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What To Eat If You Have Breast Cancer

Diet And Breast Cancer

Can I Eat Fruit if I have Breast Cancer

Because the role of diet in breast cancer survival is not fully understood, common nutrition advice is based on what is known to prevent breast cancer and these guidelines arent specific to cancer type. In fact, nutrition advice for breast cancer prevention closely matches the breast cancer survivorship guidelines, published in December 2015 by the ACS and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

These recommendations encourage survivors to consume a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, while limiting alcohol and saturated fat. These guidelines are not specific to cancer type or ER status, although people who have estrogen-dependent cancer may respond well to these recommendations.

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How Do I Know If Medical Malpractice Is To Blame For My Misdiagnosis

If you think your breast cancer was misdiagnosed as a result of malpractice, consider scheduling a free consultation with a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice cases. They should be able to determine if you are qualified and can give you more information about the process based on your individual case.

Learning To Balance Your Plate

People with cancer are often motivated to make dietary changes, but Ms. Kennedy says its important to stay balanced.

You dont always have to eat salads and grilled fish, she says. In real life, you are going to a barbecue or a graduation party or the beach and at times youre going to eat foods that appear to be off plan. In reality, thats what healthy eating and balance is all about: trying to keep nutrition in the big picture of your overall wellness.

Gwen Ryan, 58, of Gloucester, Massachusetts, was first diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in 2014 and now has metastatic breast cancer.

Like most people, I was bombarded with information from well-meaning friends and I also surfed the internet on what to eat and what not to eat, Gwen says. I remember one day thinking, I cant eat anything.

She was grateful when a social worker at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, where she gets her medical care, told her about a new program designed to promote weight loss and healthier eating. At the first session, the instructor made it clear that there is no No List.

I learned what a healthy plate should look like. One half should be colorful vegetables the other half was split between a deck of cards worth of protein, healthy grains and carbs, and a little fat, she says.

Now Im not living scan to scan, but Im living between scans, she says.

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What Are The Worst Foods To Eat During Breast Cancer Treatment

You should always check with your medical team about foods to avoid, because everyones treatment plan is different. However, there are some general tips which are below:

  • Avoid alcohol as much as possible, although it is fine to have an occasional glass of wine.
  • Grapefruit can affect how many drugs act within the body, so you should check with your doctor or avoid this fruit.
  • Avoid foods that are high in sugar, as these are more likely to affect weight gain.
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk, vegetables, and other dairy products. Unpasteurized food could contain harmful bacteria which makes your chances of getting ill greater when your immunity is low.
  • You may be told to avoid runny eggs, raw seafood, and buffets where you cannot be certain how long the food has been out. I was also told to avoid takeaways for the same reason, but you should check with your medical team if you are not sure.

During chemotherapy when your immune system is compromised you need to be really careful about food hygiene. Make sure you follow a good handwashing regime and store foods correctly, keeping raw and cooked meat separate. Also, be careful when using chopping boards, ensuring that raw meat and fish are prepared separately from cooked meat or vegetables.

Be careful when reheating, as food must be cooked right through so that it is piping hot. Otherwise, it may encourage bacteria to form which can make you really ill.

How Does The Doctor Know I Have Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Diet: What to Eat for Better Management

A change seen on your mammogram may be the first sign of breast cancer. Or you may have found a lump or other change in your breast.

The doctor will ask you questions about your health and will do a physical exam. A breast exam is done to look for changes in the nipples or the skin of your breasts. The doctor will also check the lymph nodes under your arm and above your collarbone. Swollen or hard lymph nodes might mean breast cancer has spread there.

If signs are pointing to breast cancer, more tests will be done. Here are some of the tests you may need:

Mammogram: This is an x-ray of the breast. Mammograms are mostly used to find breast cancer early. But another mammogram might be done to look more closely at the breast problem you might have.

MRI scan: MRIs use radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays to make detailed pictures. MRIs can be used to learn more about the size of the cancer and look for other tumors in the breast.

Breast ultrasound: For this test, a small wand is moved around on your skin. It gives off sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off tissues. The echoes are made into a picture that you can see on a computer screen. Ultrasound can help the doctor see if a lump is a fluid-filled cyst , or if it’s a tumor that could be cancer.

Nipple discharge exam: If you have fluid coming from your nipple, some of it may be sent to a lab. There, it will be checked to see if there are cancer cells in it.

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Sweeteners: The Bad And The Good

All man-made sweeteners and fat substitutes should also be avoided. These items are most often associated with brain cancer, but everyone should avoid them. This is one of many reasons soda pops are out of the question. Soda pops are also acidic.

There is only one acceptable sweetener in a cancer diet Stevia, which is a herb.

How Much Soy To Eat

It is not clear how much soy a person should eat to experience any beneficial effects against breast cancer. Research among Asian populations suggests that eating between 2550 mg of soy a day may provide a positive preventive effect.

A person with breast cancer can consult their medical team if they have questions regarding their diet and whether they should increase their soy intake. They should avoid significantly increasing their soy intake, especially through dietary supplements and protein powders, unless advised to do so.

The University of California San Francisco Health lists the following common soy foods along with their soy protein content range:

  • 3 ounces of water-packed tofu: 613 grams
  • 3 oz of silken tofu: 6 g
  • 1/2 cup tempeh: 1622 g
  • 2/3 cup edamame: 6 g
  • 8 oz of plain soy milk: 310 g
  • 1/4 cup soy nuts: 12 g
  • 1/2 cup canned white soybeans: 13 g
  • 1/2 cup canned black soybeans: 11 g
  • 2/3 cup green or sweet soybeans: 79 g
  • 2 tablespoons soy nut butter: 68 g
  • 1 soy burger: 10 g
  • 1/2 cup rehydrated textured vegetable protein: 12 g

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Staying A Healthy Weight

Reaching and staying at a healthy body weight is one of the most important things you can do for your general health. Being overweight and having too much body fat is linked to an increased risk for some diseases, including certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

People who have gone through menopause and are overweight or obese have a higher risk for breast cancer. Research suggests that gaining a lot of weight during or after breast cancer treatment can increase both your risk of breast cancer returning and your risk for getting other cancers.

So What Are The Health Benefits Of Fermented Soy Products

Cancer Diet: What Would I Eat If I Had Cancer? Dr.Berg

The claim that soy products can prevent osteoporosis, decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia, and protect you from cancer of the prostate, lung, and liver is actually true, but ONLY if the soy is fermented.


The process of fermenting soy destroys the above-mentioned dangerous substances, thereby making it fit for consumption. Also, fermented soy products, such as those listed above, are a rich source of vitamin K2, a vitamin that works in harmony with vitamin D to keep you healthy. Vitamin K regulates your bodys blood clotting ability and helps prevent cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease. And vitamin D is essential to the function of every system in your body.

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Will Breast Cancer Treatment Affect What I Eat

Many people wonder what foods they should eat and avoid while having breast cancer treatment, and how their diet may change.

Breast cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy can have a range of side effects, some of which may affect what you want to eat and drink. Your usual routine may be disrupted, which can affect your eating pattern. You may also find that going through a stressful and anxious time affects your appetite, causing you to eat more or less than normal.

Find out more about diet and breast cancer.

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Malnutrition In Cancer Patients

Dr. Patrick Quillin points out most of the scientific literature shows that weight loss drastically increases the mortality rate for most types of cancer, while also lowering the response to chemotherapy. Chemo and radiation therapy are sufficient biological stressors alone to induce malnutrition.

In fact, 40 percent or more of cancer patients actually die from malnutrition, not from cancer.

Americans choose their food based upon taste, cost, convenience, and psychological gratification thus ignoring the main reason that we eat, which is to provide our body cells with the raw materials to grow, repair, and fuel our bodies, Quillin says in Beating Cancer with Nutrition. The most commonly eaten foods in America are white bread, coffee, and hot dogs. Based on our food abundance, Americans could be the best-nourished nation on record. But we are far from it.

Is A Mastectomy My Only Option

The Best Foods to Eat When You Have Breast Cancer  Health ...

A mastectomy is just one of several treatment options for breast cancer. Depending on the stage of the cancer, other options can include a lumpectomy, which only removes the cancerous tissue and a small portion of healthy tissue rather than the entire breast, lymph node removal, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy. Some treatment options are more aggressive than others, so your team of healthcare professionals will be able to provide you with the best option for your cancer based on its stage and your health. Clinical trials also serve as an option, but there is no guaranteed success, and the side effects may be greater than those from standard treatment.

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There Is No Perfect Diet

Some people might find it reassuring to be handed a special cancer diet: a firm list of what foods to eat and not eat after a cancer diagnosis. But nutritionists say there is no such thing as a fool-proof, cancer-busting diet, despite many popular claims that people with cancer should absolutely avoid refined sugar, alcohol, and other forbidden foods that frequently pop up in a Google search.

Instead, nutritionists advocate for a well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits that satisfy the senses and serve up healthy nutrients. That approach can also help avoid excessive weight gain, which research has linked to certain kinds of cancer.

While there are absolutely so many things you can do with your everyday diet to help support your immune system and help support your body, we want to get away from the mindset that there is one prescriptive diet that everyone should follow, says Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, LDN, CSO, co-founder and director of nutrition at Wellness Guides Personalized Nutrition & Fitness Coaching, in Boston.

Establishing A Breast Cancer Healthcare Team

Patients should form a care team to ensure complete care is provided upon receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. Whether it is through emotional support or medical procedures, establishing a team that can help a patient’s treatment and recovery journey from all angles is essential in the process. Members of this team can include:

  • Primary care doctor
  • Plastic surgeon
  • Patient navigator

This team of individuals can provide quality care, whether it be through counseling or medical procedures, along with the comfort that patients will need during a critical time in their lives. If a patient must undergo a double mastectomy to prevent the cancer from spreading, post-cancer treatment such as breast reconstruction surgery may be necessary and may require another doctor and specialist. Depending on the severity of the prognosis, a team of palliative care or spiritual support providers may be needed throughout the process to help support both patients and their families.

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Understanding A Breast Cancer Diagnosis

When being diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s important for patients and their loved ones to take time to process the situation above all else. Although time may be of the essence, it’s important that patients enter their treatment journey with a clear head to ensure that every decision is made with their best interest in mind. Coming to terms with a diagnosis is a critical step in the process.

HER2 refers to the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, a gene that can play a role in breast cancer development. The gene controls how breast cells grow, divide, and repair themselves, making overproduction a potential red flag for breast cancer.

Patients and their families should also bring any questions or concerns to a doctor as soon as possible, especially if they relate to treatment options. A doctor should provide information regarding the type of cancer, the HER2 status, and its stage during the first appointment, so patients and families can begin to make a plan to move forward. Patients should feel comfortable asking questions about where the cancer is located, long-term outlook, and next steps. Having these conversations as quickly as possible and implementing a treatment plan will give the patient the best chance of survival, as diagnoses often worsen when left untreated.

Maintaining A Healthy Weight

Reducing Breast Cancer Risk

Being overweight or obese affects breast cancer risk differently before and after menopause.

  • Before menopause, women who are overweight or obese have a modestly decreased risk of breast cancer .
  • After menopause, women who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of breast cancer .

Although women who are overweight or obese may have a lower risk of breast cancer before menopause, weight gain should be avoided. Women who gain weight in adulthood have an increased risk of breast cancer before and after menopause .

Most breast cancers occur after menopause. Any weight you gain before menopause you may carry into your postmenopausal years, so its important to maintain a healthy weight throughout your life.

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Breast Cancer Food Guide

There is no specific diet that is recommended for people with breast cancer. Your nutrient needs may vary depending on many factors that include other medical diagnoses, your body weight, nutrient deficiencies, medications, and any symptoms that youre currently experiencing.

Your healthcare team, including a registered dietitian who specializes in oncology nutrition, can help you come up with an appropriate eating plan specific to your needs and overall health. The following foods are based on general recommendations to maintain overall health while living with breast cancer:

  • whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, protein sources like chicken and turkey, fatty fish like trout or salmon, and plant-based proteins sources like lentils and nuts
  • foods high in healthy fats and protein. If you need to maintain or gain weight, incorporate sources of healthy fat like nuts and seeds, avocados, and olive oil as well as protein sources like eggs, chicken, lentils, and fish. Protein-rich foods are especially important for maintaining muscle mass.
  • blended liquids such as milkshakes, smoothies, juices, or soups for those times when you dont feel like eating solid foods
  • high fiber foods like whole grains, flax seeds, legumes, vegetables and fruits to treat constipation

Planning Financially For Breast Cancer Treatment

An unexpected cancer diagnosis often comes with a heavy financial burden. Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, surgeries, and medications throughout the treatment journey can come as a shock, especially if they turn out to be out-of-pocket expenses. Medical bills can create additional stress in already trying times, so it’s important that patients understand any and all expenses that may arise during breast cancer treatment.

Patients should always contact their insurance company to see what expenses will be covered by insurance and what resources will require funds from elsewhere. Crowdfunding via sites like GoFundMe has become a popular way to cover medical and living expenses throughout the treatment journey, as patients look to the support of their friends, family, and even generous strangers in their community. If a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer after receiving a misdiagnosis, compensation from a successful medical malpractice lawsuit can also help ease the financial stress of growing medical bills.

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