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Lymphoma and Pets
After some of the dust has settled, the thoughts of many new lymphoma patients turn to diet and nutrition. They want to know if, in the past, their diet played any part in their development of lymphoma, and they want to know if, going forward, their diet can play any part in directing fighting their lymphoma.
Lymphoma Diet: Diet and the Development of Lymphoma
It's natural to want to scour one's past in search of something that 'caused' or brought on one's cancer, but in the vast majority of cases, the cause will never be uncovered—either because it is simply impossible to determine what caused most cancers with certainty, or because that 'something' that someone believes they may have done in the past to have brought on this cancer does not in fact exist.
The furthest anyone of any credibility will go can be found at the website for the National Cancer Institute, which lists a diet "high in meats and fat" as being a potential risk factor for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Lymphoma Diet: Can One's Diet Fight Lymphoma?
Diet and nutrition are also easy targets for quacks and hucksters looking to cash in on the desperation of cancer patients, and since it involves the immune system, this is especially true in lymphomas. However, to date there is simply no evidence that altering one's diet can play any part in directing beating back one's lymphoma. This is not true for some cancers, but according to the best available evidence, in the case of lymphoma it is true.
To quote the great people over at Patients Against Lymphoma, "if in future a dietary practice is found to limit the growth of lymphomas it will be big news ... something everyone will be made aware of."
Lymphoma Diet: Oncology Nutritionists
This isn't to say that changing one's diet following a diagnosis of lymphoma can't be beneficial, especially if one is undergoing modern anti-cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and/or radiation. Because these treatments can take a toll on the body and deplete it of certain nutrients, a diet that is tailored to address these specific needs can be of great help in maintaining the patient's health during anti-cancer treatments so that they can emerge from them as healthy as possible.
To that end, and since each person is different, lymphoma patients should consult with oncology nutritionists and similarly skilled registered dieticians—either in residence where one is being treated, or by referral from one's oncology team—to determine the best possible diet.
Interested parties might want to look into the links in bold below to pages at the American Cancer Society and at Livestrong to learn more about potential diets for people undergoing anti-cancer treatments.
Lymphomation.org, Diet & Exercise
National Cancer Institute, Adult Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
American Cancer Society's Nutrition for the Person with Cancer During Treatment.
Livestrong.com, Diet Plans for People on Chemotherapy
photo by Nyboer Creative