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Diet and Nutrition By popular demand our nutritional message board. This board will be monitored by a Registered RD who is certified in oncology by the American Dietetic Association

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Old 09-28-2011, 08:42 AM   #1
YellowTail
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nutrition help

My red blood cells are getting low and I typically have low iron anyways, my onc told me not to take the iron pills as the chemo will simply wipe it away, any suggestions on foods to help. Thanks
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:52 AM   #2
ElaineM
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Wink Re: nutrition help

Perhaps you can talk to a nutritionist or dietician and get some suggestions about what to eat.
Iron pills can cause consitipation. Liquid iron usually does not cause constipation. There is a liquid product available at some health food stores called Floradix. You can do an online search to get a list of the natural ingredients.
Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, prunes etc.), although they have a fair amount of sugar also have iron. Natural 100% blackstrap molasses has alot of sugar, but it has iron and calcium. Blackberries have iron. I get frozen blackberries when they are not in season and put them in smoothies or eat them with yoghurt. Lentils have alot of iron. Other beans have iron. Dark leafy vegetables like spinach have iron. Sea vegetables have some iron. If you are a meat eater you may want to have some liver, which has alot of iron.
Our dietician, Tanya or some of the other members might also have some suggestions. Happy Eating !!
P. S. I never experienced a dangerous reduction in iron or my white blood counts by going the natural route and learning what to eat to keep my blood counts healthy during various treatments. I never needed procriat, or the shots for white blood counts. I never needed a transfusion because of low blood counts.
Good luck !!
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Last edited by ElaineM; 09-28-2011 at 10:58 AM.. Reason: addition-
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Old 10-08-2011, 12:50 PM   #3
Mtngrl
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Re: nutrition help

The big issue with dietary iron, especially from plant sources, is absorption. I think it helps if you have Vitamin C with it. Cooking in iron pots, especially acidic foods (like tomatoes), can increase iron in foods. Egg yolks have iron--so fry up a couple of eggs in an iron skillet and wash it down with some orange juice.

When I was on chemo I figured the best way to let my body know I needed more red blood cells was to get a little out of breath, so I walked a half hour to an hour a day, and included some stairs and hills. I don't know if that is sound reasoning, but I do enjoy walking. It lifts my mood.

Here's a fact sheet on iron: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/iron
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4/19/11 Diagnosed invasive ductal carcinoma in left breast; 2.3 cm tumor, 1 axillary lymph node, weakly ER+, HER2+++
4/29/11 CT scan shows suspicious lesions on liver and lungs
5/17/11 liver biopsy
5/24/11 liver met confirmed--Stage IV at diagnosis
5/27/11 Begin weekly Taxol & Herceptin for 3 months (standard of care at the time of my DX)
7/18/11 Switch to weekly Abraxane & Herceptin due to Taxol allergy
8/29/11 CT scan shows no new lesions & old lesions shrinking
9/27/11 Finish Abraxane. Start Herceptin every 3 weeks. Begin taking Arimidex
10/17/11--Brain MRI--No Brain mets
12/5/11 PET scan--Almost NED
5/15/12 PET scan shows progression-breast/chest/spine (one vertebra)
5/22/12 Stop taking Arimidex; stay on Herceptin
6/11/12 Started Tykerb and Herceptin on clinical trial (w/no chemo)
9/24/12 CT scan--No new mets. Everything stable.
3/11/13 CT Scan--two small new possible mets and odd looking area in left lung getting larger.
4/2/13--Biopsy of suspicious area in lower left lung. Mets to lung confirmed.
4/30/13 Begin Kadcyla/TDM-1
8/16/13 PET scan "mixed," with some areas of increased uptake, but also some definite improvement, so I'll stay on TDM-1/Kadcyla.
11/11/13 Finally get hormone receptor results from lung biopsy of 4/2/13. My cancer is no longer ER positive.
11/13/13 PET scan mixed results again. We're calling it "stable." Problems breathing on exertion.
2/18/14 PET scan shows a new lesion and newly active lymph node in chest, other progression. Bye bye TDM-1.
2/28/14 Begin Herceptin/Perjeta every 3 weeks.
6/8/14 PET "mixed," with no new lesions, and everything but lower lungs improving. My breathing is better.
8/18/14 PET "mixed" again. Upper lungs & one spine met stable, lower lungs less FDG avid, original tumor more avid, one lymph node in mediastinum more avid.
9/1/14 Begin taking Xeloda one week on, one week off. Will also stay on Herceptin and Perjeta every three weeks.
12/11/14 PET Scan--no new lesions, and everything looks better than it did.
3/20/15 PET Scan--no new lesions, but lower lung lesions larger and a bit more avid.
4/13/15 Increasing Xeloda dose to 10 days on, one week off.
7/1/15 Scan "mixed" again, but suggests continuing progression. Stop Xeloda. Substitute Abraxane every 3 weeks starting 7/13.
10/28/15 PET scan shows dramatic improvement everywhere. All lesions except lower lungs have resolved; lower lungs noticeably improved.
12/18/15 Last Abraxane. Continue on Herceptin and Perjeta alone beginning 1/8/16.
1/27/16 PET scan shows cancer is stable.
5/11/16 PET scan shows uptake in some areas that were resolved on the last two scans.
6/3/16 Begin Kadcyla and Tykerb combination
6/5 - 6/23 Horrible diarrhea from K&T together. Got pneumonia.
7/15/16 Begin Kadcyla only every 3 weeks.
9/6/16 Begin radiation therapy on right lung lesion that caused the pneumonia.
10/3/16 Last of 12 radiation treatments to right lung.
11/4/16 Huffing and puffing, low O2, high heart rate, on tiniest bit of exertion. Diagnosed as radiation pneumonitis. Treated with Prednisone.
11/11/16 PET scan shows significant improvement to radiated part of right lung BUT a bunch of new lung lesions, and the bone met is getting worse.
11/22/16 Begin Eribulin and Herceptin. H every 3 weeks. E two weeks on, one week off.
3/6/17 Scan shows progression in lungs. Bone met a little better.
3/23/17 Lung biopsy. Tumor sampled is ER-, PR+ (5%), HER2+++. Getting Herceptin and Perjeta as a maintenance treatment.
5/31/17 Port placement
6/1/17 Start Navelbine & Tykerb
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Old 10-08-2011, 01:12 PM   #4
ElaineM
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Thanks for reminding me about the iron skillet. If we have a couple eggs cooked in an iron skillet with a glass of orange juice, and a piece of whole grain bread for breakfast that might be good.
I heard that cooked tomatoes have more nutrition than fresh tomatoes. I guess cooking brings out the nutrition in some things.
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Lucky 13 !! I hope so !!!!!!
http://her2support.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=52807
14 Year Survivor
http://her2support.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=57053
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Old 10-08-2011, 04:17 PM   #5
R.B.
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Re: nutrition help


Mtngrl thanks for that very useful link - me thinks you may be better informed than you are letting on - whereas I just google (-:.

Iron absorption from vegetable sources - Tea (tannins) and phytates found in grains are reported to block absorption of iron. Phytates may block the absorption of a number of minerals. Vitamin C sources are repeated to increase absorption - eg lemon juice in tea and on spinach. Fermentation and sprouting reduces phytates - a subject on its own. Iron is more easily absorbed from meat and fish. Many people in the USA are deficient in one or more minerals


http://www.veetea.com/site/articles/Tea-and-Iron

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2507689

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8...?dopt=Abstract

http://sickle.bwh.harvard.edu/iron_absorption.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2820048

http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.htm#heme

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8829129

Last edited by R.B.; 10-08-2011 at 04:35 PM..
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Old 10-10-2011, 12:46 PM   #6
Mtngrl
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Re: nutrition help

I'm a big fan of the "fermentation improves mineral absorption" notion. I make my own whole grain bread using only sourdough for leavening. It takes a long time to rise. Not only does that produce a very tasty bread with excellent keeping qualities, but also it may be more nutritious. One more thing about sourdough/whole grain bread is it has a lower glycemic index than "regular" bread.
__________________
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_____________________________
4/19/11 Diagnosed invasive ductal carcinoma in left breast; 2.3 cm tumor, 1 axillary lymph node, weakly ER+, HER2+++
4/29/11 CT scan shows suspicious lesions on liver and lungs
5/17/11 liver biopsy
5/24/11 liver met confirmed--Stage IV at diagnosis
5/27/11 Begin weekly Taxol & Herceptin for 3 months (standard of care at the time of my DX)
7/18/11 Switch to weekly Abraxane & Herceptin due to Taxol allergy
8/29/11 CT scan shows no new lesions & old lesions shrinking
9/27/11 Finish Abraxane. Start Herceptin every 3 weeks. Begin taking Arimidex
10/17/11--Brain MRI--No Brain mets
12/5/11 PET scan--Almost NED
5/15/12 PET scan shows progression-breast/chest/spine (one vertebra)
5/22/12 Stop taking Arimidex; stay on Herceptin
6/11/12 Started Tykerb and Herceptin on clinical trial (w/no chemo)
9/24/12 CT scan--No new mets. Everything stable.
3/11/13 CT Scan--two small new possible mets and odd looking area in left lung getting larger.
4/2/13--Biopsy of suspicious area in lower left lung. Mets to lung confirmed.
4/30/13 Begin Kadcyla/TDM-1
8/16/13 PET scan "mixed," with some areas of increased uptake, but also some definite improvement, so I'll stay on TDM-1/Kadcyla.
11/11/13 Finally get hormone receptor results from lung biopsy of 4/2/13. My cancer is no longer ER positive.
11/13/13 PET scan mixed results again. We're calling it "stable." Problems breathing on exertion.
2/18/14 PET scan shows a new lesion and newly active lymph node in chest, other progression. Bye bye TDM-1.
2/28/14 Begin Herceptin/Perjeta every 3 weeks.
6/8/14 PET "mixed," with no new lesions, and everything but lower lungs improving. My breathing is better.
8/18/14 PET "mixed" again. Upper lungs & one spine met stable, lower lungs less FDG avid, original tumor more avid, one lymph node in mediastinum more avid.
9/1/14 Begin taking Xeloda one week on, one week off. Will also stay on Herceptin and Perjeta every three weeks.
12/11/14 PET Scan--no new lesions, and everything looks better than it did.
3/20/15 PET Scan--no new lesions, but lower lung lesions larger and a bit more avid.
4/13/15 Increasing Xeloda dose to 10 days on, one week off.
7/1/15 Scan "mixed" again, but suggests continuing progression. Stop Xeloda. Substitute Abraxane every 3 weeks starting 7/13.
10/28/15 PET scan shows dramatic improvement everywhere. All lesions except lower lungs have resolved; lower lungs noticeably improved.
12/18/15 Last Abraxane. Continue on Herceptin and Perjeta alone beginning 1/8/16.
1/27/16 PET scan shows cancer is stable.
5/11/16 PET scan shows uptake in some areas that were resolved on the last two scans.
6/3/16 Begin Kadcyla and Tykerb combination
6/5 - 6/23 Horrible diarrhea from K&T together. Got pneumonia.
7/15/16 Begin Kadcyla only every 3 weeks.
9/6/16 Begin radiation therapy on right lung lesion that caused the pneumonia.
10/3/16 Last of 12 radiation treatments to right lung.
11/4/16 Huffing and puffing, low O2, high heart rate, on tiniest bit of exertion. Diagnosed as radiation pneumonitis. Treated with Prednisone.
11/11/16 PET scan shows significant improvement to radiated part of right lung BUT a bunch of new lung lesions, and the bone met is getting worse.
11/22/16 Begin Eribulin and Herceptin. H every 3 weeks. E two weeks on, one week off.
3/6/17 Scan shows progression in lungs. Bone met a little better.
3/23/17 Lung biopsy. Tumor sampled is ER-, PR+ (5%), HER2+++. Getting Herceptin and Perjeta as a maintenance treatment.
5/31/17 Port placement
6/1/17 Start Navelbine & Tykerb
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:43 AM   #7
sdstarfish
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Re: nutrition help

Jut wanted to add that astragalus is good for red blood cell production in the bone marrow, as well as helping to restore the immune system in general.

Lisa
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:26 AM   #8
ElaineM
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Interesting. I didn't know that about asparagus.
Thanks.
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ElaineM
12 years and counting
http://her2support.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=48247
Lucky 13 !! I hope so !!!!!!
http://her2support.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=52807
14 Year Survivor
http://her2support.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=57053
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have." author unknown
Shared by a multiple myeloma survivor.
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:45 AM   #9
sdstarfish
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Re: nutrition help

Hi, Elaine:
Not asparagus - astragalus.
Lisa

www.pinkkitchen.info
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Old 11-10-2011, 10:09 AM   #10
YellowTail
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Smile Re: nutrition help

Hello Ladies and thanks for all of your responses, very helpful. My red blood cells are all good now and my iron is back on track. Happy and full of energy!
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:12 AM   #11
TanyaRD
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Re: nutrition help

Yellowtail,
Glad to hear you are doing well!
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:17 PM   #12
Jackie07
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Re: nutrition help

Not quite sure if this belongs here - could we view diet and nutrition as part of the 'complementary therapies'? The Chinese have a saying: "Supplementing with medicine is not as good as supplementing with food."

http://www.cancercarestore.com/the-c...professionals/

Dr. Barrie Cassileth from MSKCC will be in a Live Web Chat at Cancerconnect.com November 17th, 6 pm EST.

[Dr. Barrie Cassileth, Chief of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine Service, will discuss and field questions on a variety of complementary cancer therapies including the use of herbs, dietary supplements and acupuncture. Dr. Cassileth’s presentation will be in a Live Web Chat on CancerConnect. Visit http://cancerconnect.com/dr-cassileth-webchat/ to register or submit a question.]
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