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Cancer fighting diet

(30 Posts)
Troubled2013 Wed 23-Oct-13 16:34:24

DMIL has colon cancer, incurable but treatable, whatever that means.
She's been on two different types of chemo for over a year and although she has been very positive for the most part is now really struggling emotionally, nutritionally and with the spirit crushing after effects of all the drugs she's having to take. If the cancer is treatable, I'm not sure why it is still growing despite everything they seem to throw at it.
I've heard a lot about Phillip Day and his 'cancer cure diet' which I was incredibly sceptical about until I saw that one of my colleagues treated her sister for the last three years of her life to this mostly organic/raw diet and she lived three years longer than the doctors expected her too. It did not seem to be a coincidence.
DMIL however has a different type of cancer to her, and has NO appetite to eat anything, let alone raw vegetables, but I'm desperate to help her somehow.
She was incredibly low on Monday and told me that if FIL didn't make her eat, she would probably starve herself to death. This mind-set is just not her, it's this disgusting disease killing her spirit and I'm damned if I'm going to sit back and let it. I'm a huge believer that what goes into us radiates out of us, so I'm really just looking for any advice, encouragement, success stories and hand holding from anyone who might be able to offer any.
I am no superstar cook, but I need to learn, fast, whilst being able to try my hardest to talk her into eating herself better.


Spirulina Wed 23-Oct-13 16:56:58

sorry to hear this

my first thought was yes! I remember reading/seeing this about the raw food diet.

prob a stupid suggestion,but would juicing the raw veg be an option?

I love juicing. but not sure if its the fibre that required for fighting the cancer?

Troubled2013 Wed 23-Oct-13 17:02:02

Thank you & that's a great idea! I'm off to get a load of books now, I know sugar is a big no no, but not sure if that extends to fructose must do more research, her mouth is incredibly sore so juice would be far better!
Thanks for the support xxx

MacaYoniandCheese Wed 23-Oct-13 17:05:25

I think macrobiotic diets are sometime times helpful for cancer. If you google macrobiotic diet and cancer, you'll find lots of reading on the subject.

Spirulina Wed 23-Oct-13 17:07:22

green juices are nice. I try and avoid fruit due to the sugar content. good luck!

PatoBanton Wed 23-Oct-13 17:22:06

You sound like you are desperate to help in any way you can and I think that is wonderful.

I would caution paying anyone in regard to this - there are many, many people prepared to take your money with the hope of a cure through special diets or pills and so on and I would not want you to fall foul of those who exploit the desperation of people like yourself. So do not be tempted to buy freaky expensive supplements and so on.

However if you can concentrate on making her feel better in herself, and not doing all this in the hope of a cure then you are on the right track.

Anything that will encourage her to eat is good, I am sorry, I don't know what things are recommended for those whose sense of taste and whose desire to eat have been badly affected, but you are a lovely person to want to help her in this way.

I hope you can find some good information, I'm sure there is some out there, and if it doesn't cost anything then I would trust it more, if that makes sense x

PatoBanton Wed 23-Oct-13 17:24:19

By the way, you ask about treatable vs curable - what they mean is, they will treat it in order to hold it at bay as well as they can, and may have some success in doing so for a while, but they cannot actually make it go away entirely and at some point, it will likely get the better of her.

I am so sorry. Cancer is very cruel.

Troubled2013 Wed 23-Oct-13 17:54:35

No thank you, it's the truth that I think she is trying to shield us from, it's a taboo subject in the house & not talked about, but that doesn't help us help her if you know what I mean?
I'm wary of the whole money making spin some ruthless people are putting on it, you are right I'm not thinking diet will cure her & not looking to replace the medicine the doctors have her on I'm more looking for a way to raise her energy levels & get her back to the kickass life loving Wonder Woman she always has been <3
spirulina (great name, I'm sure we'll be using plenty!) Can you recommend a good juicer, I know champion juicers are the favourite but I just don't have the budget for one, mores the pity!

PatoBanton Wed 23-Oct-13 17:58:40

You have a great attitude and I wish you all the best flowers

AngryFeet Wed 23-Oct-13 18:11:59

I have read a lot of the Philip Day stuff as my mum was a bit obsessed with it 15 years ago. I would take it with a pinch of salt as his approach is radical and he makes a lot of money selling products which seem suspicious to me. Look at a book called The Anti Cancer Diet by Philip Serven Schreiber. It does not claim to cure cancer but to help your body fight it and feel healthy. He did die of his cancer eventually but got an extra 20 years when he was told it was terminal.

MostlyLovingLurchers Wed 23-Oct-13 18:13:48

Hi. I'm no expert on this but just wanted to pick up on the thing about fructose. My dm has just finished chemo for breast cancer, though is still continuing other treatments for the next year. My df, in desperation to have some control over the situation I think, has spent loads of time researching what may help and what may make it worse in terms of diet - any official advice is very vague.

There is a lot of unsubstantiated crank stuff out there but the two things that seem to have some basis in fact when it comes to fighting cancer are cutting out sugar (not necessarily completely, but consuming only low quantities), and cutting out dairy (cow, not necessarily goat or sheep products, and eggs are fine). From what he told me, fructose is as much of a problem as other sugars when taken in higher quantities, ie juiced. It is fine to eat fruit as the fructose intake is balanced by fibre, but you lose this through juicing, plus you are consuming a much higher quantity that you would normally eat, which then feeds the cancer cells.

I don't have any links to hand right now, but may be worth having a google before going down the juicing route - veg juices may of course be fine.

PatoBanton Wed 23-Oct-13 18:47:57

I would just mention, anecdotally of course that two people I know have died in their early thirties of cancer, different cancers, and both were vegan for a long time prior to this (in my friend's case around 15 years) so I don't think that cutting out dairy will necessarily offer any sort of protection. Sorry to say that.

Fwiw she also consulted a nutrition expert in her last few months and the things he suggested were probably too little too late, that's if they would ever have been effective,

I really do think that dietary changes post diagnosis are unlikely to confer any sort of cure, or really, much benefit...of course diet can affect the development of cancer but no one knows much about this yet. And a lot of it seems to be a genetic lottery.

CMOTDibbler Wed 23-Oct-13 18:59:20

Theres no evidence at all that eating in any particular way (vegan, paleo, juicing etc) will help your body fight cancer - and despite what some will tell you, the oncologists would love for anything more to help even a little.

What does help is for people to eat enough, and to enjoy it while undergoing treatment - chemo kills off your taste buds and can make it very hard to enjoy food.

IMO, the best thing you can do to support your MIL is to stock their freezer with small portions of nutrient dense, lovely foods - things like fish pie made with cream and butter, shepherds pie, lasagna (you can add egg to the bechamel to add extra calories), soups with cream (but nothing acidic), maybe smoothie bags with ice cream, cream sticks, and fruit like banana, peaches or strawberries so it can just be whizzed with milk for a tasty and easy to eat drink. Buy them lovely biscuits and chocs so that she can be tempted into little snacks if she doesn't feel like a full meal

80sMum Wed 23-Oct-13 19:39:00

I believe that there is compelling evidence that taking daily aspirin shrinks bowel cancers.
There are certain foods that seem to "feed" cancer and should be avoided. They include red meat, refined sugar, cured or smoked meats (ham, bacon, gammon, chorizo, salami, pepperoni etc), refined grains.
Other foods appear to reduce cancer and prevent it growing. They include turmeric, green tea, oyster mushrooms, berry fruits, cabbage (actually most fruits and vegetables), soya.
I would recommend the books "Foods that Fight Cance"and "The Anti-cancer Diet".

MostlyLovingLurchers Wed 23-Oct-13 23:01:49

I would just mention, anecdotally of course that two people I know have died in their early thirties of cancer, different cancers, and both were vegan for a long time prior to this (in my friend's case around 15 years) so I don't think that cutting out dairy will necessarily offer any sort of protection. Sorry to say that.

I'm not sure it does either, but there has been some research that suggests that a diet with a high fat dairy content can reduce the survival chances of women with breast cancer, though as usual it is not clear cut, and I think there is some research that shows that some dairy is beneficial - there is a link here if you're interested. I was mentioning it in relation to my dm - I realise the op's mil has different circumstances.

I did remember that there was an interesting piece on Woman's Hour with Sheila Dillon about cancer and diet. It is still available here if you want to listen.

hazlinh Sat 26-Oct-13 16:42:09

I have been waiting for a thread such as this! DD 9 has been battling cancer for the last 4 years and I have always wondered if I should drastically overhaul her diet.

I second Angryfeet's suggestion re Anti-Cancer book by Servan-Schrieber. I love it, it has so many suggestions and details about what sorts of foods are good, such as multi-coloured fruit and veg, crustaceous veg, green tea, garlic, and so on. And should avoid dry cleaning as too many chemicals used, pesticides etc. And it struck a chord with me as he wrote about his own experiences battling brain cancer. I highly recommend it to everyone!

I bought another book called Beating Cancer With Nutrition but haven't finished reading it yet, the early pages seem a bit rubbishy to me.

Sugar is supposedly a big no no as cancer feeds on it.

I have read somewhere that milk and cheese should be cut out...also acidic foods because they provide a good environment for cancer to grow. alkaline foods are preferable.

Soy is to be avoided unless it is in a fermented form such as tempe.

Cured or processed meats are definitely a no go...such as sausages etc. Best to make your own burger patties.

Supplements/juices made of green veg such as spirulina or wheatgrass are supposed to be good...

Does anyone know if going organic makes any difference? I try to buy organic stuff nowadays but can't always find it, or afford it all the time.

Anyway I have no idea if any of this actually works! DD is very erm independent-minded and is vehemently opposed to eating vegetables and will only eat certain types of fruit. And she loves her chocolate. I mostly let her eat whatever she feels like eating but I try to make her eat a variety of different things. Although it can be hard to implement this rule.

She also used to drink lots of milk as a toddler (no-brainer there I guess!) and loves cheese and edamame soybeans...the only veg she will happily eat without me forcing or nagging. I don't know if that is a coincidence or if it proves the theories sad

Troubled, if your mil is not eating much, maybe you can try nourishing soups to keep up her energy levels?

Punkatheart Mon 11-Nov-13 01:10:04

Cancer of any type is a blend of bad luck and genetics. Certain absolutes like smoking, drinking etc can of course trigger certain cancers. But I very very sceptical about these cancer 'cures' through nutrition. Cancer is so complex and in fact, the word was invented by the media. There is lymphoma, carcinoma adenocarcinoma etc. I have always had a very healthy diet and lived well - but I have lymphoma. I love food and have a particular sweet tooth now as I need the calories. I would be miserable living on a raw diet. It can be so hard when the appetite suffers and I keep in a lot of lollies, which I love for the calories but also to help me when I have body temperature issues.

If are ill, I think that eating when you can, enjoying your life.

May I also say that you sound like a lovely mum, haz. Chocolate - oh yes!

harticus Fri 22-Nov-13 11:16:50

I completely agree with Punkatheart

With breast cancer people bang on and on about a vegan diet.

I was a vegan - and I still got cancer. Twice.

I really do despise people like Professor Jane Plant (Professor of Geology btw nothing to do with nutrition or oncology) who peddle this stuff as fact and have made themselves small fortunes in the process.
Cancer is very big business.

David Servan Schreiber (a psychiatrist) is often quoted as being an authority on cancer with his anti-cancer diet and sold millions of books.
He died in 2011 of the brain cancer that his diets had supposedly cured.

People who are very ill, dealing with chemo and really needing calories and nutrition are beating themselves us by following totally unproven diets.
It makes me sad and angry in equal measure.

Troubled - all the very best to you and your daughter and to everyone dealing with this shit disease(s).

harticus Fri 22-Nov-13 11:18:05

Sorry - meant MIL not DD.

OvertiredandConfused Thu 28-Nov-13 22:02:12

There are diet and lifestyle choices that you can make to help reduce your risk of developing cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund have scientifically proven recommendations on their web site. It's also good for cancer survivors. Obviously, and sadly, it's harder for people living with cancer. I understand that you'll want to know you're doing everyone you can, but I would also caution against these supposed miracle diets. Take care OP.

tinker98 Thu 12-Dec-13 23:35:05

I heard that Moringa tree leaves (known as the Miracle tree) are very nutritious and help the body's defence system. I bought some Moringa tea bags in Mint flavour. Not sure if it works, but having a go! smile

surfmama Mon 13-Jan-14 23:54:43

look at gerson therapy (diet) also iv vitamin c?

surfmama Mon 13-Jan-14 23:55:23

cannabis oil apparently. ..

gordonpym Tue 21-Jan-14 06:25:18

Just yesterday I listened to a TED talk about eating to starve cancer blood supply . Here is the link to the talk When cancer develop it needs more blood , oxygen, ... hence new blood vessel. You can slow down this with a very simple diet : earl grey tea, red grapes, strawberries, cooked tomatoes, ....

lougle Tue 21-Jan-14 07:11:52

Please do take sensible advice from a range of sources. There is little more harrowing than seeing someone who has weeks to live being forced to eat cold raw/lightly cooked vegetables with their hands because a relative has been convinced that if they avoid processed foods they will be cured of the cancer that is ravaging them. sad

I saw this over 10 years ago and the indignity of the situation still affects me every time I read threads like this.

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