Health is not just about preventing and managing your disease and living a

longer and more vital life. Health is one of the gateways to your personal

freedom. Without optimum health, you cannot experience love, joy and

prosperity to its fullest. Good health gives you that extra freedom and

energy to embrace all that life has to offer. Getting well requires adjusting

your lifestyle, which requires commitment and change.

Dealing with a diagnosis like breast cancer can throw your life into tumult,

but at the same time provides an opportunity to make lifestyle changes

that can set you up for an even healthier life than before your diagnosis. A

complex disease like cancer can be treated holistically with your conventional

medicine, by looking at medical, nutritional, emotional and psycho-spiritual

treatment aspects of well being.

Nutritional support in particular is important during all stages of the cancer

journey. A nutritionist or dietitian with experience in treating cancer patients

should be one of the first ports of calls in your treatment program. It is

important that you choose someone who understands breast cancer and the

treatments and challenges it presents. Here are some of the ways in which

a cancer-specific dietitian can help you heal and feel as good as possible

during the ordeal:

Preventative Nutrition. You might be someone with a family history interested

in helping to prevent breast cancer, or you can use nutrition to help prevent

a recurrence. We know from research that nutrition and environmental

factors can play a role in the development of breast cancer and also that

certain foods and antioxidants play a more protective roll. Understanding

your relative risk associated with your diet and making changes could go a

long way towards keeping cancer at bay.

Weight Support. Keeping an idea body weight is sometimes crucial to your

treatment success. For some, it’s a case of keeping the weight up or preventing

weight loss caused by stress or chemotherapy, which can affect the immune

system and threaten treatment outcomes. Some woman feel they need

to keep their weight down, especially if they are already overweight while

others tend to gain weight on hormone blockers and other medications.

Side-effect Management. Chemotherapy drugs can cause side effects that

seem unbearable to the body and overall well-being, but some woman get

through Chemo with very little problems. Gut issues, nausea immune system

crashes, skin changes, neuropathy and fatigue are just some of the side effects

that can be partially managed through good diet and supplementation. Long


by Dr Inge Kriel

Survivorship care is holistic care of the breast cancer survivor in order to

help a patient find her “new normal” after active treatment of the cancer

has been completed. It encompasses monitoring for late and long-term

effects of cancer and cancer treatments, screening for recurrence of the

initial cancer and development of any new cancers, managing the physical/

emotional/social and financial effects of cancer, promotion of healthy

lifestyle behaviours, and coordination of care with other cancer specialists.

Oncology care physicians help to improve the quality of life of breast cancer

survivors through a multidisciplinary approach.

Dr Inge Kriel is an oncology care physician practicing at TimRon Health and

Wellness Centre in R andburg, Johannesburg North.

term medications that block estrogenic activity also pose some medical issues

that can be managed partially through diet. Surgery can also place additional

stress on a body that becomes less active as a result, and nutritional support

can help balance energy intake accordingly.

General well-being. Although exceptionally fit and healthy woman get breast

cancer, there are many woman who were neglecting their health before

diagnosis. Nutritional interventions provide an opportunity to boost over-all

health and well being and in some cases to become healthier than ever before!

Ashleigh Caradas is a Johannesburg dietitian with more than 15 years

experience in private practice. She is centrally located on Jan Smuts Avenue

in Dunked West, close to both Rosebank and Sandton CBDs.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to diets. Ashleigh will help you

clear up any misconceptions about popular and fad diets and will explain

how to make food and diets work to your advantage, while still enjoying your

life! Ashleigh takes your personal preferences and goals into account to help

you find the ideal diet for your body type, your condition and your dietary

needs. She uses interview style assessments, body composition assessments,

blood tests and genetic testing where necessary to design her meal plans.

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