Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world.
In 2015, it was estimated that approximately 26,600 Canadians would be diagnosed with lung cancer. That is more than any other type of cancer.
In addition to this, more people die from lung cancer than breast cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer combined.
There are two major types of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC).
Non-small cell lung cancer accounts for about 85 percent of lung cancers, small cell lung cancer about 15 percent.
NSCLC usually starts in glandular cells on the outer part of the lung. This type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma. Non–small cell lung cancer can also start in flat, thin cells called squamous cells. These cells line the bronchi, which are the large airways that branch off from the windpipe (trachea) into the lungs. This type of cancer is called squamous cell carcinoma of the lung. Large cell carcinoma is another type of non–small cell lung cancer, but it is less common. There are also several rare types of non–small cell lung cancer. These include sarcoma and sarcomatoid carcinoma. SCLC usually starts in cells that line the bronchi in the centre of the lungs. The main types of small cell lung cancer are small cell carcinoma and combined small cell carcinoma (mixed tumour with squamous or glandular cells).
Anatomy & Facts About Our Lungs
Did you know?
In proper anatomy our right lung is shorter and wider than our left. Our left lung is narrower and more oblong
The anterior border of the left lung is marked by a deep cardiac notch while the right lung is straight
Our left lung is smaller than our right lungbecause our heart occupies space on the left side
Our rightlung consists of 3 lobes. Our left lung has 2
Our rightlung connects to the trachea by two bronchi while the left lung connects to the trachea by a single bronchus
Possible causes of lung cancer
Cigarette smoking causes most lung cancers. Of note however many patients who are diagnosed with lung cancer have either never smoked or are former smokers.
Exposure to high levels of pollution
Exposure to radiation and asbestos may increase risk of lung cancer
Common symptoms of lung cancer
A cough that doesn’t go away and gets worse over time
Constant chest pain
Coughing up blood
Shortness of breath
Help lower your risk of lung cancer by incorporating the following tips
Smoking is responsible for the majority of lung cancers. If you are a smoker it’s never too late to quit. For those who have been diagnosed with lung cancer, by stopping your smoking habit you can make cancer treatment more effective
Limit Your Chemical Exposure:
Chemicals in the workplace and at home can contribute to lung cancer
Reduce Your Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke:
Exposure to second-hand smoke increases your chance of developing lung cancer
Consume Green Tea and Black Tea:
Studies have shown that consuming Green & Black tea are associated with a reduced lung cancer risk
As well as the above, proper sleep, exercising regularly and eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies are very important habits for cancer prevention as a whole.
Sticking to the perimeter of the grocery store is the ideal way to shop. But when the ideal meets the real and we find ourselves nose to label with packaging we need to be armed and ready.
Let’s face it, reading labels can be confusing. But it is a necessary evil when you want to eat healthy.
With a few tips however you will be able extrapolate the important information that you need to make good decisions in the grocery aisles.
First off avoid the propaganda on the front of the product and go right to the good stuff on the back. Companies can free wheel with what they say on the front of the packaging but there are real guidelines for what’s on the back. For example a label may say that a food product is reduced in fat or reduced sodium. What this means is that the amount of fat or sodium has been reduced from the original product amount. It doesn’t mean, however, that the food is low in fat or sodium.
Here are My 3 Top Things to Look For on a Product Label
1. Check out the Ingredients
Check out the ingredient list. Product ingredients are listed by quantity, from highest to lowest amount
2. Understand the serving size
It is really important that you understand that all of the nutrition information shown is based on serving size.
And don’t be deceived by this. A single serving may not be what you think. For instance, a serving size may be half a cup where as you might logically think it would be whole cup.
3. Know the Different Names for Sugar
We know by now the dangers of over consuming added sugars. With this in mind, it is very important that you become aware of the fact that there are many, many different names for sugar on a food label. Some of them end in –ose such as Sucrose, Maltose and Dextrose. Others like Barley Malt, Turinado and Molasses do not.
On the right side of a food label, you’ll see a column that lists the percent daily values (%DV). Percent daily values tell you how much of a the particular nutrient one serving will give you compared to how much you need for the entire day. It helps you gauge the percentage of a nutrient requirement met by one serving of the product.
Nutrition Facts Tables
Do you ever look at the Nutrition Facts tables? Do they help you decide which foods to buy or not? Do the numbers even make sense?
To be honest, I don’t think it’s that the most user-friendly or helpful tool. But it’s good to understand it since it’s here to stay.
Let me give you a super-quick crash course on reading the Nutrition Facts tables.
Then, try my delicious and super-easy snack recipe that’ll blow your pre-packaged granola bars out of the water.
How to Read the New Nutrition Facts Tables
The Nutrition Facts table is on the side of most packaged foods. It’s often found close to the ingredient listing.
The purpose of it is to help consumers make better nutrition decisions. When people can see the number of calories, carbs, sodium, etc. in food, they should be able to eat better, right?
Whether you like the Nutrition Facts table or not, let’s make sure you get the most out of it, since it’s here to stay!
Here’s my four-step crash course on reading the Nutrition Facts table.
Step 1: Serving Size
The absolute most important part of the Nutrition Facts table is to note the serving size. Manufacturers often strategically choose the serving size to make the rest of the table look good. Small serving = small calories/fat/carbs. So, it’s tricky.
All the information in the table rests on the amount chosen as the serving size. And, since every manufacturer chooses their own, it’s often difficult to compare two products.
In Canada, in the next few years (between 2017-2022), serving sizes will be more consistent between similar foods. This will make it easier to compare foods. The new labels will also have more realistic serving sizes to reflect the amount that people eat in one sitting, and not be artificially small.
Let’s use an example – plain, unsalted walnuts from Costco.
Right under the Nutrition Facts header is the serving size. That is a ¼ cup or 30 g. This means that all the numbers underneath it are based on this amount.
FUN EXPERIMENT: Try using a measuring cup to see exactly how much of a certain food equals one serving. You may be surprised at how small it is (imagine a ¼ cup of walnuts).
Step 2: % Daily Value
The % Daily Value (%DV) is based on the recommended daily amount of each nutrient the average adult needs. Ideally, you will get 100% DV for each nutrient every day. This is added up based on all of the foods and drinks you have throughout the day.
NOTE: Since children are smaller and have different nutritional needs if a type of food is intended solely for children under the age of 4, then those foods use a child’s average nutrition needs for the %DV.
The %DV is a guideline, not a rigid rule.
You don’t need to add all of your %DV up for everything you eat all day. Instead, think of anything 5% or less to be a little; and, anything 15% or more to be a lot.
NOTE: Not every nutrient has a %DV. You can see it’s missing for things like cholesterol, sugar, and protein. This is because there isn’t an agreed “official” %DV for that nutrient. The good news is that the new Nutrition Facts tables will include a %DV for sugar. Keep your eyes out for that.
Step 3: Middle of the table (e.g. Calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, carbohydrates, and protein)
Calories are pretty straight forward. Here, a ¼ cup (30 g) of walnuts has 200 calories.
Fat is bolded for a reason. That 19 g of fat (29% DV) is total fat. That includes the non-bolded items underneath it. Here, 19 g of total fat includes 1.5 g saturated fat, (19 g – 1.5 g = 17.5 g) unsaturated fat, and 0 g trans fat. (Yes, unsaturated fats including mono- and poly-unsaturated are not on the label, so you need to do a quick subtraction).
Cholesterol, sodium, and potassium are all measured in mg. Ideally, aim for around 100% of potassium and sodium each day. It’s easy to overdo sodium, especially if you grab pre-made, restaurant foods, or snacks. Keep an eye on this number if sodium can be a problem for you (e.g. if your doctor mentioned it, if you have high blood pressure or kidney problems, etc.).
Carbohydrate, like fat, is bolded because it is total carbohydrates. It includes the non-bolded items underneath it like fiber, sugar, and starch (not shown). Here, 30 g of walnuts contain 3 g of carbohydrates; that 3 g are all fiber. There is no sugar or starch. And as you can see, 3 g of fiber is 12% of your daily value for fiber.
Proteins, like calories, are pretty straight forward as well. Here, a ¼ cup (30 g) of walnuts contains 5 g of protein.
Step 4: Bottom of the table (e.g. vitamins & minerals)
The vitamins and minerals listed at the bottom of the table are also straightforward. The new labels will list potassium, calcium, and iron. Yes, potassium will drop from the middle of the table to the bottom, and both vitamins A & C will become optional.
Manufacturers can add other vitamins and minerals to the bottom of their Nutrition Facts table (this is optional). And you’ll notice that some foods contain a lot more vitamins and minerals than others do.
I hope this crash course in the Nutrition Facts table was helpful because it is important to be informed about what you are eating.
Proper nutrition is a key piece of cancer prevention so understanding what you choose to put in to your shopping cart is key.
Do you have questions about it? If so, leave me a comment below.
Delicious and Super-Easy Walnut Snack Recipe
8 walnut halves
4 dates, pitted
Make a “date sandwich” by squeezing each date between two walnut halves.
Lymphedema is the abnormal swelling that is caused by a build up of lymph fluid and most commonly occurs in the arms and in the legs.
According to the World Health Organization there are over 170 million people world wide who suffer from secondary lymphedema. It affects approximately 15% of all cancer survivors and an estimated 30% of those treated for breast cancer after surgery to remove lymph nodes.
The onset of lymphedema can occur during treatments, days, months or years after the treatment protocol is completed.
Unfortunately lymphedema cannot be cured but it can be managed by employing some or all of the following strategies to encourage movement of the lymph fluid:
The benefits of dry brushing are many and include:
Dead layers of skin being removed and pores unclogged
Blood circulation increased to the internal organs and the skin, which promotes oxygenation and healing
The detoxification qualities of the skin maintained
Hormone and oil-producing glands being stimulated
Nerve endings stimulated in the skin helping to maintain the health of the entire nervous system
Muscle tone assisted and fat deposits more evenly spread
How to Perform a Dry Brush Massage Use a natural bristle brush with a brush pad about the size of your own hand
Start with the soles of your feet. Brush in a circular motion as you move up your body brushing feet to legs, hands to arms, back to abdomen, and chest to neck. You don’t need to apply a lot of pressure. Just enough to make your skin feel warm, about 5-10 minutes. The massage is best performed when you wake in the morning and before you go to bed at night.
Alternating hot and cold showers improves blood circulation, increases cellular oxidation, enhances immunity, strengthens the nervous system and flushes cellular toxins into the blood.
When we shower in hot water for less than five minutes, it has a stimulating effect on our circulation. When we have a cold shower for less than one minute, we stimulate blood flow and metabolism. Cold showers first constrict and then dilate blood vessels. When we finish with a cold shower the following physiological effects happen:
Increased oxygen absorption
Increased tissue tone
Increased white blood cell count improving immunity
Increased red blood cell count
Decreased blood glucose
A rebounder a small trampoline. Jumping on a rebounder 5-10 minutes a day improves the circulation of lymphatic fluid. Muscular contractions push the fluid through the lymphatic vessels. When the muscular contraction is used in combination with deep breathing, lymphatic circulation is enhanced even more. This improves the body’s cancer-fighting ability.
Additional benefits of rebounding include:
Gentle massage of the internal organs, including the liver and colon
Improved muscle tone
Improved digestion, elimination and body detoxification
Improvement in cardiovascular health
Exercising, of all kinds, causes muscle contractions encouraging the flow of lymph fluid. Exercising also:
Improves insulin sensitivity
Helps manage weight
Improves mitochondrial health
Improves muscle tone
Lymphatic drainage massage stimulates the circulation of blood and lymph, moving tissue fluid into the lymph vessels from the tissues.
As a result, lymph drainage massage can help remove toxins and wastes from the tissues. Increased lymph flow will also help with immunity, reduce the risk of infection, and speed the healing of inflammation.
Lymphedema Compression Bandages
Compression bandages help to limit the amount of fluid building up in the limb. When functioning without limitation, there is a constant flow of fluid from the tiny blood vessels into the tissues. This fluid will then be drained by the lymph system. For those with lymphedema, wearing a compression garment reduces excessive or unnecessary flow of fluid from the bloodstream into the tissues.
Lymphedema compression sleeves encourage the fluid within the affected limb to move towards the body where it can drain away more easily. Compression sleeves have a graduated compression, with more at the hand or foot than at the top of the garment. This directs the fluid to the root of the limb which is either the groin or armpit.
Finally compression garments provide the muscles with a firm resistance to work against improving the function of the lymphatic system and encourage the movement of fluid along the lymph routes.
Your routine for lymphedema management:
1) Make a daily practice out of dry brush massage
2) Have a contrast shower daily
3) Use a rebounder four hours weekly; 5 – 30 minutes once or twice daily