In Recovery & Healthy Living

Natural Healing After Cancer Surgery

Have you had surgery for breast cancer?  Often it is the first “step” in your cancer journey and can be very invasive and have its own set of side effects.  Usually, there is a period of time between surgery and treatment, and that is a great time to help your body recover from the surgery and prepare for the next step in your cancer journey.

What Cancer Surgery Does to Your Body

Research has shown that breast cancer surgery can have a detrimental effect on the immune system by significantly reducing the number and production rate of Natural Killer cells. It also causes the body to go into a trauma state. During this state, the body automatically secretes growth factors to facilitate a healing response. Unfortunately, these growth factors can also be a catalyst to cause cancer cells to grow and spread.

While cancer surgery may be the best treatment option for some people, it is important to be aware of the potential risks involved.  The most shocking news, according to studies conducted at Tel-Aviv University in Israel and others, is that surgery may actually cause cancer tumors to spread. Sometimes this happens at a rapid rate so it’s important to get on top of this as soon as your surgery (or even before) has been completed.

Prepare for Surgery

If you can prepare for the surgery ahead of time:

  • Lose weight if your BMI is 30.0 or higher
  • Start eating a diet that is high in non-starchy vegetables, at least 5 servings per day. 
  • Develop an exercise routine that you will be able to continue after surgery.  Simply walking 30 minutes per day gives you profound health benefits.
  • Build your “A” team.  These are the people you are going to reach out to after surgery and during your treatment.  It’s good to have 3-4 people so no one person gets “burned out” in helping.
  • Pre-make some simple meals that freeze well such as bone broth, soups, stews, and homemade chili.  Have items on hand to make nutritional smoothies for quick meals.  
  • You can start on some of the supplements listed below.

Healing After Surgery

Prepare for Surgery

Healing Mushrooms –

Modern research confirms what many traditional healers have known for centuries, that mushrooms contain some of the most potent, yet safest medicinal ingredients found in nature.  I’ll refer you to an article that covers the many powerful mushrooms and how they work in the body.  You can often find a “complex” of mushrooms in a formula so you do not have to take individual bottles.  “7 Medicinal Mushrooms that Fight Cancer” 

healing mushrooms

Omega 3 fats –

Inflammation is a “root cause” of many cancers.  It’s essential to give the body the tools it needs to lower inflammation.  Omega 3 fats are found in nature primarily in fatty fish.  You can include wild salmon, sardines, and mackerel.  Seeds such as flax, chia, hemp, and walnuts contain omega-3 fats as well.  If you choose a supplement, wild salmon and/or krill oil are your best choices. 

Omega 3 fats

Modified Citrus Pectin –

Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) is a type of polysaccharide that comes from the cell walls of citrus fruit. It can lessen the stickiness” of cancer cells that could be exacerbated with surgery and may lead to cancer metastasis. Evidence-based research has found MCP intake to decrease cancer cell adhesion by up to 95%. Many experts suggest taking MCP for up to a year after cancer surgery. 

Modified Citrus Pectin

Proteolytic Enzymes – 

Proteolytic means “protein dissolving” and fibrinolytic “fibrin dissolving”.  These enzymes reduce scar tissue, decrease inflammation, and improve tissue healing.  The most effective one is called Serrapeptase and must be taken between meals, on an empty stomach.  Enzyme Research is a trusted brand.

Sleep –

This seems like a no-brainer, but after surgery, there is much discomfort and sleep may be challenging.  To increase melatonin naturally, get outside in the morning and try to get sun on your face, or at least as much natural sunlight as possible, for 30 minutes.  This makes serotonin which converts to melatonin at night.  Using stress-lowering techniques like the Emotional Freedom Technique can also be helpful. Use an essential oil diffuser in your bedroom at night with lavender essential oil.  Make sure all electronics are off in the bedroom and the only light should be very minimal to see your way to the bathroom. Sleep helps the body heal!

rest and recovery

Surgery should not be taken lightly. It is a highly invasive procedure that will put your body in a state of shock during the procedure and for weeks following it.  Preparing your body before the surgery and having a plan for after the surgery will give your body the best chance to heal quickly.

I have an on-line dispensary that has the suggested supplements in this article. You can visit it here.

References:

How to Rebuild your Health After Cancer Surgery, Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, January 16, 2017, https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/rebuild-health-cancer-surgery/

Serrapeptase and Nattokinase What You Need to Know, pulmonaryfibrosisnow.org 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution, Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health,  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/

Improving Postoperative Immune Status and Resistance to Cancer Metastasis, Annals of Surgery: April 2011 – Volume 253 – Issue 4 – p 798-810

About the Author: Chris McKee

Chris McKee Certified Nutritionist and Certified Diet Counselo

Chris McKee is a Certified Nutritionist and Certified Diet Counselor with over 30 years of experience in whole-food cooking, healthy lifestyle coaching, individual nutritional counseling and speaking to 1,000’s of people about the role of good nutrition in preventing disease.

Chris is also a Certified Nutragenomix practitioner and this allows her to look deep into your genetic profile and personalize your nutrition program based on your unique genetic fingerprint.

She runs on-line courses including her 10 Day Clean Eating Challenge, 21 Days Prepping for the Keto Diet as well as her Hope 4 Cancer Recovery program.

Chris and her husband Ed love to travel, hence the name “The Nomadic Nutritionist”.  She is a grandmother of four and a great-grandma of two!  She loves to cook, explore new food finds, hike and fish.

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