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Health Support for Cancer Patients

Posted May 24 2012 8:04am

Those who have been following me for the past few years know that my husband went through chemotherapy for Hepatitis C awhile ago. At that time, his liver was dying four times faster than the average hepatitis patient. Luckily for him, and us, the genotype he had came with a high treatment success rate. My husband is an extremely strong individual. I often refer to him as a rock because once he’s made up his mind to do something, or believe something, he’d done. Almost nothing can get him to change his mind.

One of the few exceptions in his life has been chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy was one of the hardest things he’s ever done. In fact, halfway through the process he wanted to quit. The physical side effects were so difficult for him to endure the rock was crumbling. He could barely make it through a four to six-hour workday, let alone the eight to ten that we needed to survive financially. It took A LOT of encouragement from me to keep him going with the treatments.

As many of you know, we financially went under. We had no health insurance at the time, and even though the drug company paid for the chemotherapy drugs themselves, my husband’s doctor was an hour and a half away, we had to travel there several times a week, and he was too tired and sick to work much. Plus, the cost of testing coupled with an emergency trip to Michigan to see my husband’s brother before he died from cancer maxed out our credit cards.

So when David Haas , a cancer advocate from the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance asked if he could place a guest post on this blog, I quickly agreed.

The latest statistics on cancer say that in the U.S., a little less than one out of every two men will face cancer at sometimes in their lifetime. I think that’s because prostate cancer carries just a slightly less prevalence rate than breast cancer does. My husband has 2 brothers; one died from cancer (so far). For women, the odds are a tiny bit better: one out of every three women. But, that’s still not very good odds. My own family has been touched by cancer as well.

In addition, over 3 percent of all cancers are related to obesity. Most likely, that has to do with glucose and the lack of adequate protein in a typical American diet because the latest research on low carb diets has shown that a low carb, low fat diet slowed the growth rate of tumors as well as prevented them. So with that in mind, here’s David’s post on the importance of diet and exercise when you have cancer:

Diet and Exercise for Cancer Patients

Health Support for Cancer Patients

After you have been diagnosed with cancer, you will likely begin a regimen of treatments that may involve chemotherapy or radiation. These therapies can be beneficial in the long run, but also tend to be very draining, even for those who have had a mesothelioma diagnosis . You may be wondering if there is anything that you yourself can be doing to support your health during this challenging time. Fortunately, you can improve your fitness level, which will help improve your quality of life. And you can do this even while being treated for cancer.

You may have been doing many things wrong health-wise prior to your diagnosis, or just a few. Whatever the case may be, your diagnosis should have put you on notice that you have little room for error when it comes to your health. If you have been thinking of exercising or eating healthier, now is the time. Just adding a couple of hours of exercise weekly or eliminating a few unhealthy foods from your diet can make a bigger difference then you might think in terms of your overall health.

By incorporating exercise into your daily routine, you will notice an increase in your energy levels. Over time, exercise will increase your energy through an increase in metabolism. It seems to be an almost universal principle: when you give, you get. Putting in some exercise in the form of running, swimming, or sports will signal your body to provide you with more energy. You are, in effect, telling your body that you need more energy to do these things, and it will respond.

Exercise alone is not really enough, however. Your body will need plenty of good food to build muscle and provide sufficient fuel. Be sure that you are supporting your body by eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, and avoiding smoking or excessive consumption of alcohol. You will also need to get adequate sleep at night so that your body can rest and heal itself.

Many cancer treatments have side effects like lowering the effectiveness of your immune system. This can leave you more vulnerable to becoming very sick from opportunistic infections. Exercise has been shown to be effective in boosting the immune system. A study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that exercise helps protect against getting the common cold.

Data was collected on over 1,000 men and women whose ages ranged from 18 to 85. The number of upper respiratory infections acquired by the participants was tracked over the course of three months. The participants also kept a diary of what exercise, if any, they took. The study showed that participants who exercised five or more days a week got colds 46 percent less ofte n than those who were sedentary. The group with the greatest fitness level also reported 34 percent fewer days of cold symptoms.

*David Haas also has a diet and exercise blog: Exercise-Everyday

*Photo by Rachel Kramer Bussel

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