New Developments in HNC Research

Our new year is already rushing by, but February brings with it plenty of opportunities to take great care of yourself and learn more about the latest head and neck cancer research.

Financial Toxicity Associated with Poorer Head and Neck Cancer Survival Outcomes

One of the most promising areas of head and neck cancer does not just involve what substances are being used to treat cancer, but the other factors present in our lives that can make treatment hard and lead to poor outcomes.
This study evaluated the financial situations of patients with head and neck cancer and their treatment outcomes. It found that people who had poor financial situations at the start of treatment were almost twice as likely to experience poor outcomes during treatment.
This study was groundbreaking in that it was the first time financial situations were evaluated along with treatment outcomes. It was inspired by studies on mice that found that physiological stress led to poor outcomes when fighting cancer. The researchers wanted to see how financial stress could directly impact the course of cancer treatment, and they found that the psychological stress patients were experiencing could affect their sympathetic nervous system and immune system. As an eventual result, it would also affect their body’s response to radiation and chemotherapy.
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Study Explores Carbohydrates’ Impact on Head and Neck Cancers

Nutrition plays a role in the efficacy of cancer treatment and how healthy you are able to stay during it. This study was aimed at looking at different treatment outcomes for patients who consumed high amounts of sugar and carbohydrates in the year before they were diagnosed with head and neck cancer. The results of the study were interesting but mixed.
It found that eating high levels of sugar and carbohydrates could potentially increase the risk of cancer recurrence and mortality. However, it also found that eating starchy foods and fats, like potatoes and legumes, could actually help protect patients and reduce their risk of cancer recurrence and death.
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The Importance of Nutrition 

One of the most important things you can do during your cancer treatment is to stay well-nourished. If you’ve never paid much attention to what you eat, a cancer diagnosis is a real opportunity to explore the world of delicious, nutrient-dense foods that will prevent you from being in the more than 20% of people with cancer who die, not from their cancer, but from malnutrition. (NCI 6/21/2017)

My goal for each person is to help them transition through cancer treatment to a cancer survivor. Over my 30 years in practice, I have witnessed what happens when healthy, healing foods replace processed, packaged, and factory foods. Just a few of the benefits include:

  • Reduce side effects of medications
  • Enhance the efficacy of cancer treatments
  • Prevent Increase enjoyment of food
  • Protect vital organs from toxic effects of chemotherapies
  • Maintain health post-treatment and
  • Thrive Beyond Surviving!

The relatively new field of Epigenetics, genes affected by our environment including the foods we eat, means we now know that what we eat is so much more than just calories. Each time you take a bite of healthy food you influence the way your unique genes express themselves. For example, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and bok choy contain sulforaphane, a phytochemical known to induce apoptosis or cancer cell death. There are literally hundreds of other examples of foods that “talk to your genes”.

Rebecca Katz’s “The Cancer Fighting Kitchen” is my favorite cookbook to recommend for people who want to take advantage of the power of foods to positively influence their cancer recovery. Each recipe contains specific foods, spices, and herbs to turn off cancer’s master switch, induce cancer cell death and provide delicious, nutritious meals to enjoy.

- Victoria M Wood, MPH, RD
Certified Nutrition Specialist

Another Look on the Bright Side by Cookie Kerxton

Make sure to check out Cookie Kerxton's solo show at Touchstone Gallery from March 4, 2022 to March 27, 2022.  Kerxton's March show, “Another Look at the Bright Side,” will feature her recent cold wax, monotypes and acrylics pieces. All proceeds from the sale of Kerxton’s art go to the 9114HNC fund.
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HNC Fund: Heads Up Symposium

Check out this film featuring world renowned Head and Neck Cancer medical professionals, advocacy leaders, as well as survivors stories of hope to educate and raise awareness about Head Neck Cancer.

Help Us Help Head and Neck Cancer Patients

911 4 HNC relies on your kind donations to help head and neck cancer patients receive the treatment that they need to survive and thrive. If you found the research and information in this newsletter to be useful and want to help us reach even more patients and families, please consider making a donation or purchasing some of our merchandise. Don’t forget to follow our updates on Facebook to keep up with the latest HNC news.
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