Jul 11, 2014 - 11:27 am
I've read a lot of conflicting information regarding diet on other sites and on discussions here. The main one has been the advice to avoid white sugar and flour at any cost, because cancer cells particularly thrive on these items. Medical sources I've read dispute that contention on the argument that all cells depend on glucose, and all carbohydrates are metabolized into glucose anyway, so whether it's white bread or gluten-free spelt bread, it actually doesn't make a difference. Of course, logical scientific principles don't always correlate perfectly with actual experience, which is why I'm not sure who/what to believe.
My mom is at stage IV, with an inoperable tumor in her signmoid colon and mets to her lungs and liver. After Folfox stopped working earlier this year, she switched to Folfiri, and the last time her CEA was taken (early June), it was at 125. My mom was in bad health even before she was diagnosed, which is only worsened by the debillitating effects of the chemo, so she sleeps a lot and generally doesn't move too much, so her caloric needs are pretty low, but I think it's still a problem when she goes for days without being able to eat anything at all. (Because she feels nauseous, because it's hard to swallow, because she's in too much pain, because she has no appetite - if it's not one problem it's another.) When she does eat, it's usually eggs, and sometimes a piece of white toast. She usually can't handle eating meat at all. Sometimes she likes to eat Greek-style boiled greens that my aunt makes for her, with often disastrous ensuing effects on her digestion. In the winter I used to make her a rich hot chocolate brew with whole milk and chopped dark chocolate, because she really liked it (albeit just a tiny teacup-full), and I figured calories of some kind were better than nothing.
There's a lot of conflicting evidence regarding the links between cancer and diet. Some people on this forum have reported that they've eaten a super-nutritious diet their whole lives, are in great shape, exercise regularly, and yet they're still here. Some studies claim there's some correlation between obesity or eating red meat with colon cancer. When diagnosed, my mom was obese, sedentary, and suffered from severe depression. Theoretically a poster child for a colorectal cancer diagnosis, right? That was what my dad and I thought in the beginning at least, but everything I've read since then has made me realize it's not that simple. My mom's doctor doesn't make any specific recommendations on lifestyle, other than "Try to eat - ANYTHING" and "Try to move as much as you can." I realize that my mom's at a more advanced point than many of the people here, so maybe some of the advice I've read isn't really relevant for her anyway. Or is it? Even if all I can hope for at this point is that we might be able to prolong her life a little bit and make her more comfortable, how much practical value would factors like diet and movement, and anything else (supplements?) help her right now?