SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Culinary expert, restaurateur and cancer survivor Biba Caggiano is leading a new educational program -- Strength for Living -- focused on the important role nutrition can play for cancer patients. Today, Biba -- a resident of Sacramento for 35 years -- will be visiting with patients at Sutter Cancer Center where she will share her experiences with breast cancer, offer important nutritional tips and demonstrate some of her favorite recipes, designed to meet the unique needs of those undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Biba's husband, Dr. Vincent Caggiano, a well-respected oncologist at Sutter Cancer Center, also will offer words of advice from both a physician's and a caregiver's perspective. Side effects of chemotherapy can make it difficult for cancer patients to follow life's most basic routines. Nausea, loss of appetite and altered ability to taste can make getting proper nutrition a daily challenge, but other side effects pose challenges, as well. Anemia affects up to two-thirds of all chemotherapy patients, which could potentially leave them feeling tired and weak. Many patients don't mention these symptoms to their doctors, because they expect to be tired while undergoing chemotherapy and are unaware that treatments are available for their anemia. Strength for Living is a resource designed to help cancer patients overcome challenges, such as anemia, and return to doing the things they love. "Like so many cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, I was weak from anemia. I took control of the situation, spoke to my doctor and, with the help of PROCRIT(R) (Epoetin alfa), I was able to feel better and get back to what's important to me -- cooking and running my restaurant," explained Biba.* "I want to encourage other people who are facing chemotherapy to take back as much of their lives as possible -- even with something as simple as being able to enjoy meals with their loved ones." Nutrition is a key element in helping patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment feel better, both physically and mentally. A national survey of 250 cancer patients conducted by a major cancer service organization in New York City found that nearly two-thirds or 65.6 percent of patients undergoing chemotherapy believed that proper nutrition was an important source of strength in coping with cancer and cancer treatments. "Patients undergoing chemotherapy often face challenges getting proper nutrition due to the loss of appetite and taste, and development of mouth sores," explained Biba's husband, Vincent Caggiano, M.D., F.A.C.P., research medical director, Sutter Cancer Center, Sacramento, Calif. "The Strength for Living program addresses nutrition, a quality of life issue that is essential to many cancer patients, just as it was for Biba." Strength for Living is sponsored by Ortho Biotech Products, L.P. For more information about Strength for Living, along with Biba's recipes, or to gain access to resources for newly diagnosed cancer patients and their caregivers, please visit www.cancer.com. * Individual treatment results may vary. Tips on Nutrition Following are nutritional tips addressing common side effects experienced by patients undergoing cancer treatment. For those prone to nausea or vomiting: * Sip apple juice, grape juice or cool, lightly carbonated, caffeine-free beverages. * Eat five or six little meals throughout the day, making sure to eat slowly and chew your food well. * Stay away from sweet, spicy, fatty, fried or strong-smelling foods. * Relax and stay seated for an hour after meals to allow foods to settle. * Avoid negative association with favorite foods by not eating them immediately following treatment. For those who develop throat and mouth sores: * Eat soft foods such as milkshakes, bananas, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs and yogurt. * Avoid acidic, spicy or salty foods, and rough foods such as popcorn, toast and raw vegetables. For those whose taste sensations change: * Marinate meats and cook with herbs to enhance flavors. * Add sauces to dishes -- this will also make food easier to chew. * Rinse your mouth with water prior to meals. For those who experience loss of appetite: * Eat in pleasant settings, with friends or in front of the TV as a distraction. * Dress up food with garnishes or by serving it on favorite dishes. * Have snacks handy in case hunger develops between meals. * Arrange a schedule for your meals and snacks -- and keep to it even when not hungry. As always, side effects from treatments and approaches to nutrition should be discussed with a healthcare professional. About the Survey A major cancer service organization in New York City conducted telephone and online interviews with 250 cancer patients aged 18 years and older from across the country who have undergone treatment with chemotherapy. Interviews were conducted from February 22 through March 18, 2005. The tolerance for this survey is +/-3.7 percentage points on a base of 250 at the 95 percent confidence level. About PROCRIT(R) PROCRIT(R) is for the treatment of chemotherapy-related anemia in patients with most types of cancer. PROCRIT is available by prescription only and is injected by your doctor or nurse. Important Safety Information PROCRIT is not for patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure. High blood pressure has been noted rarely in cancer patients treated with PROCRIT and blood pressure should be monitored carefully. Drugs like PROCRIT may increase the risk of blood clots. In studies, the most common side effects included fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, edema, shortness of breath, tingling, and upper respiratory infection. Please visit www.procrit.com for Important Product information. About Ortho Biotech Products, L.P. In 1990, Ortho Biotech Products, L.P. was established in Raritan, N.J. Since that time, Ortho Biotech and its worldwide affiliates have earned a global reputation for researching, manufacturing and marketing innovative healthcare products that enhance patients' health. Ortho Biotech, located in Bridgewater, N.J., is an established market leader in Epoetin alfa therapy for anemia management.
SOURCE Ortho Biotech Products, L.P.