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Helping Fight Cancer with Nutrition

Many times we hear health news about what we should be eating to lessen our chances of getting certain types of cancer.

If you are diagnosed with cancer, nutritionists say what you eat is just as important as the treatment you are undergoing.

In our monthly Cancer Warriors segment, Amber Philpott introduces us to a Lexington dietitian who makes it her mission to fight cancer one food at a time.

86-year-old Lillian Demattos is nearing her last chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, she's feeling good in part to eating right and her dietitian Betty Simms.

"What you really have to look at are lifestyle changes because you are trying to get yourself through treatment and you are trying to prevent a recurrence of the cancer," said Betty Simms an oncology dietitian at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington.

For six years Simms has been helping her patients learn about feeding their body while going through treatment for cancer.

"Going through treatment is no the time to lose weight, we want to make sure patients have a good adequate calorie intake."

Simms says while treatment is helping fight the cancer, putting the right foods in your body will help it heal faster and respond quicker.

"Its very important they have a higher protein than what is probably not normal than most, because what it does it builds and repairs the cells on the tissues that are affected by the cancer and by the treatment itself."

Being so committed to her patients and to helping fund the cancer program at Central Baptist, Simms helped design a cookbook of healthy Kentucky eats.

The book features recipes and snapshots from around the state.

Since last year 9500 copies of the cookbook called "Beyond the Fence" have been sold and $300,000 has been raised.

Money that in the end goes back to helping patients like Lillian Demattos.

For Betty Simms, she knows she can't cure the cancer herself, but she does know that something good can come of a cancer diagnosis.

"Changing your diet and really working on your exercise modifications are two of the most important things you can do for the rest of your life."

Betty Simms hopes folks like Lillian do that cancer free.

"Beyond the Fence," is available in the Central Baptist Gift Shop and at several area locations.

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