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What eating habits should I have after cancer treatment?

It is common for some of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to continue even after the cancer treatment ends. Lack of appetite, dry mouth, difficulty swallowing and weight changes are some of the symptoms. It is also quite recurrent that the taste and smell of patients change after treatments. But don't worry: this phase is normal and reverses over time. Gradually, you will be able to return to enjoying the food, but without putting aside health care.

For this, you need to develop a plan, with the team that serves you, to deal with these side effects and control your diet, basing it on healthy habits and respecting your preferences and restrictions. After all, the body needs a good store of nutrients to rebuild tissues and regain strength.

But some tips are valid for most cases. One of them is to choose a variety of items that cover all food groups: proteins, carbohydrates or carbohydrates, lipids or fats, vitamins, water and mineral salts, always keeping in mind the adequate amounts of each one for your body.

Also, to ensure you always have healthy options, it's worth buying fruits, vegetables, low-fat foods, and wholegrain products with every trip to the grocery store.

Foods with a high level of fiber, such as wholegrain breads and cereals, help a lot in muscle recovery - after all, they are part of plant-based carbohydrates and are more resistant to digestion, taking a greater number of nutrients to the large intestine.

Also try to eat at least two and a half servings of fruits and vegetables daily as they are rich in nutrients and minerals.

Try to reduce the amount of fat in your meals, substituting fried foods for baked or boiled foods and whole milk for skim. It also helps to reduce your intake of red meat (beef, pork and lamb) to a maximum of 3 or 4 meals a week.

Avoid using too much salt and consuming smoked items (for example, bacon, sausage and cold cuts) and canned foods, as well as processed foods, as they contain substances that can harm the body. The alternative is organic and fresh products, which are healthier.

Remember that alcohol is a known risk factor for developing cancer, so try to avoid it.

Finally, when released by the medical team, consider exercising. Choose activities you enjoy - and thus take care of your body and mind. Try to exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.


What is the physical activity to recover self-esteem during treatment?

Those who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer are also rediscovering several things about their own body and, mainly, about the limits that this new phase of life imposes. In this process, it is normal for self-esteem to be shaken, and for the willingness to carry out some activities to be reduced. There are days when you lack energy even for everyday tasks. However, it is precisely at this point that the practice of some exercise can contribute to improving the quality of life during treatment.

In addition to strengthening the muscles, which generates more endurance and energy, the main benefit of exercise at this stage is its ability to release endorphins. The substance is also known as the well-being hormone, as it improves the nervous system, increases self-esteem, reduces anxiety, reduces symptoms that lead to depression and helps control appetite.

The impact on self-esteem is also found in the discovery of overcoming difficulties. Although your pace is not the same at this stage, and you need to respect this, an exercise can show that you are capable of going further than you thought. Depending on the chosen activity, it can also help to control weight, reduce swelling and fluid retention caused by the use of corticosteroids in chemotherapy, which has a direct impact on self-esteem.

To make this experience easier and richer, you can choose to do group activities. In addition to helping to maintain frequency, having exercise partners contributes even more to self-esteem, as interacting with other people will distract you from the disease, have contact with different universes and make new friends.

The exercises don't need to be heavy: walking, yoga, stretching and dancing are some examples. It is important to remember that any activity must be communicated to the physician, so that he can assess and monitor the evolution of results, as well as help in choosing the most appropriate exercise.

Take care of your body, know your limits and, above all, take the opportunity to experience pleasant moments and discover your own body at this stage. It will be quite a boost to your treatment.


How to combat weight gain during treatment?

Care with food and physical exercise during the treatment for breast cancer are essential, not only to keep the body balanced and have a better quality of life, but also because cancer treatment can cause weight gain and cause a series of discomfort in patients.

It is quite common for people who are not yet familiar with the side effects of cancer treatments not to know this information, but in fact, there are medications that, associated with other factors, can lead to weight gain. It is important to pay attention to the changes that occur in the body during this phase to keep in balance and weight gain does not become a source of frustration for patients, who are already facing an extremely difficult time.

Weight gain during cancer treatment occurs for several reasons: some women, when undergoing chemotherapy, may experience early menopause, which contributes to the appearance of a few extra pounds on the scale. This is because the metabolism, during this period, ends up getting slower and there are significant changes in the body structure, in this way the body ends up losing muscle mass and gaining fat.

Another reason associated with the extra pounds has to do with the medications used throughout chemotherapy. Sometimes, it is necessary to take medication to help fight nausea and vomiting, and these medications usually have corticosteroids in their composition, which increase appetite and can cause fluid retention and loss of muscle mass.

Corticosteroids and steroids are hormonal substances that are directly linked to adipose tissue, so swelling may appear in the neck, back and abdomen during use. The use of hormone therapy can also change the amount of estrogen and progesterone in women, which ends up changing the way food is metabolized by the body. It is important that patients receive nutritional monitoring before, during and after hormone therapy, emphasizing programs for lifestyle changes and dietary re-education, in the pursuit of a healthy weight.

Other factors such as lack of physical exercise and carelessness with food contribute to weight gain. Often, the lack of control with the feeding routine associated with the medication used during chemotherapy has the side effect of fatigue, which makes the body slow down and unwanted extra pounds appear.

However, the most important thing to note is that each body reacts in a different way, therefore, weight changes may be different in each case. While some report weight gain, others notice a marked decrease in appetite. Thus, the concern throughout this period should not only be with physical appearance, but with health in general, since dietary control does not refer only to aesthetics, but to associated diseases that can develop due to excess or lack of weight.

Women who are predisposed to gain weight should be aware that the increased risk of weight gain is associated with health and its consequences, such as the appearance of high blood pressure and heart disease. In addition, being overweight is also one of the factors associated with increased chances of disease recurrence.

The benefits of a balanced diet and a moderate exercise program are numerous throughout the treatment for breast cancer. These measures can help the body's ability to rebuild healthy tissue and muscle mass, improve the patient's willingness to treatment, increase tolerance to the side effects of chemotherapy, and cause a considerable improvement in quality of life. Weight control throughout the treatment becomes essential for a good recovery and increased energy. Take care of yourself!

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Sorocaba Medical Center


Rua Sorocaba, 464 - room 202

Tel. 21 2537-0138 / 2539-5093

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Americas Medical City

Barra da Tijuca

Av. Jorge Curi, 550 - rooms 252/253

Tel. 21 3264-4866 / 3264-4863

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