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Cancer Survivor’s Diet

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A cancer survivor’s diet is central to their health going forward according to the study linked below. Unfortunately, you will rarely hear about

  • nutrition,
  • supplementation or
  • lifestyle therapies

from your oncologist. This is because board-certified oncology focuses on FDA approved therapies. While chemo, radiation and surgery are important weapons in the fight against cancer, cancer patients and survivors should, in my opinion, include evidence-based non-conventional therapies.

While my cancer may be different from your cancer, I believe we both should focus on the same nutritional goals.

Nutritional basics that I follow and recommend for you to follow too:

  1. No smoking and as little alcohol as possible (red wine will be discussed below)
  2. As little refined sugar in your diet as you can. I say as little because sugar is in everything. Do your best. Read labels…
  3. As little animal/saturated fat as possible.
  4. Eat lots of fruits and veggies daily.
  5. Learn about and focus your meals on anti-angiogenic foods and supplements. For example, black rasperries, dark chocolate, curcumin (supplement) and resveratrol (supplement) are anti-angiogenic. Conventional standard-of care, FDA approved chemotherapy regimens such as revlimid and thalidomide are also angiogenesis inhibitors.

While I consider a cancer survivor’s diet to be integral to a long overall survival, I have to admit that that I add nutritional supplementation to my diet. I do this because I cannot consume the amount of beneficial nutrients that I believe help me on a daily, weekly, monthly, etc. basis.

For example, studies cite omega-3 fatty acids as important for human being’s health. While I consume fish and ground flax seeds, I can’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids into my body just by eating these foods. I also take with curcumin, resveratrol and several other types of supplements for the same reason.

In my experience, undergoing and completing your initial therapy is only the first step in the cancer survivor’s long journey. While the cancer survivor may no longer be undergoing chemo/ratiation or surgery, he/she should focus on evidence-based non-conventional cancer therapies such as their diet.

If you are a newly diagnosed cancer patient or a cancer survivor looking for non-conventional cancer therapies email me at David.PeopleBeatingCancer@gmail.com

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Can we eat to starve cancer? – William Li

I found the Ted Talk linked above to be life-changing where my MM management was concerned. This video was shot in 2010 so it is a bit old. However I think the content is as relevant to MM patients and survivors as ever

Mediterranean diet associated with lower risk for death in cancer survivors

“Key takeaways:

  • Researchers reported associations between higher Mediterranean diet scores and lower risk for all-cause, cardiovascular-related morality.
  • No association observed between diet and cancer-related mortality.

Adopting the Mediterranean diet after receiving a cancer diagnosis improved survival outcomes, according to observational study results published in JACC: CardioOncology.

Researchers reported an association between high adherence to a traditional Mediterranean diet and significant reduction in all-cause and cardiovascular-related mortality rates among cancer survivors.

“Our findings suggest maintaining or adopting a traditional [Mediterranean diet] even after a cancer diagnosis may be beneficial and, importantly, motivate additional science regarding the development of dietary recommendations specifically targeted for cancer survivors…”

Investigators conducted the study using prospectively collected data from a population-based cohort, which included men and women aged at least 35 years who live in the southern Italian region of Molise.

Eligible patients included those who reported any type of cancer diagnosis at their baseline visit and provided relevant medical records and information regarding cancer treatment…

Bonaccio and colleagues analyzed participants’ dietary intake during the preceding 12 months using an interviewer-administered semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire, with adherence to a traditional Mediterranean diet being measured using a Mediterranean diet score.

They assessed all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease-related mortality for the study and determined patients’ Mediterranean diet score as both categorical (poor, 0-3; average, 4 or 5; and high, 6-9) and continuous (per 2-point increment) based on based on previous studies.

Patients with a higher Mediterranean diet score tended to have a higher socioeconomic status and appeared more physically active than those with lower scores.

After 12.7 years of follow-up, researchers reported 248 all-cause deaths, including 59 cardiovascular-related deaths (25.4% ischemic heart disease, 23.7% cerebrovascular disease) and 140 from cancer.

Multivariate analysis showed a 16% (HR = 0.84; 95% CI, 0.71-0.99) decrease in all-cause mortality rate for every 2-point increase in a patient’s Mediterranean diet score. A adjusted multivariate analysis revealed a significant association between 2-point increase in Mediterranean diet score and a 31% reduction (adjusted HR = 0.69; 95% CI, 0.49-0.97) for cardiovascular disease-related mortality. However, the association between changes in diet score and cancer-related death lacked statistical significance (adjusted HR = 0.91; 95% CI, 0.73-1.12).

High adherence to a traditional Mediterranean diet substantially reduced all-cause mortality among cancer survivors, most specifically cardiovascular-related mortality.

Study limitations acknowledged by the researchers included an inability to infer causality due to the study’s observational design, the self-reported nature of dietary intake, and a risk for survival bias because patients had already survived, on average, 9 years at baseline.

Additional research could further analyze the impact of the Mediterranean diet in patients with specific cancer types, according to study investigators.

“Lack of a significant association with cancer mortality could be due to the different types of cancers included and the multifaceted nature of cancer progression and recurrence, which is strongly influenced by non-nutritional factors (eg, diagnostic and prevention strategies) varying substantially across socioeconomic strata of the population,” researchers wrote.

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