Cancer treatments such as radiation therapy in prostate cancer can cause side effects and make the body’s health condition decline. Side effects such as nausea, mouth sores, and changes in taste may make it difficult to eat and drink. A healthy diet with foods full of fruits, fresh vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and other low-fat foods will help you recover your body faster after prostate cancer treatment. Healthy food choices can also reduce the risk of recurrence, speed up the healing process, help increase energy levels, facilitate recovery, enhance the immune system, and prevent other aggressive diseases. During prostate cancer treatment, you should also avoid processed foods and red meat as much as possible. In this article, you will learn a good diet during prostate cancer radiation therapy and some guidelines that you must follow.
Radiation therapy for prostate cancer
Radiation therapy for prostate cancer is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells in the prostate and stop its spread. Radiation therapy is not painful but the effects of radiation can cause pain or make you feel uncomfortable. Radiation therapy in prostate cancer is used when the use of cancer drugs does not make your cancerous tumor small. Radiation therapy also has an excellent record of success, provides long-term disease control, and a survival rate that is on par with other treatments such as surgery.
Radiation therapy for prostate cancer is given to you by external light (EBRT) or internal radiation, but most men are given external radiation. EBRT can be used after other treatments such as surgery, to manage cancer that recurs or has a high risk of recurrence. Some types of external radiation therapy that can be used are conformal 3D radiation therapy with the aim of high-energy X-rays in the prostate area. Another type is IMRT (intensity of modulated radiation therapy) with the help of a computer to determine the size, shape, location of prostate cancer, and how much radiation is needed to kill your prostate cancer cells. IGRT (image-guided radiation therapy) is done with the help of small gold seeds placed near your prostate. This little gold seed is used by doctors to guide and direct radiation on prostate cancer.
In addition to external radiation, internal radiation is also used to treat prostate cancer. Internal radiation treatment is also known as brachytherapy or seed implants as a source of radiation placed in your body. The seeds provide a strong dose of radiation for prostate cancer and kill prostate cancer cells. Radiation from these seeds will weaken every day and disappear after one year. Internal radiation therapy is generally used in early stadium prostate cancer, whose growth is relatively slow. Brachytherapy may not work well in men with large prostate glands and the risk of urinary side effects will be higher for those who already have urinary problems.
Radiation therapy is usually carried out by a radiation oncologist who is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer patients. Radiation oncologists will ensure cancer patients get the most effective treatment by working closely with urologists and primary care physicians. A radiation oncologist will also help you with any side effects that you may experience after your prostate cancer treatment.
Radiation therapy is often used with surgery to treat cancer, this therapy is used after surgery to stop the growth of prostate cancer cells that may be left. Some cases use hormones with radiation therapy or before radiation to shrink your prostate cancer. Radiation therapy is also used when prostate cancer has spread to the bone called palliative radiation therapy. Palliative radiation therapy does not cure prostate cancer but is very helpful in reducing pressure, pain, and other symptoms of prostate cancer.
Effects of prostate cancer radiation therapy
The side effects of radiation therapy usually subside within 4 to 6 weeks after your treatment is complete. Side effects of prostate cancer radiation therapy in most people include increased frequency of urination, weak urinary flow, difficulty starting urination, occasional diarrhea, increased bowel frequency, stomach gas and bloating, rectal pain and discomfort, increased urgency intestine, increased bowel movements, worsening hemorrhoids or rectal irritation with occasional little blood and fatigue.
Fatigue usually occurs after radiation therapy treatment and if fatigue becomes severe you should immediately contact a doctor. Fatigue can be overcome by taking a nap during the day and reducing work hours or taking time off if possible. If you experience diarrhea or painful bowel movements that usually occur after the second or third week of treatment. During diarrhea, you should modify your diet to help reduce the frequency and severity of diarrhea. You can avoid fried foods, foods with insoluble fiber, and increase foods low in fiber and soluble fiber such as growing potatoes, bananas, and white rice.
When diarrhea you also need to increase your fluid intake to avoid dehydration, contact your doctor if diarrhea worsens or you see blood in your stool. Other symptoms such as frequent urination and difficulty urinating or weakened urine flow are the most common complaints after prostate cancer radiation therapy. Generally, these symptoms are managed with medication to help the bladder function better or eliminate burning.
Other side effects after radiation therapy are decreased sexual function (erectile dysfunction or impotence) which may be influenced by age, use and duration of hormone therapy, smoking and medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, as well as medications used during treatment. This effect can be overcome by using one of the oral medications on the market that improves the quality of erections.
In addition to decreased sexual function, prostate radiation will also reduce sperm production, an extension of time to orgasm, until ejaculation changes color. You may also experience swelling, bruising, or scrotal tenderness which will go away on its own within five days or if necessary use oral anti-inflammatory medication to relieve pain such as ibuprofen. Radiation therapy for prostate cancer sufferers can also affect emotions because it is very tiring. You can feel anxious, depressed, afraid, angry, frustrated, alone, or helpless, but this is not a strange thing.
Diet during prostate radiation therapy
During prostate cancer treatment, proper nutrition is very important for overall patient health. Improving nutrition during a healthy diet is not only to accelerate the healing process for prostate cancer patients, but can also reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and usually also improve the overall quality of life. Patients are also prohibited from consuming processed foods, salt, and sugar, and limiting alcohol and red meat. You are also advised to eat enough fruit, vegetables, and seeds to speed up recovery after treatment.
A balanced diet with nutrition is very much needed by someone who is undergoing prostate cancer radiation therapy. The American Cancer Society (ACS) explains that cancer treatment has the potential to change the way the body tolerates food and uses the nutrients it receives. This is often experienced by patients undergoing cancer treatment; they are often more difficult to maintain a healthy diet due to the side effects of cancer treatment.
Prostate cancer radiation therapy not only kills cancer cells but can also cause damage to healthy cells which in turn creates side effects. Side effects experienced such as dry mouth, sore throat, dental and gum complications, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and loss of appetite.
Loss of appetite due to prostate cancer radiation therapy can cause the healing process to be longer because the body’s nutritional needs are not fulfilled properly. therefore, your cancer care team will usually help create a plan for nutrition and eating. In this phase, the nutritional needs are very important and you can meet with a healthy diet to help increase energy, reduce fatigue, fight infection, and shorten recovery time. A healthy diet can also help to tolerate the side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer better and maintain the weight and storage of nutrients.
Nutrition needed for a healthy diet during radiation therapy
Maintaining good nutrition during and after radiation therapy is very important so that healing time goes faster, and prevents prostate cancer from returning. Maintaining nutrition is very necessary so that your weight remains normal does not experience a significant decrease or increase that can cause you to be obese. According to research, men who are obese have a four times risk of their cancer spreading outside the prostate or metastasizing so it is very dangerous.
Essential nutrients needed during a healthy diet when radiation therapy such as protein, fiber, minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, and phytonutrients such as carotenoids. Protein is important for repairing body tissues and maintaining a healthy immune system thereby speeding up recovery time. Additional protein is needed by cancer patients, especially after surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
You can find protein in eggs, low-fat milk, milk products (cheese, yogurt, Greek, cottage cheese), fish, poultry, and lean red meat. While vegetable protein sources such as beans, lentils, edamame, soy foods (tofu, soy milk, tempeh), and flax also contain quercetin and lignans. Quercetin and lignans help suppress the growth of various types of cancer including prostate cancer.
In this healthy diet, you are recommended to get at least 10% of calories from protein or have 2-3 servings of protein a day. If your appetite decreases, you can add extra energy and protein with high-energy drinks such as milkshakes or soup. You can also add high protein powder to your normal food.
During radiation therapy treatment, sufferers also need enough carbohydrates and fats to help proper organ function during treatment and are needed to maintain weight. Carbohydrate sources that you can consume such as whole-grain cereals, bread, brown rice, starchy vegetables (corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes), and quinoa. Choose whole-wheat products because they contain all the essential parts and natural nutrients of all whole grains.
Besides carbohydrates, fat also you need during radiation therapy treatment. Good sources of fat include nuts, seeds, avocados, butter, olive oil, fatty fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, herring) and full-fat dairy products (yogurt, cheese). Fat gives us energy, helps absorb vitamins and is needed for brain and nerve function. Good fats such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are highly recommended by health experts because they are good for your health. Types of polyunsaturated fats that have various health benefits such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that you can get in flaxseed oil, fatty fish, and wheat.
Vitamins and minerals are needed to help the body convert calories into energy. Vitamins and minerals are also needed to help ensure the growth and development of our body’s cells. Vitamins and minerals can be found in vegetables, fruits, seeds, and supplements or pills. Food supplements can be an option for patients who find it difficult to eat while undergoing prostate cancer treatment.
Prostate cancer radiation therapy that uses hormones, in the long run, can cause bone loss which over time can develop into osteoporosis. Adequate calcium and vitamin D are needed for strong bones. Prostate cancer patients are advised to get at least 1000-1200 mg of calcium every day and no more than 2000 mg per day from both regular food and supplements.
During radiation therapy, often has many intestinal effects that are late, this can be managed with some adjustments to what you eat. Nutritional needs such as fiber in your diet changes are needed to regulate the way the intestines work and help overcome food intolerance. Food intolerance can cause problems such as bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.
A good source of fiber such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and wheat. Wheat has two types of fiber, namely soluble fiber, and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps keep stool soft, while insoluble fiber keeps food waste out of the body in a timely manner, and helps with constipation.
Sources of insoluble fiber are whole grains and whole grains such as bread and cereals. While the source of soluble fiber you can get in wheat, apples, bananas, and pears whose skin is removed. During the diet, you should add fiber slowly to give the body time to adjust after radiation therapy. You are also required to drink more water when you have more fiber.
During a healthy diet, drinking lots of water is a necessity for optimal absorption of food nutrients. Drinking lots of water is also important especially if you have diarrhea during radiation therapy. After prostate cancer radiation therapy the patient will usually feel uncomfortable when drinking water. If this happens to you, choose fruit juices or more flavorful drinks such as tea, sports drinks, milk or soup.
Nutritional-dense food choices during prostate cancer radiation therapy
Fresh and colorful food is the main choice for a healthy diet. Here are some foods that have high nutrition to speed up the recovery time from prostate cancer radiation therapy, including:
|Fruits||Fruits are rich in |
and fiber which
help the stool
apples, pears, plums,
|Vegetables||Dark green, red, and |
vegetables have high
are proven to slow
down many cancers
|Carrots, sweet |
|Fat-free dairy products||Milk and milk |
|Milk, cheese, |
|Wholegrains||Whole grains are |
selenium, and do
not contain gluten
|Brown rice, bread, |
100% whole grain
oatmeal, and quinoa
|Nuts||Nuts are high in |
protein,high in fiber,
and low in fat
|Walnuts, almonds, |
lentils, soy foods,
|Lean meat||Good source of |
|Fatty fish||Rich in omega-3 |
fatty acids and
|Salmon, sardines, |
|Starchy food||Cereals, potatoes, |
bread, rice, pasta,
|Others||Eggs, protein powder, |
Fruits and vegetables become the main menu recommended in the diet during prostate cancer radiation therapy. Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of cancer-preventing substances and inflammation absorbers such as antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, polyphenols, and natural fibers. Eating fruits and vegetables also help reduce the risk of health problems such as heart disease and help you maintain a healthy weight. Try to consume at least 2-5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day with different colors because they contain different nutrients.
Vegetable choices such as cauliflower, broccoli, kale, and cabbage are highly recommended because they have phytochemicals that are beneficial for reducing oxidative stress which means a lower risk of prostate cancer and aggression. Other vegetable choices such as tomatoes and carrots can also reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Tomatoes are a rich source of phytochemicals called lycopene while carrots contain antioxidants beta-carotene and falcarinol. Other vegetables such as paprika which contains chemicals, capsaicin is useful to neutralize certain cancer-causing substances.
In addition to vegetables, you must also consume fruits during the diet such as pomegranates. Pomegranate juice has been proven to help prevent the recurrence of prostate cancer after primary treatment. Grapes are also good fruit for a healthy diet after radiation therapy, grapes contain resveratrol a type of natural phytochemical that has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Oranges, lemons, and grapefruit contain several useful compounds such as flavonoids, monoterpenes, naringenin, limonin, beta-carotene, and lycopene which can help protect against free radicals that damage DNA. You should also consider apples because this fruit is rich in vitamin C, fiber and contains quercetin, flavonoids which show antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Other fruits are berries (raspberries and blueberries) besides being a source of fiber and antioxidants, they are also a source of vitamins C, K, and manganese. They also have the highest antioxidant power because of the many phytochemicals they contain.
Starchy foods are needed in this diet to help you feel full longer and give you energy. The general rule, the portion of starchy food as much as your fist in each portion of the food you eat. Some examples of starchy foods include cereal, bread, potatoes, pasta, plantains, sweet potatoes, and rice.
Low-fat milk and other alternative dairy products contain lots of calcium and vitamin D which are useful for bone health so you need it in your diet. Some research shows that eating lots of calcium can increase your risk of the prostate cancer growing and spreading, but other studies have not found this link. Therefore you should avoid eating more than 2000 mg of calcium or about 1.6 liters of milk a day, you only need about 700 mg per day in your diet.
When you use hormone therapy, the need for extra calcium is needed to protect your bones because it can cause bone thinning. Consuming as much as 1200-1500 mg of calcium (2-3 servings of milk) every day for men who use hormone therapy is still within safe limits. Some sources of calcium besides dairy products are canned sardines, kale, tofu, kidney beans, and broccoli.
Green tea is also good to drink when on a diet because it contains polyphenols and flavonoids which are powerful antioxidants. Green tea is also the best source of Catechins which have anti-cancer properties. Green tea is proven to slow down and prevent the development of prostate cancer.
Grains become one of the menus that you must choose because it is a good source of fiber, magnesium and provides protein. Whole grains include brown rice, corn, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, quinoa, and others.
Foods that should be avoided during prostate cancer radiation therapy
During a healthy diet, you should also avoid or reduce the intake of some foods that contain excess sodium (salt), added sugar, solid fat (saturated), and excess alcohol. During radiation therapy you will feel tired and dizzy, alcohol will worsen this condition. Not only alcoholic drinks, but you should also avoid drinks like thick tea, cola drinks, and prune juice because they can worsen your diarrhea. Spicy foods can also cause digestive problems such as cramps and abdominal pain during radiation therapy. Avoid spicy foods if your mouth or throat hurts after radiation therapy.
Foods that contain added sugar you should also avoid because they provide energy (calories) in high amounts, but low in other nutrients we need to stay healthy. Some examples of foods with added sugar include soft drinks, sweets, and baked goods.
Lean red meat is one source of protein, but you should limit it to no more than 500g a week. Processed meat (ham, bacon, hot dogs) and meat cooked at high temperatures should also be avoided because it can increase the risk of colon and stomach cancer. Some foods that can encourage the growth of other cancers such as foods containing trans-fatty acids, foods high in calcium, high-dose zinc supplements, preserved, salted foods, you should also avoid. Flaxseed oil can stimulate the growth of prostate cancer, so it’s better to avoid it.
In addition to foods containing trans-fatty acids, greasy fried foods should also be avoided. Avoid oils that contain polyunsaturated fats such as corn, canola, or soy. We recommend using olive oil and avocado oil which are healthy and rich in vitamin E and antioxidants. Therefore prepare food in a way that uses less fat such as steaming, boiling, baking or burning instead of frying.
During prostate cancer radiation therapy, food safety also needs to be a serious concern. Some treatments during radiation therapy can weaken the immune system and cause infection. Infection occurs when the body is unable to destroy the bacteria and viruses that attack the body and the immune system.
Some food safety tips to reduce the risk of infection such as avoiding consuming raw or undercooked food. Raw or undercooked foods can increase the risk of contracting the disease so it must be avoided. Some of these foods include unwashed fruits and vegetables, undercooked clams, sushi, and unpasteurized milk. Make sure the food you buy also doesn’t go past the expiration date.
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