ORLANDO, Fla. ( Ivanhoe Newswire) - Beating breast cancer is not always the end of the battle for women who overcome the disease. Many face overwhelming exhaustion during and after treatment.
Kellie Trombitas battled breast cancer and won, but treatment to knock-out the disease led to constant fatigue.
"Chemo takes a lot out of you," Trombitas told Ivanhoe.
A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found soon after surgery one in four women experienced fatigue. By the end of treatment one in three had it. For some, it continued for up to a year after treatment ended.
Women can fight fatigue with food.
"When you're choosing foods that help you fight fatigue during and after cancer treatment you want to try and choose foods of all different colors," Stacy Bursuk, Florida Hospital Registered Dietician told Ivanhoe.
Bursuk said red peppers are great for fatigue-fighting anti-oxidants.
"They're also an excellent source of Vitamin C."
But she recommends breast cancer patients avoid acai and noni juices, "because your cancer treatment is trying to destroy those bad cells and those high anti-oxidant juices might actually protect those cells." Bursuk said three servings a day of whole soy foods like tofu, soy milk and edamame can help keep energy levels up. Women struggling with exhaustion should steer of soy protein isolate found in some protein bars and shakes. Meat is a good source of protein for breast cancer survivors but garbonzo beans are a great alternative.
"In a little bit of beans you can get as much protein as you can in a couple ounces of meat," Bursuk added.
After ten months of exhaustive treatment, Trombitas got her energy back.
Breast cancer.org recommends survivors dealing with fatigue eat half a gram of protein for each pound they weigh every day. For a 140 pound woman, that's 70 grams of protein daily.
TREATMENT SIDE EFFECTS: A whole range of different breast cancer treatments now exist for women to choose from, but the treatments also have unwanted side effects. Certain chemotherapy treatments (especially the medicine Adriamycin), radiation therapy, Herceptin, Avastin, and some hormonal therapies can possibly cause heart problems along with breathing problems. Other side effects of various breast cancer treatments include bone and joint pain, kidney problems, liver problems, menopausal symptoms, appetite changes, vomiting, and many more. (Source: www.breastcancer.org)
MANAGING CHEMOTHERAPY SIDE EFFECTS: Chemotherapy destroys cancer cells with medicines that target rapidly dividing cells but normal cells in the blood, mouth, nose, nails, hair, and intestinal tract divide rapid rapidly as well so chemotherapy can affect them too, leading to certain side effects. Patients should tell their doctors or nurses about any side effects they are having because certain medications can help alleviate side effect symptoms and most should go away once the chemotherapy is finished, although some side effects can take months or longer to completely disappear. If medication doesn't help and the side effects are severe, treatment may need to be changed. Overall, it is important for patients to weigh the benefits of treatment against the side effects with their doctors before deciding on a particular treatment. (Source: www.breastcancer.org)
FIGHT FATIGUE: Many women experience fatigue after breast cancer treatments, but nutrition may help restore some of their vitality.
Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day in order to maintain a stable blood sugar level.
Eat low glycemic foods like whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, and green vegetables.
Avoid junk foods which will raise blood sugar and energy fast but then also cause it to drop just as rapidly, leaving the person feeling spent.
Dehydration is another common side effect from breast cancer treatments, so drink a lot of water and also fruit juices, like pomegranate juice, which will provide vitamins and other nutrients.
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