Benefits of good nutrition during cancer treatment

When you’re healthy, eating enough food to get the nutrients and calories you need is not usually a problem. Most nutrition guidelines stress eating lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products; limiting the amount of red meat you eat, especially meats that are processed or high in fat; cutting back on fat, sugar, alcohol, and salt; and staying at a healthy weight. But when you’re being treated for cancer, these things can be hard to do, especially if you have side effects or just don’t feel well.

Good nutrition is especially important if you have cancer because both the illness and its treatments can change the way you eat.   They can also affect the way your body tolerates certain foods and uses nutrients.

During cancer treatment you might need to change your diet to help build up your strength and withstand the effects of the cancer and its treatment. This may mean eating things that aren’t normally recommended when you are in good health. For instance, you might need high-fat, high-calorie foods to keep up your weight, or thick, cool foods like ice cream or milk shakes because sores in your mouth and throat are making it hard to eat anything. The type of cancer, your treatment, and any side effects you have must be considered when trying to figure out the best ways to get the nutrition your body needs.

The nutrition needs of people with cancer vary from person to person. Your cancer care team can help you identify your nutrition goals and plan ways to help you meet them. Eating well while you’re being treated for cancer might help you:

  • Feel better.
  • Keep up your strength and energy.
  • Maintain your weight and your body’s store of nutrients.
  • Better tolerate treatment-related side effects.
  • Lower your risk of infection.
  • Heal and recover faster.

Eating well means eating a variety of foods to get the nutrients your body needs to fight cancer. These nutrients include proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, vitamins, and minerals.


We need protein for growth, to repair body tissue, and to keep our immune systems healthy. When your body doesn’t get enough protein, it might break down muscle for the fuel it needs. This makes it take longer to recover from illness and can lower resistance to infection. People with cancer often need more protein than usual. After surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, extra protein is usually needed to heal tissues and help fight infection.

Good sources of protein include fish, poultry, lean red meat, eggs, low-fat dairy products, nuts and nut butters, dried beans, peas and lentils, and soy foods.


Fats play an important role in nutrition. Fats and oils serve as a rich source of energy for the body. The body breaks down fats and uses them to store energy, insulate body tissues, and transport some types of vitamins through the blood.

You may have heard that some fats are better for you than others. When considering the effects of fats on your heart and cholesterol level, choose monounsaturated (olive, canola, and peanut oils) and polyunsaturated fats (these are found mainly in safflower, sunflower, corn, and flaxseed oils and seafood) more often than saturated fats or trans fats.

Saturated fats are mainly found in animal sources like meat and poultry, whole or reduced-fat milk, cheese, and butter. Some vegetable oils like coconut, palm kernel oil, and palm oil are saturated. Saturated fats can raise cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. Less than 10% of your calories should come from saturated fat.

Sources of trans fats include snack foods and baked goods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or vegetable shortening. Trans fats are also found naturally in some animal products, like dairy products. Trans fats can raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. Avoid trans fats as much as you can.


Carbohydrates are the body’s major source of energy. Carbohydrates give the body the fuel it needs for physical activity and proper organ function. The best sources of carbohydrates – fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – also supply needed vitamins and minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients to the body’s cells. (Phytonutrients are chemicals in plant-based foods that we don’t need to live, but that might promote health.)

Fiber is the part of plant foods that the body can’t digest. There are 2 types of fiber. Insoluble fiber helps to move food waste out of the body quickly, and soluble fiber binds with water in the stool to help keep stool soft.

Other sources of carbohydrates include bread, potatoes, rice, spaghetti, pasta, cereals, corn, peas, and beans. Sweets (desserts, candy, and drinks with sugar) can supply carbohydrates, but provide very little in the way of vitamins, minerals, or phytonutrients.


Water and liquids or fluids are vital to health. All body cells need water to function. If you don’t take in enough fluids or if you lose fluids through vomiting or diarrhea, you can become dehydrated (your body doesn’t have as much fluid as it should). If this happens, the fluids and minerals that help keep your body working can become dangerously out of balance. You get water from the foods you eat, but a person should also drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid each day to be sure that all the body cells get the fluid they need. You may need extra fluids if you’re vomiting, have diarrhea, or even if you’re just not eating much. Keep in mind that all liquids (soups, milk, even ice cream and gelatin) count toward your fluid goals.

Vitamins and minerals

Your body needs vitamins and minerals to help it function properly and use the energy (calories) in food. Most are found naturally in foods, but they are also sold as pill and liquid supplements.

If you eat a balanced diet with enough calories and protein you will usually get plenty of vitamins and minerals. But it can be hard to eat a balanced diet when you’re being treated for cancer, especially if you have treatment side effects. If you do have side effects, your doctor or dietitian may suggest a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. If your food intake has been limited for several weeks or months because of the effects of treatment, be sure to tell your doctor. You might need to be checked for vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

If you’re thinking of taking a supplement, be sure to discuss this with your doctor first. Some people with cancer take large amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements to try to boost their immune system or even destroy cancer cells. But some of these substances can be harmful, especially when taken in large doses. In fact, large doses of some vitamins and minerals may make chemotherapy and radiation therapy less effective.

If your doctor says it’s OK for you to take a vitamin during treatment, it may be best to choose a supplement with no more than 100% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamins and minerals and one without iron (unless your doctor thinks you need iron).


Antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E; selenium and zinc; and some enzymes that absorb and attach to free radicals (destructive molecules) , preventing them from attacking normal cells.

If you want to take in more antioxidants, health experts recommend eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of antioxidants. Taking large doses of antioxidant supplements or vitamin-enhanced foods or liquids is usually not recommended while getting chemo or radiation therapy. Talk with your doctor to find out the best time to take antioxidant supplements.


Phytonutrients or phytochemicals are plant compounds like carotenoids, lycopene, resveratrol, and phytosterols that are thought to have health-protecting qualities. They’re found in plants such as fruits and vegetables, or things made from plants, like tofu or tea. Phytochemicals are best taken in by eating the foods that contain them rather than taking supplements or pills.


Herbs have been used to treat disease for hundreds of years, with mixed results. Today, herbs are found in many products, like pills, liquid extracts, teas, and ointments. Many of these products are harmless and safe to use, but others can cause harmful side effects. Some may even interfere with proven cancer treatments and recovery from surgery. If you’re interested in using products containing herbs, talk about it with your oncologist or nurse first.

Dietary supplement safety considerations

Many people believe that a pill or supplement they find in stores, is safe and it works. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rules to help ensure that supplements contain what their labels claim they do, but the supplement’s safety and its effects on the body are not addressed by any FDA rules. The FDA does not make manufacturers of these products print possible side effects on their labels. And the FDA can’t pull a dietary supplement or herbal product from the market unless they have proof that the product is unsafe.

It’s also been shown that many herbal products aren’t what the label says they are. Some products don’t contain any of the herb they’re supposed to. Some also contain potentially harmful drugs, additives, or contaminants that aren’t listed on the label. This means there’s no sure way to know if a supplement is safe or how it will affect you.

Tell your cancer care team about any over-the-counter products or supplements you‘re using or are thinking about using. Take the bottle(s) to your doctor to talk about the dose and be sure that the ingredients do not interfere with your health or cancer treatments. Some other safety tips:

  • Ask your cancer care team for reliable information on dietary supplements.
  • Check the product labels for both the quantity and concentration of active ingredients in each product.
  • Stop taking the product and call your cancer care team right away if you have side effects, like wheezing, itching, numbness, or tingling in your limbs.

Study supports use of radiation before cell therapy for multiple myeloma

Administering radiation therapy to multiple myeloma patients waiting for CAR T cells to be manufactured was found to be safe and undisruptive to CAR T therapy, according to a new study from researchers in the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania to be presented Tuesday, October 27, at the virtual American Society for Radiation Oncology Annual Meeting (Abstract #35562).

The study found patients who received radiation 34 days or fewer before their infusion with CART-BCMA (B cell maturation antigen) cells did not have worse rates of severe cytokine release syndrome (CRS) or neurotoxicity, two common side effects of the cellular therapy, and hematologic toxicities than patients who did not have so-called bridging care.

Radiation for relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma is often used to palliate bone pain associated with the disease; however, what effect it may have on patients and CAR T cell therapy hasn’t been fully understood. The new findings suggest it appears to be a safe option for patients before they receive their CAR T cell infusions, lending more support for future studies that combine radiation with cellular therapy.

“The most important takeaway here is that bridging radiation doesn’t appear to increase the risk of CRS or neurotoxicity,” said lead author Shwetha Manjunath, MD, a resident in Radiation Oncology in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. “These patients safely received bridge radiation without it affecting the efficacy of CAR T cells or the rates of toxicity.”

Chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy, known as CAR T, is an investigational treatment pioneered by researchers at Penn that modifies patients’ own immune T cells, which are collected and reprogrammed to seek and destroy the patients’ cancer cells. After being infused back into patients’ bodies, these newly built “hunter” cells both multiply and attack. The Penn-developed CART-BCMA targets cells that express BCMA, which is highly expressed in myeloma.

This study, which is a retrospective analysis of a collaboration project with Novartis, evaluated the medical records of 25 patients who received CART-BCMA and categorized them into three groups. One group received radiation after their cells were collected for CAR T manufacturing but before their infusion, a period of 34 days or less. A second group of patients had received radiation within one year prior to CAR T infusion. A third group received either no radiation at all or no radiation within the year preceding CAR T infusion.

None of the four patients who received radiation while awaiting manufacturing experienced CRS, gastrointestinal, infectious, liver-related, or neurologic toxicities higher than a grade 3. CRS is a toxicity that includes varying degrees of flu-like symptoms, with high fevers, nausea, and muscle pain, and can require ICU-level care. Those patients also had lower rates of grade 4 hematologic toxicities. Of the eight patients who had a prior history of radiation, three experienced grade 3 or higher CRS. Among the 13 patients who did not receive any radiotherapy, five experienced Grade 3 or higher CRS. Radiation status was not associated with a decrease in overall survival or progression free survival.

In 2019, Penn researchers presented findings at ASTRO that found radiation did not interfere with the efficacy of CAR T cell therapy in non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had the potential to lower side effects in these patients.

“Our work is hypothesis generating, hinting at a potential synergism between radiation and CART-BCMA therapy, which has been reported by others in the literature,” Manjunath said. “Future prospective trials that combine radiation with CART-BCMA may further optimize safety and long-term efficacy of this novel cell therapy.”

Colorectal Screening Test.

Image result for colorectal images

Screening is the process of looking for cancer in people who have no symptoms. Several tests can be used to screen for colorectal cancer (see American Cancer Society Guideline for Colorectal Cancer Screening). These tests can be divided into 2 main groups:

  • Stool-based tests: These tests check the stool (feces) for signs of cancer. These tests are less invasive and easier to have done, but they need to be done more often.
  • Visual (structural) exams: These tests look at the structure of the colon and rectum for any abnormal areas. This is done either with a scope (a tube-like instrument with a light and tiny video camera on the end) put into the rectum, or with special imaging (x-ray) tests.

These tests each have different pros and cons (see the table below), and some of them might be better options for you than others. But the most important thing is to get screened, no matter which test you choose.

If you choose to be screened with a test other than colonoscopy, any abnormal test result should be followed up with colonoscopy.

These tests, as well as others, can also be used when people have symptoms of colorectal cancer or other digestive diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseas


Does artemisinin help treat cancer?

Wormwood plant containing artemisinin compound

Artemisinin is a chemical compound in a traditional Chinese herb called Artemisia annua, or sweet wormwood. Some research suggests that it may show promise in future cancer treatments.

Research indicates that the compound could inhibit the growth of tumors and metastasis.

However, this research has typically used animal models. No strong clinical trials in humans suggest that these benefits extend to us. Determining the true effects of the compound in people will require further research.

In this article, we look at the evidence behind artemisinin as a potential cancer treatment, how people use it, and its possible side effects.

What is artemisinin?

Artemisinin is a compound derived from the sweet wormwood plant, which practitioners of Chinese medicine often use.

Sweet wormwood is native to Asia. It has fern-like leaves and yellow flowers. People have usually used this plant in traditional and homeopathic treatments for:

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommend a form of artemisinin for treating severe malaria.

Fatigue during Radiation Therapy

Tired[1] During radiation therapy, your body uses a lot of energy dealing with the effects of radiation on normal cells. Fatigue usually builds up slowly during the course of treatment, particularly towards the end, and may last for a few weeks after treatment finishes. Many people find that they can’t do as much, but others are able to continue their usual activities without much change.
Fatigue is a common side effect, and there is a chance you might feel some level of fatigue from radiation therapy. Fatigue from radiation therapy can range from a mild to an extreme feeling of being tired. Many people describe fatigue as feeling weak, weary, worn out, heavy, or slow.

Some ways the following may help you save your energy.
• Be active but try not to rush
• Plan ahead where possible
• Give yourself plenty of time to get places
• Put chairs around the house so you can stop and rest if necessary
• Sit down to dry off after a bath or put on a toweling dressing gown and let that do the work
• Prepare your clothes and lay them out in one place before you dress
• Sit down to put most of your clothes on
• When dressing, try not to bend down too much – bring your foot up on to your knee to put socks and shoes on
• When dressing, fasten your bra at the front first and then turn it to the back
• Wear loose fitting clothes and things with few buttons to do up
• Where possible do household tasks sitting down, such as peeling vegetables or ironing
• Choose clothes that are low maintenance, clothes that don’t need ironing for example
• Make house hold choirs less strenuous , such as using a duster on a long stick and sit to do your dusting
• Write a list of shopping and go when the supermarket is not busy or have food delivered
• If you have children, play games with them that can be done sitting or lying down – for example, board games, reading books and drawing pictures
• Ask family and friends for help with things like shopping, housework and collecting the children from school
• You may find it easier to have lots of small meals, rather than the traditional 3 meals a day
• Have plenty of nutritious snacks and drinks in stock that you can have whenever you feel like eating
• Don’t forget to do things that you enjoy – this may take your mind off things a bit and make you feel more relaxed

So we talked about ways to help you save you energy. Now lets talk about some ways to help you get you energy back if you are feeling tired

Get active. Drink water. Water keeps you hydrated, which gives you energy
Breathe deeply. This will allow your body to regain awareness and give you a chance to become emotionally well.
Do some yoga. If you used a lot of energy you can do yoga to regain it faster.
Eat food that releases energy over a prolonged period of time like a banana. When you get hungry between meals, eat healthy snacks (instead of junk food) or foods that contain protein.
Pour cold water over each wrist. This gets your blood circulating.
Balance rest and activities. Try not to spend too much time in bed, which can make you feel weak. Schedule activities so that you have time for plenty of rest. Most people find that a few short rest periods are better than one long one.
Do small tasks first. This will save your energy for the big things later.
Do not procrastinate! Putting off tasks will deplete you of time and motivation, get the work done and then have fun.
Wash cold water over your face. The cold will wake you up and the shock your face and a shock to your sensory neurons that sends nerves to the relay that sends it to the motor neurons.

Things to remember:

Learn from others who have cancer. People who have cancer can help each other by sharing ways to manage fatigue. One way to meet other people with cancer is by joining a support group – either in person or online. Talk with your doctor to learn more about support groups.

Talk with your doctor. If you have trouble dealing with fatigue, your doctor will have ways that can help decrease fatigue, give you a sense of well-being, and increase your appetite. Activity and nutrition are an important part of putting more energy into your daily life.

Dr. Navneet Sharda provides the following information has and educational tool and should not be used in stead of consulting with a physician.

Colorectal Screening Facts Part 1 of 2

An informative video brought to you by the Cancer Care Foundation located in Las Vegas, NV, designed to educate people of the facts regarding colorectal screening, colonoscopies, colon cancer and the benefits of early detection. Interviews with Dr. Sharda an Oncologist, Dr. Thorton a colon and rectal surgeon,  Dr. Browder a colon and rectal surgeon, and Dr. Butler family medine .