A Dietitian's Cancer Story Newsletter: Winter 2005
Greetings from Diana Dyer, MS, RD, author of A Dietitian's Cancer Story.
As winter starts to give way to spring, I had the pleasure of visiting the Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the largest temporary indoor butterfly exhibit in the US will open on March 1st. Because I was fortunate to be there early (before the throngs of happy school children, teachers, and families will fill the pathways throughout the exhibit), I was able to focus on more details of the plantings in the conservatory.
I was admiring a large stand of bamboo when I noticed a small plaque with this saying, It is quite possible to live without meat but not without bamboo, attributed to the 11th century Chinese poet Su Shih. Yes, it is possible to live without meat. In fact the translation for tofu is meat without bones, and parts of the bamboo plant are used in multiple aspects of Chinese life.
Of special interest to me however is bamboo being considered the Chinese symbol of spiritual fortitude, compromise, and survival as it gracefully bends without breaking. In addition, even more meaningful to me is the beautiful image the bamboo plant conveys for cancer survivors, with our spirits bending but not breaking as we seek and find our individual path on this journey of cancer survivorship to emerge with newly found spiritual fortitude and wisdom.
March 2005 will be the 10-year anniversary of surviving my second breast cancer. As I wait for spring to finally arrive here in the snowy Midwest, I am going to celebrate by growing a bamboo plant indoors, an ever-green symbol of my survival, but even more importantly, my spiritual growth, fortitude, and wisdom.
My hope is that you will also gracefully bend without breaking during the stormy times of your cancer survivorship journey to emerge renewed with life,
Diana Dyer, MS, RD
I. New Book to Suggest
I. New Book to Suggest
From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce, Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition, Jones Books, Madison, WI, 2004. Reading the new 3rd edition of this cookbook is even more exciting and satisfying than browsing through a seed catalog in January. The 300 mouth-watering recipes for 50 vegetables and herbs make this book simply feel delicious. Don't wait until your local Farmers Market opens to purchase this book. I simply love vegetables can you tell? More information about ordering this book can be found at the website for the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalitionhttp://www.macsac.org/foodbk.php.
Now is a good time to consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm in your location. All the ones that I know are small family farmers committed to organic farming. The following web site will help you find the CSAs in your state: http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/csa/csastate.htm. Also ask about the availability of CSAs at your local natural foods store and farmers market. Enjoy your locally produced, scrumptious, healthy foods while also supporting your local economy.
II. Helpful Websites
A. http://www.ChemoCountCards.com - A set of meaningful but also light-hearted cards to send to a friend undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. A portion of the proceeds is donated to the Young Survival Coalition, an organization dedicated to supporting women with breast cancer who are under age 40
B. http://www.votenote.com - Sign up at this web site for weekly notification of how your representatives in Washington are voting on bills of interest to you
C. http://www.whyorganic.org - A UK site dedicated to explaining benefits of organic food and farming
D. http://nat.crgq.com - Nutritional Analysis Tools at the University of Illinois a web site where you can analyze your own recipes for nutrient content
E. http://hin.nhlbi.nih.gov/portion/ - Understand portion distortion and learn about portions vs. serving sizes
F. http://www.hhs.gov/familyhistory/ - The Family History Initiative, launched by former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, a new computer-enabled program enables consumers to organize their own health information and enter family health or medical history details that could identify near- or long-term risks of developing certain conditions or diseases.
III. Clinical Trial
A. Study to Examine Memory Problems in Breast Cancer Survivors
SHINE CARES (Chemotherapy and Radiation Effects Study) is a study being led by Kris Kaemingk, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Steele Memorial Children's Research Center and member of the Arizona Cancer Center to help understand the impact of cancer treatment on the brain, learning, and memory.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women. Fortunately, the likelihood of survival has dramatically increased in recent years, but many women experience unwanted side effects from breast cancer treatments. Breast cancer survivors who have been treated with chemotherapy complain of changes in memory, attention, and other cognitive functions.
This study is recruiting women between the ages of 20 and 75 who have been diagnosed with Stage 1, Stage 2, or Stage 3 breast cancer two or more years ago, and have received local therapy and/or chemotherapy.
Study participants will answer questions about their breast cancer and medical history; complete questionnaires about coping, personality, mood, and memory; have an MRI scan (a safe way to take pictures of the brain and its structures); and complete an assessment of memory and other skills.
Eligible participants will be compensated for their time.
Recruitment of 150 women will take place during the next two years. It is not necessary to have had your cancer treatment at the Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson, AZ, but you will need to travel there to be included as a participant in the study.
This study is supported by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
For more information, or to inquire about eligibility to participate in the study, please contact Tara Patton at 520-318-7281. http://www.shinecares.ahsc.arizona.edu
IV. Research Updates - Recent articles about the role of green tea and cancer
A. Tea and circulating estrogen levels in postmenopausal Chinese women in Singapore. Wu AH, et al, Carcinogenesis. 2005 Jan 20.
Increased intake of green tea was correlated with reduced levels of plasma estrogen levels in healthy post-menopausal women in Singapore. Of special interest, increased intake of black tea showed statistically increased levels of this same hormone, increasing risk of breast cancer.
B. Molecular and cellular effects of green tea on oral cells of smokers: a pilot study, Schwartz JL, et al, Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005 Jan;49(1):43-51.
A small pilot study that showed drinking 5 cups of green tea daily for 4 weeks reduced the numbers of damaged cells in the mouth that are commonly seen in smokers as high risk indicators of oral cancer.
C. Green tea consumption enhances survival of epithelial ovarian cancer, Zhang M, et al, Int J Cancer. 2004 Nov 10;112(3):465-9.
A prospective study in China showed increased consumption of green tea was associated with increased survival from epithelial ovarian cancer. At the 3-year mark, 77% of the tea drinkers were still alive compared to 48% of the non-tea drinkers. Survival odds were also enhanced related to amount of green tea consumed (i.e., daily versus weekly consumption).
D. Analysis of catechin content of commercial green tea products, Manning J, Roberts J, J Herb Pharmacother. 2003;3(3):19-32.
Analysis of content of various green tea products (capsules and tea bags) for their catechin content (the active ingredient for anti-cancer effects) showed wide variability compared to label claims. All products had significantly lower levels than claimed (9-48%).
(Note: I use loose-leaf green tea when possible, which I purchase at Asian grocery stores or a local specialty shop. Taste is far superior to most bagged green tea. Remember to steep in water that is just below the boiling point for the best flavor. I do drink about 1 quart of green tea daily, either warm or cool.)
V - Book Ordering Information
Both editions of A Dietitian's Cancer Story, the 2002 edition (ISBN 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 calling 1-800-843-8114 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 Navarette. Many cancer centers, health care professional offices, and places of worship have ordered books in larger quantities to have available to give as educational and support information or to resell.
Bookstores and libraries may order directly from the book wholesalers Ingram or Baker & Taylor.
VI - Newsletter forwarding guidelines
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I send my best wishes to all of you for health, healing, and hope!
"Information and inspiration for cancer survivors"
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