• Cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the body. The symptoms are
dependent upon the type of cancer. Some cancers show no symptoms at
all and there are many cancers of which the cause remains unknown.
• There are a range of tests used to diagnose cancer. Most cancers are
diagnosed through biopsies. Treatment depends upon the type of cancer
and the stage the cancer is in. The stage of any cancer is determined by
how much the tumor has grown and whether it has spread.
• A diagnosis of cancer causes much anxiety for both the patient and loved
ones. There are support groups across the country to help cope with this
terrible disease. A patient’s prognosis depends on the type of cancer. Even
with the same type of cancer, the outcomes vary depending on the stage of
the tumor and how early the diagnosis was made.
Grady, D. (2008, August 2). Cancer patients, lost in a maze of uneven care. New York Times ,
# 1 What is Cancer?
The human body is made up of many living cells. Normal cells grow,
divide, and die. Cancer is a disease of the cells; it often begins when
abnormal cells divide without control. They then can invade tissues and
even spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph
systems called metastasis.
# 1 What is Cancer? (continued)
Cells can become cancerous because of damage to the cell’s DNA
(DNA directs all of the cells’ actions). In cancer cells damaged DNA is
not repaired, and the cell will go on making new cells with the damaged
DNA. These mutations in the DNA may promote cell growth, interfere
with growth restraint, or prevent cell death. Cancer can often arise
slowly developing over several decades. The abnormal mass of cells is
called a tumor.
Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than
100 different types of cancer; they have different characteristics, occur in
different locations of the body, take different courses, and require
-What is Cancer? National Cancer Institute.
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/what-is-cancer. Updated 5/11/09
-Whiney, E. a. (2008). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.
-What is Cancer? American Cancer Society.
# 2 Cancer Prevention
There are many things that affect your risk of getting
cancer. Some of those things are within your power
to control such as what you consume, your activity
level and other life style behaviors. Let’s look at
seven simple things to do to prevent increasing your
risk of cancer.
1. Don’t smoke. Smoking is one of the most preventable causes of death in our nation.
2. Keep a healthy weight. Obesity has been determined to be a risk factor in
contracting colon, breast, endometrial, kidney and esophageal cancers.(Whitney, 2008)
3. Exercise for 45 minutes a day. People with a vigorous lifestyle have
been shown to have a reduced risk of colon cancer (Whitney, 2008)
4. Eat less red meat and more vegetables, fruits and
whole grains. Saturated and trans-fat have been connected to a higher risk of
cancer while fruits, vegetables and whole grains have a protective effect.
# 2 Cancer Prevention (continued)
5. Limit alcohol consumption to no more than one
drink per day for women, or two for men. Alcohol use has been
linked to increased risk mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, breast, colon and rectum and the
risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed.
6. Practice safe sex. Both HPV, the most common STD, and Hepatitis B can cause
7. Protect your skin from sun exposure.
The sun's UV rays cause the vast majority of skin cancers includi.ng melanoma,
which can be life-threatening. Sun screen alone is not a good enough
preventative measure. One needs to wear protective clothing or seek
shade as well.
Greviskes, A. (April 15, 2010). The cancer blog: Develop a cancer
prevention program, http://www.thecancerblog.com/.
Whiney, E. a. (2008). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont:
# 3 Treatments
There are several types of treatments that can help to reduce and eliminate cancer cells:
chemo therapy, radiation therapy, biologic therapy, surgery and bone marrow transplant.
There are also some natural types of treatments such as herbs and vitamins to help boost
the immune system. There are many factors that go into deciding which treatment is the
best option. Factors include the type of cancer, location, whether or not the cancer has
spread and the patient’s general health as well as other things. (Denton, 2010)
• Chemotherapy The use of chemical agents to stop cancer cells from growing.
(Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, 2010)
• Radiation Radiation damages the DNA of cells with high energy x-ray which kills them or at
least slows their reproduction. Radiation also damages regular cells but because they grow more slowly
than the cancer cells, they can more easily repair themselves. (Abramson Cancer Center at the University
of Pennsylvania, 2010)
• Biologic Therapy This therapy may encourage your body to produce more of its
natural defenses, or the therapy may be a man-made version of a naturally occurring substance itself.
There are also therapies that use cells which have been removed from the patient's body and altered in a
laboratory and then returned back into the patient’s body. (Abramson Cancer Center at the University of
# 3 Treatments (continued)
• Surgery This is the oldest form of cancer treatment. It usually involves the removal of
cancerous tumors. It could be to remove the cancer all together, to allow easier access to other tumors or
as pain management if the tumor is pressing on a nerve or bone. (Mayo Staff, 2009)
• Bone Marrow Transplant Usually a patient first receives radiation or
chemotherapy to destroy the cancer cells within the bone. The marrow is harvested either from the patient
themselves or a donor and then transplanted with the hopes that the new young cells will go into the now
open spaces and regenerate healthy cells. (Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania,
• Natural Alternatives Vitamin E is recommended for prostate cancer.
Acupuncture can help alleviate vomiting and nausea. Massage is recommended to also alleviate nausea
as well as stress and lymph drainage for lymphoma. (Whitney, 2008)
Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. (2010). Cancer treatment
information. Retrieved April 27, 2010, from Oncolink: http://www.oncolink.org/treatment/
Denton, L. (2010, April 27). Blog Be a cancer survivor– Advice about successful treatment met.
Retrieved April 27, 2010, from Cancer Help Center: http://www.cancer-helpcenter.com/be-a-
Mayo Staff (2009, August 22). Cancer surgery: Physically removing cancer. Retrieved April 27,
2010, from Cancer: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer-surgery/CA00033
Whiney, E. a. (2008). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.
# 4 Side Effects and Symptoms
-can be caused by radiation or chemotherapy, making red blood cell count drop.
-get plenty of rest and conserve energy
-do daily exercise such as walking
-be sure to eat
-sit and stand slowly
-follow your doctors advice and keep them up informed of your symptoms
-can be cause by cancer type and treatment, and is usually worse just after treatment
-can be caused by anemia, malnutrition due to suppressed appetite, or depression
-remember to eat healthy foods
-keep your doctor informed
-engage in moderate exercise
-plan a rest regimen with 15-20 minute naps throughout the day
-massage, acupuncture, and relaxation therapies may be helpful
• HAIR LOSS
-caused when chemotherapy and radiation kill fast growing cells
-not all treatments cause hair loss
-use baby shampoo, or other protein based shampoos and conditioners
-use satin or silk pillow cases
-avoid daily washing, braids, driers, straighteners, other processing, or dyes.
-in cases of hair loss, remember to use sunblock
-insurance may cover the cost of a wig
# 4 Side Effects and Symptoms (continued)
-can be caused by a decrease in activity and fluids, and an increase in medication
-drink 8-10 glasses of decaffeinated beverages daily
-eat foods containing fiber
-use laxatives and stool softeners with the advice of your doctor
-accumulation of lymphatic fluids that can cause abnormal body swelling
-can occur after cancer treatment
-can induce bacterial infections
-take caution with personal hygiene and follow doctors orders
-lymphedema can occur up to 15 years after surgery
• CHEMOTHERAPY INDUCED DIARRHEA
-you may use immodium, stopping only once all signs of diarrhea are gone for 12 hours
-stay hydrated with at least 6-8 glasses of non-caffeinated fluid per day
-drink a little at a time as often as you can using water, clear soups, or gatorade
-do not drink milk, coffee, alcohol, very hot or very cold beverages.
-do not eat fatty, spicy or high fiber foods, raw fruits or vegetables, beans, popcorn, nuts, or chocolate
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Symptom Management. http://www.dana-farber.org/can/symptom-management/ Visited 4/26/10.
CLICK HERE FOR A YOUTUBE VIDEO ON SYMPTON MANAGEMENT
Cancer patients should eat small meals frequently and rotate between drinking and eating.
Patients should also avoid lying down after meals.
Vitamins and minerals may help manage symptoms and enhance treatment, but should only be
taken under the advice of a doctor.
Cathcart, David. Chemotherapy Cancer Treatments and Side Effects: Nutrition for Chemotherapy Side Effects.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEqhDOOCKKU. Visited 4/26/10
# 5 Screening and Testing
Cancer screening refers to processes by which cancer can be detected before symptoms
occur. This often increases chances for recovery.
TYPES OF TESTS for SCREENING
There are over 200 different types of cancer, and many different methods of testing. The
following are basic categories of screening for cancer.
1.) Physical Examination and History:
-A doctor examines the body for lumps, changes, and any other abnormalities. The doctor
also considers age and personal history. This is the primary and least invasive of all
2.) Laboratory Tests:
-Samples of blood, urine, tissue biopsies, or other bodily substances are used to detect
3.) Imaging Procedures:
- Images of the internal body systems can be obtained and analyzed
through X-ray, MRI, CT Scans, Colonoscopy, Endoscopy, Mammography etc.
4.) Genetic Tests:
-Tests that screen for mutations in DNA which can cause cancer.
# 5 Screening and Testing (continued)
FACTS ABOUT SCREENING AND TESTING
-Screening tests have risks which should be discussed with
-Screening tests, particularly exploratory procedures, can cause
trauma to internal organs
-False positive and false negative results are possible.
-Follow ups are important.
-Detecting certain cancers may not improve health. Some
cancers do not cause symptoms and are not life threatening,
but if detected, treatment may cause harmful side-effects.
National Cancer Institute. Cancer Screening Overview.
ient. Visited 4/28/10.
# 5 Screening and Testing (continued)
Tests to detect
• Bone marrow biopsy
• Bone marrow or stem cell transplant
• Fiberoptic colonoscopy
• Exfoliative cytology
• Needle biopsy
• Radionuclide scans
• Stool DNA Tests
# 6 Foods That Fight
Unfortunately there is no single food that can prevent and protect you from cancer. There is evidence
that minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals in plant based foods may interact in ways that can boost
anti cancer effects.
What is most important before you have cancer and while you have cancer is essentially the same-
taking in nutrients with a whole foods diet and trying to avoid excess chemicals. Some established dietary
guidelines are to eat a healthy, balanced diet that is low in fat and rich in high-fiber grains, fruits, and
vegetables. Eating a predominantly plant based diet can not only prevent weight gain but can protect
against those cancers whose risk is increased by body fat.
• Legumes- Contain saponins, protease inhibitors and phytic acid. These phytochemicals
appear to protect our cells from damage that can eventually lead to cancer. Beans are rich in fiber and
has been proven to decrease the risk of colon cancer.
• Berries- are among the most powerful anti-cancer food, they are rich in ellagic acid. This
phytochemical acts as an antioxidant and helps the body to destroy specific carcinogens.
• Cruciferous and Dark Green Vegetables - are high in
both B-complex and D vitamins. Examples of cruciferous vegetables include cauliflower, broccoli, brussel
sprouts, and cabbage. In laboratory studies, these vegetables have been shown to shrink prostrate and
colon cancer tumors. Eating them is believed to reduce the development of colon polyps (a precursor to
colon cancer), even in those people who are genetically predisposed to them. Dark Green veggies
contain carotenoid. Researchers believe that carotenoids prevent cancer by acting as antioxidants
(removing free radicals from the body before they can do any harm).
# 6 Foods That Fight (continued)
• Garlic-Can boost your immune system and breakdown cancer causing substances. Garlic contains allium
compounds these are known to block carcinogens from entering your cells and later developing into cancer. In
animal studies, Allium vegetables have slowed the development of cancer in stomach, breast, esophagus, colon
and lung cancers.
• Flaxseed-is full of antioxidants and high in omega-3 fatty acids. It has shown to protect against breast
and colon cancer.
• Grapes and Grape Juice- Grapes are rich in resveratrol, a natural
phytochemical. Studies suggest that resveratrol possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In lab
studies resveratrol demonstrated the ability to slow the growth of cancer cells and inhibit the formation of tumors in
lymph, liver, stomach and breast cells.
• Green Tea- Black and green teas contains polyphenols and flavonoids which have antioxidant
properties. Polyphenols shut down and prevent tumors from growing by cutting off the blood supply. green tea has
been shown to slow or completely prevent cancer in colon, liver, breast and prostate cells.
• Whole Grain- means that all three parts of the grain kernel (germ, bran and endosperm) are
included. Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and hundreds of natural plant compounds. In addition
research points to specific substances in whole grains that have been linked to lower cancer risk including
antioxidants, phenols, lignans, and saponins.
Coomer, Cynara Dr., 10 Cancer-Fighting Foods. Fox News.Com Health Blog. Feb 8, 2010.
American Institute for Cancer Research. Foods That Fight Cancer?
# 6 Foods that Fight (continued)
# 7 Causes of Cancer
• Environmental Factors –Exposure to sun, water, air pollution, smoking are all known to
• Dietary Factors- certain foods can be carcinogenic,
especially those that contain additives or pesticides
• Genetics- Cancer can sometimes be more predominant in families for examples Breast cancer is common in
families with BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Hereditary cancers occur when a person is born with a change or mutation in a
single copy of a protective gene pair. Because people with an inherited mutation have only one working copy of a
protective gene, damage to that remaining gene may occur in fewer steps and over a shorter period of time. This change
can increase the risk for certain cancers in different parts of the body
• Infectious Agents- can increase a persons risk for cancer such as H.pylori and Human
• Radiation- radiation exposure has been known to cause cancer for example cellular phone use
• Weight and Physical Activity- lack of physical activity and weight play a role in the
development of cancer
-Whiney, E. a. (2008). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.
Nelson, N. (2004) The majority of cancer are linked to the environment.
Retrieved April 2009.
# 8 Cancer Support Groups
• There are several support groups that can be a valuable resource for cancer patients and
their families. Community cancer support groups are the one of the best ways to actively get
support and become more active in your cancer community. These types of support groups
can be held in hospitals, churches, and community centers. There are also support groups on
line .If you are experiencing side effects from therapy and have difficulty leaving your home,
an online community can be the simplest, most effective way to get the support you need
• America Cancer Society, Make A wish foundation, American Lung
Associations and several others.
# 9 Mental Health
• Cancer patients experience significant physical and psychological stress. Many suffer from depression
and anxiety disorders. Cancer treatment programs include a holistic approach to treating cancer which
includes treating the body and mind. Among them are Pet therapy, healing hands, art, and music
• Studies have shown that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy can benefit from stress
management training that helps them cope with pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
• Pet Therapy is the use of certified dogs to visit and comfort cancer patients while hospitalized.
• Cancer patients have also reported benefits from Healing hands a type of energetic and spiritual
• Hill, P. (2006). Therapy dogs comfort kids in stressful places. Albany Times Union.
# 10 New Developments
CANCER SCREENING IN THE NEWS
Cancer screening tests, procedures, and standards of care are constantly being changed
and updated. Be sure to keep up with the news and talk to your doctor.
• This article is from Reuters, April 27th 2010. It explains that HPV tests are proving more
effective for cervical cancer screening than the traditional pap smear for women aged 30
and over. This could mean less frequent testing (every 5 years) because cervical cancer is
a slow growing cancer.
• A new five-minute test, conducted at age 55, could save 3,000 lives a year, the
researchers said. The test involves examining the lower bowels with a scope and
removing any polyps which could eventually become cancerous. (2010, Smith)
• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just approved Dendreon's Provenge® (sipuleucel-
T) to treat certain men with advanced prostate cancer . This heralds an advance in the
development of biological therapy for cancer treatment. Provenge is the first product
approved in a new therapeutic class known as active cellular immunotherapies.
• (Kilbert,, 2010)
• For more on Cancer Research check out http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/
Kellen, Kate. HPV tests better for cervical screening - experts. Reuters. April 27, 2010.
Kilbert, A. FDA Approval of new Prostate Treatment Shows Promise of Cancer Immunotherapy. PRWeb. April 29, 2010.
Smith, R. New cancer test cuts deaths by 40 per cent. Telegraph. April 28, 2010.