3 nutrients cancer survivors should know

Overcoming cancer can bring a new perspective on life – and health. Your body needs nutrients to stay healthy and to limit the long-term side effects of cancer and its treatment, such as bone loss and heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed and iron can help. “A nutrient-rich diet can help keep you healthier, longer,” says clinical dietitian Haley Gale. Here, she shares what cancer survivors should know about these three nutrients and how to easily incorporate them into your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids Omega-3 fatty acids have several health benefits. They help protect your bones and joints, and because they contain anti-inflammatory fats, they can help lower cholesterol.  Those benefits can also help reduce the effects of heart-related side effects caused by chemotherapy and radiation. And because they’re linked to reducing inflammation, they may also lower the risk of cancer recurrence. You can find these healthy essential fats in salmon, trout, tuna and sardines. Eating a 3-ounce serving of these fish twice a week is best. Flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, chia seeds, avocado and olive oil are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. “If you’re having a hard time meeting this goal, your doctor may suggest a supplement,” Gale says. If you do need a supplement, Gale recommends you buy one that contains the most eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. These are the main fatty acids found in fish and seafood. To meet your nutritional goals, aim to add 1-3 grams into your diet daily. Omega-3s may not be right for everyone as they may thin your blood. So, be sure to talk with your doctor before adding...

Vaginal cancer survivor grateful for MD Anderson

Mary Taylor thought she was experiencing pelvic pain due to endometriosis in early 2015. She never suspected it was a symptom of vaginal cancer.   After weeks with no change, she decided to see her gynecologist, who noticed abnormalities in Mary’s vaginal wall and performed a biopsy. When Mary didn’t hear back for several weeks, she figured the test must have come back clear. Then, she received a call from her doctor: Mary had vaginal cancer. Her doctor had taken extra time and checked the biopsy results several times to be sure. Mary was shocked. She immediately called her husband, Robert. “My husband is like an angel in a crisis,” says Mary, a symphony violinist and violin teacher in Charleston, South Carolina. Wanting more information, they drove together to the gynecologist’s office. Receiving a vaginal cancer diagnosis When Robert and Mary arrived, her gynecologist said that she felt Mary was going to have a difficult time with cancer. Mary felt confused and upset. Soon afterwards, she saw a local oncologist, who ordered an MRI. It only showed vaginal cancer. But the oncologist suspected that the cancer may have spread there from another origin. Additional tests came back clear, but the doctor recommended Mary undergo a capsule endoscopy, in which the patient swallows a pill-like capsule containing a wireless camera to take pictures of the digestive tract. Getting a second opinion at MD Anderson Mary instead decided to get a second opinion. A friend recommended MD Anderson.  “MD Anderson is one of the most amazing places that we’ve ever been,” says Mary. “It’s just like something from a heavenly realm.”...