Monday, August 16, 2010

Cancer and Nutrition

Once you get the Big 'C' diagnosis like Murphy recently did, care becomes the number one concern and traditionally that means Chemotherapy, Radiation, Surgical, or Palliative or some combination thereof.

What's not part of the treatment plan is Nutrition. Surprisingly if not incredulously, there aren't a lot of studies out there about diet and cancer care. I asked my oncology team at CSU to get me all avalaible research and the results were pretty dismal.

But as most of you have encountered there's a whole host of theories, opinions, and more than a few snake oil salesmen selling 'holistic' remedies to the unfortunate desparate souls willing to try anything.

I don't have answers nor do I profess to. But what I want to do is start a serious thread on the prophylactic and therapeutic importance of nutrition for cancer dogs. That's a fancy way of asking that once your dog is diagnosed with cancer, what's the best diet for her?

I don't want this discussion to spiral into a disagreement about particular brands of dog food or kibble versus raw diet.

What it needs to be about is what vitamins, proteins, nutrients, etc. your dog needs given their type of cancer and what therapy they're undergoing.

What began this blog was a burning question I had about Murphy. What effect does the constant exposure to radiation and anesthesia have on his body & how can I offset that with his diet?

For cancer dogs, I cannot think of a more important and immediate question...


Julie D. said...

When my friend's Golden had lymphoma one thing the Oncologist kept telling us is carbs feed the cancer. So starve the cancer. We kept her on diet of cooked eggs, salmon, tuna fish, and oatmeal instead of rice. Yes, it was a smelly kitchen since we cooked all of her food. We gave her carrots for crunchy treats and marshmallows for pill pockets. He prognosis was 6 mths, she kept going for 18 months. It smells but that dog loved sauteed salmon and oatmeal. Oh, we had tried the Vet preferred Z/D wet food. It made the dog's stool a mess and we felt she wasn't absorbing any nutrients. Therefore, we went to home cooking. Which was easier on the dog's system and she liked the food better.

k9x2 said...

A holistic approach can be very beneficial. I recently lost my companion of 13 years, not to cancer, but to old age. He battle cancer 3 times thought is life. His last battle was with TCC of the bladder. In Sept of 2008 we were a few weeks to couple of months a best. I took him to Dr Signe Beebe for acupuncture to help relive is arthritic joints. She approached his care by “treating” his whole body. Cancer and all. He was put on a homemade diet with herbal supplements and prescription meds. (A lot of work to feed an 80lb dog home cooked “turkey stew, but he was well worth it.) His meal was 10% carbs (Most of us know cancer feeds on carbs), 40 protein and 50 veggies. Ratio’s and ingredients designed for his special health needs. I think diet and environment have a huge role in the rise in canine cancer cases. Every study I have read either links diet and/or environment (manly fertilizers) to canine cancer. My buddy was with us until Dec 2009 over a year after his “couple of months left, just make him comfortable” diagnosis. I firmly believe the holistic treatments he received gave him the extra time he had.

EMac said...

Here is a snippet from Nutrition: Fighting Cancer with Food. (Link to whole article below.)

"Member: Cancer feeds on sugar, but does cutting sugar out of the diet help fight cancer?

Scroggs: Sugar is a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are supplied in our diet from fruits, vegetables, whole-grain starches, beans, and dairy products."

Given that cats and dogs have no need for, and cannot digest fruits, vegetables, grains, beans etc, I think a logical first step would be to remove those things from the diet of an animal suffering with cancer.

Another quote, specifically about dogs this time:

"Dr. Ogilvie reports that tumors need glucose to live, which are simple sugars found in many carbohydrates. It gives energy to the tumor, and robs energy from
the dog. Further, tests conducted proved that the dogs ability to metabolize carbohydrates is altered in dogs with cancer, unlike the dogs tested who did not
have cancer. He recommends that dogs with cancer have a reduced amount of carbohydrates in their diet, and further states that the use of lactated Ringer's Solution can give tumors energy and food to grow. He reports it is best not to
use these, unless medically indicated."

Will post more when I can. I did a lot of research when my heart-kitty was diagnosed with lymphoma and then carcinoma. (He walked into Boston with you on your memorial shirt, So-Lei Puppy-Cat.) Know that you and Murphy and Hudson are in my thoughts and prayers.

Elizabeth and Sienna Smile-A-Bull, CGCx3

Jim, Rene, Wyatt and Spirit Jerry said...
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sue of theDogWorks/cats2 said...

Dr.Z says... No carbs. Cancer feeds on carbs. Liver detox, burdock root, echinachea. perhaps Animals Apawthecary OL-Immune. And positive thinking and good humor always good medicine! QUOTE FROM NATURAL REARING YAHOO GROUP: In cancer treatment, again, colostrum is in important supplement because the lactoferrin and pectic acid prevent cancer cells from utilizing iron. Cancer cells need a good deal of iron to survive. Lactoferrin also causes cancer cells to self destruct. puppyUp Murph!

Shonie said...
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Optimistic Cynic said...

It's amazing how little information and or research there is on how diet can help when someone is going through treatment for cancer. From my experience with my pets, the strong drug make them sick to their stomachs, that is a given, even if not at first, it does happen. Then their bodies are weakened from all the extra physical stress from the treatments. For us what helped was something called Pet OPC and a good multivitamin. The OPC stuff helps keep their digestion less irritated, we even use it for our current puppy who gets irritable bowel from odd things he ingests, so it is really safe for any pet, but does help keep them stronger for what they have to go through. As for regular food, whatever he can keep down and doesn't irritate him is good. As long as he is getting some decent nutrition...purina also makes a powder that is a combo of probiotics and vitamins which helps with the tummy and nutrition and is absorbed easier when it is mixed with water...just some thoughts for ya.

As always, sending good thoughts and prayers to you all..

Anonymous said...

I have several dogs that have fought cancer. Some lost and some have one. Each one improved their survival rate over time as I learned more about nutrients and food. One went of Mast Cell, one of a so rare leukemia that it was not even registered. The last survived after radiation and good diet. In that search I found two things that seemed to help. One was probiotics. Supporting the immune system to help fight that what evil it has. I gave Natren's canine dophilis that is refrigerated and in a syringe to preserve the quality of the bacterias. When dogs receive antibiotics, chemo and radiation, it does not just destroy the good but also the bad.
The second product is an herb. It is Coriolus versa color...or the Turkeytail mushroom. I read lots on this and it is being studied at various hospitals on human cancer patients such as Sloan Ketterer. It is a good infection fighter and it has been used in conjunction with chemo and radiation. It has been shown to shrink some types of tumors.

I am praying for Murphy and you as you do battle against this enemy.