- Created on 18 October 2012
As many as 2.3 million American women have survived breast cancer or are living with breast cancer after surgery or other treatment. Most cancer survivors want to do everything they can to recover from surgery. If you are one of these women, you need to know nutrition and exercise can play a key role in regaining optimum health.
What To Eat To Ease Symptoms
Nausea and vomiting are common after surgery. They are especially common if you've also had chemotherapy or radiation. Other symptoms after surgery include a loss of appetite or desire to eat, and "wasting syndrome" called cachexia. This is a wasting away of muscle, organ tissue, and other lean body mass. It's often accompanied by weight loss and weakness.
Here are some ways to ease symptoms of nausea after breast cancer treatment:
• Eat several smaller meals throughout the day instead of three big meals.
• Try protein shakes, yogurt, and liquid protein drinks when solid foods cause you to feel sick.
• Try simple soups, such as chicken with vegetables and broth, if nausea is an issue.
What To Eat To Aid Healing
Good nutrition is also associated with a better chance of recovery from cancer. After breast cancer surgery, your body needs more than its usual supply of protein. It needs it to repair cells, fight infection, and heal incisions. Right after surgery, boost your protein intake without worrying about calories. It will aid your healing and help you regain your strength. If you need to lose weight, you can focus on that after your post-op recovery.
Here are some ways to increase your protein intake:
• Add protein powder or dry milk to dishes to boost their protein level.
• Add grated cheese to vegetables, potatoes, rice, and salads to increase protein and calories.
• Add high-protein snacks such as almonds, peanuts, and cheese to your diet.
What To Eat To Prevent Recurrence
• Phytochemicals. "Phyto" means plant — are chemicals found in plant foods. Some phytochemicals have been studied for their potential anti-cancer benefits and their ability to prevent recurrence.
• Soy. Soybeans contain phytoestrogens. These are weak estrogen-like compounds. Soybeans (also called edamame), tofu, soy milk, and miso soup all contain these phytoestrogens. Some researchers think they can help protect against the kind of breast cancer that depends on estrogen for its growth. Experts agree that more research is needed to fully understand the role phytoestrogens might play in preventing breast cancer recurrence. In the meantime, ask your doctor whether eating a moderate amount of soy foods — one to three servings a day — is advised for you. It's possible it may interfere with hormone therapy or some other treatment. There is a link between estrogen levels and breast cancer growth. But how various hormone therapies, surgery, phytoestrogens from foods, and recurrence of cancer are all related is, as yet, far from understood.
• Antioxidants. Many vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other foods contain antioxidants. Examples of specific foods with antioxidants include broccoli, liver, and mangos. Antioxidants protect your cells from damage from "free radicals." These are atoms or groups of atoms thought to trigger cancer growth. Dietitians advise eating a balanced diet with a variety of fresh foods to provide antioxidants. That's better than taking high "megadoses" of vitamin C, vitamin E, or other antioxidants.
• Beta-carotene. Beta-carotene gives carrots, apricots, yams, and other orange-colored vegetables and fruits their color. Results of studies examining the relationship between breast cancer and beta-carotene are inconsistent. But there are some studies that suggest that a diet high in beta-carotene-rich foods may reduce the risk of death from breast cancer.
• Lycopene. Lycopene is what puts the red in tomatoes and the pink in pink grapefruit. It might also help prevent recurrence of breast cancer in some women. Studies haven't shown a consistent benefit, though.
An Anti-Cancer Diet?
Here are some guidelines you can use for planning an anti-cancer diet. You might also want to consider consulting with a registered dietitian. The dietitian can give you more personalized advice on the best diet and nutrition plan for your condition.
• Choose low-fat protein, such as roasted chicken and baked fish, rather than steak, duck, sausages, or other high-fat meats.
• Try to eat five servings of a wide variety of vegetables and fruits each day.
• Avoid or eliminate processed meats linked to cancer. This includes meats such as bacon, bologna, hot dogs, ham, and smoked meats.
• Choose whole-grain products like whole-wheat bread and brown rice, rather than white bread and white rice.
• Cut back or eliminate alcohol. Limit yourself to one to two drinks a day at most.
Exercise After Breast Cancer Surgery
Exercise has long been known to improve self-esteem, elevate mood, and create a sense of personal mastery and well-being. Exercise after breast cancer surgery is no exception. In addition, studies have shown a link between being overweight and breast cancer recurrence. So losing weight through exercise may help you restore your health and improve your outcome.
Fatigue often lingers for some time after surgery. It may even be more pronounced if you've also had chemotherapy and radiation. Still, most experts advise some form of regular exercise, even if you start with short walks around the block. Exercise can actually boost your energy. And recent studies suggest that exercise after breast surgery can lower the risk of cancer recurrence.
Ideal Post-Treatment Exercises
1. Talk with your doctor before starting. For the first days and weeks after breast cancer surgery, focus on protecting your incision. Also focus on protecting any other tender areas from bumping and bruising. Avoid carrying children or heavy groceries. Once your doctor gives you clearance to begin exercising, some precautions may apply. Consider seeing a physical therapist experienced with breast cancer. The therapists can help you improve your range of motion, strength, and flexibility in the affected arm and shoulder after surgery.
If you had a lumpectomy to remove a breast lump, or surgery to remove part of your breast (a segmental mastectomy), exercise precautions are usually minimal.
If you had surgery to remove the lymph nodes under your arm, you're at higher risk of lymphedema (swelling of the arm). This is especially true if you receive radiation. That's because fluids can't drain normally from your affected arm. Lymphedema can occur any time after surgery or radiation. You'll need to protect your arm from injury. You may also need to avoid exercises such as tennis, running, and some styles of yoga that use your arms for some time after surgery.
If you had a mastectomy, you may have more precautions than women who have had a breast-conserving surgery that removes less tissue. Also, if you go on to have breast reconstruction surgery, you may face several surgeries to finish the full reconstruction of your breast and nipple. That may mean you'll be restricted from exercise for a longer period of time.
2. Choose an exercise you enjoy. The best exercise for you is the one you'll stay with and enjoy — and one that's safe, given your type of breast cancer surgery. Start with brisk walking. Or try using a stationary bike so you can sit upright without leaning on your arms. Other exercises that don't require you to put weight on your arms include tai chi, qigong, or gentle yoga. Later, add more vigorous exercise that uses your arms more. For example, you might try running, swimming, cycling, hiking, more vigorous styles of yoga, and other aerobic exercise.
3. Work up to 30 minutes, five days a week. Progress slowly and safely in the months following surgery. Eventually, you may be able to work up to the American Cancer Society's general guidelines for cancer prevention — unless your doctor has advised against it based on your age or medical condition.
- Created on 18 October 2012
Even thinking about talking with teens about contraception sends many parents frantically running for the exit. In the United States today, about 60 percent of high school seniors and 85 percent of 20-year-old youth have had sex; 50 percent of all new HIV infections occur in 15- to 24-year-old youth; and about 850,000 teen girls experience a pregnancy each year. Parents cannot afford to remain silent about contraception
when talking with teens.
Young Americans grow up in a society that uses sex to sell every product imaginable—from cars to cola. And the newest sex educator, the Internet, has perils as well as positives in what it offers related to sex.
So what's a parent to do? What are the important messages parents need to convey to their children so that teens will protect themselves and their partners against unintended
pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and will grow up to become sexually healthy adults? Here are some tips for talking with teens—female and male—about contraception and condoms.
1. Assume that teens have had no instruction about contraceptive
methods. Most schools don't teach this subject. Teens may say they know
all about contraception, but much of their "knowledge" is myth and
misinformation. If you feel that you just can't talk about contraception, then ask a health care provider, relative, or friend for help.
2. It's possible to talk with a teen about not having sexual
intercourse while still fully educating him/her about contraception and
condoms. Your teen will need this information, at some point in
life. Just remember that talking about both abstinence and
contraception does not send a mixed message. Parents need to empower
teens to act responsibly, by saying, "When you decide to be sexually
intimate with someone you care about, always, always use protection against pregnancy and STIs."
3. Share your hopes and expectations with your teen, the hope that
the teen will wait until he/she is older and more mature. At the same
time, realize that most teens do not wait, especially not until
marriage. Today, most young men are nearly 29 when they marry, and young
women are nearly 27. Over 90 percent of American adults say they
experienced sexual intercourse prior to marriage.
4. Accept that not all children are heterosexual. Regardless of
sexual orientation, all teens need information about preventing
pregnancy and STIs. During their teenage years, many teens
experiment—regardless of their sexual orientation. Lesbian and bisexual
teenage women may experience pregnancy. Gay and bisexual teenage men may
father a pregnancy. Like all other teens, gay, lesbian, and bisexual
teens are vulnerable to STIs, including HIV.
5. Emphasize that sexual health is not only about using condoms
and birth control but also about staying healthy, lifelong. Teens need
to know where they can go for health care and treatment before
they are sexually active. Teenage women frequently say that fear of a
pelvic exam (second only to fear of parental discovery) is their reason
for waiting six to 18 months after initiating sex before they
see a health care provider about contraception. Young men also delay
talking with a physician about their sexual health. Teenage men may feel
uncomfortable in family planning clinics because these are often geared
mostly toward serving women, and they may be reluctant to go to a
public health clinic, fearing that they will run into someone they know.
Male teens need to know that many family planning clinics are eager to
serve young men; female teens need to know that most family planning
clinics do not require a pelvic exam before prescribing birth control.
6. Share information about emergency contraception (EC) and encourage teenage women to have EC at hand in case of an emergency. (Call 1-888-NOT-2-LATE to find an EC provider.)
7. Talk about using condoms and hormonal methods of birth control. Using two methods at the same time allows young men and women to share the responsibility to be safe and healthy. Condoms are highly effective at preventing HIV and gonorrhea and also lower the risk for other STIs.
They are also very effective at preventing pregnancy—compared to an 85
percent chance of experiencing pregnancy when a couple uses no method of
8. Talk with your teen about "being swept away." When interviewed
about why they did not use condoms or contraception, many young people
say, "I wasn't planning it. It just happened. We got swept away and
didn't use anything." Make clear to your teen that this is not
okay. Say, "You must be prepared, or else you simply don't have sex.
This is the mature way to act." In the words of one wise teen, "using
condoms is just not that difficult. You either use condoms and birth
control, or you just don't do it."
9. What do you do if you find condoms or birth control in your
teen's room or pants pocket? Take a deep breath and remember that this
is evidence of your teen's being responsible. Use this as an opportunity
to open up a conversation with your teen. This is one of those times
when you can share your feelings and values, support your teen in being
responsible, and talk together about intimacy, love, responsibility, and
10. Don't talk as though there is only one kind of sexual
intercourse. Teens aren't sure what "having sex" means. Many today see
oral and/or anal sex as ways to avoid "having sex." These teens often do
not realize that oral sex and anal sex actually are sexual intercourse and that each involves high risk for STIs.
11. Make sure that your teen has at least one other adult to whom
she/he can go for help in an emergency. Give your teen permission to
confide in someone else, a person the teen can trust for guidance and
support. That other adult could be a relative, clergy person, teacher,
counselor, health provider, or friend. Just make sure that you and your
teen both know who the other adult is, rather than just assuming that
your teen has "someone" to whom he/she can go. No young person should go
through a difficult situation without help.
12. Finally, remember that when parents have close and loving
relationships with each other, their relationship is a model for what
their teens will want someday. And, when parents express love and caring
to their children, they also teach them to love themselves. Then,
parents are raising young people who will be likely to use condoms and
effective contraception to protect themselves when, eventually, they
choose to have sex.
- Created on 06 October 2012
CHICAGO (AP) — A clinic to treat the lung disease sarcoidosis has opened in Chicago in honor of the late comedian Bernie Mac.
The Bernie Mac Star Sarcoidosis Clinic opened Friday at the University of Illinois-Chicago. The Chicago native died in 2008 from the disease. Friday would have been Mac's birthday. His widow, Rhonda McCullough, says the clinic has been a "long time coming" and took "a lot of sweat and tears." McCullough also is president of the Bernie Mac Foundation.
Mac was diagnosed with the disease in 1983 and McCullough says he always hoped to find a cure. She says she hopes that happens with the clinic.
Mac had a Hollywood career as a movie actor and standup comedian. He starred in "Ocean's Eleven" and the sitcom "The Bernie Mac Show."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
- Created on 07 October 2012
ATLANTA (AP) — Health officials say the death toll in a rare fungal meningitis outbreak across several states has risen to seven.
In updated figures posted to its website Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the outbreak has spread to more than 60 people across nine states.
Minnesota and Ohio are the two latest states to report confirmed cases linked to a steroid produced by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. The steroid has been recalled, and health officials have been scrambling to notify anyone who may have been injected with it.
The New England Compounding Center has said it is cooperating with health investigators to determine the source of the infections.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
(AP Photo/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Libero Ajello)
- Created on 04 October 2012
Health care professionals and community partners are gathering in Illinois for a breast cancer symposium to discuss advancements, genetic testing and more.
The 2012 Chicago Breast Symposium will take place Oct. 13 - 14 at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago. It has partnered with the Chicago Plastic Surgery Research Foundation. More than 600 attendees are expected, who include health care providers, surgeons, community groups and the public.
Every 1 in 8 or 9 women is diagnosed with breast cancer so being "armed" with the latest information is more important than ever before, said Chicago Medical School Chief of Plastic Surgery Loren Schechter.
"I think people should attend because the reality is with 1 in 8 or 9 women being affected, you're going to know somebody," Schechter told the Defender.
"It may be a friend, it may be a family member and if you're armed with this education, this state of the art education, you can help someone through the process."
Last year Schechter hosted the first annual breast cancer symposium and was surprised by the number of attendees, he said. After a successful turnout, he said he started planning for the second one because he realized there is a knowledge gap regarding treatment and reconstruction options. That gap is more apparent in underserved communities.
"We've learned as we have delved more into these issues is there's a real knowledge gap in terms of choices and options for women with breast cancer," he said.
Schechter said women in underserved communities have a higher mortality rate, meaning they die from breast cancer. More awareness about before and after treatment are extremely important.
"In terms of minority women, even if they get a mammogram and it's abnormal, meaning it needs treatment or a follow up, there may be a fall off; they don't follow through. Why is that?" said the doctor.
Those women sometimes struggle with finding child care during doctor appointments or even getting to the appointment, he said.
He said working with groups such as The American Cancer Society has shown him the many options women are offered in those communities, but may not be aware of. This month's participants will learn more about support options. The American Cancer Society arranges rides and assists with child care.
Panelists will discuss the entire spectrum of options, which includes annual screenings to treatment options such as chemotherapy and reconstruction. Those are the usual discussion topics, but with the medical field advancing, new research shows aftercare treatment is just as important. The program is focusing on "survivorship," Schechter said. Sessions will cover post-treatment options like fertility options, family relationships, art and music therapy.
The overall theme is survivorship so attendees can expect to learn about the standard care as well as newer techniques and exercises.
Incorporating pilates and yoga into one's routine has been discovered to help relieve the after surgery scarring and tightness, Schechter said.
"One of the things we found helpful is for women to get their flexibility back by doing some of these core strengthening exercises."
Unlike last year, Schechter said the symposium has brought the Illinois Department of Health aboard to discuss access to care. There will also be dialogue and information on hereditary breast cancer and the common insurance issues that arise with it like genetic discrimination, he said.
Continuing education credits are provided for physicians, nurses, social workers, surgical techs and other for a one time registration fee of $50 and $100 for physicians.
Registration is still open at www.Chicagobreastsymposium.com