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According to a 2009 study, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that, globally, 30-40 percent of cancers are directly linked to dietary choices. Similarly, in 2006, ACS issued the nutrition and physical activities guidelines for cancer survivors.
At Renown Institute for Cancer, a clinical dietician is providing healthy recipes and counsel to cancer survivors that can not only influence a cancer survivor’s ability to recover more enjoyably, but may also decrease a healthy individual’s risk of even developing cancer.
In most respects, the advice is similar to that for those interested in living healthy a healthy lifestyle. There are, however, a few special considerations for those undergoing cancer treatment or who are rehabilitating survivors.
“You hear it from doctors time and time again…‘Eat right, be active and maintain a healthy weight,” said Sean Walsh, clinical dietician in Food & Nutrition Services at Renown Health. “Diet is only a part of preventing cancer. More and more, though, it is being shown that nutrition plays a major part of this process.”
Walsh said he cannot tell people with complete certainty what foods will cause or prevent cancer because there are too many variables and conditions like genetics. However, he can offer some basic recommendations for healthy eating, which through various studies have shown to lower risks for getting cancer.
Cancer prevention recommendations include:
- Choose a predominantly plant-based diet with a variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Aim to have 5 servings of non-starchy fruits and vegetables every day. Limit refined grains like white bread and pasta.
- Avoid foods that are high in fat, like fast foods and processed foods. Also avoid sugary drinks like soda.
- Limit salt intake. Approximately 2400mg each day of sodium is recommended.
- Limit red meat to less than 18 oz a week. Limit processed meats.
- Be as lean as possible.
- Limit alcohol.
- Men: no more than two drinks a day.
- Women: no more than one drink a day.
- Some supplements or high-dose nutrients are associated with higher risk of developing cancer. Stick to a healthy diet instead and don’t bank on dietary supplements as the magic pills in preventing cancer.
In addition to offering cancer preventive dietary choices, part of Walsh’s role at Renown Health is to help people receiving cancer treatment and those undergoing rehabilitation find the appropriate diet.
“During radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy the most important thing to do is maintain weight,” he said. “Weight loss has been linked to increased severity of side effects. Patients should focus on calories and protein during this phase.”
Guidelines for healthy eating after cancer treatments include:
- Enjoy a variety of Foods.
- Emphasize cereals, breads, other grain products, vegetables and fruits.
- Choose lower fat dairy products, leaner meats, and foods prepared with little or no fat.
- Limit salt, alcohol and caffeine.
About Renown Institute for Cancer
Renown Institute for Cancer was the region’s first hospital recognized by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer for comprehensive cancer care for more than 23 years. Only 25 percent of hospitals nationwide meet the Commission’s rigorous standards.
Renown Institute for Cancer is the largest healthcare provider in the area conducting clinical trials with the National Cancer Institute. Clinical trials allow patients to be on leading trends in medicine and often times they become involved in that “next big discovery” for cancer treatments. Leading northern Nevada in cancer research, Renown Institute for Cancer has administered more than 135 trials to 870 participants.
Whether individuals have been referred, are currently receiving treatment or are seeking a second opinion, they can make an appointment at Renown Institute for Cancer anytime. The team of skilled professionals brings expertise and comprehensive resources to patient care. For general inquiries, contact 775-982-6830 or visit www.renown.org.
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