Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden
The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.).
March 15, 2010
Here are eight mind-body tips for a vital and healing journey when diagnosed with cancer:
Think complementary, not alternative. When treating cancer, use holistic methods as a complement to recommended medical treatment, not as the primary cure.
Eat well. It may help give you a better chance of recovery from cancer. Eat protein if you have lost a lot of weight because of your cancer treatment. Decrease your intake of fats. Avoid foods that have been linked to cancer, such as bacon, bologna, hot dogs, ham and smoked meats.
Minimize the vino. Having more than two drinks a day has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
Eat antioxidants. These protect against damage from so-called free radicals, which are thought to trigger cancer growth. Many vegetables, fruits and nuts contain antioxidants. Beta carotene and lycopenes may help, but the studies are inconsistent.
Lose a few extra pounds if you can. There may be a correlation between weight and breast cancer occurrence and recurrence. A study that followed more than 900,000 people, reported in a 2003 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that obesity increases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer in the first place -- and her risk of dying from it once she has it.
Further, it is thought that being overweight or obese may account for 20 percent of all cancer deaths among U.S. women and 14 percent among men. That means 90,000 cancer deaths could be prevented each year if Americans could maintain a normal, healthy body weight.
Exercise 30 minutes a day. You can start with activities such as tai chi or gentle yoga.
Be happy. Studies have shown that patients who are depressed have a higher one- and three-year mortality rate from certain cancers than those who are not.
And for our final recommendation, we think this quote from Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh says it best: "Be realistic -- plan for a miracle."
Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden are medical directors of Sutter's Downtown Integrative Medicine program.
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