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Eating to avoid Lung Cancer Depression


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Lung Cancer "Foodie Friday" - Symptom Week - Depression

Friday January 9, 2009

Cancer-related depression is a common symptom among those living with lung cancer. Not only do you have to live with the fear and rigors of treatment as a lung cancer survivor, but with the stigma of lung cancer as well.

As an undertreated symptom, it is important to talk with your physician about any symptoms of depression you are experiencing. Untreated, depression can interfere with your quality of life at this time, and even survival. But as you work with your doctor, paying attention to your diet can’t hurt. Studies have shown that – at least with mild depression – a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (found in flax, and cold water fatty fish such as salmon), may reduce symptoms of depression in individuals with lung cancer.

Our About.com Guide to Low Carb Diets, Laura Dobson, provides today’s delicious recipe:

Apple Flax Muffins

In addition to its possible role in fighting depression in lung cancer survivors, flax may also help prevent lung cancer.

It is important to note that these studies were done based on dietary intake of flax, not supplements. You should discuss any dietary supplements you are considering with your oncologist. Some of these can interfere with chemotherapy medications, and may increase bleeding if you have surgery.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi, Randy and thanks for the posting.

I experienced several episodes of depression back in the 90s and early 2000s. At the time, I sought help (belatedly) and then learned (the hard way) that my body doesn't "like" psychotropic drugs. We ended up trying to work on what was causing the depressions (without success--each time they ultimately went away on their own).

After I was dx'd in 01/07, one of my primary fears was that the dx (and prognosis) might lead me into another depression so I asked my onc to refer me to a therapist whom I've been seeing fairly regularly ever since--not so that I could go on drugs, but so that I could try to avoid doing so.

Together, we began work on a list of depression "signs" that I could watch out for and use to try to help keep myself from walking down that path again.

I have been very fortunate in that the "signs" haven't appeared so far (I've experienced almost no depression at all since my dx). I don't know that my "list" made any difference, but I do suspect that just the act of being "proactive" was helpful in staving off the blues.

The main benefit I've gotten out of my post-dx therapeutic discussions/list has been the realization that depression not only decreases the quality of my life, but is also a waste of time I don't have. My main antidote has been to regularly remind myself how lucky I have been to get so many great "bonus" days in the past two years. :D

Thanks again, Randy.



Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.--George Carlin

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Thank you, Randy, for passing along the recipe for the apple flax muffins. I will definitely try that one.

We have been using the combination of flax and a beaten egg (dipping chicken into each prior to cooking) to "bread" our chicken, and this past Thanksgiving, used flax as an ingredient in the "stuffing."

As for the depression, I think that is quite common among those with a cancer diagnosis. Anything that can help assuage that is gratefully received.


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