Mrs. Wilma O'Dea
is a 52 year-old, post menopausal woman who
was diagnosed with breast cancer six months ago. An attorney, and now a
judge, she has always been in good health. Mrs. O'Dea discovered the tumor herself as a small lump in the
upper outer quadrant of her left breast during her routine
self-exam . A mammogram
revealed a discrete mass, and an excisional biopsy confirmed the diagnosis. Her primary cancer was
2.1 cm in greatest diameter, and there were 2 positive axillary lymph
nodes. An abdominal CT and bone scan revealed no evidence of distant
Mrs. O'Dea's oncologist
routinely refers her patients for a nutrition consultation as she knows
how important adequate nutrition is to recovery. Click here for her completed
- Although her weight hasn't changed,
Mrs. O'Dea just doesn't feel well.
- She just feels generally run-down
and believes she's lost some muscle strength.
- Also, she has questions about
phytoestrogens and her breast cancer.
In general, recovering from a malignancy
an anabolic state, with increased need for calories, protein and
- The release of
tumor necrosis factor
(TNF) by the immune system complicates matters as it causes appetite
- Recovery from the cycles of
chemotherapy also adds to the extra nutritional needs.
- Her concern about estrogen-like
substances in her diet is not unreasonable.
Let's consider Mrs. O'Dea's
situation in more detail.