The Fighter

Nikki Bradley

The Fighter: Good nutrition for cancer recovery

L to R: Ms Marguerite Tierney (Breakthrough Cancer Research), Dr Derek Power (Consultant Medical Oncologist, CUH & MUH), Dr Aoife Ryan (Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences, UCC), Ms Ann O’Connor (Lecturer in Culinary arts, CIT), Ms Jane Healy (Lecturer in Culinary arts, CIT), Dr Margaret Linehan (Head of School of Humanities, CIT), Ms Éadaoin Ní Bhuachalla (Research Dietitian, UCC).

L to R: Ms Marguerite Tierney (Breakthrough Cancer Research), Dr Derek Power (Consultant Medical Oncologist, CUH & MUH), Dr Aoife Ryan (Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences, UCC), Ms Ann O’Connor (Lecturer in Culinary arts, CIT), Ms Jane Healy (Lecturer in Culinary arts, CIT), Dr Margaret Linehan (Head of School of Humanities, CIT), Ms Éadaoin Ní Bhuachalla (Research Dietitian, UCC).

THIS week I was sent some information about a new cookbook that could change the way cancer patients think about food.

It is called Good Nutrition for Cancer Recovery and I wanted to share it with you as I believe it could help people currently going through treatment. 

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When I was diagnosed I was given various medication such as steroids which caused weight gain but for the majority of cancer patients, weight loss is the issue. 

Developed by the Nutritional Science Department in University College Cork in collaboration with Breakthrough Cancer Research, this book, which is free of charge, is aimed at patients experiencing cancer-related weight loss.

“Many patients with advanced cancer tend to lose weight due to a series of complex changes in their metabolism.

“The cancer itself produces many ‘hormones’ and ‘chemical messengers’ that break down muscle and fat stores, cause inflammation and reduce appetite” says Dr Aoife Ryan, dietitian and lecturer in nutritional sciences at UCC.  

“This can result in rapid weight loss over a short period of time. If you’ve ever watched someone you love suffer from cancer then you know that one of the side effects of cancer is weight loss. This weight loss can be very dramatic and can affect up to 80 per cent of cancer patients. Scientific studies on weight-losing cancer patients have clearly demonstrated that it negatively impacts their quality of life and reduces their ability to tolerate chemotherapy.” 

Dr Aoife Ryan (Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences, UCC), Background L to R: Dr Derek Power (Consultant Medical Oncologist, CUH & MUH), Ms Ann O’Connor (Lecturer in Culinary arts, CIT) and Ms Éadaoin Ní Bhuachalla (Research Dietitian, UCC).

Dr Aoife Ryan (Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences, UCC), Background L to R: Dr Derek Power (Consultant Medical Oncologist, CUH & MUH), Ms Ann O’Connor (Lecturer in Culinary arts, CIT) and Ms Éadaoin Ní Bhuachalla (Research Dietitian, UCC).

Creating the cookbook was a team effort that included UCC’s Dr Aoife Ryan and Ms Éadaoin Ní Bhuachalla, with input from Dr Derek Power, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Cork and Mercy University Hospitals and Ms Anne O’Connor and Jane Healy who are lecturers in the Culinary Arts Department of the Cork Institute of Technology.

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The cookbook includes information, advice and a selection of nutritious recipes to encourage weight gain. Targets for main meals were set at 800 calories with 23g protein and at 300 calories with 5g protein for snacks and desserts. 

A cookery demonstration using recipes from the book took place last Thursday, November 6 in Cork. This was filmed and will be available to view in the coming weeks at www.breakthroughcancerresearch.ie. All proceeds went to Breakthrough Cancer Research. 

Good Nutrition for Cancer Recovery will be available in paperback from Oncology centres around Ireland and is free for cancer patients. For more information or to download a PDF version please visit www.breakthroughcancerresearch.ie or www.cancercookbook.ie
Note: This cookbook contains high calorie and protein recipes and therefore should only be used by patients experiencing weight loss.

Lorraine Boyce on top of Kilimanjaro.

Lorraine Boyce on top of Kilimanjaro.

AND FINALLY
I would like to congratulate my good friend and physiotherapist Lorraine Boyce who successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro on October 30. Lorraine reached the summit at 6:45am. I am so very proud of her continued efforts throughout this year.

She is aiming to raise €5,000 for the Letterkenny Children’s Hospital and is doing a fantastic job! If you would like to support Lorraine you can visit www.lorraineboycephysio.ie for more.

Nikki Bradley is the founder of Fighting Fit For Ewing’s, a campaign to promote awareness of Ewing’s Sarcoma. Nikki is sponsored by All Sports in Donegal Town. Support her campaign by giving ‘Fighting Fit For Ewing’s’ a LIKE on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @nikkibradley59

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