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Monday, August 03, 2009

MESOTHELIOMA NUTRITION

According to the National Cancer Institute, at least 35 percent of all cancer cases are related to poor nutrition. Though mesothelioma is not a cancer that is related to poor nutrition, improving nutritional intake can help mesothelioma cancer patients fight the progressive disease.

The primary cause of mesothelioma is exposure to a naturally occurring mineral called asbestos. The cancer develops in the mesothelial cells that make up the lining of the lungs, heart and abdomen. Like many types of cancer, it is most treatable when caught early. Unfortunately, the symptoms of mesothelioma can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years to become noticeable. By the time the cancer is diagnosed, it is usually in advanced stages and is more difficult to treat.

Eating a balanced and healthy diet is vital to help prevent cancer and other health problems. Although there is some debate as to exactly which foods are best in certain quantities, the basic guidelines for a healthy diet are relatively simple; avoid all junk foods, eat in moderation, and pay attention to the effects of various foods on the body.

In many cases, no matter how well one eats, cancer may still develop for a multitude of reasons. But even if cancer develops in a healthy person, continuing to eat a healthy diet is critical to the healing process. Vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids (fats) and proteins all play major roles in a healthy human body. The body cannot effectively fight cancer without the right balance of nutrients. In addition, malnutrition causes the body to be vulnerable to infection. Many cancer patients do not pass away from the cancer itself, but rather a medical condition stemming from the body's weakened condition.

In addition to improving chances of survival, proper dietary care can help alleviate the painful or uncomfortable symptoms of cancer. Obviously, this depends on the type and stage of cancer, but improving symptoms can improve quality of lifeā€”even if the cancer is severe. One of the most common side effects of cancer and cancer treatment is nausea. There are a number of dietary changes you can make to help this problem. Dry grain products like crackers and toast can help calm an upset stomach. Bland foods will also help with nausea, as well as acid reflux problems.

Low white blood cell count is another common trait found in cancer patients, which raises the risk of contracting an infection. To avoid this side effect, a number of changes can be made in the foods you eat. It is most important to avoid bacteria, which is common in foods that are spoiled or not prepared well. Avoid buffets when eating out, wash your hands before preparing meals, avoid raw meats and fish (like sushi), and throw away any foods that are bruised or damaged.

For many people, avoiding certain foods cannot decrease the chance of developing cancer. Cancer is a complex medical condition, with many factors playing various roles in development and treatment. However, most patients will undoubtedly benefit from a better diet in a number of ways. In addition to eating a balanced diet, use the following tips to help strengthen the body's ability to function well and fight disease:

  • Avoid alcohol in excess amounts.
  • Monitor weight carefully, not only being sure to stay trim, but also being sure to avoid becoming too thin.
  • Learn about safe food preparation techniques.
  • Cut the "bad" fats from your diet, opting instead for "good" fats, such as olive oil.
  • Choose fruits and vegetables daily (these food groups should represent the bulk of your diet, approximately 50 percent).
  • Avoid processed foods, like prepackaged meals.
  • Make healthy choices when eating out, opting for low-carb or vegetable-based meals when possible.
  • Monitor the types of fish you eat, choosing species low in mercury.
  • Buy products that are organic.
  • Do not eat fast food.
  • Cut tobacco products out of your life.
  • Take a multi-vitamin every day.
  • Include adequate amounts of fiber in your diet.

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