Pako-W-Breast

Five ways I managed my nutrition during breast cancer treatment

Pako W. was diagnosed with breast cancer on her 48th birthday. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Phoenix, she completed a double mastectomy, immunotherapy and then the newly released Kadcyla® treatment (an immunotherapy/chemotherapy combination). Pako is a personal trainer and believes in good nutrition and exercise as part of a treatment plan.

  1. Consider integrative care. I took advantage of the advice from my naturopathic provider, Dr. Adam Kerievsky, who introduced me to natural organic supplements to help me before, during and after my treatments. In fact, I’m still taking them now. In my experience, organic supplements worked for me, but you must be consistent in taking them.
  2. Meal prep ahead of time. During my treatment, I took advantage of the oncology-trained nutritionist on my care team. She gave me sample meals to eat and tried to help me figure out what foods were best for me at the time of certain treatments. Consider making homemade foods or meals at home or asking a loved one to prep your meals for you. This way, all you have to do is heat it up. This helps especially when you’re tired or don’t have much energy on certain days.
  3. Make some healthy swaps. It’s important, especially during treatment, to stay aware of what’s going into your body at each meal and throughout the day. This includes sugar. I cut out coffee and switched to decaffeinated organic green tea and matcha.
  4. Keep a daily journal of foods and products you’re using. Be sure to note reactions you might have after eating something or using a certain product. I found that my skin and body overall were more sensitive to certain lotions, make-up, perfumes and over-the-counter items. I also noticed a reaction to some foods, including foods that were harder to digest and gave me bloating and constipation. Journaling helped me share factual, concrete information with my doctors at my appointments.
  5. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Drink lots of water throughout each day. No, coffee, soda and sugary drinks don’t count. I had a gallon milk jug I washed out and wrote on to remind me to drink every two hours throughout the day.