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Thursday, Dec 18, 2014
Dr. OZ

Try a little ‘prehab’ before cancer treatment


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There’s “Celebrity Rehab,” “Redneck Rehab” and even “Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock” (none of which sound very, well, rehabilitating). But what we think has enormous power to make you feel better and bounce back stronger is PREhab.

People getting knee and hip replacements have used it for a while — going through intense physical therapy before their operation so they recover more quickly afterward. But now there’s evidence that early intervention (prehabilitation) optimizes your health before cancer treatment, too.

Depending on the type and stage of cancer, a new study reveals that physical and psychological therapy before surgery, chemotherapy or radiation reduces hospital time and complications, and improves physical and emotional outcomes.

We know that for most types of cancer, you don’t want to put off treatment any longer than you have to. But whether you have breast or lung cancer, there’s often a period of time between when you’re diagnosed and when you’re able to begin treatment. It’s during this window that research shows prehab has its benefits.

So if you or a loved one is headed for cancer treatment, ask your doctor about arranging for an appropriate physical-therapy regimen and find out to whom you might go for psychological counseling. Some cancer treatment centers have such services on site; others can refer you to nearby facilities and specialists. Cancer outcomes are improving every year, and it’s nice to know that you can do something to help make your recovery as quick and positive as possible.

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Hamlin’s Wizard Oil, a patent medicine popular in the 1860s, claimed to ease everything from headaches to diphtheria when applied topically or taken internally. Not a smart move, since it was 80 percent alcohol laced with turpentine, ammonia and chloroform! Today, that might seem like the kind of foolish folk medicine we’re far too sophisticated to fall for. Think again.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued 15 warning letters to companies pushing illegal and fake diabetes remedies — some of which contain ingredients as potentially harmful as Wizard Oil. Purchased online and in retail stores by tens of thousands of people with diabetes, the bogus remedies include:

Dietary supplements claiming to treat, cure and/or prevent diabetes.

“Natural” products containing undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients in unknown doses that could harm folks with certain medical conditions.

Prescription drugs sold online without a prescription.

Over-the-counter drugs (OTCs) making wild claims. We’re not condemning all OTCs, but there are a bunch of products that don’t deliver what they promise. Don’t be fooled. Check the ingredients, or write in and ask us.

Interested in what will really help you control Type 2 diabetes? Here are four smart moves: Take 10,000 steps day, walking with a pedometer; do strength training for 30 minutes two to three days a week; upgrade your diet and show the Five Food Felons the door (no added sugar or sugar syrups, no trans and saturated fat, and no grains that aren’t 100 percent whole); follow your doc’s prescription for meds (if you have one). You’ll be a diabetes wizard.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

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