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Because chemotherapy affects healthy tissue as much as cancer cells, it can lead to problems with appetite, digestion and nutrition. However, nutrition is an essential factor in coping with the side effects of cancer treatment, even if that treatment takes away your desire to eat. A wholesome diet helps your body repair damage, preserves the immune system, and generally allows you to feel as well and as strong as possible. At the Mavis Cabral Medical Centre, we are here to help you maintain a healthy diet throughout your treatment so you can face your illness at your best. This includes identifying possible nutrition deficiencies, planning out a diet, discussing ways to counteract a lack of appetite, sustaining a healthy weight, and choosing foods that agree with you while also providing the nutrients you need.


 Herbal Therapies

Herbal Therapies Cancer Treatment / Plant Therapies Cancer Treatment 

Herbs have long been used in medicine to treat maladies and ease discomfort. Herbal/plant therapies cancer treatment use the whole plant or the parts of a plant valued for medicinal purposes. Some herbal therapies have been formulated using the optimal ratio of the constituents within the plant. This differs from biologic or orthomolecular therapies, which use only individual parts of herbs or plants.

 Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional Supplements in Cancer Care and Other Metabolic Disorders

Why Are Nutritional Supplements Important? 

There are two major reasons to take nutritional supplements. The first reason is to complement the diet with nutrients that may be lacking in sufficient amounts to provide maximal benefit for good health. In the United States, it is widely acknowledged that the current standard American diet is unhealthy and deficient in key nutrients. More than 60% of adults over the age of 50 have insufficient dietary intake of vitamin D, vitamin E, the B vitamin folate, and calcium. Even individuals committed to a healthy diet can find it difficult to meet all their nutritional needs through food intake alone. Eating the recommended five generous servings of fruits and vegetables each day may be challenging. Modern industrial agricultural techniques yield fruits and vegetables low in important trace elements and nutrients, so that even when fruit and vegetable intake is high, amounts of some nutrients may still be too low. There is evidence that some vitamins, such as folate, are more effectively supplied as a supplement than by food. A balanced nutritional supplement helps a person obtain the vitamins and minerals he or she needs.

The second reason is to provide a select nutrient or combination of nutrients to support a specific body function. Some people inherit a body chemistry that requires greater amounts of certain vitamins and nutrients to bring their metabolism up to a normally functioning level. Other people have acquired body chemistry abnormalities due to toxic exposures or as part of a disorder such as poor kidney function. Still others require certain nutrients and vitamins to support them through medical therapies such as antibiotic or cancer chemotherapy. Dietary supplementation with vitamins, minerals and micronutrients complements a healthy diet to provide optimal nutrition and support well-being. It can help maintain health, preserve normal tissue and organ function, and support recovery from many diseases.

Nutrition in Cancer Care

Cancer and cancer treatments may cause nutrition-related side effects. Ensuring proper nutrition before, during, and after treatment can help patients feel better and stay stronger. Lack of key nutrients can cause patients to be weak, tired, and unable to resist infections or withstand cancer therapies. Consuming inadequate protein and too few calories are the most common nutrition problems facing many cancer patients. Protein and calories are important for healing, fighting infection and providing energy, thus protein-dense and calorie-dense foods should be emphasized in the diet. Nutritional supplementation with selected vitamins, minerals and other nutrients can help cancer patients get the micronutrients also needed to maintain strength, prevent body tissue from breaking down, rebuild tissue, heal wounds, fight infection and recover from surgery.

See also the "Cancer and Diet" information in the "Patients Only" section.
Mavis Cabral Medical Centre, P. O. Box 2259, St. John's, Antigua, West Indies
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