August 2016 - Life Credit Company

Nutrition is Important After Diagnosis

After a cancer diagnosis, most patients aren’t likely thinking about what they’re going to have for dinner — but research suggests that it should be a priority, as proper nutrition can provide a wealth of assistance for cancer patients. Why is Nutrition Important? Cancer patients face many challenges in properly nourishing their bodies. Treatments like chemo or radiation may leave them feeling too sick to eat, the disease can wage war on a patient’s energy that can steal their appetite and they may even grapple with side effects like mouth sores that make eating difficult. According to the National Cancer Institute, many cancer patients face anorexia and cachexia, or wasting, after a diagnosis. Despite all those obstacles, good nutrition is vital to recovery. Many patients suffer from a lack of calories and proteins, both of which are important to building up the immune system and fighting off disease. NCI also cautions that some cancer treatments are more effective when the patient is well-nourished, and good nutrition has been shown to prolong patients’ lives. Resources for Nutrition Finding out what to eat, how much of it to eat and even when to eat it is no easy task, especially when dealing with health challenges. Luckily, there are a number of online resources that offer assistance for cancer patients looking to get their nutrition on track. The NCI has a helpful guide, Nutrition in Cancer Care, that offers comprehensive information about nutrition. Here, patients can find tips on which cancer drugs interact with which foods, how certain treatments may impact nutrition and which foods are best to combat certain symptoms. It...

SIMBA Decision Aid Offers Support for Cancer Patients

Even after cancer patients reach the important stage of remission, they are advised to stay vigilant to maintain their health. How they continue to monitor themselves is an important question, one that is being helped by a new web application: SIMBA. What is SIMBA? The Surveillance Imaging Modalities for Breast Cancer Assessment is a decision aid that provides support for cancer patients trying to decide the best way to prevent recurrence. The app is specifically designed for breast-cancer survivors, who are faced with the choice of getting regular mammograms or MRIs to monitor their breast health. There are pros and cons to both approaches, and SIMBA walks patients through all of them. Users are asked to put in specific information about their cancer history and their current health, and SIMBA then outlines what a mammogram would provide versus an MRI, in addition to offering other health tips. The program doesn’t necessarily recommend one approach over the other but rather lays out all the options, with specifics tailored to the user’s individual health history, to help them make informed decisions. What Women Want SIMBA was created by Group Health Research Institute and the Artefact Group, who wanted their product to reflect what breast-cancer patients wanted to see in such a program and offer support for cancer patients. To achieve that, they worked closely with women who had survived breast cancer and incorporated their opinions into the app’s development. The women advised that it should contain few graphics, especially stock photos of smiling women that are popular on other cancer resources, they said. Instead, they wanted it to focus on the...

Exercise Can Beat Depression in Cancer Patients

Many of us have likely made a New Year’s resolution or pre-summer pledge at one time to hit the gym, running trails or swimming pool more often — plans that often fall by the wayside to work and school schedules or family obligations. But fulfilling that promise can be a life-altering decision, especially for people facing a cancer diagnosis. New research has found that exercise can provide help for cancer patients who are struggling with depression and anxiety. While much of the interventions that exist for patients focus on physical ailments, exercise targets patients’ mental health — with impressive results. What can exercise do? According to researchers at Edith Cowan University in Australia, just 2.5 hours of physical exercise a week can greatly reduce a cancer patient’s depression and anxiety. The university’s recent study looked at 32 cancer patients suffering from depression, a common affliction after a cancer diagnosis. Some of the participants worked out at home, others used a gym and the third group didn’t exercise at all. The last group saw no improvement, and in some cases a worsening, of their depression, but all of the patients who exercised reported a positive effect. The type of exercise didn’t seem to have much of an effect, the researchers found. Any moderate exercise, even walking the dog, was a help for cancer patients — an important finding, as some patients may be scared away from the idea of exercise, which they may equate with running on a treadmill or lifting heavy weights. “All types of exercise showed a benefit in terms of mental health,” Dr. Greg Levin told the...