Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body.
Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and multiply (through a process called cell division) to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.
Sometimes this orderly process breaks down, and abnormal or damaged cells grow and multiply when they shouldn’t. These cells may form tumors, which are lumps of tissue. Tumors can be cancerous or not cancerous (benign).
Cancerous tumors spread into, or invade, nearby tissues and can travel to distant places in the body to form new tumors (a process called metastasis). Cancerous tumors may also be called malignant tumors. Many cancers form solid tumors, but cancers of the blood, such as leukemias, generally do not.
Benign tumors do not spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. When removed, benign tumors usually don’t grow back, whereas cancerous tumors sometimes do. Benign tumors can sometimes be quite large, however. Some can cause serious symptoms or be life threatening, such as benign tumors in the brain.
How to plan for cancer treatment?
To plan and schedule cancer care and treatments, a lot of information must first be collected. This information often needs to be shared with different specialists, as well as with patients and their caregivers, to help decide what treatment option is best. Once a treatment is decided on, care can be customized for a patient’s situation. It can be a very involved process.
Although treatment and care decisions are mostly made by patients and their cancer care teams, communication with others is very important. Sometimes, though, patients and caregivers might find themselves being the ones having to do most of the communicating. For this reason, it’s important for patients and caregivers to understand the work that goes into planning and scheduling treatment, how communication is handled by their cancer care team, and how they might need to be involved.
Guidelines of proper care before, during and after cancer treatment
- Before your surgery
Several steps may need to happen before a cancer Surgery to ensure that you can undergo Surgery.
Consultation with your Surgery team: You must consult the onco-surgeon or medical team before the Surgery. Your Surgery team will perform the following:
Check your medical records.
- Perform a physical assessment.
- Assess the need of Surgery.
- Explore the risks, benefits and possible options for you.
- Give you post-surgery instructions.
- Informed consent: You will be explained about the risks, benefits and process of the
Surgery. You will be asked to sign an informed consent form, which means:
- You have given written permission for Surgery.
- You were given information about your Surgery and other available options.
- You have chosen to undergo Surgery.
- You may need to apprehend that the Surgery is not guaranteed to give the projected results.
- Medical Examinations: You might need to undergo certain medical examinations before the Surgery. Some blood and urine tests will be performed to determine the risk of injury or infection and to monitor kidney and liver functions.
- Some other medical examinations that may have to undergo are:
- CT Scan
- MRI Scan
- Bone Scan
- Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
- Blood Transfusion: In some situations, blood transfusions may be required. A Blood Test to identify your blood group will be required. You might also have to arrange for blood.
Quitting smoking: You are recommended to avoid smoking at least 2 weeks before your Surgery. This will help in a quicker recovery.
Foods and drinks: Consult your health care team about eating and drinking before the Surgery. In some cases, you might not be allowed to eat or drink for up to 24 hours before Surgery.
Medications: Inform your doctors about any medications you are taking. This includes all dietary or herbal supplements you are taking. Your doctor might recommend you to either stop or continue taking them before Surgery.
2. During surgery
Based on the type of surgery, different forms of anesthesia are used. Local anesthesia is administered through an injection that stuns a small area in your body. This is used in a doctor’s clinic for treatments like mole removal. A large portion of the body is numbed using regional anesthesia. It is achieved by engulfing the nerves around the surgical area. Regional anesthesia can achieve deliberate sedation. It lets the patients relax and sometimes sleep during the treatment
General anesthesia is used in major surgeries. It makes a person unconscious during the Surgery. It is administered through a face mask, intravenously, or a combination of both. An anesthesiologist will place a tube in your throat during this procedure. It helps you to breathe, gives you oxygen and sometimes delivers anesthesia. Your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen during the operation will be monitored.
3. After surgery
You will be transferred into the recovery area after Surgery. The time of recovery depends on the type of operation and anesthesia employed. You will be able to return home immediately after the operation using local anesthesia. If regional or general anesthesia is used, your team will carefully monitor you in a recovery room, until the anesthesia is worn off. It normally takes 1-2 hours. After surgery, you may feel groggy for a while.
You may feel:
- Sore in your throat
- Sore at the site of Surgery or if you have a catheter.
- Pain when you wake up. You will receive medicine from your healthcare team for Pain relief.
Contact your health team if you develop:
- Excessive drainage from place of surgery
- Persistent Nausea and vomiting
- How can I manage my side effects when I am undergoing treatment?
- Counter Chemo-Induced Fatigue With Exercise.
- Take Medication to Quell Nausea and Vomiting.
- Consider Using a Cooling Cap to Minimize Hair Loss.
- Beat Mouth Sores With Ice Chips.
- Wash Your Hands Often to Avoid Infection.
- Tell Your Doctor About Tingling in Your Hands or Feet.
- How can I prevent recurrence after my treatment?
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduce stress.
- Eat healthy.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Keep up with all scheduled screenings.
- Quit smoking.
- Report any physical changes to either your oncologist or primary care provider.
- Is there any treatment which I can follow during my medical treatment so that I can avoid recurrence?
There have been proper research based and evidence based treatment options which a cancer patient can take alongside their medical treatment – whether it be chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or even the hormonal treatments. An integrative approach to cancer treatment comprises certain treatment protocols that can be followed while a patient is on certain medical treatments. It includes, an anti-cancer diet, medical cannabis, supplements and ayurveda combinations which helps in reduction of the side effects, reduction of the tumor size and tumor cells, and improve the overall quality of life for a patient, which is the utmost important thing in cancer.
MEDICAL CANNABIS – Medical cannabis works against cancer growth or spread, either individually or along with other treatments, to improve its anticancer action and survival. Cannabis is a plant product or an extract or preparation for medical use made from cannabis sativa, cannabis indica or hybrid plant varieties. Key benefits of Medical Cannabis:
- Preventing nausea and vomiting
- Reducing pain
- Stimulating appetite
- Reducing sleep disturbances
- Help in curing cancer
ANTI-CANCER DIET – Cancer eats what you eat, so nutrition affects treatment success. Hence, integrate diet and nutrition into your cancer care from the start. In addition, researchers are finding that certain foods that prevent cancer may be an important part of an anti-cancer diet. An anti-cancer diet helps in:
- Antioxidants adds strength to the body & immunity boosting foods
- Nutraceuticals and supplements reduces chances of recurrence
- Anti-cancer foods boosts the immune system
- Increases Antioxidants in the body
- Increases the body’s Strength focus
- Boosts the Immunity of the cancer patient
- Anti-cancer diet is Anti-Malignant
- It helps maintain proper Hormone Balance
AYURVEDA – Ayurvedic medicine’s key concepts include universal interconnectedness, the body’s constitution, life forces and biological factors. Ayurvedic medicine helps with the symptoms of cancer and its treatment. Ayurveda treatment takes an integrative approach that does three things:
- It works on the root-cause
- It reduces other associative symptoms
- It enhances overall quality of life by increasing energy and wellbeing and decreasing stress
- What are the foods I am supposed to consume during my treatment ?
Anyone with a chronic illness, even if it’s not cancer, should eat foods high in protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and vitamins and minerals, experts emphasize. If possible, make these dietary adjustments before cancer treatment begins so you’ll be healthier going into treatment.
- Plant-based Proteins
Some of the best foods to eat during chemotherapy or other cancer treatments are plant-based proteins. They offer the highest levels of vitamins and minerals. This means eating lots of vegetables as well as beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. If you do eat animal proteins, choose lean options like chicken or fish.
- Healthy Fats
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats also have health benefits. Avocados, olive oil, grapeseed oil and walnuts are all high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help combat inflammation and improve cardiovascular health.
- Healthy Carbs
When choosing carbohydrates, opt for foods that are minimally processed, like whole wheat, bran and oats. These have soluble fiber, which helps maintain good gut bacteria. Soluble fiber also promotes the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which lend a hand to everything from metabolism to cellular repair.
- Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals help our bodies’ enzymatic processes, which play a big role in boosting immune function and reducing inflammation. When possible, select foods fortified with vitamin D. These may include milk, orange juice, yogurt and some cereals.
5. Even if I follow a proper diet and treatment process will the cancer recur?
While following a proper anti-cancer diet and treatment protocol reduces the chances of cancer recurrence, no studies or clinical evidence claim them to have a total control over its recurrence. It is important that patients follow a proper anti-cancer diet, supplements, medical cannabis and other integrative oncology protocols to reduce the chances of cancer recurrence. However, when it comes to cancer, there is no hundred percent assurance that cancer would not recur. Although, studies have shown a considerable downward spiral in the patients who have been following an anti-cancer diet along with other protocols religiously, if compared to others. Many patients, who are, in fact, in their remission period and have been following these protocols, and cancer has not recurred. While no one can guarantee you about the recurrence of cancer, there are ways to reduce its chances of recurrence – which is an anti cancer diet and integrative oncology protocols.
6. I am unable to tolerate the side effects of chemotherapy. Shall I withdraw the medical treatment and start only ayurveda?
It is not right to completely stop the chemotherapy and start only ayurveda. If the doctors are suggesting that chemotherapy will affect you more, what a patient can do is:
- pause the chemotherapy for a while
- prepare his or her body
- meanwhile, start with Ayurveda treatment
- then, resume the chemotherapy sessions.
This is a practical and a good option, only in the case when the patient is unable to withstand the side effects of the chemotherapy treatment. A pause, a break is always recommended in such cases. During this time, the patient can start with ayurveda medicines along with medical cannabis to improve the health of the body in a proper way. This will also help improve the efficacy of the treatment and help the body regain its strength, resistance and power. For example, the patient can pause their chemo cycles for two months, regain the strength and resume chemotherapy with double the efforts. This will give the patient – double the results. However, this is advisable only in the case when the patient is not able to withstand the chemotherapy side effects.
However, if the doctors are recommending to not stop the chemotherapy, the patient should follow the integrative approach of incorporating ayurveda and medical cannabis parallelly into his or her treatment protocol, to manage the side effects, reduce the tumor size, improve the efficacy of the medical treatment and improve their quality of life during the treatment.
There are many types of cancer treatment. The types of treatment that you receive will depend on the type of cancer you have and how advanced it is. Some people with cancer will have only one treatment. But most people have a combination of treatments, such as surgery with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. When you need treatment for cancer, you have a lot to learn and think about. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and confused. But, talking with your doctor and learning about the types of treatment you may have can help you feel more in control.
The goal of cancer treatment is to achieve a cure for your cancer, allowing you to live a normal life span. This may or may not be possible, depending on your specific situation. If a cure isn’t possible, your treatments may be used to shrink your cancer or slow the growth of your cancer to allow you to live symptom free for as long as possible.
Cancer treatments can be classified into three main categories:
Primary treatment: The goal of a primary treatment is to completely remove the cancer from your body or kill all the cancer cells. Any cancer treatment can be used as a primary treatment, but the most common primary cancer treatment for the most common types of cancer is surgery. If your cancer is particularly sensitive to radiation therapy or chemotherapy, you may receive one of those therapies as your primary treatment.
Adjuvant treatment: The goal of adjuvant therapy is to kill any cancer cells that may remain after primary treatment in order to reduce the chance that the cancer will recur. Any cancer treatment can be used as an adjuvant therapy. Common adjuvant therapies include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy. Neoadjuvant therapy is similar, but treatments are used before the primary treatment in order to make the primary treatment easier or more effective.
Palliative treatment: Palliative treatments may help relieve side effects of treatment or signs and symptoms caused by cancer itself. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy can all be used to relieve symptoms. Other medications may relieve symptoms such as pain and shortness of breath. Palliative treatment can be used at the same time as other treatments intended to cure your cancer.
Managing cancer treatment and its side effects with ZenOnco:
While there are a lot of side effects of cancer, before, during and treatment, it can be managed with appropriate Anti-Cancer Diet, Nutraceuticals, Ayurveda and Medical Cannabis consultation and research-based approaches.
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