A Dietitian's Cancer Story Newsletter: Spring 2004

Greetings from Diana Dyer, MS, RD, author of A Dietitian'sCancer Story.

As I write this, many cancer centers are making last minute preparations for their Cancer Survivor Day Celebration, traditionally held the first or second Sunday in June. In fact, I am speaking at one such event, which is always a special honor for me to join these celebrations. The currently accepted definition for the term cancer survivor is the following: "A person is a cancer survivor from the day of diagnosis forward until the end of life" (Fitzhugh Mullen, MD, founder of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, http://www.canceradvocacy.org).

The press has recently highlighted the many concerns that cancer survivors have as a result of having survived the disease. I urge you to read some of the reports just issued by the Center for Disease Control, The President's Cancer Panel, and the Lance Armstrong Foundation (links follow below). These reports both outline and give a personal voice to the many problems that survivors face; from early onset menopause, fertility issues, ongoing or even re-appearing "chemo brain" and fatigue, difficulties with obtaining adequate health insurance, life insurance, employment, late effects resulting from curative treatments (i.e., secondary cancers and cardiac toxicity to name just two), and on and on and on and on. I have just barely scratched the surface of significant concerns that potentially affect the quality of our lives because of our cancer diagnosis itself and the therapies used to treat it.

Many people do wrestle with the term "cancer survivor". (After all, we are all survivors of something!) Some people even ask, "Why set cancer survivors apart?" However, instead of getting bogged down in the nuances of what the word means to different people, I urge everyone who has experienced cancer to take this opportunity to not be set apart by the term, but to come together in order to advocate for those who come after us. In my ideal world, I would like to see the concept of survivorship morph into the word "advocate"! The simplest definition of the word advocate is "one who takes action to help someone else".

If you have recovered enough from your own cancer experience to move beyond self-advocacy ( a very important first step!), maybe this is the year that you can now take action to help someone else have an easier journey than you have had. The need is endless; from making sure a friend undergoing therapy always has meals, organizing a local cancer survivors' weekend retreat or information workshop, to advocating at the state and national levels for changes to research, legislation, or regulations to help cancer survivors optimize both physical health and quality of life. However, don't let the mountain of needs overwhelm you. Read the following reports, and look around your local community. Identify just one need that touches your heart. Then work on it, one step at a time. You will be amazed at the number of people who will volunteer to help you as you all help others.

I hope you will take this opportunity to find meaning from your cancer survivorship in some type of advocacy. Just as importantly, I hope you will take the time to find what brings you happiness. A robin family has built a nest in my yard right at eye level. The nest, both parents, and two babies have survived all the nasty weather that May in Michigan has thrown them. I even like to pretend this is the same robin I wrote about in my last newsletter whose arrival in March signaled that our long, cold winter was finally over. :-)

Watching this family set up house and grow up right before my eyes in the span of just a month or so is such an amazing sight that it brings tears to my eyes with simple but sheer happiness.

May we all have many more years to celebrate and enjoy all aspects of our survivorship!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Newsletter Contents:

I.     Cancer Survivorship Information
II.    Upcoming Publicity in the New York Times!
III.   New Books and CD to Suggest
IV.  New Food Products
V.  Web Sites of Interest
VI.  New Search Feature on My Web Site - http://www.CancerRD.com
VII.  Book Ordering Information
VIII. Removal Instructions


I. Cancer Survivorship Information

A. 2004 President's Cancer Panel Report - June 2004 http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/pcp.htm.

B. Center for Disease Control and Lance Armstrong Foundation Report - June 2004 (site not accessible on 04/05).


II. Upcoming Publicity in the New York Times!

Look for an article on the importance of nutrition for cancer patients written by Jane Brody, personal health columnist for the New York Times, in June or July. This column is syndicated nationally and may also appear in your local newspaper. My book and web site are both going to be recommended in this article, a dream come true for the author of a self-published book. You can check the New York Times web site (http://www.nytimes.com/) each Tuesday and search using the term Jane Brody to check on the article's publication date. The article will be available free for one week on the New York Times web site and then archived after that.

It's humbling to remember that I published the very first edition of my book at Kinko's in June 1997. From Kinko's to the New York Times took 7 years. Hard work, passion, and persistence always pay off somehow, someday!


III. New Books and CD to Suggest

A. The Phytopia Cookbook: A World of Plant Centered Cuisine, Barbara Gollman, RD and Kim Pierce, Phytopia, Inc, Dallas, Tx, 1999. (http://www.phytopia.com) I LOVE this cookbook. Every recipe has color, taste, and yes, is packed with thousands of phytochemicals, those health promoting molecules in plants that do everything from fight cancer to protect our eyesight. Check out my two favorite recipes from this cookbook that are posted on my web site: Spanakopita Pizza (http://www.cancerrd.com/recipes/spanakopitapizza1.htm) and Phytopia Pesto (http://www.cancerrd.com/recipes/phytopiapesto1.htm)

B. The Fix-It-Fast Vegetarian Cookbook, Heather Houck Reseck, RD, Review and Herald Publishing, Hagerstown, MD, 2002. (http://www.vegetarianadvantage.com) Heather's book has THE recipe I have been looking for; a whole wheat pizza dough made in the bread machine. It is flawless! The recipe is on my web site (http://www.cancerrd.com/Recipes/pizza1.htm). This book is an updated and healthier version of the *make a mix* type of cookbooks that I used 25 years ago when my children were tiny. I have a jar of Mexican seasoning on my pantry shelf now using Heather's recipe, so never again will I have the frustration of trying to choose from all the expensive taco-type mixes in the grocery store that have too many unnecessary ingredients.

C. Nutrition Logic: Foods First, Supplements Second, Marie Dunford, PhD, RD, Pink Robin Publishing, 2003.This book helps a person understand enough about nutrition to "choose food wisely and supplements carefully." The information is presented clearly and logically, just as the title suggests. The focus is on overall healthful eating, not a "diet" for any one purpose (i.e., weight loss, anti-cancer, etc). Marie's book will help you learn about the nutrients you need and the foods that provide those nutrients.

D. The Healing of Cancer: Journeys of Self-Discovery Story Collection CD, by Diana Hunt, PhD, is a new CD that addresses the mental, emotional, and spiritual healing recovery after a cancer diagnosis. I found Dr. Hunt's CD after first reading about her book Tao of Time, in which she gives tools and insight to help a person change the focus of their life from that of meeting deadlines to forming lifelines instead. What a beautiful description of the opportunity a cancer diagnosis gives a person during the recovery process! Her CD will help put you on that path.


IV. New Food Products

A. Soy Pita Bread by Trader Joe's - this pita bread is made with soy flour as the first ingredient so that each whole pita bread has 8 grams of soy protein. It is low in fiber (my only complaint) but it tastes wonderful and is a beautiful golden brown color. Worth seeking out if you have a Trader Joe's grocery store within driving distance.

B. Garlic Flowers (formerly called scapes) - hot new item coming into season now. I found them in the produce section of my regular grocery store. They have a very mild garlic taste and recipes can be found at http://www.flatcreekfarms.com (site not accessible on 04/05).

C. Brocollini - often called "baby broccoli, this new vegetable is tender and delicious from stem to stern, i.e, you can eat the entire plant without trimming off tough sections. It is very flavorful and tasty recipes can be found at http://www.broccoli.com , then click on products, then broccolini.


V. Web sites of interest:

A. Field to Plate - http://www.fieldtoplate.com/ - a web site promoting the importance of food taste, seasonality, flavor, freshness, and mindfulness. Click on the seasonality link to your state to find a printable list of the availability of local foods. Make a decision to support and advocate for your local farmers and growers!

B. Organic Valley Foods - http://www.organicvalley.coop - the largest cooperative of organic farmers in North America. This web site will inform you about their products and places to purchase them. In addition, you can obtain information about issues of concern regarding food production and food safety with specific action points to include in letters to your representatives in Washington, DC.

C. CaringBridge.org - http://www.caringbridge.org - a lovely web site that lets you create a personal page for communicating with friends and relatives when you just cannot keep calling every one or even sending everyone Email. A friend of mine currently undergoing chemotherapy is using this site to keep us all informed of her progress and recovery. A visitors' registry is also available so friends can sign in and wish her well without calling at home.


VI. New Search Feature on my web site

My web site has become so large that even I was having trouble remembering what I have put there and then finding it again! So, I have added a search feature that is on the following pages: home, recipes, and Q&A's. The search function is provided by Google so type in a word or phrase just like you would doing a search on Google.com. Google offers this feature to web sites to use for free, but search results will have the same advertisements on the right side of the screen as a typical Google search does. (I usually just ignore these.) I hope you find this helpful. I have! :-)


VII - Book Ordering Information

Both editions of A Dietitian's Cancer Story, the updated and revised edition published in April 2002 (new ISBN is 096672383X) and the Spanish edition published in 2000 (ISBN 0966723821), can be ordered from any bookstore, library, Amazon.com, and directly from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) by calling1-800-843-8114 or going to their web site < http://www.aicr.org >.

Discounts for orders of 10 or more copies are available for both editions by calling AICR at 1-800-843-8114 - asking to speak to Candis Navarrette. Many cancer centers, health care professional offices, and places of worship have ordered books in larger quantities to have available to give as as educational and support information or to resell.

Bookstores and libraries may order directly from the book wholesalers Ingram or Baker & Taylor.


VIII - Removal from future Email updates from Diana Dyer

I know that life changes with time. Thus, if you are not interested in receiving future updates and announcements from me via Email or have other subscription requests, please Email that information to

(Special Note - Please use this Email address only for subscription information. I do not check it regularly, and thus any personal messages to me may not be read or answered in a timely manner.)

For those of you who choose to remain on this list, be assured that I will never share or sell your name or Email address to anyone.

I send my best wishes to all of you for health, healing, and hope!

Diana Grant Dyer, MS, RD - Author
A Dietitian's Cancer Story (English and Spanish editions)
Available from AICR (1-800-843-8114)
Web site: www.CancerRD.com

"Information and Inspiration for Cancer Survivors"

Proceeds donated to the Diana Dyer Cancer Survivors'
Nutrition and Cancer Research Endowment at the
American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)

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