stable amount of calories. Oncological patients are strongly encouraged to eat according to the doctor’s prescriptions, and not following a weakened appetite. Otherwise, there will be a number of negative consequences – a further decrease in appetite, weight loss, weakness, worsening mood, depression; the patient becomes less active, gradually there is a complete loss of appetite, and in the end fasting can present a threat to life.
Myth – in the choice of nutrition in cancer, it is appropriate to focus on the experience of other cancer patients.
Reality. Such information can be useful only for treating doctors. Based on clinical experience and studies conducted so far, doctors come to the conclusion about what kind of diet can be more suitable for this or that patient. However, universal diets do not exist, and the selection of nutrition for a particular patient should be made on the basis of purely his medical indications. Lack of special medical, oncological and dietetic training in the patient will not allow him to appreciate the particular diet, heard from the “friend in misfortune”. As a result, precious time is lost, and the result still has to wait.
Myth – on certain, particularly severe, stages of an oncological disease, rational nutrition loses its significance.
Reality. At any stage of the cancer diet should be given sufficient attention. Never diet therapy should not be highlighted, modern medicine offers more effective methods of treating cancer. In the same conditions, when there is no hope for medical progress, it is impossible to stop the therapeutic diet. In advanced cases, the probe is used, the development of constipation and intestinal obstruction is prevented, and anesthetics (often narcotic drugs) are prescribed. However, food is always regarded as such, which supplies the body with strength and energy, if not for recovery, then for the longest possible survival. About the nuances of palliative therapy, it is necessary to conduct multiple conversations with relatives of the patient, within which one can not ignore the importance of adequate nutrition.
Daily diet of cancer patient
As already mentioned, the treatment of cancer tumors and the appointment of any technique within such a framework is purely individual. However, there are a number of fundamental principles, the adherence to which is essential in daily nutrition in cancer.
Usually diet therapy for cancer patients is developed at the final stage of stay in the hospital. It is assumed that in hospital conditions, nutrition remained balanced and full, conducted under the strict supervision of physicians, a nutritionist including. An extract of the patient is an occasion to inform him about the basic principles, which will be later supplemented, since the home food is much more diverse than the hospital one.
First of all, the patient is recommended:
- follow the fractional food – small, but frequent portions (5 or more), which allows the body to gradually receive nutrients and not overwork during the process of their digestion;
- in the daily diet should be a variety of vegetables and fruits;
- a worthy place in the daily diet should be occupied by untreated cereals;
- significantly limit the consumption of red meat, the more fatty and / or subjected to industrial processing (sausages, sausages)
- to minimize the amount of refined carbohydrates and cereals in the diet;
- the total daily calorie must be sufficient to maintain optimal body weight, taking into account the patient’s individual parameters and the characteristics of his illness, lifestyle.
In the daily diet of the patient, it is always necessary to take into account a variety of factors related to the location of the tumor, the multiple manifestations of the tumor process, the operation performed, chemotherapy courses, concomitant infectious processes, anemia, and the like. But in any case, the diet should not be monotonous, contributing to the suppression of appetite. The food should be:
- full (providing the body with all nutrients in the required quantity),
- balanced (preserving certain proportions between nutrients),
- easily digestible (not causing additional stress on the processes of digestion, absorption and digestibility),
- containing all the necessary microelements and vitamins.
The daily ration may contain:
- vegetable component – between fresh and prone to cooking fruits and vegetables, preference should be given precisely to the first, which contains a maximum of vitamins and minerals; fruit is recommended to consume independently (with a difference of half an hour or more) from the main meal;
- the milk component is necessary, but in its importance is inferior to the vegetable component;
- meat component – it is recommended to minimize, however, in order to replenish the daily norm of nutrients from all types of meat, preference should be given to poultry, rabbit meat;
From the methods of cooking, preference should be given to cooking, minimizing the processes of frying and especially preserving. It is advisable to use foods with a high content of dietary fiber, but do not abuse them.
Nutrition for cancer allows compliance, for example, the following menu:
- as first courses: vegetable, pea, mushroom, dairy, fish soups;
- as main dishes and snacks – vegetables (ragout, saute, salads from fresh vegetables), fish (cod, navaga, carp, pike), meat (chicken, turkey, rabbit), cutlets and meatballs of them;
- as third courses – compotes, jelly, curdled milk, acidophilus, fruit and berry juices in small quantities.
The list of dishes at first glance may seem limited, but the products included in the menu are in all respects very accessible. It should be added that the list of products is not a constant and can be easily corrected depending on the circumstances, the nature of the formation, individual tastes and habits. If this diet is observed again, it should be recalled that it is necessary to introduce a significant amount of proteins into the diet. This can be gleaned from flower honey – a high-calorie product, a source of amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins, trace elements and essential enzymes. Honey has the ability to reduce the phenomenon of intoxication, increases the resistance of the body, which makes it desirable to use it during radiation therapy, with certain regimens of chemotherapy and patients who are in serious condition. The daily amount of honey should not exceed 60-80 g. The daily intake of fats is recommended to be derived from vegetable oils – in particular, different types of nuts (walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, cedar, almonds), in which, in addition to fat, 45-65% contains proteins (16-27%), vitamins E and group B, potassium and other elements. The high nutritional value of nuts and seeds is known, especially sunflower and linseed. They contain many high-quality fats and minerals (calcium, iron, zinc, selenium).
You can not ignore the drinking ration. Drink should be abundant, preferably in between meals. Preferred herbal teas (green tea), slightly or non-carbonated mineral water, sometimes black tea or coffee without irritants.