Yvonne Allan is one of our Dedicated Cancer Nurses. Here she answers your questions on fitness and diet after cancer.
jacqui asked: hi I was diognoised with breast cancer seven yr ago.The chemo has knackered the nerve endings in my feet so they are sore constantly and I have put a bit of weight on. I would really like to get back in to shape and eat healthy I am a fuzzy eater aswell never bn to keen on fruit and veg. please help as I really nd sum one to give me a day to day planner that I could try and stick to
Yvonne Allan, Dedicated Cancer Nurse answered: Hi Jacqui, sorry to hear you're still having nerve problems after chemotherapy, this is unfortunately not uncommon. Losing weight may help this and although its important to eat fruit and vegetables if its not something you can include in your diet, you should get this through other foods or by adding in supplements. It may help you to join a group such as weight watchers for the added support and the structured advice about planning your meals each day? Combine gentle exercise to start off with, walking or swimming or gentle yoga is good. It may be worth speaking with your GP who can give you advice as well and may be able to give you a food sheet recommended by a dietician. Its important to get a good balance of carbohydrates/proteins/fibre and vitamins and minerals and to avoid processed foods such as takeaways and to be mindful about portion control. Your GP will be able to measure your BMI and recommend your ideal weight range. I hope this helps. Yvonne
fiona asked: Hi Yvonne - is there any truth to the reports that superfoods can help prevent cancer? And if so can they prevent it returning also?
Yvonne Allan, Dedicated Cancer Nurse answered: Hello Fiona there has been a lot in the press about superfoods as its considered they mop up 'free radicals' which are involved in cellular damange and linked to the development of cancer. There is no established evidence as yet to confirm this but some foods have been identified. Its a better idea to concentrate on an overall good balanced diet rather on focusing on these particular foods.
Ruth asked: My friend's mum has had her ovarian cancer come back and it turns out that she carries the BRCA 1 gene. My friend hasn't been tested yet but her sister has tested positive so it's quite likely she'll be the same. Are there any recommended nutrition or fitness tips for those who are living with BRCA 1?
Yvonne Allan, Dedicated Cancer Nurse answered: Hello the BRCA1 gene is not something that can be prevented through diet or fitness but there are lots of things that can be done to reduce your chances of developing cancer. Being overweight, excess alchohol consumption and of course smoking all increase your likelehood of developing cancer so eliminating these are always a good idea. Ensuring you take regular excersise, eating a good balanced diet and checking any unusual (persistent) health symptoms is the best prevention or the key to early diagnosis of cancer.
Chelsey asked: What kind of routine is appropriate for someone whose body is recovering from chemo and radiation?
Yvonne Allan, Dedicated Cancer Nurse answered: Hello Chelsey it depends on the treatment and the persons overall fitness and health. Generally its about taking things at your own pace initially as although the body recovers quickly from the initial effects there are lasting effects especially fatigue. It's important to rest but gradually build up your activity to your usual routine. Gentle excersise is recommended, regular walking is good and something like a gentle yoga class. It's important not to push yourself too much as well once treatment is complete and allow time to recover.
Anonymous83 asked: What is a 'good diet' for someone currently undergoing both chemo and radiotherapy for cancer treatment? How can you stop losing too much weight?
Yvonne Allan, Dedicated Cancer Nurse answered: Hello unfortunately losing weight is common during treatment for a number of reasons such as sickness and fatigue. Making sure you are taking enough calories is important and eating what you feel like eating and not worrying too much about 'healthy eating'. If you find you are losing a lot of weight, please check with your specialist as they may need to refer you to a dietician. It's a good idea if your appetite is reduced to add high calorie foods to soups and drinks etc such as milk or cream to soup, grated cheese over beans or there are also supplements to add calories to foods that are tastless. Special high calorie drinks and soups are available that a GP or dietician can prescribe.
Anonymous83 asked: What's good to eat during the treatment of chemotherapy and radiation?
Yvonne Allan, Dedicated Cancer Nurse answered: Hello its important to eat little and often if your appetite is affected by treatment. Foods with a good fibre content to prevent constipation such as high bran cereals, wholemeal bread and fruit and vegetables. Avoiding lots of processed foods such as takeaways is better although understandably its difficult to prepare fresh foods when you're feeling unwell. Keeping a balance is sensible and ensuring a good vitamin intake through green vegetables, fish, white meat (reduced red meat) and eggs.