What should I eat after Cancer Diagnosis?

is a very common question asked.​
Choose food and supplements personalized to your cancer, genes, ongoing treatments and lifestyle.

is a very common question asked. Choose food and supplements personalized to your cancer, genes, ongoing treatments and lifestyle.

Personalized cancer Nutrition Planning for only .

Personalized cancer Nutrition Planning for only​ .

Which 3 Foods to Avoid for Essential Thrombocythemia?

Mar 8, 2021

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
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No two cancers are the same and neither should your nutrition be. The most commonly asked question to dieticians and oncologists globally is “What Should I Eat?”. The answer is “It Depends”. It depends on the type of cancer, current treatment and supplements being taken, age, gender, BMI, lifestyle and any genetic information available. In short – the answer to “What Should I Eat” for Essential thrombocythemia needs to be personalized to minimize adverse interactions between nutrition (from foods/diet) and treatment, and to improve symptoms.

Foods like Asparagus and Bamboo should be eaten when undergoing Imatinib treatment for Essential thrombocythemia. On the other hand, avoid foods like Lard and Margarine with treatment of Imatinib for Essential thrombocythemia.  

Curcumin (from natural spice Turmeric) may have the potential to support the treatment of certain Myeloproliferative Neoplasms including Essential thrombocythemia with JAK2 mutations. However, supplements like Curcumin and Vitamin D3 have CYP (drug metabolizing enzyme) interactions with Imatinib treatment and hence should be avoided. 

You get the point – your nutrition needs to be personalized and it needs to be re-evaluated as soon as any of the conditions change. Create and follow a nutrition plan personalized to you to minimize adverse interactions of nutrition for cancers like Essential thrombocythemia.

What is Essential Thrombocythemia?

Essential thrombocythemia is a rare cancer in which the bone marrow produces a high number of blood cells called platelets, leading to an increased risk of developing blood clots. It is a chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN), a group of rare conditions that affect the bone marrow resulting in the excess production of blood cells. The incidence rate of this cancer is only 2.2 per 1 lakh people per year. This cancer is commonly diagnosed in people who are about 50 to 60 years of age, however, it can occur in people of any age. It is more commonly found in women than men.

Symptoms, Treatment and Diet for Essential Thrombocythemia

Essential thrombocythemia has prevalence of certain genetic changes. Some of the genes such as JAK2, CALR, ASXL1, and DNMT3A are known to have genetic abnormalities in this cancer resulting in a change of function. 

The genetic abnormalities found in Essential thrombocythemia can influence specific biochemical pathways to drive these cancer cells to aggressive growth and survive the ongoing treatment.  In addition, lifestyle conditions or habits like smoking, alcohol consumption and BMI (Body Mass Index) can have a big influence on the response to your physician prescribed treatments for Essential thrombocythemia. Numerous studies have consistently shown that your nutrition/diet – both food and nutritional supplements can adversely affect the treatment or be supportive or play no role. Hence, the triangulation of Essential thrombocythemia genomics, planned or ongoing therapies and lifestyle need to be thoroughly considered to make decisions on what foods and supplements to consider and avoid while designing diet/nutrition plan. Also, it is important to note that when any of these conditions change, like treatment or lifestyle or cancer diagnosis – it may impact the nutrition and the Essential thrombocythemia nutrition plan may have to be redesigned. 

Why Eating Right Matters for Essential thrombocythemia?

In Essential thrombocythemia, activation or inhibition of some of the biochemical pathways including Growth Factor Signaling, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, RAS-RAF Signaling, JAK-STAT Signaling, Cytokine Signaling and Cancer Epigenetics plays an important role in driving the disease. All foods and nutritional supplements contain active ingredients which have a specific molecular action on different biochemical pathways. Hence, while the intake of certain foods and nutritional supplements as part of the diet may support a specific treatment of Essential thrombocythemia, eating few other foods and supplements may lead to adverse interactions with the treatment or may increase the cancer progression.

Example Foods to “Not Eat” and Eat with Imatinib treatment for Essential thrombocythemia

The nutrition for cancer always depends on the type of cancer, treatments and supplements being taken (if any), age, gender, BMI, lifestyle and any genetic information available. Here we show examples of nutrition/diet for Essential thrombocythemia considering a specific treatment.

Foods to Avoid with Imatinib treatment

Lard and Margarine : Lard and Margarine contain active ingredients such as Myristic acid and Palmitic acid. These interfere with the impact of Imatinib in Essential thrombocythemia by activating a specific biochemical pathway called RAS-RAF. Hence, avoid foods like Lard and Margarine with Imatinib treatment for Essential thrombocythemia. (Shu-Ping Song et al, Biochem J., 2013; Julia Hentschel et al, Int J Oncol., 2011)

Foods to Eat with Imatinib treatment

Asparagus and Bamboo :  Asparagus and Bamboo contain active ingredients like Vitamin C, Isorhamnetin and Kaempferol. Intake of Vitamin C along with Imatinib treatment for Essential thrombocythemia may help reverse a biological process called Cancer Epigenetic dysregulation, and this is a very positive effect.  Asparagus and Bamboo hence should be eaten with Imatinib treatment for Essential thrombocythemia. (Zhou Li Xia et al, Blood; 2016 128 (22): 5470; Jaroslav Jelinek et al, PLoS One., 2011;  Vladimir Camarena et al, Semin Cancer Biol., 2018; Linn Gillberg et al, Semin Cancer Biol., 2018; Tian Zhang et al, J Biol Chem., 2019 )

Foods to eat and avoid for Essential Thrombocythemia

Should I take this Nutritional Supplement with Imatinib treatment?

Vitamin D3 : Vitamin D3 nutritional supplements have CYP3A4 interactions with Imatinib treatment, and hence should not be used. Also,  Vitamin D3 supplement does not show benefit on other biochemical pathways that could improve the Imatinib treatment efficacy in Essential thrombocythemia. (E Gambillara et al, Dermatology., 2005; Irma Meijerman et al, Herb-Drug Interactions in Oncology: Focus on Mechanisms of Induction. The Oncologist, 2006, 11(7), 742–752)

Curcumin : Curcumin is a key ingredient found in natural spice Turmeric, with anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Many patients with Essential thrombocythemia seeking treatment have a mutation of the JAK2 gene in their blood-forming cells. 

An experimental study done by the University of Turin and San Luigi Gonzaga Hospital in Italy highlighted that Curcumin (extracted from natural spice Turmeric) treatment could induce cell-death in JAK2-mutated cells from JAK2(V617F) positive patients with Myeloproliferative Neoplasms such as Essential thrombocythemia. Hence, curcumin may be an alternative (natural) strategy for the treatment of patients with Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (JAK2 (V617F) positive Essential thrombocythemia). (Jessica Petiti et al, J Cell Mol Med., 2019)

However, it is important to note that Curcumin has reported CYP3A4, CYP2C9 and CYP2D6 interactions with Imatinib treatment and may not be safe to take while undergoing Imatinib therapy for Essential thrombocythemia. (Júlia T Novaes et al, Pharmaceutics., 2017; Bin Peng et al, Clin Pharmacokinet., 2005) 

Hence, while Curcumin (an ingredient from natural foods) may have the potential to support the treatment of certain Myeloproliferative neoplasms including Essential thrombocythemia with JAK2 mutations, one should look out for any possible drug-supplement interactions with the ongoing treatment before considering it as part of the diet.

Salicylic Acid may be beneficial in Reducing Thrombosis in Patients with Essential Thrombocythemia

Aspirin belongs to a family of compounds called the salicylates which also includes salicylic acid. A clinical study done by the researchers from the II Chair of Internal Medicine, University of Padua Medical School, Italy highlighted that a low dose of Aspirin may be safe and effective in reducing thrombotic complications in patients with Essential thrombocythemia. (M L Randi et al, Clin Appl Thromb Hemost., 1999)

Hence, taking foods rich in natural salicylates including fruits such as apricots, vegetables such as broccoli and spices such as rosemary may be beneficial for Essential thrombocythemia. However, patients should avoid taking aspirin tablets without consulting health care professionals.

Obesity-Causing Foods May Increase the Risk of Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPN)

Data from a nationwide, population-based cohort study between 1967 and 2011, involving 2516256 Israeli adolescents, was analyzed by the researchers from the IDF Medical Corps and Tel Aviv University in Israel, and Harvard Medical School in the United States to evaluate the association between overweight and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). This data also had 433 MPN cases, especially chronic myelogenous leukemia, polycythemia vera, and essential thrombocythemia which were reported after a mean follow-up of 19.86 ± 12.15 years. They found that adolescent obesity was associated with an increased risk of myeloproliferative neoplasms such as essential thrombocythemia. (Adi Leiba et al, Obesity (Silver Spring)., 2017)

Hence, to reduce the risk of Essential Thrombocythemia, avoid obesity causing foods which are high in trans-fats and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils such as :

  • Deep-fried items
  • Red/processed meat
  • Processed foods and fast foods
  • Animal fats
  • Refrigerated dough products
  • Microwave popcorn

Foods to Eat After Cancer Diagnosis!

No two cancers are the same. Go beyond the common nutrition guidelines for everyone and make personalized decisions about food and supplements with confidence.

What are the Symptoms of Essential Thrombocythemia?

In the initial stages, most cancers including Essential thrombocythemia may not cause any signs or symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, it may start showing symptoms. 

Following are some of the signs and symptoms that may be caused by Essential thrombocythemia.

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal clotting in artery or veins (thrombosis) leading to stroke, heart attack,  or pulmonary embolism
  • Numbness on one side of the body
  • Temporary vision changes
  • Burning or throbbing pain in the hands and feet
  • Slurred speech
  • Chest pain
  • Numbness of the hands and feet

Though many of these symptoms may also be caused by various other health conditions, consult your doctor if you experience these symptoms to rule out the possible chances of Essential thrombocythemia. Thrombosis (due to blood clots that block the blood vessels) can be very serious if the clots block the blood flow to organs like brain, lungs or heart.

What are the Treatment Options for Essential Thrombocythemia?

Treatment for Essential thrombocythemia focuses on reducing the risk of complications, preventing symptoms, and treating any underlying causes. Based on the symptoms exhibited by the patients, various treatments and therapies are given. Some of the treatments used in patients with Essential thrombocythemia include :

  • Different medicines to reduce the platelet counts
  • Treatments to reduce burning sensation in the hands and feet
  • Medicines to prevent blood clots
  • Potential new treatments targeting JAK2 mutations are being developed and tested

As part of the diet, avoid including those foods and supplements that may adversely interact with the treatments for Essential thrombocythemia.

Which Foods To Avoid for Essential Thrombocythemia?

In Conclusion

The two most important things to remember are that cancer treatments and nutrition are never the same for everyone. Nutrition/diet which includes food and nutritional supplements is an effective tool which is controlled by you, while facing cancer such as Essential thrombocythemia.

What food you eat and which supplements you take is a decision you make. Your decision should include consideration of the cancer gene mutations, which cancer, ongoing treatments and supplements, any allergies, lifestyle information, weight, height and habits.

The nutrition planning for cancer from addon is not based on internet searches. It automates the decision making for you based on molecular science implemented by our scientists and software engineers. Irrespective of whether you care to understand the underlying biochemical molecular pathways or not - for nutrition planning for cancer that understanding is needed.

Get started NOW with your nutrition planning by answering questions on the name of cancer, genetic mutations, ongoing treatments and supplements, any allergies, habits, lifestyle, age group and gender.


Personalized Nutrition for Cancer!

Cancer changes with time. Customize and modify your nutrition based on cancer indication, treatments, lifestyle, food preferences, allergies and other factors.

Cancer patients often have to deal with different chemotherapy side effects which affect their quality of life and look out for alternative therapies for cancer. Taking the right nutrition and supplements based on scientific considerations (avoiding guesswork and random selection) is the best natural remedy for cancer and treatment related side-effects.

Scientifically Reviewed by: Dr. Cogle

Christopher R. Cogle, M.D. is a tenured professor at the University of Florida, Chief Medical Officer of Florida Medicaid, and Director of the Florida Health Policy Leadership Academy at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

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