Preparing for Cancer Treatments and Dealing with Side effects

It is a reality for most cancer patients that part of your protocol will involve surgery, chemotherapy or radiation either as stand alone treatments or in combination.  With that said, it is of great importance that patients and their caregivers understand the necessity of preparing for cancer treatments and have strategies for dealing with their side effects.

Preparing your mind and body for treatment coupled with certain lifestyle adjustments can enhance therapy efficacy and reduce both the incidences and severity of side effects.  For instance, as noted in this report, Nutritional intervention and Quality of Life in Adult Oncology Patients by Marin Caro et al Marín Caro MM1, Laviano A, Pichard C 20071:

“Nutritional intervention accompanying curative treatment has an additional and specific role, which is to increase the tolerance and response to the oncology treatment (and) decrease the rate of complications”.

When side effects do occur it is of great benefit to have options in front of you to deal with them.  If too these side effects can be dealt with by natural means, medical intervention may be avoided.

In my own cancer protocol my medical treatment involved surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  As I made my way through each I took both mental and physical notes of what I felt helped me and of those moments when I thought “boy I wish I had known that”.  And it is from this exercise coupled with my professional training that I have created my ebook.

Side Effects Ebook subscriptionChemotherapy, Radiation, Surgery Natural Strategies for Preparation & Dealing with Side Effects of Cancer Treatments is a reference manual for patients and their caregivers to use before and during treatment.  It begins with strategies and tips for preparing for treatments and then moves in to chemotherapy, radiation and surgery succinctly dealing with common side effects by offering pointed complimentary strategies for dealing with each them.

I truly hope that you will find the information that is contained within my book of great benefit to you as you move through your treatments and into recovery.  Click on the button below to download this great resource for free!

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Complimentary Therapies Do Have a Place in Cancer Protocols

I am a Holistic Nutritionist, a certified Professional Cancer Coach and I am a breast cancer survivor. In my protocol for treatment I used both the medical path and the alternative path. So going toe to toe with the medical profession is not a road I wish to travel. But every once in a while I read an article that points my inner compass in that direction.

Recently I read an article entitled “Yet another woman with breast cancer lured into quackery by Ty Bollinger and “holistic” medicine advocates” by David Gorski, a surgeon who publishes under the name ORAC. He takes aim at Ty Bollinger and the film series he created called “The Truth About Cancer”. I am not going to speak to this aspect of his prose. Rather my issue is with his broad-brush swipe of alternative therapies painting a negative hue on their validity in cancer care. I cannot vouch for all holistic practitioners, only to those in the circle in which I practice. We look to oncologists as primary care and offer research based adjuvant therapies to support medical treatment such as acupuncture[i] [ii] for pain management, supplements to reduce various side effects of medical treatment i.e. glutamine[iii] to reduce the severity and duration of stomatitis, and lifestyle strategies such as meditation[iv] to mitigate the stressors of a cancer diagnosis and to positively influence cortisol and blood pressure levels. Our goal is to work with the medical team to offer the best overall protocol for cancer patients. Gorski offers no place for complementary therapies in cancer care as noted in this excerpt:

“Irritatingly, though, both used the example of… to promote their “integrative oncology” programs—and regular readers know that both Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic are heavily into “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and “integrative” medicine and that both are very active at “integrating” quackery with conventional medicine”

 It is my very strong opinion that to dismiss alternative therapies as a whole in cancer care as “quackery” is an irresponsible swing of the pendulum in the opposite direction of his target Ty Bollinger.


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Although not taken on in Gorski’s article, the importance of nutrition within a comprehensive cancer protocol is also undervalued. Working within my own scope of practice, I find it particularly irresponsible when cancer patients are advised that their diet is of little consequence in fighting their disease. I have encountered this in clinic with cancer patients that I have seen. To avoid cachexia, or excessive weight loss, some patients are misguided and misinformed by the notion that any calorie is a good calorie so mowing down on cookies and chocolate bars are within reason. Without going in to the argument of whether or not processed sugar is a fuel source for cancer, let’s just agree shall we that it has minimal if any nutritive value and dare I say may actually be detrimental to overall health.[v] [vi] [vii] And that processed foods are really not a recognized nutritive food group, offering little to no positive health value during a time when the body needs proper fuel to fight and repair.

So let’s flip the mat then and talk about macronutrients shall we:

  • Protein is essential for big body issues such as tissue repair, immune function and cell communication. Is it not advisable that someone undergoing treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation should include adequate amounts in their diet? I’m not sure anyone would tell me that these treatments do not garner damage to the body rendering it in need of some degree of repair.
  • We need good quality fat, not just any fat. Fats provide us with energy. They are integral for proper cell structure. They help absorb fat-soluble vitamins. They manage inflammation and they contain 9 calories per gram as compared to protein and carbohydrates, which contain 4 calories per gram. A rather important nutrient as well.
  • Carbohydrates, for most of us, are our main energy source. It is important to get our carbs from nutrient dense, fibrous foods to help manage blood sugar. Fiber, also a carbohydrate, is essential for feeding our microbiome. And as an aside, science continues to discover the great importance of a balanced, well-functioning microbiome to our health.

Along with the macronutrients, the well-studied importance of vitamins, minerals, plant polyphenols and the like draw a straight line to the conclusion that yes, diet does matter. Why then would any doctor throw open the doors and say eat anything that makes you feel just fine? As I draw on my personal experience, I surely had a progressive oncologist then who told me to avoid soy products and limit my red meat intake. He saw some validity of dietary influence.

I strengthened my body prior to treatment using many “complementary” therapies including diet modification, yoga, meditation, supplementation and exercise. I maintained most of my routine during treatment and with the consent of my oncologist. And I continue to incorporate complementary therapies along with my medical therapies today as my prevention path.

Please do not throw the baby out with the bath water.   Build a team of responsible practitioners who understand the importance of working together and with you to build the best possible protocol for your disease. Complementary therapies do have a valid, important place in cancer care.

[i] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26977172/?i=6&from=acupuncture%20pain%20cancer

[ii] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26853524/?i=11&from=acupuncture%20pain%20cancer

[iii] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9762946

[iv] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26963792/?i=5&from=meditation%20stress%20cancer

[v] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9020271?dopt=Abstract

[vi] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18326601

[vii] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/6/1455.abstract?ijkey=ad2ca9646513cd58a5e03142c5db3b95bdb63c45&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha


A Labour of Love

By and large starting anything new goes hand in hand with a steep learning curve. Such has been the case for me venturing into a new business. Trying to get a grip on social media, business plans and all things entrepreneurial quickly brought me to the understanding that I desperately needed help from someone who knew what they were doing. In fact it became crystal clear after a 4-hour struggle to put together a Facebook cover page that fit in to the Facebook parameters.

My blog today is a bittersweet introduction of a very long labour of love, my website cathybiase.com.

I began this project almost one year ago with my brother-in-law. We bantered back and forth often. He pulled me in when my ideas were off the mark, taught me the ins and outs of what good websites should be, and gently pushed me to delve deeper in to my true motivations for what I really wanted to do and whom I wanted to reach. And he spent hours learning a new program because I saw a format that I liked. He was my go to.

As many of you know we lost Keith this past September 2015 to cancer. He never got to finish what he started but his influence remains throughout my site. And I think he would approve of the job Connie Tseng @ctseng86 did in producing the final project. She stepped in seamlessly and completed the vision directing the show and taking care of the layers of a website that I didn’t know existed. I am grateful to her and am blessed to have her in my corner.

So I invite you to visit my website https://www.cathybiase.com.  As well as giving you an insight of who I am and what I do, I hope it can become a launch pad for interaction and a place to meet once and a while for informative posts and passing thoughts.






Give Thanks

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Remember to:

Add fresh ginger to your stuffing to ease digestion

Save all of the water that you cook your vegetables in and add to your gravy and soup for great flavour

Cook with love. It truly makes your food taste better

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends!

Until We Meet Again

I go down this isle every time I go to the grocery store.  Every time.  Nothing is ever new.  But today the Cheez Whiz was bigger and brighter than ever before.  I stopped in front of it, laughed to myself and said “hello”.  Then we shopped together for a bit and you moved on.

Loss is something we cannot prepare for even when it comes at the end of such suffering. Because until that last breath is taken, despite all logic, we hold out for a miracle.  

But a life that touched so many is a life well lived, in spite of its short years. And because of this we each hold a piece of you.  Although death, especially of one loved so dearly, creates a space in our hearts, I know that it is in this space where we will find you. But we must first learn to quiet your deafening absence and not to run from where you once were.  And although it is the quietest moments that we fear the most, we must meet them head on.   Because it will be in those very moments when you will speak to us the loudest, and in them we will know that you will always be with us.

Until we meet again.