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DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by MLYuen on Mar 12, 2019 4:32 pm

Dear All, I am brand new here! Glad to find an online support group. I am from BC.
I was confirmed with DCIS back in Fall 2018 via my usual mammogram screening in Summer 2018. Biopsy followed in Sept and then lumpectomy to follow in Nov 2018. Just finished my 16 sessions of radiation.

The lumpectomy went fine with good margin, and I recovered well after 1 week off work and then kept to my physio and other doctor's f/u appointments. 

The radiation went ok too, I was very worried about this part, actually. However, after learning and talking to others who went through this treatment, I felt better. The treatment clinic's staff were very good and encouraging too, during my many daily visits to the clinic.  I just finished my last session on the past Friday and is taking a week off to rest up at home to recover.

My skin has been managing the radiation ok, just a little pink and now the skin has a mild itch. The radiology doctor mentioned that there are all common side effects on the skin and told me to keep to the skin care routine I have been doing for another 2 to 3 weeks, these side effects should go away eventually.

I have also started to visit a naturopathic doctor and she has been great. Learning a lot along the way to use wholesome foods as 'medicine' to help me recover from these treatments and change of eating habits. 

She does mentioned green tea is fantastic as a detox agent and full of anticancer fighting agents in them. I loaded up with green tea since a month ago prior to radiation and consume it everyday. I am Chinese therefore I also learning to add some Chinese medicine knowledge to complement with the food advice of my naturopathy.  Will see how I feel in a few weeks.

Hope to hear anyone who has similar breast cancer journey to share too.

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by WesT on Mar 12, 2019 6:26 pm

Hi MLYuen‍ and welcome to cancerconnection.  Sorry to hear about your diagnosis but it does sound like your treatment and recovery is going in the right direction.

I am tagging in Kims1961‍, cancertakesflight‍ and ashcon‍ into the conversation as they are all breast survivors as well.  Not sure if they were dealing with the same specifics but they may be able to offer advice or support.

Good luck with your journey!

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by MLYuen on Mar 12, 2019 7:05 pm

Thanks so much WesT for tagging others and the warm welcome!

We all need support of any sort to get through our cancer treatment journey!

Looking back onto these past months since my diagnose, I feel blessed that I do have a positive mind set, and proactive to start conversations with others who are going through (or gone through) similar journeys, and also educated myself by reading up and researched a lot on this topic.

My family has been a great support throughout these months.

Love to hear sharing from others too.


Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Kims1961 on Mar 12, 2019 7:48 pm

MLYuen‍ Welcome to this awesome community.  Thank you for the tag WesT‍ !

I found my lump on my 56th birthday in 2017 .  I elected for bilateral mastectomy - then had chemo and radiation - as the margins weren't clear and there was 2 nodes with micromets.  I am ER+ and HER2+ - so had to do a year of Herceptin and will be on Letrozole for 5 years.

You are doing so well with your positive spirit, healthy eating, naturopath and family support!!  Wow...that will definitely ease some of the stress of the journey.  It doesn't mean we still won't have tough days but being on the path to wellness helps to heal the soul as well.

I found my mental health an area that i also had to work on - besides my physical health.  Getting outdoors and exercising was so healing.  I initially was so focused on healing my "body" that i forgot my "mind" needing attention as well.

Thank you for posting and let us know how you're doing!


Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by cancertakesflight on Mar 12, 2019 10:45 pm

Welcome MLYuen‍.  Like you, my original diagnosis was DCIS, but it was so widespread that a lumpectomy was not an option. I also had a few tumours in the mix, so a mastectomy was my only option. On top of that I had chemo (cancer in two lymph nodes) and radiation. Like you, I used complementary medicine during my treatments and continue to use it since my treatments ended.  

I had a positive attitude during my cancer journey. Once I had a diagnosis, I was very calm. I continued to work during my treatments and I was able to see the humour in things. I also had the support of my family, friends, and co-workers. After reading some other people's stories, I know how truly lucky I was to have the support I had. Not everyone is so lucky. 

I have signed up for a program in my area that will help with the exercise and eating portion of my follow-up care. 

It sounds like you are doing a great job to keep yourself healthy. That's all we can really do. 

cancertakesflight (Debbie)

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by MLYuen on Mar 12, 2019 11:07 pm

Hi Kim & Debbie, thanks for your encouragement. Kims1961‍ , cancertakesflight‍ 

I'm taking my recovery a step at a time, been telling myself no more pushing myself like I have always been in the past many years. I have been a f/t working mom for the past 20+ years and work has not get any easier at the office, can get stressful often. It is a fast pace admin office.  May be I have been doing way too much these many years, and forgotten to slow down and take things a little easier :) 

Thank God for my loving husband and grown daughter, the 2 of them have been supportive during the past many months. Without them around, it would have been very tough for me to keep working and getting through the surgery & radiation.

I have a church group who also have very kind members praying for me the past months, and from time to time they sent their regards on how I am doing, this too, have been comforting to me.

Part of my recovery plan from my naturopathic doctor is to eat a 'clean diet' - making changes and be mindful of what I am eating, plus being more active to keep me healthy in the years to come.  I will resume my weekends trail walks and hiking with husband once the weather gets nicer in BC.  Part of the plan is to cut back on eating carb (i.e. breads, pastries, wheat, rice etc) and (trying my upmost best) to cut out sweets and sugar altogether.  Drinking green tea daily + one cup of matcha (they can be bitter, but got use to it by now after weeks) for detox after treatment and these teas are known for their cancer fighting abilities. It was tough to start out as I love my breads, pastries, desserts, and my English teas and enjoy a good cup of coffee often!  Took me some time to get used to not craving for these foods, but I believe I slowly got used to drinking green tea all day, matcha daily, cut out sugar a lot, and if I really crave for coffee, have a cup of black decaf as a little reward once in a while :) 

I also add a lot mushrooms, ginger, and dark green veggies to my diet, cut back on red meat, and go for organic white meat if at all possible.

I started to feel better after about 2 to 3 weeks into this new diet regime and drink lots of water too everyday.  

For my skin care post-radiation - my radiology doctor (and my family doctor) recommended Luriderm unscented body lotion, which I have been using for an overall body lotion.  For my breast care, I am read up from years ago that calendula plant is very good in healing from burn, skin issues and general skin care, very gentle.  I purchased a jar of nature calendula balm (unscented) from a local health food store to start with.
During radiation days, I applied the calendula balm onto my skin gently first, top it off with organic aloe vera gel (I used the brand 'Real Aloe' which has no alcohol in it, so I found this brand very smoothing without drying my breast), and after a few minutes, finish it off with a handmade cream with plant oil base (e.g. coconut oil, shea butter, vit e) - total 3 layers. I do this regime in the morning when I get up after a shower, so to give it a few hours for skin to absorb, to arm me to deal with the radiation in the afternoon. DON'T do this if you have less than a couple of hours before radiation.  I always gently use a wet wipe to wipe off any oil reside in the change room, before I go into the radiation room.  After the radiation treatment, before I changed back into my own clothes, I would repeat this regime again before changing back to my own clothes.  I would do this 1 last time before I go to bed. The bed time one is the best because my skin has at least 8 hours to take in the nourishing oils, ready for the next day's treatment.  Total 3 times daily during radiation days.

After 16 sessions of radiation, I am glad to report that my skin reacted fine with the treatment, just mild pink and soreness, no peeling and no blistering.  I hope in the next few weeks this regime will continue to help me recover, and can cut this back to morning and night only (twice a day). I should be able to eventually cut back to once a day before bedtime in a few more weeks.  

Hope the above tips help those going through radiation if you are into natural herbal skincare. I've always know a little about herbal benefits and this regime worked very well for me.


Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Hocklem on Apr 15, 2019 5:05 pm

I started seeing a naturopath after my 4th round of chemo right before I started my 4 rounds of paclitaxel. I was given the following dietary recommendations: no diary, no processed sugar, no red meat, no refined carbs.  I was also encouraged to use the following supplements: glutamine, vitamin D and B , fish oil daily.  I have embraced these recommendations fully. I drink green tea daily as well as a turmeric latte that I make with cashew milk.  I just finished my 7th round of chemo (my 3rd paclitaxel). My weekends following the treatment are rough with muscle and joint pain. I get some neuropathy as well but I’m using a TENS machine that really helps with that. Just wondering what other people are doing or not doing with regards to diet. After my last round of chemo I have 30 sessions of radiation. I had my lumpectomy in November 2018 and the removal of 5 lymph nodes three which were cancerous. Fortunately I have been able to exercise regularly throughout my treatment thus far. I’m being pretty extreme with my diet as I don’t want to ingest anything that would feed my cancer. I would like to hear what others are doing. 

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Apr 16, 2019 8:48 am

Hocklem‍ Have you spoken with your oncologist about your new diet regimen? When my Dad went through chemo, the oncologist cautioned him about using certain things like turmeric. He noted that it was ok to have a curry once in a while, but to stop using the turmeric paste my sister had put him on. He also took him off his multi-vitamin and only let him stay on vitamin D because of his osteoporosis. So, when I read your post, I became concerned when I saw that you were including those things in your diet while you could still be immuno-suppressed.

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Hocklem on Apr 16, 2019 9:05 am

Yes thanks for your concern. I ran everything by my oncologist pharmacist after seeing my naturopath and before I started anything. 

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Essjay on Apr 16, 2019 11:18 am

I’ve not really changed my diet. I’ve been plant-based for 25 years. I have struggled with constipation and diarrhea all through chemo and I was encouraged to drop the high fibre foods and each starchy carbohydrates. I ignored this advice - I’d rather eat to manage the constipation and take drugs if necessary for the diarrhea. Constipation is definitely the harder condition to cope with as far as I am concerned. I’ve found citrus fruits best for my taste buds.

Healthy is what I am looking for in my diet. My breakfast is usually fruit, with milled flaxseed, nuts and seeds, natural yoghurt, accompanied by fruit juice. Typical lunch is a hearty lentil soup. Dinner is high in vegetables, things like risotto, pasta, noodles or roasted veggies. Protein comes from legumes and pulses, nuts and seeds, tofu. Friday’s is pizza night - home-made. When we need comfort food it’s perogies or chips!

i take multivitamins, and extra calcium, magnesium and vitamin d cos I had premature ovarian failure and have thin bones (broke 3 vertebrae last year), and I take lutein for my eyes - I have a condition that is seen in patients with macular degeneration...

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Joanie on Apr 17, 2019 10:36 am

 Dear Hocklem‍ 
I took 12 treatments of paclitaxel and sat with ice bags on my feet and hands for the time of the treatment to avoid neuropathy.  i ddi not get an;y neuropothy. 

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Minus2 on Apr 18, 2019 6:42 am

Hi Essjay‍ , 
We have moved to a more plant based diet as well, but I found it interesting that you still eat tofu because it is soy based.  Soy acts like an estrogen in your system and my cancer is ER+.  My oncologist advised me to avoid soy, alcohol, and pomegranates.  Did your oncologist mention any thing to you?

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Essjay on Apr 18, 2019 9:37 am

Minus2‍  My breast cancer is triple negative, so not hormone receptive. The amount of estrogen in plant products, including tofu is tiny, so nothing to worry about. I went through premature ovarian failure and wasn’t allowed HRT due to the type and frequency of migraines I have - my diet hasn’t made any difference to my blood estrogen levels at all! My oncologist wasn’t concerned at all....

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Minus2 on Apr 18, 2019 10:07 pm

Interesting Essjay‍ .  It's probably because my cancer was ER+ and PR+.  My oncologist said the studies are still being done on soy and it's influence on breast cancer, so I'm sure she was just being cautious, but that's okay.

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Essjay on Apr 24, 2019 7:48 pm

Interestingly, the incidence of breast cancer is just one third of the rate of Canada in Asian countries where the most soy is consumed. If soy was a real contributing factor you’d expect Asia to have a much higher incidence rate...

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by KathyH on Apr 25, 2019 6:45 am

Very interesting stuff, so my diet was already dairy free, refined sugar free, soy and gluten free.  A lifestyle choice, and I see a functional medicine doctor and take supplements geared to my personal health.  I was told by oncologist and chemo pharmacist to stop ALL.  Very upsetting as many of my supplements help keep my energy level up.  I wasn't even allowed to drink my coffee which is infused with mushroom spores.  Again very healthy, good for pain and energy.  So I did as I was told.  I really feel its the doc you have, have versed are they on anything holistic and how will it react to the chemo.  Definitely no vitamin C and no citrus, but the other supplements may have anti oxidents which doesn't mix with chemo.  I have always avoided soy, as tofu or in anything that may be packaged food, as an ingredient.  Soy does change your hormone composition.  Sure like anything once in a blue moon won't hurt but I avoid it all together.  Does it cause the cancer?  That I have never heard, however it is definitely a hormone disruptor.
I do find it frustrating that the medical system has no knowledge of any natural medicine that can work with the system to get you thru this better.  It seems as the US is far more advanced then Canada on this front, they seem to look at it where as any doc that I have had looks at me like I'm speaking a foreign language.

The one thing I will do once this is all done, it go back to my Fuctional Medicine doc, have some testing done and clean the toxic crap out of my body.  A side effect from a lot of chemo is another form of cancer, if I can do anything to prevent this I owe it to myself.  I will clean out the toxins and build my energy back thru supplements, positive mindset and healthy eating.  

Kudos to your doc for letting you do this.

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Essjay on Apr 25, 2019 6:16 pm

KathyH‍ Im interested in the dietary advice you had on this journey. I talked through my supplements multivitamins and vit D and calcium, and was allowed to continue them. The only food I was told to avoid was grapefruit because of its impacts on drugs in the liver. The only fruit my tastebuds have coped with have been citrus (lime, lemon and oranges), and I’ve only eaten lime and lemon flavour yoghurt, have given up cream, milk and cheese cos of the taste...

Otherwise, the only dietary advice was in relation to my digestive problems (constipation and diarrhea). I was advised to stop high fibre food and eat white bread and pasta and no fruit or veg to stop the diarrhea! I declined their advice because I found the constipation worse, and preferred to eat for that and dose up for The diarrhea! Plus I haven’t eaten white bread for years, and enjoy too many vegetables!


Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Essjay on Apr 25, 2019 8:51 pm

Here’s some recent research on soy and it’s impact on breast cancer occurrence....







Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Minus2 on Apr 26, 2019 6:47 am

Thanks for sharing Essjay‍ .  As my Dr. said, the studies are inconclusive so I will continue to follow her advice and not seek soy out.

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by KathyH on Apr 26, 2019 7:46 am

Essjay‍ my dietary lifestyle has not changed thru cancer, for the last 2 years I follow a paleo diet.  I eat no gluten, dairy, soy and refined sugar.  Of course at someones home, at a restaurant its maybe 80% observed.  We must be practical.  These foods are all inflammatory and with the bone pain and digestion problems I don't need to add more issues to my life.  We use almond or coconut milk, coconut oil (organic and virgin bought at costco) is my cooking fat, organic olive oil in my salad dressings.  I too was told to avoid citrus, all however, grapefruit, lemon, limes, oranges, sure if you squeezed a lemon on something occassionally that would be ok, but must be avoided, so I did.  Also no tumeric, vitamin C, frankly all my supplements as they just looked confused by it all.  I take a very high quality assortment geared specifically to me, including even coffees and teas infused with mushroom spores.  Mushroom spore capsules have been shown to reduce tumour, in the US are used in treatments.  Mixing the natural methods with cancer treatments can help but you need a doc who is open minded and has studied it and clearly not many have.

I started my lifestyle change 2 years ago to try and heal my thryoid (its been done), then my young 28 year old son developed Rheumatoid Arthritis to the point of losing his job as he couldnt walk well and lost all concentration from the pain, then my boyfriend was diabetic after 2 years of doctor recommended food changes, courses and effort with no change the two of them followed my path.  Functional medicine doc who did testing on each of us, told us what diet was right for each of us as well as supplements geared to each individual.  The outcome I am off of 2 meds I took and energy like I never had before.  My son healed his RA, pain free, comfortable with diet change and has a new sense of confidence he never had because HE did something to heal himself and change his life, my boyfriend lost 40 lbs as did my son (just from eating right, not depriving themselves from food) and he is no longer diabetic.

Carrying this same process thru has helped me, yes I get constipated from the chemo and meds, but I will buy a bag of prunes and eat them, a restoralax, or sennokot, and lost of steam veg, fruit and I seem to be ok.  The dairy is bloating and binding, only makes it worse, the gluten bloats me.  We are all different with different triggers, but once you spend 6 months remove all these foods and introduce them one at a time slowly you discover which ones aggravate you pretty quickly.  Corn is a grain, we don't eat it, rice we avoid.  Mostly thru your healing journey you avoid a lot of this, once you reintroduce it you make a choice.  We served a cheese tray at Easter, I ate some, then ate the turkey dinner, I felt such pain like I overate and my stomach would burst open.  Its the cheese, is it worth it, no...LOL.  Now I have my wise son telling me, Mom do not eat that look what it did to you.  

A few years back I'd have told someone like me I was nuts, but I thought what's 6 months to try and fix me.  Best time, money I have ever spent, and once the cancer is thru I head back to detox thru supplements that will clean out my liver and pertinent organs to hopefully prevent any chemo side effect cancers.  Worth a shot as none of it is time consuming or hard on your body.  The end result is better body functions, energy improves and your mood improves because now you have empowered yourself to take your healthy back.  

None of us asked for this illness, we couldn't stop it but if I can prevent another, I'll try, at best I'm setting my self up to be healthier and stronger to handle what ever else comes.  Had I not of done this prior, I'm not sure I'd have gone thru this as well.

So now even my baking is all gluten, dairy and refined sugar free, its easy, delicious and better for us.  We do not suffer, we just find new ways to make old foods, gluten free homemade yourkshires are as good if not better.  We do love to eat, our pasta is important so we founds some good ones.  Salads, are loaded with good lettuce, almonds, walnuts, or peacans maybe some cranberries, a good dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and whatever you like, I put some honey in, garlic change it up, keep it clean and easy.  Organic as much as you can afford, right down to the meats we eat.  At least hormone and antibiotic free, as well as the eggs, which we eat are organic.  Kudos to costco for their great selection or organic eggs, veg, oils, they even have almond flour now.

Eliminate as many packaged foods as so many are laced with soy and ingredients we do not need.  If you like tofu find a good quality organic and eat it sparingly.  And just do the best you can with any lifestyle change, never beat yourself up, but be aware when you eat any of those foods how your body reacts, its a great thing to hear what your body is telling you.  If we listened more and were more aware perhaps our health and happiness can improve.  Take a moment to be present.  

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by Roma on Apr 27, 2019 11:14 am

Hi, your journey with the diet change is very interesting to me. I had breast cancer also and I’m just over one year cancer free. I want to change my eating habits but I’m very confused, did you go to a dietician. What province do you live in, I’m from Ontario. Please keep me updated. All the best to you nd your family.

Re: DCIS - lumpectomy + radiation just completed + healthy diet tips

Posted by KathyH on Apr 27, 2019 12:17 pm

Roma‍ I too live in Ontario, close to Hamilton.  I saw a functional medicine doc in Mississauga, he also can do remote via Vimeo or skype to anywhere in the world.  Thur that I got tested to find out what my body required for food and supplements.  It got me super healthy.  Will go thru that again once Chemo and Radiation is done to make sure no trace of the poisons are left in my body.  Doing that with proper nutrition is really all I can do to be the best me.  Of course some exercise. 

All these diet changes always sound so hard and feel like you will suffer, trust me I wouldn't have been able to do it if it was.  We ate abundantly and yet lost weight because we were feeding our bodies the right things.  Never hungry and truly never ate weird stuff or just a salad.  Not that there is anything wrong with salad.  We ate quite normally just tweeking the ingredients used.

If you are interested in who I spoke to private message me and I can give you his contact, he actually will do a free 30 min phone call to explain how he can help and so you can spell out the issues you have.  The nutritionist you see there is so helpful with recipes ideas, etc and breaks it down to were its not so daunting. 

xoxo  Hope that helps, let me know if you want any other info.