Month: December 2013

Eating + Supplements

There are so many articles about what to eat and take during chemotherapy.  Some foods are good, some are bad.  Some can counter the effects of the chemo.  Everyone knows that red meat helps the body absorb heme-iron, right? So if the red counts are low, eat more red meat.  But red meat is bad for you.  But we also know that too much red meat in the western diet can lead to cancer.  So what should we do?  We run into these questions many times throughout the day.  I have read any different books and articles about the best anti-cancer diet, the best diet during chemotherapy and the best diet for neutropenic (low white blood cells) patients.  Sometimes all these diets contradict each other.  So we do our best to make sure my mom eats the best foods for each part of the chemotherapy phase.  It is quite important to monitor that Complete Blood Count to know how much hemoglobin, platelets and white blood cells she has in her system.

Something that we have heard consistently is to NOT take random supplements.  To ask doctors before taking supplements.  The other day, my mom called to ask about buying Gingseng from some Vietnamese store in Little Saigon in Southern CA.  Ginseng apparently helps make people stronger and has magical healing powers.  Apparently, everyone takes ginseng and it helps cure cancer.  I told her, “NO!”, and for the sake of having a real professional on board, I e-mailed her oncologist.  It turns out ginseng can also act as a blood thinner, which is something that is very bad for a chemo patient who already may have a low blood count.  Luckily, she never took it!