Thriving with Cancer(Printer-Friendly Version) | Eating Well

Thriving with Cancer

http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/immunity/thriving_with_cancer

By Rachel Johnson, Ph.D, M.P.H., R.D., September/October 2007

How three health pros faced a breast-cancer diagnosis.

Lillie Shockney, R.N., 53
Administrative Director, Breast Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD

“At the time of my diagnosis, I got a lot of crazy advice from well-meaning people [advising me to try] everything from shark cartilage to herbs. Thank goodness with my health background I knew better! I began to reduce fatty foods in my diet and eat more fruits and veggies than I had before.”

Suzanne Murphy, Ph.D., R.D., 65
Professor and Researcher, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii

“Seven years ago I participated in the WINS study of cancer survivors, so I had to limit myself to 15 percent of my total calories from fat. The study ended in 2004, but I’ve stayed on the low-fat diet—not necessarily to prevent a recurrence, but because a low-fat diet helps me control my calories. [Murphy also avoids weight gain by staying active, and has finished three Honolulu marathons since her diagnosis.]

“I think an overall healthy diet reduces the risk of cancer so I try to follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables…it’s easy to eat a lot of fruit in Hawaii, but I have to make a conscious effort to get more vegetables. I fill plastic bags with carrots, peppers and grape tomatoes and bring them to work to munch on all afternoon.”

Diana Dyer, m.s., R.D., 57
Author, A Dietitian’s Cancer Story (Swan Press, 2002)

“I already had a healthy diet but cranked it up a notch or two…that meant cutting out virtually all junk or empty calories. I focused on eating and enjoying foods I knew contained a multitude and variety of anticancer actions, such as whole-plant foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds) and foods containing healthy fats like monounsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids (extra-virgin olive and canola oils, fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseeds). I eat organic foods when available and affordable.

“I also went back to cooking every day, and getting the family together for a meal every night. It was a time commitment, but we chose to view it as a gift we gave ourselves.”