Tag Archives: cancer

A Cancer Survivor's Guide for Healthy Eating - Monique Molino

A Cancer Survivor’s Guide for Healthy Eating

by on October 10, 2016

Last year, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I obtained my Pink Ribbon certification as a breast cancer exercise specialist. And one week later, I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC). This is a cancer where abnormal cells have broken through the wall of the milk duct and begun to invade the tissues of the breast. Eventually invasive ductal carcinoma can spread to the lymph nodes and possibly to other areas of the body.

I never want cancer again, and I have to work to reduce my chances. This includes nurturing my body with ample sleep, exercise, and nutrition, as well as managing stress. Straight from my oncologists to you, I’d like to share their simplified nutritional guide for healthy living.

Significantly Reduce:

  • Sugar
  • Sodium (no more than 2300 mg/day)
  • Saturated fats (fatty meats, butter, cheese) and transfats
  • Polyunsaturated (soy bean oil, corn oil) and hydrogenated oil
  • White breads and pasta
  • Grilled and fried meats
  • Processed and packaged foods
  • Meats and full-fat dairy products
  • Processed meats (e.g. sausages, deli meats, etc.)
  • Alcohol and smoking

Choose Wisely:

  • A well-balanced diet made up of primarily fruits, vegetables, lean poultry and fish, whole grains and legumes
  • 30-35 grams of fiber per day
  • Dairy products, non-fat with no added hormones
  • Monounsaturated fats (olive oil and canola oil)
  • Water as your main beverage.
  • Green tea
  • Coffee may be beneficial (based on a recent study by USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center that linked coffee intake to reduced risk of colon cancer)
  • A healthy body weight and daily exercise

This article is emended from the original version that appeared in the Autumn 2016 issue of Connections.

Work Hard, Play Harder

by on October 7, 2016

Work Hard, Play Harder -- Vicki McGrath

By Vicki McGrath, PJCC Fitness & Wellness Manager

As the PJCC’s leading proponent for the Pink Ribbon Program, the Center’s breast cancer exercise protocol, the irony didn’t escape Vicki McGrath when she herself was diagnosed with the very disease that she was helping women fight. Throughout treatment, Vicki displayed a vigor and attitude that amazed even her doctors: she cycled to chemo and radiation appointments and continued outdoor activities such as rock climbing, hiking, and golfing. “I was strong and healthy prior to my diagnosis,” says Vicki, a certified breast cancer exercise specialist. “I’m grateful I was able to draw on this reserve during treatment.”

Learn all about Vicki’s story below.

Continue reading

Beware Of Ants In Your Toilet!

by on May 5, 2015

A patient left a message for me which caught my attention. He wanted a blood sugar test for diabetes because there were ants in his toilet. When I spoke to him, he denied having some of the more typical signs of diabetes. His only concern was that there were ants in his toilet. I decided to order the test.

According to the CDC, 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and at least one-quarter of them don’t know it. An additional 86 million people (1 in 3 adults) have pre-diabetes. Without change in lifestyle, 15-30% of pre-diabetics will develop type 2 diabetes in five years.

Diabetes Basics
There are three main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is when your body does not produce enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type (90-95% of diabetics), and this is when your body does not use insulin properly. Gestational diabetes occurs in 4% of pregnancies, and these women are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.

Symptoms
The typical symptoms of diabetes include feeling thirsty, frequent urination, fatigue, blurry vision, cuts or bruises that heal slowly, and tingling or numbness in the hands and feet. Many people with diabetes have no symptoms or mild ones that go unnoticed. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) does not list ants in the toilet as a warning sign.

Complications of Diabetes
The biggest risks of having diabetes are strokes and heart attacks, which with proper medication can be prevented. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to damage of many organs in the body, particularly the eyes, nerves, and kidneys. Last year I saw a young man for a check-up because his dentist noticed a severe gum problem which was going to require extraction of most of his teeth. I ordered a blood test which revealed he had diabetes. He had not realized that diabetes was the root cause of his dental woes.

Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, specifically cancer of liver, pancreas, endometrium, colon, breast, and bladder. The explanation for this is unclear. It could be due to shared risk factors such as obesity, diet, and inactivity, or because of something intrinsic about diabetes such as elevated insulin or blood sugar levels.

Diabetes and pre-diabetes are risk factors for Alzheimer’s dementia and other types of dementia.

The Numbers
The normal fasting glucose is less than 100 mg/dL. Pre-diabetes is defined by fasting sugar between 100-125 mg/dL. Diabetes is defined by fasting sugars of 126 mg/dL measured on two different days. Another way of diagnosing diabetes is the A1C test which measures the average glucose in your body over the past 2-3 months. A1C of 6.5% or higher indicates diabetes. Normal A1C is usually less than 5.7%, and 5.7 – 6.4 is considered pre-diabetes depending on the lab reference range.

Treatment
The mainstays of most type 2 diabetics are diet and exercise, but because it is so hard to change one’s habits, pharmaceutical companies are reaping enormous profits from a multitude of diabetic drugs. There are medicines which work on the pancreas, liver, gut hormones, and kidneys to lower sugar, and there is even inhaled insulin now. It takes more effort for people to make personal changes, but an Asian diabetic patient of mine was especially determined to rid herself of diabetes. Her blood sugar was so high when she was diagnosed that she needed to take insulin at least twice a day to keep her diabetes controlled. She decided to give up her routine of eating rice at every meal, the main staple of her diet. She went from minimal exercise to exercising three hours a day. When I saw her back in clinic two months later, she had been successfully able to discontinue her insulin entirely. (Warning: don’t attempt to stop your diabetic meds on your own without doctor’s supervision.) Most people cannot make these dramatic life style changes, but she serves as an example of what healthy lifestyle change can achieve.

Screening for Diabetes
The ADA recommends adults get screened for diabetes every three years. You should get tested more often if you are overweight and have other risks such as family history of diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, history of gestational diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, or a racial background of African-American, Hispanic-American, Native-American, Asian-American, or Pacific Islander ancestry.

Conclusion
My patient who I mentioned in the beginning did not have any particular risk factor for diabetes, but I tested him anyway because normally there should not be any urinary sugar in the toilet to attract ants. The bad news was that his blood test did reveal he had diabetes. The good news was that he did not have to hire an exterminator since once his diabetes was controlled the ants had to find a different location to host their picnic. Hopefully early detection will prevent him from having any future complications or further ant invasions.

For further information about diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association.

Jerry Saliman, MD is a volunteer internist at Samaritan House Medical Clinic in San Mateo. He retired from Kaiser South San Francisco after working there more than 30 years. While at Kaiser SSF, Dr. Saliman was also Chief of Patient Education. He received the 2012 “Lifetime Achievement Award” given by the Kaiser SSF Medical Staff.

Editing acknowledgement: Ellen Saliman

Neither the PJCC or our guest columnists provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please make your health care decisions in partnership with your health care provider.

Optimism & Your Health

by on February 5, 2015

Optimism-women

During medical training at UCLA, I had the good fortune to learn from Norman Cousins, a Jewish writer, editor, and adjunct professor of medical humanities. Despite being misdiagnosed with tuberculosis at age 11, he set out as a boy to “discover exuberance.” He believed that positive emotions were the key to fighting illness, which he exemplified in the telling of his own battle with a severe form of arthritis. In the book Anatomy of An Illness, he describes his victory over a potentially life-threatening condition by taking mega doses of vitamin C, and watching Marx Brothers movies and TV sitcoms. He relates, “Laughter is a form of internal jogging. It moves your internal organs around. It enhances respiration. It is an ignitor of great expectations.” His Continue reading

Pink & Powerful

by on October 21, 2014

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Everyone is wearing pink to bring attention to a disease that will touch over 280,000 women per year in the US alone.  Odds are high that everyone knows at least one person effected by breast cancer. While fighting and beating cancer is  the main goal when one is diagnosed, there is a long road of rehabilitatation following surgery that is so important to regaining strength and mobility.

In the following video, we hear a few inspirational stories from women who have taken on breast cancer and come out the other side with more strength, courage, and lust for life than before.

DONATE to the Pink Ribbon Program to enhance recovery for breast cancer patients.

The PJCC is doing its part on October 19-25, 2015 for Pink Week.
We invite the whole community to come and support a great cause.

RESOURCES

Pink Ribbon Program @ PJCC  - Postoperative workout designed to enhance recovery