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Yoga: A Healing Companion in Cancer Care

Yoga: A Healing Companion in Cancer Care

Posted On January 4, 2024

Yoga: A Healing Companion in Cancer Care

In the world of cancer care, one might not immediately associate the ancient practice of yoga with modern medical treatments and therapies. But a closer look reveals that yoga is indeed a healing companion for those navigating the challenging journey of cancer.

The Unconventional Synergy

Yoga is a timeless practice that involves a unique blend of physical postures, controlled breathing, and meditation techniques. Its unconventional synergy with cancer care might leave you wondering, how could these two seemingly disparate worlds possibly intersect?

Embracing the Mind-Body Connection

The answer lies in the profound connection between the mind and body. Cancer not only affects the physical well-being of a person but can also trigger a whirlwind of emotions, from fear and anxiety to depression. Yoga, at its core, is about embracing the mind-body connection, nurturing it, and facilitating a holistic healing process.

Reducing Treatment Side Effects

Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can bring debilitating side effects, including fatigue, nausea, and pain. Yoga steps in as a gentle yet effective ally in this battle, improving circulation, boosting the immune system, and enhancing overall well-being. By reducing the severity of these side effects, cancer patients can often find relief and maintain a better quality of life.

Building Strength and Flexibility

The physical benefits of yoga are especially crucial for cancer patients. The disease and its treatments can lead to muscle weakness and reduced range of motion. Yoga poses help build strength, improve flexibility, and enhance the body’s resilience, which is essential for those in their cancer journey.

Finding Emotional Support

Yoga also provides a haven for emotional healing. The practice of mindfulness and meditation allows individuals to confront and cope with their emotions. Yoga offers a safe space to release tension and discover inner peace, which can be incredibly therapeutic for those facing a cancer diagnosis.

Community and Connection

Cancer is a profoundly isolating experience, and those affected often yearn for a sense of community and support. Yoga classes designed specifically for cancer patients create an environment where individuals can connect with others who share their challenges. These classes foster a sense of belonging, providing a platform for shared experiences and the building of invaluable connections.

Keep calm and study on: Promoting quiet spaces around schools and homes –  Monash Lens

The Key is Adaptation

It is crucial to adapt yoga practices to each individual’s unique needs and limitations. Some cancer patients may face physical restrictions or other health concerns, requiring modifications in their practice. This is why working with a qualified yoga therapist experienced in teaching yoga to those with cancer is essential.

In conclusion, yoga is a valuable tool in cancer care. Its physical and emotional benefits, coupled with the sense of community it cultivates, offer vital support to those facing a cancer diagnosis. If you or someone you know is on this challenging journey, consider the power of yoga as part of a holistic approach to healing and well-being. Yoga is not a cure, but it is a compassionate companion that can walk beside you on your path to recovery and resilience.

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Therapy

Connecting Through Screens: Telemedicine in Psycho-Oncology

In a rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, the fusion of technology and compassion has never been more essential. For those on the challenging journey of confronting cancer, the battle extends beyond the physical realm to encompass emotional, psychological, and social dimensions. This complex interplay of factors demands innovative solutions, and one such solution emerging at the forefront is telemedicine. Our exploration begins in the realm of psycho-oncology, where the power of telemedicine is poised to reshape the way we provide vital emotional and psychological support to cancer patients.

Cancer is not just a physical battle; it’s a deeply emotional and psychological one too. For cancer patients and their families, coping with the diagnosis, undergoing treatments, and navigating the uncertainties can take a profound toll on their mental well-being. Psycho-oncology, a specialized field within oncology, recognizes the importance of addressing these emotional and psychological needs. In this context, telemedicine has emerged as a promising solution, offering a range of innovative approaches to provide crucial emotional and psychological support.

Telemedicine in psycho-oncology serves a crucial role in delivering remote counseling and therapy to cancer patients, breaking down geographical barriers and ensuring accessibility. This form of healthcare technology offers convenience, making emotional support readily available, especially for patients who face challenges traveling to in-person appointments due to their treatment demands. Caregivers, who often bear emotional burdens in a cancer patient’s journey, can also benefit from telemedicine services, receiving counseling and guidance to manage their stress and anxiety.

Cancer patients may experience emotional distress at various stages of their illness, and telemedicine provides timely interventions to address their evolving emotional needs. It fosters continuity of care by maintaining a connection between patients and their mental health professionals, even if the patient needs to relocate or travel for treatment. Telemedicine platforms offer educational resources to empower patients with knowledge about managing the emotional and psychological aspects of cancer.

The discrete nature of telemedicine reduces the stigma associated with seeking psychological support, as it offers a more private option for therapy. It can also be used for remote screening and assessment of a patient’s mental health, allowing for early identification of distress and proactive interventions.

Overall, telemedicine is a transformational force in psycho-oncology, enhancing the quality of life for cancer patients by providing accessible, convenient, and continuous emotional and psychological support. It represents a beacon of hope for individuals on their cancer journey.

January 4, 2024

Lifestyle

The Critical Role of Employment and Financial Stability in the Cancer Journey

Facing cancer is like navigating a storm that goes beyond just physical health – it shakes up every part of your life. One major challenge for those battling cancer is holding onto a job and keeping their finances stable. This blog post breaks down why having a job and financial stability is so crucial for someone dealing with cancer and looks at ways to get support.

Why Having a Job Matters:

For many people fighting cancer, a job isn’t just about money – it’s a source of normalcy and purpose. Having a steady job can do wonders for mental and emotional well-being, providing a routine and a connection to the world outside the hospital or treatment centre.

But keeping a job during cancer treatment is tough. The physical toll of treatment and the unpredictable nature of the disease can make it hard to stick to a regular work schedule. On top of that, there’s the stigma around cancer that can lead to discrimination or misunderstandings at work, making the employment scene even trickier.

How to Support Cancer Patients at Work:

Creating a supportive workplace for cancer patients boils down to empathy. Employers can make a huge difference by offering flexible work arrangements, reasonable accommodations, and fostering a culture of understanding. Educating coworkers about the challenges faced by cancer patients helps break down myths and reduce the stigma surrounding the disease.

Helping with Finances:

Cancer treatment often brings a hefty financial burden. Luckily, there are various organizations and government programs offering financial assistance and resources. These can range from grants and subsidies to counselling services, all aimed at easing the economic stress and letting patients focus on getting better.

In Conclusion:

On the road to recovery, having a job and financial stability is like having strong pillars of support for cancer patients. By building understanding at work and providing financial help, we can empower those facing cancer to not just survive their treatment but also regain a sense of normal life. Let’s work together towards a future where stability is a reality for every person battling cancer on their journey to healing.

January 4, 2024

Cancer Care

STAYING HYDRATED DURING CANCER

The importance of fluids and symptoms of dehydration

Staying hydrated is crucial for everyone, as fluids are vital for cell function, nutrient transport, temperature regulation, and immune support. For those facing cancer and its treatments like chemotherapy or radiation, fluid loss due to side effects such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea is common. Dehydration can intensify these side effects. Additionally, older adults are more susceptible to dehydration due to reduced ability to conserve water as they age.

Detecting dehydration is crucial, and recognising symptoms such as thirst, dry mouth and lips, headaches, confusion, low energy, sleepiness, decreased urine output, and darker urine colour can help. Other signs include elevated body temperature, low blood pressure, dry skin, constipation, sunken eyes, and fatigue. Being mindful of these indicators is vital to promptly address dehydration.

How can one stay hydrated?

Maintaining hydration often involves drinking around 8 glasses of water as a general guideline. Aim to consume smaller amounts of water frequently to fulfil this requirement.

  • Drink water steadily (in sips) throughout the day rather than having it in large quantities at once.
  • Consume fluids consistently throughout the day instead of waiting until you feel thirsty.
  • Try varying temperatures when it comes to beverages, as preferences may differ some might prefer cold drinks while others opt for room temperature options.
  • If plain water is challenging during cancer treatment, consider options like lemon or ginger-flavoured water, ORS, buttermilk, soups, and broths.
  • Certain foods like watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, and green leafy vegetables are rich in water content and help in meeting your fluid intake.
  • In case of fever, diarrhoea, or vomiting, it’s important to increase fluid intake to compensate for the lost fluids. After each episode of vomiting or diarrhoea, aim to drink 1 cup of fluid.
  • Keep water easily accessible by having a glass, cup, or bottle nearby at all times. This increases the likelihood of maintaining fluid intake.
  • Caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and sports drinks can lead to fluid loss. Opt for their decaffeinated version instead to maintain hydration.

Foods and beverages that aid in maintaining adequate fluid intake comprise a variety of options such as:

  • Soup and broth
  • Ice cream (preferably homemade)
  • Fruit ice and popsicles (preferably homemade)
  • Sorbets (preferably homemade)
  • Watermelon, muskmelons
  • Clear-liquid nutritional beverages
  • Water
  • Milk
  • Decaffeinated coffee and Tea
  • Fruit or vegetable juice (Freshly made)
  • Liquid nutrition supplements
  • Hot chocolate
  • Milkshakes (preferably homemade)
  • Yoghurt and pudding
  • Ice cubes/ Ice chips
  • Tender coconut water
  • Herbal teas

Foods and drinks to avoid

  • Processed foods like popcorn, chips
  • Cured meat
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Sugary drinks
  • Fried foods

Personalised care is essential during cancer treatment. Consulting with healthcare professionals or nutritionists helps customise a diet that meets individual needs, ensuring proper nutrition and support for overall health throughout treatment.

January 4, 2024

Cancer Care

Merits Of A Nutritious Diet In Cancer Care

It can be overwhelming to listen to pieces of advice when we don’t know who or what to follow. We are bound to feel confused about important aspects of care. In this article, we talk about the aspect of food and nutrition.

Merits of a Balanced Diet in cancer care

While it is essential to comply with the various modalities of cancer treatment, consuming a balanced diet is equally important. Your nutrient intake determines your tolerance and recovery speed.

A significant number of cancer patient suffer from malnutrition. It happens due to altered sense of taste and loss of appetite, which can be attributed to both the disease and the unfortunate side effects of chemotherapy. One-third of patients already suffer from malnutrition at diagnosis.

A nutritionally diverse and varied diet is bound to pay rich dividends.

Generally, saturated fats (pastries, cheese, sausages and meat) should be avoided. Plenty of fruit, vegetables, fish, low-fat dairy products, nuts, rice, pasta, and pulses should be eaten.

Oncological diets should be personalised, as food tolerance varies from patient to patient. It should also be borne in mind that a patient’s tolerance to food can change in a short period of time, so not only must the diet be personalised, but the nutrition and diet specialist must also meet the patient regularly to modify the diet as the patient goes through their cancer treatment.

The aftermath of cancer can affect patients in more ways than one. It can affect their sense of taste, lead to loss of weight or muscle mass, vitamin or iron deficiency, etc. The nutrition and diet specialist will recommend dietary guidelines even after the oncology treatment has passed.

Proteins constitute the most important nutrient in any given diet.

How much protein one must take depends on an individual’s age, gender, physical activity, and body weight. Protein helps in growth, tissue repair, hormone formation, enzymes, red blood cells, and body maintenance. People with cancer need more protein as compared to normal individuals.
As proteins are the basic building blocks of the immune system, a low protein intake will lead to weakened immunity and, thereby, a slower recovery rate.

What are the dietary sources of protein?

According to research, animal protein helps in muscle protein synthesis better than plant protein. And when plant and animal protein are combined where animal protein is ≥65%, it helps avoid malnutrition during cancer treatment.

Plant sources include nuts (almond, walnut, peanuts), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame), legumes (dried beans, peas, lentils), tofu.
Animal sources include chicken, fish, seafood, eggs, milk, cheese, and curd/yogurt.

How much protein should a cancer patient take?

As per nutritional oncology guidelines, the minimum recommendation for protein intake in adults is 1g/kg body weight/day. However, aiming for 1.2-2.0g/ kg body weight/day is advisable for a better clinical outcome.

How to manage protein intake during cancer and its treatment?

Managing one’s protein intake is crucial. Estimating the daily intake based on body composition, understanding the source of foods, and the way of consumption can be planned well by a well-trained dietitian. Diet can be tailored for the individual by evaluating their food pattern, likes and dislikes, medical history, and present condition.

Hence, understanding the importance of nutrients, how they must be consumed, in what quantity, and most importantly, what role they play matters immensely.

July 18, 2023
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