LifeCare Diagnostic Medical Centre

LifeCare Dietitian, Ms Low Aileen

6 November, 2022

Understanding Food and Stomach Cancer (After surgery)

I believe cancer is not an uncommon disease nowadays. In fact, cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide right after heart disease. Cancer arises when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably and start invading or spreading to other organs, including the stomach.

Stomach stores and digests food. Juices and muscle contractions in the stomach break down food into a thick fluid before moving into small bowl, where the nutrients absorption take place. Stomach cancer arises when cells in any part of the stomach grow and divide abnormally- tumour.

Statistics

Stomach cancer (a.k.a gastric cancer) is the sixth most common cancer among men and the tenth most common cancer among women in Malaysia. Apart from gender, the incidence of stomach cancer is also varied between different races with the distribution as shown below:

Nutrition-related symptoms

Stomach cancers may not cause symptoms in the early stage. The common symptoms are listed as follows:

Risk factors of Stomach Cancer

Genetics
Age
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
Overweight or obese
Alcohol and tobacco use
Poor diet quality
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Nutrition Prevention

Following a healthy and balanced eating pattern.

  • Limit red and processed meats, e.g preserved, salted and smoked foods
  • Consume whole grains, e.g whole meal breads, pastas and brown rice
  • Include fruits and vegetables with different colors
    – Citrus fruits, e.g orange, lemon, pomelo, have shown to decrease the risk of stomach cancer
    – Be aware that grapefruit might interact with the cancer medications.
    – Please consult with your doctor and dietitian before adding grapefruit to your diet.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol intake to <2 servings/ day for men and <1 serving for women.

Nutrition Management

Loss of appetite (1)

Surgery is often part of the treatment for stomach cancer that has not spread. The surgery may involve removing part of the stomach (partial gastrectomy) or all of the stomach (total gastrectomy), depending on where the cancer is in the stomach. The remaining parts of the digestive system will then be stitched together for swallowing and digestion.
After the surgery, eating and drinking from mouth are not allowed. Instead, a feeding tube will be placed with special feeding formula fed into the small bowel to allow the join between the oesophagus and small bowel to heal.
Once the tube is removed after 3-4 weeks:

  • Nourishing fluids (e.g. soup, milk, yogurt) will first be introduced, followed by pureed foods, soft foods and lastly solid.
  • Avoid drinking liquids with meals and small and frequent meals or snacks (4-6 meals/ day) are encouraged to avoid discomfort after eating due to a lowered tolerance for large meal after surgery.

Risks and Complications

Every major operation has its own risks and complication. The anatomical changes in the digestive system after gastrectomy may lead to malabsorption of some nutrients, such as iron and vitamin B12, causing anaemia. The common symptoms of anaemia include tiredness, pale skin, breathlessness, loss of appetite and many more.
Here are some nutrition tips for anaemia:
1. Consume foods rich in iron (e.g. meat, eggs, liver, fish and softened dark green leafy vegetables)
2. Consume fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C to increase iron absorption from foods
(e.g. papaya, guava, orange, broccoli, bell pepper)
3. Avoid drinking tea and coffee with meals as these beverages may hinder the iron absorption

Tips to incorporate dietary protein, iron, calcium, vitamin C, B12 for
gastrectomy patient. (Example menu plan)

Please consult with a dietitian for individualized dietary advices and meal plan

Consult with a Dietitian

Receive valida dvise and consultation by our dietitians today

Speak to a Gastroenterologist if you have concerns about your digestive health system

Gastro Dr Loong

Dr. Loong Yik Yee

龍奕裕 医生

Consultant Physician & Gastroenterologist

Languages

English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Cantonese

Qualification

BSc (UKM) MD (Hons) (UKM) MRCP (UK)

License Number

MMC Registration No. 32374, Malaysia NSR No. 126727

Conditions treated

Fatty liver disease, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Gastrointestinal bleeding, Hepatitis, Peptic ulcer disease

Medical School

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 1995

Clinic

Gastroentology

Gastro Dr Loong

Dr. Loong Yik Yee

龍奕裕 医生

Consultant Physician & Gastroenterologist

Languages

English, Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Cantonese

Qualification

BSc (UKM) MD (Hons) (UKM) MRCP (UK)

License Number

MMC Registration No. 32374, Malaysia NSR No. 126727

Conditions treated

Fatty liver disease, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Gastrointestinal bleeding, Hepatitis, Peptic ulcer disease

Medical School

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 1995

Clinic

Gastroentology

Debunking cancer food myths!

Can superfoods prevent cancer, including breast cancer?

Ever heard of people calling blueberries, broccoli, green tea, tomatoes, and other fruits and vegetables ‘superfoods’? This word is used to describe foods that supposedly improve health and prevent diseases like cancer, but this is not backed up by science.

It’s true that a healthy, balanced diet can help to reduce the risk of cancer, but it is unlikely that any single food will make much of a difference on its own.

Which of these increases the risk of breast cancer?

Myth

- Eggs
- Burnt food (Acrylamide)
- Soy / Soy products
- Sugar (including refined sugar, artificial sweeteners)
- BPA-lined canned/tinned food

Conclusion: There is inadequate evidence to say these foods cause breast cancer.

Fact

- Red meat
- Processed meats
- Alcohol

Conclusion: Red meat and processed meat are carcinogenic; it means that they could increase the risk of other cancers in general. In addition, the more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer.
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