Monthly Archives: January 2018

Plant Based Diets for Lung Cancer Survivors

Plant Based Diets

Is a plant based diet recommended for a cancer patient? 

Eating a rainbow of foods is healthy for every body.

With so much nutrition information at our fingertips, it can be hard to make sense of it all.  For the cancer patient, it be even more of a challenge.  One common question that gets a lot of attention is a plant based diet.  So what does this mean, and should you be following it?

What is a plant based diet?

A plant based diet centers around consuming foods derived from plants instead of animals.  Vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and soy are the main food groups in a typical plant-based diet.  Animal products, such as meat, dairy, eggs and fish may be consumed as well, just on a smaller scale.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends 2/3 of one’s daily calorie intake should be from plants and 1/3 from animal products.1  Increasing the general intake of fruits, vegetable, beans and whole grains while reducing total meat, dairy eggs and fish in the daily diet can have many health benefits.

Benefits of a plant based diet

Following a plant-based diet is shown to be advantageous for health.   Vegetables, fruits, soy, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains can prevent cancer from occurring due to their high concentration of antioxidants, phytochemicals and fiber.  For cancer survivors, including individuals with a history of lung cancer, plant based diets have been shown to help to prevent recurrence.2   Some additional benefits include:

Fiber, a nutrient found in only plant foods, can boost digestive health and strengthen the immune system.3  For individuals with cancer, a strong immune system is crucial to prevent infections, sickness, and treatment delays.  The vibrant colors represent phytochemicals, which are important for protecting body cells from any damage that can cause cancer.
Plant based foods are also important to prevent heart disease. Avocados, nuts and seeds, and soy contain healthy fats and fiber that can reduce high cholesterol and promote beneficial heart health.
The combination of high fiber and nutrient content coupled with lower calories is effective in helping with weight loss or maintenance.  Overweight and obesity can increase the risk of cancer recurrence for a number of different cancer diagnoses, which further supports the importance of maintaining a plant based diet.4

Be Mindful When Making Changes to Your Diet

For the individual with cancer, there are some things to keep in mind.  Although it is possible to get all the essential proteins from plant foods, but if it is a newer way of eating for you, it can be more challenging during cancer treatment.  For example, those consuming more plant foods should pay attention to consume enough calories and protein, which helps the body recover properly after treatment.5   Since weight loss can be a concern for many cancer patients following a strictly plant-based diet, it may be difficult for those undergoing treatment to get enough calories.  Therefore, it is strongly recommended to consult with an oncology certified registered dietitian to make sure you are getting adequate protein, calories, and nutrients for your body during your cancer treatment if you have or plan on making any changes to your diet.

Recommendations

Benefitting from a mostly plant based diet does not require a radical approach, any way that you can add plant foods to your diet can be beneficial to your health.  For example, adding fruit to your oatmeal, a salad with lunch, including steamed vegetables drizzled in olive oil with dinner, or using avocados, nuts, and nut butters for added calories can provide your body with extra fiber and antioxidants essential for good health during your cancer journey.   After all, you are what you eat, and food is part of your medicine for good health.

References:

1Get the Facts on Fiber. American Institute for Cancer Research. http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/diet/elements_fiber.html?_ga=2.127962825.412246095.1514302582-1784915318.1511833863. Accessed December 26, 2017.
2What you Need to Know about Preventing Lung Cancer. American Institute for Cancer Research. http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/cancer-site/cancersite_lung.html?_ga=2.47090279.1506569480.1506713576-467606187.1506460449. Accessed September 29, 2017.
3Vighi G, Marcucci F, Sensi L, Di Cara G, Frati F. Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clin Exp Immunol. 2008;153(Supp 1): 3-6.
4Obesity and Cancer Risk. American Institute for Cancer Research. http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/weight/reduce_weight_cancer_link.html. Accessed December 26, 2017.
5Benefits of good nutrition during cancer treatment.  American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorship-during-and-after-treatment/staying-active/nutrition/nutrition-during-treatment/benefits.html. Accessed December 26, 2017.


Savor Health is a provider of personalized nutrition solutions designed exclusively for cancer patients based on evidence-based science and clinical best practices and provided by a team of oncology-credentialed registered dietitians.

CURB SIDE CONSULT WITH DR. HUGHES: LUNG CANCER STAGE IV

Today’s Curb Side Consult: Adding CyberKnife treatments after chemotherapy may help patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer

Marge from Kettering, sits down to talk to Dr. Ed Hughes, radiation oncologist, about her lung cancer.

Marge Has So Much to Live For

Marge: “I heard a lot of good things about CyberKnife for patients with early stage lung cancers.  Only 3-5 visits.  No cutting.  No pain.  Done as an outpatient.

But I have stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. It’s in my left lower lung. I had chemo and the lung cancer shrunk up, but it’s not gone.  And I still have a spot on my liver and a spot on my spine. I know that my cancer is bad. But I want to live as long as I can without symptoms. Can CyberKnife help me?”

 Dr. Hughes: “That’s a great question, Marge. I now have some answers for you, some real options.  And the answer is “possibly.”  So what does it depend on?  Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer patients who may benefit from CyberKnife include those patients who:

 1).  Had at least a partial response or even stable disease after chemotherapy.

 2).  Had only a few sites of metastatic disease, so-called ‘limited metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.’

So Marge, your situation is a quite common one.  Up to 70% of stage IV non-small cell lung cancer patients have partial responses or stable disease following first-line chemotherapy.  The key is to make those chemo responses last longer.  I think real breakthrough progress has been made recently.”

Marge:”So what happens now after my chemo is done?  Are there studies to prove that this treatment plan is going to work?”

Dr. Hughes: “A small, but crucial study done by Dr. Iyengar and Associates at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center showed that adding stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR), like that delivered by CyberKnife, extended survival from 3.5 months to 9.7 months.  Quite remarkable results.

Importantly, major side effects from SABR, like that delivered by CyberKnife, were well tolerated.  In a press release at the September 2016 ASTRO annual meeting, Dr. Iyengar said, “The addition of consolidative radiation did not increase toxicity, which allowed patients to continue onto additional systemic therapy that is important to controlling aggressive metastatic disease.”  So with good collaboration between your medical oncology doctor and your radiation oncology doctor, CyberKnife can be given safely and effectively, even with chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Real hope is here.”

Marge: “So now what happens?”

Dr. Hughes: “As it turns out, the Dayton Clinical Oncology Program (DCOP), of which I am a member, does have a clinical trial called NRG-LU002-that “randomizes” the patient to maintenance chemotherapy versus maintenance chemotherapy plus SABR, like that delivered by CyberKnife.  Another option is to be treated “off protocol” so that you choose CyberKnife and not leave it up to the “coin flip” of a computer as to whether or not you’ll get CyberKnife treatment. But you have to tell your pulmonologist and your medical oncologist you want it.”

 For any questions about your stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, feel free to call me, Dr. Edward Hughes, at 855-Dayton 1.  I guarantee that I will see you in consultation within 1-3 days of your phone call.

CYBERKNIFE: PERFECT CHOICE FOR SENIORS WITH LUNG CANCER

Stereotactic radiosurgery, like that delivered by CyberKnife, has become the “standard of care” for stage 1 lung cancer patients considered to be medically inoperable or if a patients is too sick for surgery.  A new study of 62,213 patients 60 years and older with stage 1 lung cancer, showed that stereotactic radiosurgery increased the 2 year survival rate to 58% compared to 39% for seniors treated with conventional radiation.

Dr. Andrew Farach told HemOnc Today that “Our findings indicate that physicians should feel confident recommending radiation therapy to patients who are too sick to undergo surgery or choose not to undergo surgery for other reasons.”

THE CYBERKNIFE ADVANTAGE

CyberKnife is the only stereotactic radiosurgery device that continuously tracks your lung cancer as you breathe.  CyberKnife treatments are painless-no incision. CyberKnife treatments are completed in only 3-5 outpatient visits.  In fact, many of our patients can drive themselves to and from visits.

Many of our seniors have many medical problems that limit their surgical options.  And CyberKnife is a perfect alternative.  At the prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, there has been a drop in surgery for seniors with early-stage lung cancer with many choosing stereotactic radiosurgery.

“It is a rare situation where the more convenient therapy is also the more effective therapy,” said Dr. Farach of Houston’s Methodist Hospital.

If you have any questions about your lung cancer, please feel free to call me, Dr. Edward Hughes, at 855-Dayton 1.  I guarantee that I will see you in 1-3 days of your call. Expertise. Experience. Caring. The First Dayton CyberKnife difference.