- Question from Jill M46: What foods and/or supplements can help thwart the energy drain of radiation?
- Answers - Marisa Weiss, M.D. I'm a radiation oncologist so I'm familiar with this issue. A lot of times women start radiation after finishing chemotherapy. When you add up the fatigue that goes along with the initial scare of diagnosis, uncertainty, surgeries and anesthesia and one cycle of chemotherapy after another, by the time a woman starts radiation these days, she can usually feel quite tired and also possibly fatigued. Once you get into the routine of radiation and you get a chance to relax, some of the accumulated fatigue can hit hard. Also the inconvenience of daily radiation can make you tired. The extra task each day can disrupt your daily rhythm and you might have to get up early to work the radiation treatments in before work, for example. Radiation itself when given just to the breast has a small impact on fatigue. But all the things I just mentioned, plus a lower activity level and possibly weight gain from along the way can contribute to your feeling of lower energy. Please see the section on eating to reduce fatigue.
- Cyndi Thomson, Ph.D., R.D. It's important to stay physically active. Sometimes this means scheduling a daily walk into your day planner and making yourself get going. Daily walks can be shared with friends or family members or even your dog. In terms of foods, avoid too much caffeine or alcohol at night that can disrupt your sleep as we suggested earlier. And avoid bingeing or high sugar intakes that can cause an initial short term increase in energy but within an hour a lull that lasts for several hours. Avoid fatty foods.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Nutrition and Weight featured Cyndi Thomson, Ph.D., R.D. and Marisa Weiss M.D. answering your questions about nutrition and weight.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in January 2005.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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