In Cancer, Your Body and Your Diet, Dr Arati Bhatia breaks down the latest research, and uses her own clinical and personal experiences to answer these and other pressing questions about cancer. She explains the hows and whys of the cancer cell cycle, what to do after being diagnosed with cancer and the crucial role that food plays in the prevention and treatment of all types of cancers.
The author, a medical doctor, is herself a cancer survivor and later, was her husband's primary caregiver in his own fight against cancer. Drawing on these experiences, she takes readers through every stage, from diagnosis to therapy (chemo, surgery or radiation) to palliative care, with a focus on the quality of a cancer patient's life. She applies her considerable medical training to advise cancer patients, their relatives and caregivers, as well as the general health-conscious public who want to avoid cancer.
Practical, informative and complete with diet advice and eating schedules, this is an accessible and immensely useful handbook for fighting against cancer and leading a healthier, fuller life.
Dr Arati Bhatia has spent forty years in diagnostics pathology, twenty-two of them as a professor at the University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi University. She obtained her MBBS from Amritsar Medical College in 1971 and a MD Pathology from AIIMS in 1976. She has also seen the medical profession from the other side as a caregiver and a cancer survivor.
I write this from an unusual vantage point. First, from the perspective of an academician-being a pathologist, I studied, taught and diagnosed cancer for forty years, and have the knowledge to comprehend the changes in the body which give rise to cancer. Second, I was diagnosed with cancer in December 2008 and received the conventional treatment that was recommended at the time, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation; thus I write from first-hand experience of the disease. Third, I write from the point of view of a counsellor-to the many patients I diagnosed, and to the friends who came seeking help because of my medical background. Finally, I have the viewpoint of a caregiver-my husband was diagnosed with stage N prostate cancer in May 2010; his disease was already in the bones, the prognosis was grave, and chemotherapy of one kind or the other was the only treatment on offer.
I realized, over the duration of my husband's treatment, how much it helped him when I explained in simple terms how the cancer had developed and the ways in which it could behave in response to treatment. He was able to understand and actively participate in treatment decisions, and anticipate how these therapies could potentially benefit him.
When confronted with cancer, irrespective of the treatment strategy and whatever the stage of the disease, food is possibly one of the most important uplifting factors. Advice on diet, however, from members of the attending medical team, is often sketchy at best. Most patients have numerous questions: What dietary precautions could be taken before starting treatment which would ease the side-effects? What changes in the diet would help with adequate food intake in the first few days post-chemotherapy? What modifications in the diet could help maintain a stable body weight so that a constant dosage of the drug could continue to be administered?
We needed answers taking into consideration my husband's eating habits and tastes, and also including all the ingredients for maintaining normal body function, for providing energy, for tissue repair during and after treatment, and for the removal of toxic waste. Finding no satisfactory solution to all these queries in any one place, I spent months researching and experimenting with diet for my husband, and found the exercise rewarding-a clear improvement in his quality of life.
My experience convinced me of the need for simplified information in the public domain so that people-patients, caregivers and healthcare-providers-can be empowered with the necessary insights into the day-to-day aspects of living with cancer. In the first part of this book, I have covered many aspects of the disease-its diagnosis, why it occurs, the impact and outcome of the diagnosis on the patient and the family. The second part focuses on the relationship between cancer and diet in the Indian context. Here, I discuss what foods should be avoided; what kind of diet can help in cancer prevention; and what essential nourishment should be provided during treatment (chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy), and during palliative care. I also suggest daily schedules for ailing patients, during and post-treatment, along with solutions to other common difficulties faced by cancer patients, after diagnosis and during treatment. The last section is an account of my personal experiences with my husband's battle against cancer; I hope that readers will find reading about such a candid history helpful in their own experience.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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