When that dreaded diagnosis of cancer must be dealt with, there are things that can be done to give a patient better odds of overcoming cancer. Some treatments are traditional, some are new technology, and some have to do with the power of our minds. A strong spirit is key. We need to want to overcome cancer and we need to believe there is a chance of winning this battle.
New Cancer-fighting Technology Choices
There are new treatment options being developed every day. The next wave of cell and gene therapies by companies such as Poseida may offer hope for some types of cancer. Gene engineering technologies are designed to harness the power of the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Systems like the piggyBac DNA Modification make it possible to insert larger amounts of genetic information each time. Cas-Clover is a new gene-editing technology, a site-specific gene-editing platform shows promise.
These new technologies in development show promise in treating cancer in blood and solid tumors. Forms of cancer such as lung cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma cells. Cancer patients should check into all these new treatment options in their fight to survive cancer.
Can Psychological Stress Cause Cancer?
Studies do not show stress as a direct cause of cancer. But, people under a lot of stress can exhibit certain behaviors or habits that can cause cancer risk such as overeating, smoking, or drinking alcohol. People under stress can develop health problems that weaken their immune systems such as digestive problems, urinary problems, viral infections, headaches, flu, colds, depression, anxiety, and sleep trouble.
Can Stress Affect Cancer Outcomes?
Even though studies don’t show strong evidence of stress affecting cancer outcomes, stress can indirectly affect cancer outcomes by causing patients to develop feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that do affect cancer outcomes. And those feelings are not the cause of bad outcomes unless they lead people to delay seeking treatment, give up too soon, or engage in risky behaviors.
People With Cancer Can Beat Stress On a Psychological Level
Going through cancer treatment is stressful even when it works and the cancer is in remission or cured. A person can still be scared, anxious, and blue. There are strategies to transition from a person suffering from cancer to a cancer survivor. Some strategies should be started during cancer treatment and then continued afterward. Some people suffer cancer-related PTS with feelings of fear, shock, horror, and helplessness.
Some approaches to coping with cancer on an emotional level include:
1. Relaxation training and meditation or stress management training. This training helps patients deal with the pain, anxiety, and treatment side effects.
2. Talk therapy and counseling can be very helpful. A professional mental health counselor can help a person sort through thoughts of anxiety and find solutions to relieve anxiety.
3. Education sessions for cancer patients can help patients learn about the disease and treatment options.
4. Cancer support groups can be very comforting and helpful. There is a value in making friends with the same problems and fighting together. Cancer centers, oncologists, nurses, and other professionals involved in cancer treatment can refer patients to cancer support groups or peer counselors. The American Cancer Society will have information.
5. Exercise programs can be very beneficial in keeping the body healthier and fighting anxiety.
6. Medications for anxiety and depression as well as cancer medications are often used in treatment.
7. Make an effort to get informed and stay informed about the kind of cancer being treated and about general health. Look for ways to improve your physical and mental health and to lower the chances of cancer returning. Look into diet and exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Living Better After Cancer
When chemo is done and the cancer is in remission, make the most of life. Is there a bucket list? Make a bucket list of all the things you want to do and take some time to check things off that list. Also take time to do things that are enjoyable such as hobbies, long walks, time with friends and family, and so on. This might be a good time to volunteer for good causes such as food banks, animal shelters, thrift stores, museums, and more.
If a person is going back to work after cancer treatment, don’t overdo it. This is a good time to cut back on overtime and job stress. Make sure to create a healthy life balance between work and family and work and leisure time. Take those vacations every year and go someplace on that bucket list. Take those weekends off and be with family and friends. Make sure to get enough rest and relaxation.
Diet Can Help With the Cancer Fight
There are foods and diets that are believed to prevent cancer or to prevent it’s coming back. Experts agree that certain healthy eating habits can be helpful in reducing risk. No matter what the end result of eating a healthier diet is, a person will have the satisfaction of knowing they did their best to control their cancer risk factors.
1. Make sure to enjoy a lot of fruits and vegetables, both raw and cooked. Vegetables and fruits are full of nutrients and vitamins believed to reduce certain kinds of cancer risk factors. One diet to try that is rich in fruits and vegetables is the Mediterranean diet. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage can protect people from free radicals that damage the cell’s DNA. They may also protect people from other cancer-causing chemicals and help slow the growth of tumors.
Green leafy vegetables contain beta carotene and lutein, two cancer-fighting antioxidants. Beans such as pinto beans and red kidney beans and others contain fiber and antioxidants useful in preventing cancer.
2. Develop a taste for green tea and drink it several times a day. Green tea is a cancer-fighting food rich in antioxidants that might help fight or prevent cancers of the liver, breast, pancreas, lung, skin, and esophagus. Green tea contains a cancer-fighting agent called epigallocatechin-3 gallate. Both green and black tea contains catechins which are antioxidants that reduce cancer risk. But green tea has more of them.
3. Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene which is thought to protect against lung and prostate cancer. Cooking tomatoes releases the lycopene and makes it easier for the body to use.
4. Yes, olive oil is probably good for fighting cancer. Mediterranean countries that use more olive oil in cooking have lower breast cancer rates. Replace at least part of the butter and fat in cooking with olive oil.
5. If you like grapes, eat red grapes as snacks because they contain a superantioxidant called activin which offers protection against some cancers, heart disease, and some chronic degenerative conditions. This chemical is also in red wine and red grape juice. Green grapes are delicious but may or may not have this benefit.
6. People who eat generous amounts of garlic and onions have the right idea. These foods block the formation of nitrosamines which are carcinogens that contribute to colon, breast, and liver cancers. These are common cooking ingredients for many people, or should be.
7. Eating fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and tuna that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce a person’s risk of developing prostate cancer. An additional source of omega-3 fatty acid is flaxseed. It is easy to sprinkle this seed onto many foods.
8. The American Institute for Cancer Research believes that eating whole grains may be a way to reduce colorectal cancer risk. Foods such as oatmeal, brown rice, barley, whole-wheat pasta, and whole-wheat bread are good examples of these whole-grain diet options.
9. There are natural spices such as turmeric found in curry, ginger, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and oregano that affect the cancer risk as well as adding flavor to cooking. Research is still being done on the amounts needed to be effective. Other sources list rosemary and parsley as cancer-fighting herbs. The right herbs and spices can boost our immunity and fight cancer.
Avoid These Foods To Reduce Cancer Risk
What a person eats and what a person avoids eating or drinking can make a difference in the risk of cancer. The American Cancer Society and other experts suggest avoiding highly processed foods and meats, overly hot beverages, burned or overcooked food, alcoholic beverages, some dairy foods are good, but in moderation, sugars and refined carbohydrates, salt-cured and pickled foods, red meats, certain food dyes, and other unhealthy foods.
Smoking, drinking, using illegal drugs, being overweight, and spending too much unprotected time in the sun can all be cancer risk factors. Living a healthy life and eating the right foods can go a long way in avoiding cancer. Some things like family history and age can not be changed but a person can work to reduce cancer risks by being proactive with periodic cancer screenings and healthy living.
If a person is worried about getting cancer, has recovered from cancer, or is fighting cancer, there are multiple ways to act on one’s own in addition to cancer treatment protocols to beat cancer and feel better psychologically about the fight. When a person knows they are doing everything in their power to avoid or fight cancer, they will feel less anxious and more in control. A good attitude and a fighting spirit help people recover from cancer.
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