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Anti-Cancer Diets- A Personal Account

By HERWriter
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The possibility of using food to influence our health and halt cancer has intrigued patients and researchers for years.

New, science-based studies are revealing remarkable links between nutrition and the chemistry of cancer. If you’re interested in lowering your body’s risk of reocurrence by strengthening your immune system with food, here are some notes from my research that may help.

Fundamentally, anti-cancer diets are plant based and include a huge variety of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts. Organic foods are preferable because of the conventional use of cancer-linked pesticides or antibiotics. And, natural, non-preserved foods offer the most nutritional value with the lowest chemical risk.

We’ve all known about fiber’s role in flushing the body‘s digestive system, making it critical to the prevention of colon cancer. But in addition, fiber binds to toxins to expedite their elimination.

As irritating as this may be to meat lovers, plants are less fat, loaded with fiber (which meat totally lacks), and are bursting with cancer-fighting nutrients (also not found in meat products.) The animal may have been raised on hormones or antibiotics, which can pass to the consumer, but meat also contains high amounts of saturated fat which is linked to higher cancer rates. And, some preparations of meat can create carcinogenic conditions.

To cut to the core: research shows that vegetarians are 50% less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters. Anti-cancer diets recommend 12 ounces of organic grass-fed red meat per week.

Better sources of protein are fish/shellfish (especially wild salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, eel and albacore), omega-3 enriched eggs, vegetable proteins (beans, peas, lentils, mung beans), and soy (unless you have estrogen-related cancer).

“Good” oils are olive oil, flaxseed oil, omega-3 butter or margarine, cod-liver oil, and canola. To get the health benefits, cook oils at a low heat because high turns oils or fats carcinogenic. Bake, boil, steam or broil foods for higher value and less danger.

Foods to avoid because they have carcinogens: preserved, cured, dried, smoked, burned or charred. Avoid moldy meat which forms aflatoxin, a strong carcinogen. If you microwave, use wax paper or microwave-proof containers.

My husband sometimes asks, are we reduced to eating bark? No! There are so many wonderful, flavorful foods that are recommended for their anti-cancer benefits. So if you’re serious about wanting to enhance your well-being, read on…

Load up on berries (ellagic acid and polyphenols), cherries (glucaric acid), citrus fruit (flavonoids) persimmons and apricots (Vitamin A and lycopene) and pomegranates. Also include walnuts and hazelnuts (omega-3 and magnesium), pecans (ellagic acid) and almonds (magnesium) into your diet. For probiotics, eat organic yogurt, sauerkraut or kimchee. Eat seaweed (fucoidan) and mushrooms (polysaccharides and lentinian) and all forms of whole grains and rice, quinoa and bulgur, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, rye, barley and spelt. Learn to cook with turmeric (preferably mixed with black pepper and olive oil), curry, mint, thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley, celery, cinnamon, and ginger. Add garlic, onion, leeks, shallots and chives. Learn to love any form of cabbage, carrots, yams, squash, pumpkin, tomatoes, beets and especially spinach. And, of course, fish.

Finally, drink plenty of water.

Okay . . . many healthy eaters still get cancer. But if it can help me feel better and stay stronger, it’s worth it.

Add a Comment10 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Wow, so much junk science in comments, it's amazing.

Anyway, my intention from this comment was to ask for the studies to be actually cited in these articles so people can read them for themselves.

I am especially interested in the studies on 'organic' foods and cancer since I know of no peer-reviewed published articles that support those statements.

January 25, 2010 - 11:00am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Here's a great place to sort out the debates on organic foods:
Several articles by Dr. Weil:
And Dr. Oz: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/when-go-organic
You may also find this article of interest re the British study on organic research: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009599887_organicstudy05m.html

January 25, 2010 - 12:47pm

I have lived with ovarian cancer for 23 years. I'm also a breast cancer survivor, with an extensive history of metasteses, recurrences and loads of medical treatments. I attribute my success to the integration of complimentary and alternative therapies with conventional medicine. I have studied Eastern medicine and practice Qi Gong, Yoga and Tai Chi regularly. I use accupuncture, shiatsu, Reiki, meditation and chakra balancing. I have taken Chinese herbal treatments and regularly do energy work . . . all before Dr. Oz made these techinques popular. I've studied ayurvedic nutrition and medicine with Dr. Deepak Chopra. I follow Dr. Daniel Amen's advice the effect of nutrition on brain function which he measures with brain spec studies and behaviorial responses. For more nutritional understanding, I pursued the work of Dr Andrew Weil (a true pioneer in nutrition as medicine) and have sought counselling from numerous dieticians and nutritonists who devote their practice to working with cancer patients holisticly. These strategies have helped me beat the odds. I wrote this blog to share my personal experience with other women who are struggling with life after cancer and who may benefit from my 23-year quest to stay alive and improve my quality of life. There may be other therapies that work for others and as previously mentioned, the Internet is filled with arguments for or against any position. But I am an example of the effect of the best of Western medicine, complimentary therapies and alternative therapies integrated holistically in such a way that I am staying ahead of my disease. My posting was intended for those who want to know a first hand experience from someone who has aggresive cancer and is managing it with an integrative medicine approach. I can post a reference guide and bibliography (it will be long) if you request it.

January 25, 2010 - 8:45am
EmpowHER Guest

Yes, absolutely, sugar feeds cancer, and so does the synthetic vitamin C in all the vitamin pills and fortified foods they sell.

Another great cancer-causer is systemic yeast or candida infection. Sugar feeds these organisms, which attack the body. A great way to get rid of yeast or candida is to cut all sugar and starch out of the diet, eating a high-fat, high-protein diet as I outlined in my comment above, which includes lavish amounts of saturated fats, cholesterol, and the fat-soluble vitamins. In addition to this, it's important to take high doses of iodine, which cleans out candida as it removes many cancer-causing toxins from the body.

I am not a medical doctor, but if you do the research thoroughly and skeptically, you will come to the same conclusions I have. My mother died of conventional medical treatment of her breast cancer, also my aunt and uncle died as a result of conventional cancer treatment of breast and colon cancer, and my mother in law died of conventional medical treatment of a brain tumor. Mostly people with cancer die of medical treatment, which results in starvation, rather than dying of cancer. I have had a keen interest in cancer as you can imagine, and have learned a thing or two over the decades. That's fine if you want to follow the crowd, but they aren't getting very good results, check the statistics!

January 23, 2010 - 8:12pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry that you have lost so many loved ones from cancer, and I am glad that you are continuing to "do your research" and provide insight to others who are struggling with a cancer diagnosis, or undergoing treatment.

Can you tell us what "statistics" that the non-crowd should be checking into? I believe that is why many women come to this site; for every research study, finding or statistic, there is another one proving it wrong. It is very difficult to discern what is fact from opinion; what is fad from common sense.

thank you for sharing any resources that you have found helpful, regardless if they are from the medical literature or "alternative and complementary" medicine.

January 24, 2010 - 8:13am
EmpowHER Guest

Fine, go there, but I believe they will just kill you. Hear what cancer expert Samuel Epstein says:

What has been happening to our ability to treat and cure cancers over all this time? In the 1960’s, there was about a 49 percent five-year survival rate. Forty-nine percent of people survived five years after diagnosis in the 1960’s, when virtually no money was being spent in these areas. Now, after billions of dollars have been poured into cancer treatment, the length of survival is about six years. It has barely increased over the last forty years for the great majority of common cancers in the overall population. …

How does all this square up with what we are constantly hearing about these miracle cancer drugs? The answer lies in a deceptive statistical ploy. The efficacy of cancer drugs is determined on the basis of what we call tumor response. If a patient with cancer takes a drug and at the end of six months the tumor has shrunk in size, that’s a tumor response. That’s supposedly fine. We’re doing very well indeed. Let’s go out and market this miracle drug. Let’s go out and make millions and billions out of it. However, if you follow up with these patients who have had a tumor response at six months after diagnosis and treatment, in twelve to eighteen months you generally find that the original tumor has recurred and often grown larger. Sometimes, the treated patient will die sooner than the untreated patient—and this is quite apart from the fact that the treated patient’s quality of life is often devastated by highly toxic chemotherapy and radiation. [And by the costs of treatment].


For the majority of cancer chemotherapeutic agents, there is questionable evidence of efficacy. There are some relatively rare cancers for which there is strong evidence of efficacy; for childhood cancer, where treatment is successful, the incidence of long-term recurrences are very high. Delayed toxic complications such as neurological, behavioral, and reproductive problems are also common, and the incidence of secondary cancers caused by the treatment itself is very high.

Dr. Samuel Epstein is a professor of occupational and environmental medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He began his career as a laboratory chief documenting the metabolic origins of cancer, impeccably documenting the direct effects of industrial chemicals as causes of Cancer. He wrote the original proposal for what became the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. During the Regan era, he was on a White House hit list and efforts were made to keep him off any government committees studying cancer prevention. An actual smoking gun memo reads “Get him out. Horrible.” In 1998 he was honored with the Right Livelihood Award, known as the “alternative Nobel Prize.” He has written innumerable scientific articles and several compelling books, including “The Politics of Cancer” and “The Safe Shopper’s Bible.” He is the chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, a global network of scientists, public servants, and activists.

And there is more if you just search the page for his name at http://naturefinder.net/ProvocativeQuotes.html or read the book "Ecological Medicine" by Kenny Asubel.

Then there is an interview with Jerry Brunetti, who cured himself of lymphoma through nutrition, talking about his cancer experience at http://naturefinder.net/interview-brunetti_may02.pdf

(Note: Comments not relevant to post removed by EmpowHer moderator.)

January 23, 2010 - 8:03pm

Personally, I am more confident in resources such as Mayo Clinic, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.

January 23, 2010 - 5:36pm
EmpowHER Guest

Grassfed red meat generously endowed with fat is a great way to beat cancer, and wild caught (not farmed) seafood and shellfish, roe, caviar, and eggs of all types are wonderful foods, especially when eaten with complementary foods such as lots of butter, cream cheese, sour cream, Crème fraiche, mascarpone, or triple cream brie!

NO!!!! Canola is not a good oil! It is only marginally edible and contains trans fats. Flaxseed oil should be eaten only from fresh-ground flax, because it goes rancid so rapidly that it becomes carcinogenic by the time you can buy it in the bottle. Furthermore, anti-cancer diets are NOT plant based!!!

Cancer results from deep deficiencies combined with high toxicity levels. Plant foods may help decrease toxicities, but they do not nourish deeply, as cancer requires.

Good fats are the least-processed oils of coconuts, palm seeds, or olives, but better yet, these healing nourishing fats from organic pastured animals: butter, lard, tallow, good and duck fat, chicken fat, and fat from lamb or wild meats from clean areas. A wonderful superfood that is rich in nourishing fats is fermented cod liver oil. There are many types on the market, but the fermented is the only authentic cod liver oil containing the essential fatty acids, fat soluble vitamins, and other nutrients that are fundamental to fighting cancer.

For toxicity, fiber is not a good choice, as it tends to damage the gut and actually lengthen the amount of time it takes for waste to move out of the body. The critical thing for detoxification is a healthy gut flora, which means that most fruits and vegetables should be eaten fermented, and a high-quality probiotic such as Bio-Kult should be taken. Raw, full-fat milk and fermented dairy products are ideal for their probiotic and nutrient-rich properties, which support and enhance the immune system.

A key mineral for cancer is iodine, which can be taken in the form of Lugol's solution, or Iodoral, a tablet equivalent to Lugol's. Iodine clears out toxic mercury, fluoride, bromide, and radioactive forms of iodine, all of which cause cancer. When you have enough iodine, It binds with fats in the body (if you are eating a diet high in saturated fats!) to create substances that support apoptosis, which prevent and reverse cancer.

Other key minerals are selenium, magnesium, and potassium, but mineral needs are very individual. It's important to work with a good nutritional therapist, but good ones are hard to find.

For more information, see my powerpoint presentation on cancer survival at http://naturefinder.net/Nutrition-Cancer.html (click on "Nourishment After Cancer" but note many other articles of interest on this page.

January 23, 2010 - 2:57pm

Good question, Pat. I started my research into nutritional support with Dr Andrew Weil's Anti-inflammatory diet, which lists sugar as inflammatory. Noted neuroscientist, Dr. Daniel Amen, recommends getting off artificial sweeteners because they "lie" to the brain which is waiting for the real stuff so it's never satisfied.I'm currently reading Anti-cancer by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD who recommends natural sweeteners (fruit, honey, agave nectar). But it's hard - just ask my sugar-addicted husband. I'll keep reporting what I learn!

January 22, 2010 - 7:34pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Hi Annette - Almost as soon as I was diagnosed with leukemia people started giving me nutrition advice. A lot of the information was similar to what you've included. A key point that has been stressed over and over is that I should avoid sugar because sugar feeds cancer. I'd love to see you address that topic as you continue your discoveries about oncology nutrition and/or a reference to a resource for more information. I'm trying, but it's really, really hard to give up products with sugar, and I'd like to know more about this whole concept. Thanks, Pat

January 22, 2010 - 5:19pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.