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Basic Nutrition for newly-diagnosed cancer patients and patients undergoing treatment

Want to know what's best to eat after having cancer? Then this one is for you. The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc - Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center also known as RAFI EJACC in partnership with DietWise Nutrition Consultancy Cebu, spear headed by Mr. Mark Ong, a Cancer Nutritionist & Dietician conducted a seminar yesterday, March 3, on Basic Nutrition for newly-diagnosed cancer patients and patients undergoing treatment.

The same seminars will be conducted on June 2 & September 1, 2018 at RAFI EADSC Bldg located at 35 Eduardo Aboitiz St, Cebu City. For seat reservations, please call the RAFI EJACC office through (032) 254-6351 or contact Ms Karen Wenceslao through 09421589614.

Click Here for an Audio Recording of the Seminar (56:47 minutes)

Nutrition is a vital part in keeping ourselves healthy, how much more than newly-diagnosed cancer patients and patients undergoing treatment. Hundreds and even thousand of studies have been established that there is a direct correlation between the food we eat and cancer. The talk can focuses on the four (4) letter acronym to summarize:

  • W: Weight Management / Watching
  • I: Inflammation
  • S: Sugar Control & Stress Management
  • E: Eating Fruits & Vegetables + Exercise

Weight Watching. Everyone should always be aware of your weight. For those who are in therapy and on treatment or those to about to take the treatment, it is expected that you will loose weight. The nutritional goal here is to maintain proper weight. Sudden weight loss is dangerous, so weight should be closely monitored and ensuring proper nutrition is a must. For cancer survivors who are done with treatment, weight usually shoots up, still proper weight management  is necessary. To assess if you fall between the normal weight, knowing your BMI or Body Mass Index is right first thing to do. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. Click here for the BMI tool to help you. Higher chances of cancer recurrence has been observed if you are obese.

"If the patient is about to undergo or is currently undergoing cancer treatment, nutrition intervention is aimed at maintaining weight.  This prevents cachexia – a condition characterized by an involuntary loss of weight due to muscle and adipose tissue atrophy, resulting from the loss of appetite, from the side effect of the chemotherapy treatment, as well as from the cancer burden itself.  If we cannot address cachexia, the patient suffers so much of the side effects of the treatment, consequently making the treatment outcome poor. When cachexia is addressed, the chances of survival is significantly increased."

Inflammation. Inflammation does not only happens outside the body but also inside. This is in comparison to you getting a scratch or wound, the surrounding areas swell. Swelling is an indication that there is an inflammation. Inside our body, if you have cancer - these cells also are inflamed due to unhealthy eating habits. Cancer doesn't just develops overnight but over time - five to ten years time. Inflammation is cause by a lot of factors including diet, stress, lack of sleep and lack of exercise.

"Cancer is known to be an inflammatory disease. Therefore, reducing chronic inflammation in the body extinguishes the cancer at its very source.  This can be achieved by teaching the patient to eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, exercise, and stress management techniques.​"

Which foods causes inflammation?

  • Pork - high fat content
  • Beef, processed foods - corned beef, hotdog, bacon - if that taste really good, well perhaps it subjectively safe to assume. Check nutritional labels to ensure value of the food we eat. Food preservation have foreign chemicals added which makes the body work more to clean these toxins which eventually causes inflammation.
  • Meat Loaf & Spam
  • Fast Foods - some chemicals are added to stay fresh on the shelf. Chemicals are added to french fries to make it you love it - crunchy outside but soft in the inside and golden brown.
  • Sodium Nitrate in Toccino, Chorizo and Hotdogs which makes them red in color.
  • Hydrogenated Oils in margarines
  • Uncooked Peanuts has aflatoxins
Take-away Items
  • Tuna in flakes and oil, sardines in bottles are safe to eat. Eating the foods primarily listed above doesn't mean that you cannot eat it, you can but be aware and be cautious, only to satisfy your palate.
  • Strike a balance between your diet. 80% Healthy & 20% Not So Healthy - have fun eating! Watching what you eat shouldn't be this stressful, too much emphasis and worries lead to stress.
Which foods lower inflammation?
  • Turmeric & Ginger
  • Fish - Fatty Fish
  • Beans - mung bean (monggo bean) especially mongo bean sprouts (tawgi)
  • Tofu and Soy foods, i.e taho with no condense milk (dairy) & sugar
  • Fruits & Vegetables - Anti-oxidants
Take-away Items
  • There is a test that can be taken to check levels of inflammation in the body, this is called hsCRP (High-sensitivity C-reactive Protein) which is locally available in Cebu - hospitals and private institutions such as HP Diagnostic Center.
  • FREE hsCRP TESTING: DietWise is arranging talks to RAFI-EJACC to get this test FREE for cancer patients & members of the organization.
  • Certain range needs to be met; low inflammation means high healing ability. With high inflammation level, even with high dosage of treatment, your body's healing ability is low thus poor prognosis for recovery.
Sugar Control. Fuel for Cancer Cells. A study done by Nobel. Prize winner, Dr. Otto Warburg, showed that there is an increased risk of cancer progression and mortality rate when insulin levels of cancer patients are high.  We, therefore, teach the patient ways on how they can regulate their blood sugar through their diet and lifestyle, as this can greatly reduce and prevent the development of cancer.​

Take-away Items

  • Coconut Sugar & Stevia as a replacement for your refined sugar
  • Coffee is good without creamer and refined sugar
  • Cacao Drinks - can take even up to 5 cups a day
  • Chocolate - ensure that you have 70% cocoa or more
Stress Management. Stress is a killer which needs to be managed.

  • When stressed out, do a Deep breathing exercise (4 seconds inhale - 7 seconds hold - 8 seconds exhale)
  • Do alternate nostril breathing, a simple yet powerful technique that settles the mind, body, and emotions. You can use it to quiet your mind before beginning a meditation practice, and it is particularly helpful to ease racing thoughts if you are experiencing anxiety, stress, or having trouble falling asleep.
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Nature
  • Relaxing the body turns it into healing mode
  • Return to well being
Eating Fruits & Vegetables + Exercise. According to the WINS (Women’s Intervention and Nutrition) study, high fruit and vegetable intake, especially those high in cancer-fighting properties, in conjunction with regular exercise, not only significantly lowered the risk of mortality for cancer patients, but also reduced the risk of recurrence for cancer survivors. We teach the patient and/ or survivor what vegetables and fruits to focus on to increase their body’s cancer-fighting protection.​

Fruits & Vegetables to focus on when you have cancer, locally available in the Philippines:

  • Romain Lettuce, Spinach, Kangkong
  • Broccoli, Cauliflower & Cabbage - Cruciferous vegetables
  • Tomato at least 2x a week
  • Carrots
This is how your plate should look like

Click here to download the Presentation Slides

Some of the photos taken during the seminar:


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