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Question about what to eat while on chemo?

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hopeful57 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 24 Jun 2013 at 2:58pm
Hi, everyone, I am new here and I really appreciate being able to read all the posts and get comfort in knowing others are going through what I am now. Thank you. I am currently in chemo, last week had my second AC treatment out of 4, and this will be followed up by my T treatment. My only side effect (other than my hair loss) is that I have some heartburn. The Oncologist said I could take Zantac. My question is that I have read sugar is very bad for TNBC patients but with this heartburn, I am craving ice pops, pudding, etc. Do I need to worry about this sugar stuff while I am going through chemo, or should I just try to get through chemo? I was diagnosed on 3/1/13, had a lumpectomy later that month, my tumor was 1.2 centimeters, sentinel node removed, no lymph node involvement, clear margins (0.8 centimeters clear.) I also had a breast reduction at the same time. Any guidance you can provide would be appreciated. Thank you again. This is certainly a scary time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ctlindah Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2013 at 3:32pm
Hi Hopeful,
 
I like your name!  I tried to eat well when I was on chemo but didn't always.  I seriously craved chocolate and gave in to my craving probably more then I should have.  Some of my favorite foods I could no longer tolerate (pickles).  I'd say to be good to yourself and rest when you need it.  I found that pushing myself came back to haunt me. 
 
I've had GERD for many years and found that OTC Prevacid worked well while on chemo.  Might be something to ask your doctor about if your current medicine doesn't cut it.
 
Linda
DX IDC TNBC 10/12 age 48, Stage 1, Grade 3, 1.5cm
Lumpectomy DD AC & Taxol BRCA- rads X30 finished 5/13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sweetpickle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2013 at 3:53pm
Hi hopeful-

i allowed myself to eat whatever sounded good at the time during chemo. I know some say that sugar is bad for cancer but there are
Vegans who get TNBC so in my opinion a balanced healthy diet with exercise is the route I plan to take. I am almost two months post chemo and I am just now changing my diet as I had two surgeries straigt after chemo.

Chemo is way to taxing on your body, take it easy with yourself while in treatment. Good luck and congrats on being half way done with the red devil!
11/13/12 DX TNBC, BRCA 1+ Grade 3, 4.3cm tumor, susp. node under arm, 4 A/C biweekly & 4 Taxol biweekly
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Charlene Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2013 at 4:41pm
My oncologist says "all things in moderation."  During chemo, eat what appeals to you and what agrees with you.  Be kind to yourself and take it easy.  You have enough to worry about right now (in my opinion) without spending too much time on your sugar intake.  There will be time, when your treatment is behind you, that you will be able to refocus on healthy living and permanent changes that you might want to make.  I vote for "just getting through chemo."  Wish you the best.  This too shall pass.
Charlene
DX 3/10 @59 ILC/TNBC
Stage 1, Grade 2, Multifocal; Lumpectomy/re-excision
SNB 0/4 nodes, BRCA-; Taxotere/Cytoxan X4, 30 rads
3/13: Mammo/ultrasound/breast MRI--NED;
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hopeful57 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2013 at 4:56pm
Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. I will eat what feels good to me without going overboard but it is nice to know that I don't have to be supervigilant about any sugar I might eat now with everything else on my mind. I feel like I am in a whirlwind and am hanging on for dear life. May I ask another question? For anyone that has had AC -T, the oncologist and others with whom I have spoken seem to say that the AC is tougher than the T part. I am halfway done 4 AC every other week, and then I will go right into 4 Taxol treatents every other week. This should be completed in the first week in September. Then I will rest a month and do radiation in October. What are your experiences with each chemo regimen?   Is this AC-T a common regimen for TNBC? My tumor was 1.2 cm, they removed just the sentinel node which was negative and the margins were 8 mm. clear. I was diagnosed as a Stage 1, Grade 3 and am BRAC-. Thanks so much for your guidance. Once day I will not be a "newbie" and will hope to provide information to others.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lillie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2013 at 7:52pm
Dear hopeful57,
Welcome to the TNBC Support Group.  This is not a group any of us clamor to join, but I'm so glad it is here.
I had the A/C + T every other week, just like you.  The A/C was more difficult to get through than the Taxol.  Your comment, "I am in a whirlwind and am hanging on for dear life" describes exactly how I felt at times during my treatment.  I must say that you will have side effects with taxol, but they will be different from A/C. 
 
Good Luck and keep on posting.  When I first started posting I kept asking, "why am I still a Newbie"??  Someone finally told me that after 100 posts you become a senior member.  I guess now they should have "old timer" by my name.
 
God Bless,
Lillie
Dx 6/06 age 65,IDC-TNBC
ST-IIb,GR3,2cm,BRCA-
6/06 L/Mast/w/SNB,1of3 Nodes+
6/06 Axl. 9 nodes-
8/8 thru 11/15 Chemo (Clin-Trial) DD A/Cx4 -- DD taxol+gemzar x4
No Rads.
No RECON - 08/2013 NED
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GailF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2013 at 9:16pm
Dear hopeful57,

I just met with my onc and nutritionist today and they both said that if I craved it, have it.... of course in moderation.  My nutritionist says it is not true that "sugar feeds breast cancer cells".

I just had a nice piece of chocolate I enjoyed every morsel of it!

One day at a time.....

GailF
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Grateful for today Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2013 at 9:47pm
Hopeful57 and GailF,

Will follow with some additional info on sugar and cancer from major cancer centers.

A prior thread posted by Donna: Does cancer love sugar?
http://forum.tnbcfoundation.org/does-cancer-love-sugar_topic10460.html
"Does sugar “feed” cancer cells?   (From MD Anderson)
"Let’s look at the evidence to find out whether sugar causes cancer to grow and spread more quickly.
It’s true that sugar feeds every cell in our body — even cancer cells. But, research shows that eating sugar doesn’t necessarily lead to cancer. It’s what sugar does to your waistline that can lead to cancer.
Taking in too many sugar calories may result in weight gain. And, being overweight or obese puts you at a higher risk for cancer and other diseases.
So, should you avoid sugar? Our expert says no.
“Your body’s cells use sugar to keep your vital organs functioning,” says Clare McKindley, clinical dietitian at MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center. “But too much daily sugar can cause weight gain. And, unhealthy weight gain and a lack of exercise can increase your cancer risks.”.........."
(Please see above link for the entire article)

From DFCI Boston: Sugar and Cancer Cells
http://www.dana-farber.org/Health-Library/Sugar-and-Cancer-Cells.aspx
"The notion that sugar feeds cancer is widespread in the public press. To cut to the chase: it's not that simple. ......."   See link for entire article.

From Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer-causes/CA00085/NSECTIONGROUP=2
"Cancer causes: Popular myths about the causes of cancer
Myth: People with cancer shouldn't eat sugar, since it can cause cancer to grow faster.
Fact: Sugar doesn't make cancer grow faster. All cells, including cancer cells, depend on blood sugar (glucose) for energy. But giving more sugar to cancer cells doesn't speed their growth. Likewise, depriving cancer cells of sugar doesn't slow their growth.
This misconception may be based in part on a misunderstanding of positron emission tomography (PET) scans, which use a small amount of radioactive tracer — typically a form of glucose. All tissues in your body absorb some of this tracer, but tissues that are using more energy — including cancer cells — absorb greater amounts. For this reason, some people have concluded that cancer cells grow faster on sugar. But this isn't true."



With caring and positive thoughts...........and remembering the word "moderation",
Grateful for today...........Judy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote suew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2013 at 9:48pm
Thank you about the sugar update. Just like you I read that cancer feeds from sugar. This is my last wek of taxol had 12 rounds all together. Next monday I go for my follow up mri than my surgery. Depends on what the mri shows will depend on a mastectomy. God bless






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MLindaG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2013 at 12:18am
Hopeful,  I was on a fairly low carb diet for three years and still got cancer!! LOL  I don't believe that sugar makes the cancer worse either.   I was trying when I started my treatment to stay on the low carb but found that I craved carbs and comfort foods and gave in to it -  Do what you have to do to get through the treatments!  
Dx TNBC 6/12; age 59; Stage 3, Grade 3; 3.5 cm, 3/10 nodes + chest wall nodes; A/C x4, T x 12 completed 12/12 with PCR, 2/13/13 lump; IMRT Rads x 33 completed 5/22/13 BRCA 1 negative.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Charlene Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2013 at 8:54am
Judy,
Thanks for sharing the information about sugar.  A long time ago, my oncologist had explained the part about sugar and PET scans, but I couldn't remember it well enough to try to explain it myself.  I appreciate having the myths cleared up.
Charlene
DX 3/10 @59 ILC/TNBC
Stage 1, Grade 2, Multifocal; Lumpectomy/re-excision
SNB 0/4 nodes, BRCA-; Taxotere/Cytoxan X4, 30 rads
3/13: Mammo/ultrasound/breast MRI--NED;
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hopeful57 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2013 at 9:16am
Thanks everyone for all the positive information. It is very helpful to me. The articles were certainly interesting and I would not have known about them if it weren't for you. My third AC treatment in Tuesday of next week. Tolerated the first two as well as the Neulasta shot very well so I am hopeful the third one will go smoothly as well. Two down of AC, two to go, then I start with Taxol! Then I will get to rest before radiation. Hope everyone has a beautiful and hopeful day!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Grateful for today Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2013 at 11:15pm
Hi Hopeful,

Regarding "heartburn" when on chemo. Consider asking your onc about OTC previcid (or other similar
med) during chemo. Realize you said you were using Zantac.   Am sure oncologists may have different
opinions/recommendations.   Some oncologists recommend an OTC previcid like med (proton pump
inhibitor) during chemo - discuss with your MD.   Since the GI tract lining has rapid cell turnover which
is effected by chemo, it seems reasonable to be proactive.

Another member mentioned above that " I was on a fairly low carb diet for three years and still got cancer".
The oncology nutritionist I saw reminded me: vegetarian marathon runners get breast cancer.
If your cancer center (or a cancer center nearby) has an oncology nutritionist, you might like to consider
a nutrition consult while you are on chemo.   I found the nutrition consult most helpful.

Great to hear you tolerated your 1st two AC and Neulasta very well. Sending hopes the rest
of your chemo goes as smoothly.
Since the name of your thread is: What to eat while on chemo, sharing the following.
Will share some thoughts on chemo and nutrition. As usual........everyone is different.
You may already be doing the folloiwng.. Will mention all that come to mind just in case. Pick & choose.

Nausea: Meds per your MD plan of care.
               Keep a daily record until one knows what to expect and do.
               Put down what was eaten or done on chemo day. Chemo day meds.
               List each days symptoms.....meds taken....responses.
               Review above with provider and keep adjusting until best plan is found.
               Be aware that some of first chemo reactions could be result of both chemo and
                    stress/anxiety of having 1st chemo.
              Symptoms may be less on 2nd chemo due to any adjustments made.
Constipation: Figure out what works best for you........prune juice, bran cereal, stool softener
                          such as colace. Tweak plan with your provider as needed.

General thoughts:
        A healthy diet with recommended grams of protein of course is ideal when tolerated.
        One is not always able to eat the recommended grams of protein......but it's good to know what
              the goal is when possible.
        Some need to eat whatever they can tolerate during chemo.....just to get the protein
               and calories.   After chemo, one can return to a "healthier" diet.
        Protein is important.   Fluids very important.       
        Any fluids and any food is better than none.
        If one has already consulted with a nutritionist, one might consider a call for immediate
               recommendations if/when problems arise and then consider f/u appt as needed.
        The person on chemo "knows" nutrition is very important and is trying very hard to eat.
               It is hard to explain to others when one has absolutely no appetite.
        Request that those around you not say "eat better".......as one knows that and is trying so
              hard to eat.
        One may find the things one tolerates may change thru out the chemo treatments.                  
        One may find that one is able to eat and drink better the second week after chemo.
             Thus, do the best one can the first week, knowing one will eat better the second week.
        Consider what do you think would appeal to you today....
               is there something you would like to try even if it's only a small amount.

Mouth: Keep mouth in a clean refreshed condition.
               Mouth case as directed by provider.
               I did frequent salt water swishes.
               Biotene products are more expensive than some others. I felt I was worth using these
                  products during chemo.   Used Biotene toothpaste, Biotene MouthWash and the
                  Biotene gel (the gel especially helped keep oral mucosa moist).
                 Biotene has a bio-active enzyme system.       
               Avoid oral products with alcohol.

Fluids:   Find the fluids that one tolerates best.
               Frequent small amounts if larger amounts not tolerated.
               Sometimes the temperature can make a big difference.....try cold, warm, room temperature
                      and see if any temperature is tolerated better.
               Try usual fluids and explore new ones until one has fluids that are tolerable/enjoyable.
               Water, ice cubes (that have been melted a bit first), tea,   ginger ale, pear juice,
                      soup broths,   frozen fruit popsicles, milk,   milk-ice cream shakes if tolerated.
                      coffee
                      Try any fruit juice that sounds appealing....maybe diluted at first.
                            Some/many need to avoid acidic or tart things during chemo.
                      Yogurt/ice/with +/- fruit smoothies.
                      If MD and nutritionist recommend, Ensure and Boost type product   OR get a
                            recipe for healthy shakes/smoothies from the nutritionist

Food:   Nutritionist I saw said the only time she recommends potato chips is for chemo patients
                   with poor appetites.
                   She recommended having 5 potato chips prior to a meal.   She advised any "healthier" potato
                           chip (She gave example of Cape Cod potato chips. Store locator at:
                                      http://www.snyderslanceproductlocator.com/capecod/
                    She also recommended ginger snaps.
             I found that some days I could eat better than others.
             Things I found easier to eat with no appetite:
                    oatmeal, english muffin, peanut butter,
                    chicken or turkey broth:
                         various ways. plain.   with added chicken or turkey, peas, carrots.
                         sometimes part skim mozzarella cheese on top.
                   chicken on toasted english muffin and melted cheese on top.
                   cottage cheese and pears.
                   yogurt.
                   toasted cheese sandwich.
                   (latter half of chemo, could not tolerate the yogurt and cottage cheese)
                   Tabatchnick    Split Pea Soup   (frozen soup pouches in frozen cabinet
                         section of store).   If tolerated, this has 13 grams of protein and 13 grams fiber.
                                    regular: 380 mg of sodium.    low sodium version: 50 mg
                                    ( had to use a few shakes of salt in the low sodium version for taste)
                   mashed butternut squash.
                   tapioca.
                   towards end of chemo: asparagus.
                   Try non-spicey seasonings you like.    If you tolerate spicey seasonings, fine.
                    Some people chose to eliminate meat and dairy from their diets. When this is done,
                      consider oncology nutrition consult to be sure your intake includes what is needed
                      for cell repair etc.

If you can start with some things that you can tolerate, then you can add as time goes on.
Would anticipate you will find a good food plan that will be good for during chemo.
Sometimes, it takes a little time and trying different things.

Again, everyone is different. Pick and choose if anything above sounds helpful.
Please disregard anything that you do not agree with or you feel will not work.
You will figure out YOUR best food plan.

Since your name is Hopeful, would like to share:
The following is a quote on hope from:
Book: Anatomy of Hope by Jerome Groopman MD     
" Each disease is uncertain in its outcome and within that uncertainly we find real hope, because a
tumor has not always read the textbook, and a treatment can have an unexpectedly dramatic
impact. This is the great paradox of true hope. Because nothing is absolutely determined, there
is not only reason to fear but also reason to hope."
He also says: "Hope is a belief and expectation."

There is a thread with Hopeful Quotes http://forum.tnbcfoundation.org/hopeful-quotes-and-other_topic9897.html

There's so much info on the forums.
The thread http://forum.tnbcfoundation.org/tnbc-info-on-this-website_topic10166.html
may have some info that would be helpful.


With caring, positive and hopeful thoughts,
Grateful for today...............Judy


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Edited by Grateful for today - 29 Jun 2013 at 12:59pm
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GailF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GailF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2013 at 12:13am
Dear Grateful,

Thanks for all that nutritional info. It is similar to everything my nutritionist went over with me at our meeting. Good stuff!

One day at a time ....

GailF
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ctlindah Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2013 at 10:47am
Hi Judy,

What a great list!  I wish I had that when I was on chemo.

The nutritionist I saw also recommended a whey protein powder mix to help add protein.  I got a chocolate flavored one from the health food store and mix it with chocolate Silk light soymilk which is also helps with calcium.  The best part being I get my chocolate cravings taken care of while being healthy about it.

Linda

DX IDC TNBC 10/12 age 48, Stage 1, Grade 3, 1.5cm
Lumpectomy DD AC & Taxol BRCA- rads X30 finished 5/13
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