RICARDO ALVAREZ, MD, MSc
DIRECTOR OF CANCER RESEARCH AND BREAST MEDICAL ONCOLOGIST AT CANCER TREATMENT CENTERS OF AMERICA[R] (CTCA)
Eating the right kinds of food before, during and after cancer treatment can help a patient feel better and stay stronger. A healthy diet includes eating and drinking the foods and liquids that have important nutrients for the entire body, according to Ricardo H. Alvarez, MD, MSc, Director of Cancer Research and Breast Medical Oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America[R] (CTCA).
But lack of access to affordable healthy food has caused obesity to skyrocket for the Hispanic population, where 42 percent of all Latino adults are obese compared with 32.6 percent of obesity in whites, according to an annual report conducted by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The State of Obesity. Dr. Alvarez points out that obesity is a critical factor in heightened cancer risk. He also is committed to educating Hispanics about cancer and the preventative steps essential to fighting this global epidemic. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics, accounting for 22 percent of deaths in 2012, according to the Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanics/Latinos 2015-2016 published by the American Cancer Society.
"In many cases what is known about cancer prevention is evolving, which occasionally leads to conflicting prevention tips," explains Alvarez. "However, it is well accepted that your chances of developing cancer are affected by the lifestyle choices you make." Dr. Alvarez also reports that simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference, including avoiding tobacco use, eating a healthy diet filled with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains; limiting processed meats; and carefully monitoring alcohol consumption.
Dr. Alvarez applauds the FDA for the approval of 13 new anticancer therapeutics, 11 new uses for previously approved anticancer therapeutics, one new diagnostic test, one new cancer screening test, and two new diagnostic imaging agents for treating cancer during 2016. An eternal optimist, Dr. Alvarez is bullish on the use of targeted agents to fight cancer. Most standard chemotherapy drugs work by killing cancer cells in the body that grow and divide quickly. Yet, these drugs can also affect other cells in the body that divide quickly and can sometimes lead to serious physical side effects.
Targeted cancer therapy drugs do not work like chemotherapy drugs, explains...