Are Medical Issues Derailing Your Favorite Holidays Foods?

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Playing Are Medical Issues Derailing Your Favorite Holidays Foods?

The holidays bring people together, but if you are dealing with medical issues you might have to think twice about what you eat. 

Gastrointestinal medical oncologist Dr. Joseph Chao, from City of Hope, joins The Doctors to share holiday dishes for people with health concerns. He tells us that there are an estimated one million new cases of stomach cancer each year, this can include GEJ cancer, which forms in the lower part of the esophagus. He notes that symptoms often don’t appear until the disease is advanced and has spread to other areas of the body.

Symptoms of stomach cancer can include:

  • Poor appetite
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Low red blood cell count

The Doctors explain that family history, gender, age, and race can play a role in one's risk for stomach cancer. Also, stomach cancer is more common in men and there is a higher risk for people over the age of 50. They also note that it is more common among Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and Asian/Pacific Islanders.

Dr. Chao goes on to explain that people who smoke, who are overweight, eat large amounts of salted fish, meat, smoked foods and pickled vegetables may increase their risk of developing stomach cancer. He notes that these risk factors do not automatically equate into getting this type of cancer and says more research needs to be done as some individuals who develop this disease have very few or none of these risk factors.

Some of the dietary difficulties someone with stomach cancer may experience can be a result of stomach cancer treatment, which often involves surgery and removal of portions of the stomach. Dr. Chao explains that undigested food entering the small intestine can cause cramping, diarrhea, bloating, and nausea. He says treatments can also affect one's taste, smell, and the ability to eat enough food and absorb nutrients from food.

Dr. Travis Stork says, "Diet and nutrition also play an important part in the treatment and recovery process. The right amount of calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals are needed to maintain strength, and of course, promote healing. A registered dietician can help."

Dr. Chao tells us about the new online patient resource,, created by Eli Lilly and Company (with whom Dr. Chao works as a consultant). The site is designed to help people living with stomach cancer maintain their strength by promoting healthy eating and healthy digestion and also bring people around the table this holiday season. He says it features nutritional takes on holiday favorites that are easy to digest, as well as other specially curated recipes, including pea guacamole, pasta with watercress and pumpkin pie bites.

For these recipes and more visit, You can also help raise money to further support the stomach cancer community by going to @LillyPad on Twitter and vote for your favorite recipe to be featured on the website. Lilly will donate up to $100K to support the development of resources for patients living with stomach cancer.

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