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Frequently Asked Questions


What can be done to relieve the fatigue I am still experiencing since my cancer therapy has been completed? Will any dietary supplements help me?

Thank you for writing and asking your question. The reasons why cancer patients experience fatigue, even during the recovery phase, are multi-factorial and are still being identified. I do not know if just adding any dietary supplements would "do the trick" all by itself.

For 3 years during the 10 years between my 2 breast cancers I experienced overwhelming and debilitating fatigue. No physical reason could be found and I wasn't depressed. I just lived with it and eventually the fatigue slowly lifted.

However, interestingly, although I experienced the same level of fatigue during both sessions of chemo (1984 and 1995), my recovery after the second chemo in 1995 was much more rapid and complete. I do not really know why that is so, nor can my doctors venture a guess. My best guess though is that my sustained level of high energy is due to my holistic approach to recovery this time - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Yes, I do take a few supplements as I describe in my book, but I really doubt that my boundless energy is due to them alone.

If I had to pick a few things that I think have made the most difference in energizing me (i.e., reducing my fatigue), they would be the following, and in this order:

1) changing my diet
2) regular exercising
3) "connections and service" - by that I mean my involvement with and commitment to helping others, in other words, serving others in need and not dwelling (too much) on my own problems
4) stress reduction strategies like meditation, yoga, Qi Gong, prayer, and
5) making an effort to keep all of this in balance with lots of fun in my life, too.

Please be sure to discuss your fatigue with your oncologist so that any potentially treatable physical reasons for your fatigue may be identified and treated appropriately. In addition, please ask to speak to the registered dietitian at your cancer center. She will help you with many of these strategies that I have suggested and may also be able to advise you on the careful addition of appropriate supplements to your diet.

Four websites to visit for additional information on cancer fatigue include:

Cleveland Clinic Health System
Oncology News
Oncology Nursing Society

A wonderful and helpful audio cassette on imagery to combat cancer fatigue by Belleruth Naparstek is available to order at her web site, HealthJourneys.com

My very best wishes to you as you travel your cancer recovery journey. I commend you for pursuing your recovery with the spirit of "active hope"

faq posted 7/01, updated 9/03, 1/04


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Nutritional Concerns during Cancer Recovery

Nutritional Concerns during Recovery How do you eat in restaurants and still maintain an ultra-healthy diet? posted 12/99
Nutritional Concerns during Cancer Recovery Do you ever 'CHEAT' on your diet? posted 12/99
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery What do you eat for snacks?
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery What is your opinion on other books on nutrition and cancer? posted 4/00
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery Can one eliminate dairy and meat (but not eggs) and still work with your recommended dietary changes?
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery What are your views about sugar for cancer patients? Does it *feed* tumors? Should I avoid it in any form? posted 08/00
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery What can be done to relieve the fatigue I am still experiencing since my cancer therapy has been completed? Will any dietary supplements help me? posted 7/01
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery Please give me your advice on microwaved food and cancer? posted 2/02
Nutritional Concerns during Recovery I have recently heard that Vitamin A may be linked to osteoporosis. I see Vitamin A in nearly everything on food labels, even my soymilk. What is the connection and how much should I be consuming? posted 5/02, updated 2/03
Gastric Cancer Will consuming dairy foods increase my risk for ovarian cancer recurring? posted 11/02
Gastric Cancer Diana, what are the top 10 - 20 foods that you make sure you eat on a regular basis? posted 12/02
Gastric Cancer Diana, What 5 things have you changed in your diet that you think are the most important for enhancing the odds for long-term cancer recovery?
posted 12/02
Gastric Cancer Do you have diet suggestions for someone who has diarrhea after
radiation therapy for rectal cancer?
posted 1/04, updated 4/04, 11/04, 5/01
Gastric Cancer Is there any diet to alleviate lymphedema resulting from cancer surgery? posted 8/04
Gastric Cancer How "strict" do I need to be with my diet? posted 5/05
Gastric Cancer What tips do you have to stay on a healthy diet during the holiday season? posted 11/06



These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.

Contact Information:
Phone/Fax: 734/996-9260

P.O. Box 130221, Ann Arbor, MI  48113

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