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How important is diet in fighting this?

mbadgle's picture
mbadgle
Posts: 19
Joined: Oct 2008

Hi I am Mike.
Its great to have found this website. Its really nice to read about others going through the same as I am and what I have ahead. I know it will help me in that journey.

I am Stage 4 colon cancer patient. I was orginally Staged 2A earlier this year when colon cancer was found in a routine colonoscopy. I had the right half of my colon removed with no follow up Chemo needed. My Oncologist did not feel taking chemo would increase my percentages of the cancer not coming back and she felt it was not worth putting me through it. Still not sure if that was a good decision.
A month ago I found the colon cancer has gone into my liver. I have 4 chemo sessions to go through. Just finished the first session and number two is on Monday. Then I will have a liver resection. Then 6 months of chemo after the surgery.

I think we all probably have done this when we find out about having cancer. I have read so much in books and the internet about cancer what is head of me and what I can do.

I do believe diet, exercise and staying positive is importan. I have been trying to eat better (healthy), but I also dont want to feel bad if I need to satisfy my sugar tooth. How much does eating make in keeping cancer away. There is so much on the internet. I dont know what to believe.

Kanort's picture
Kanort
Posts: 1275
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi Mike,

Welcome to our wonderful family. It sounds like you have a great plan for complete healing. You will find many successful stage 4 liver resection stories here. I am sorry that your oncologist's original opinion has proven not to be correct, but I am sure she felt that it was the best option at the time.

I will let others respond to your question about diet. Whatever alternative approaches you decide to pursue, just BELIEVE in their power.

Hugs,

Kay

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I just adopted the eating habits I was taught as a child...lots of bright fruits and vegies, low fat (restrict red meat). Chemo made me lactose intollerant, so I have very little dairy.

I feel that 'in moderation' is the key. Instead of a whole piece of pie, eat a few bites. Enjoy EACH and EVERY one. Don't 'sin' everyday, make it special.

Hugs, Kathi

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Hey Mike,

Welcome to this wonderful group... but so sorry that you have had to find us.

As for the diet question... you are probably going to find as many different opinions here as you will reading out on the internet. There will be those who swear by juicing (buying yourself a good juicer and making fresh juices out of veggies and fruits); there will be those who swear by berries found in the mountains of Thailand ; there will be those who adamantly believe that sugar feeds cancer (and since everything we eat breaks down into sugar, then that pretty much means you can't eat anything); and there's those who believe that eating the way we were taught... everything in moderation with a good portion of fresh veggies and fruit in your diet, and keep the fats to a minimum.

The only real guarantee is that everyone will have an opinion and they might all be fantastic opinions because they believe in them and they feel that they are healthier because of it. I don't really know if there is any proof that one kind of diet is better than another for certain people or if all diets are ok, for someone ;)

The way I look at it... you are on a long journey here... and you are going to have ups and downs. There are going to be days that you feel you can't eat a thing and nothing appeals to you... and other days where you could eat a house. So what you should do is pick a diet that you feel you can be comfortable with that won't cheat you from the simple joys you enjoy, at the same time, don't use your journey as a free excuse to eat all the sweets you want :)

I guess, in the final analysis... it all comes down to common sense and doing the best one can given the cards we are dealt with :)

Hugggggs,

Cheryl

mbadgle's picture
mbadgle
Posts: 19
Joined: Oct 2008

Thanks Kay, Kathi and Cheryl. Its really means alot getting information from those that have gone through this. I cant say again how much this site is helping. To hear success stories has really boost my spirits.

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Well put...

Faith in yourself, in your treatment, and in the higher power. (and maybe, just maybe a bit of Godiva chocolate!).

Hugs, Kathi

kmygil
Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi Mike,

You're right. There is SO MUCH information out there, not only about the cancer per se, but also about diet, meditation, visualization, attitude, etc. etc. I think you can never go wrong by eating better-it will keep your healthy organs healthy and certainly cannot hurt your fight against the beast. Like many of us, I have a sugar/carb addiction that increased after everything was said & done (i.e. surgery/chemo). However, all sources (including my doctors & nurses) tell me that sugar feeds cancer like nobody's business, so do avoid sugar.

I have finally gotten to the point where I feel any more reading is information overload, and I cannot process it all. Many people do juicing, others swear by a stringent exercise program, and others propose yet other means of combat. I think that diet is very important (garbage in-garbage out, you know?), but I think that a sensible diet, moderate exercise and a positive attitude combined is very potent. Unless there is a factual medical reason to go radical, moderation is sensible all around. I really don't believe one piece of candy a week will kill you, but binging on it will contribute to a not-so-good outcome. Exercise in moderation can only be good, but exercise to exhaustion will probably harm you.

You sound like a sensible person. Common sense will see you through. Always check with your medical team before taking any vitamins or supplements; some of them may actually counteract any chemo you get. Also, before chemo, get your teeth checked out and fix any cavities, incipient abcesses etc etc. The mouth can infect your body if it is not healthy.

That's all my advice. I'm sure you will get a lot of good input from this query. Meanwhile, blessings and positive energy coming your way.

Hugs,
Kirsten

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

>> However, all sources (including my doctors & nurses) tell me that sugar feeds cancer like nobody's business, so do avoid sugar.

Hey Kirsten... I just wanted to respond to a line in your post and this is not to point out to you, personally, but this is definitely something that you will hear bantered about in a lot of circles. One of my caregivers, my dear, dear friend, Steve, is also of this belief. He has read this on various websites, he's been told this and it's just his belief that sugar is bad (period) and that it definitely feeds cancer.

When I was first getting treatment, he was adamant that he come with me to my appointments with the various doctors, my oncologist, the radiologist, etc. because, as he rightly explained, I had more than enough on my mind and I needed a second set of eyes and ears to take in everything. Well, it turns out my friend, Jo, felt the same way, so I had 2 extra sets of ears and eyes.

He was all for me starting a sugar-free diet... absolutely no sugar, whatsoever, because he was so adamant that sugar feeds cancer cells. Since I was a little skeptical, he hauled me into my oncologist on the next visit and came right out and asked her... "Does sugar feed cancer and shouldn't Cheryl eliminate all sugar from her diet?"

My oncologist, bless her heart, said, "That statement is very misleading. All food we eat goes through the process of changing to sugar because that is how food is broken down to fuel our bodies. So if we used the basic statement that sugar feeds cancer... then yes, technically it does because the fuel that keeps us alive is the fuel that keeps cancer alive... but if you were to cut sugar out of your diet, then that would mean you can't eat a thing and you would die from starvation and malnutrition. As far as cutting out refined sugar from one's diet, refined sugar is known to cause weight gain and weight gain has an assortment of health issues on it's own... so to have a healthy body, which gives you an added advantage for fighting any illness, then yes, cutting back on refined sugars is a good idea."

So, everyone, be careful about falling for misleading statements.

If you took it a step further, whenever we get PET scans, if you recall we are injected with a "glucose" (aka as a sugar) that has a teeny tiny bit of radiation. The idea being, the glucose will glomb on to any rapid growing cells (which cancer is) and the radioactivity will then light up the scan, hence how cancer is found using a PET scan. Ok, that's a very simplistic explanation of a PET scan but you get my drift. So if we went with the theory that sugar feeds cancer like no one's business, do you really think that the only substance they would be injecting us with for these PET scans is sugar?

Don't get me wrong... I am NOT advocating sugar in one's diet! Hehe... when it comes to diets, the best diet I have found that I have had some success with is a low carb/high protein diet and eliminating all whites (white sugar, flour, starch, etc). So I'm a firm believer that refined sugars are NOT good for us and our bodies were not made to use them to our best advantage.

But I did also want to clarify that the saying "Sugars feed cancer" is not necessarily true either since anything we put in our mouth resorts to sugar ;)

Hugggggs,

Cheryl

betina61's picture
betina61
Posts: 644
Joined: Aug 2006

Thanks Cheryl for trying to clarify that myth about sugar,people only need to go to our Home Page here and write down "sugar and cancer" in the search space, I did and the answer is NO what is explained is that sugar as it has lots of calories will contribute to obesity which can put you at more risk for some types of cancers. We go too to M.D. Anderson Webpage the answer will be the same. And let me tell you I am not the one that eat dsserts everyday just maybe once a week, so I am not writing about this because I have a sweet tooh.

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi all -

I don't post very often anymore (kind of in that phase where I am hoping to move on), but I am so glad to see this information about sugar. Everything we eat breaks down into glucose and that is the fuel for our body. Cancer cells are no different from normal cells in this regard. PET works because cancer cells metabolize at a higher rate than normal - thus the uptake is higher in those cells. But, all of our cells "feed on sugar". If "sugar feeds cancer", then wouldn't all diabetics have cancer?

Meanwhile, for blood sugar control / weight control, minimizing actual sugar intake is a great thing - I eat low glycemic index foods and very little sweet stuff, but it's not because I have cancer - just cuz it keeps my blood sugar / weight down. Sugar consumption in and of itself does not cause cancer. My oncologist (and a neighbor who is an oncologist) are driven crazy by the belief that because PET measures glucose uptake, therefore sugar feeds cancer.

I am sure some of you will disagree and that is fine, but I urge you to research physiology / cell biology etc and develop a scientifically based opinion.

Betsy

polarprincess
Posts: 210
Joined: Aug 2008

Hi, well my degree is in nutrition, and i also do not agree that sugar feeds cancer. i do however believe that eating too much sugar which causes insulin resistance on a continous basis, can lead to cancer/inflammation etc. from all sources it appears that during chemo one should not eat a large amounts of antioxidants as they are just not sure if it affects how the chemo works, but some things you can do now to help yourself be healthier which does seem to come with overhwelming evidence is to decrease your red meat intake. reduce carconogens in your diet by marinating and microwaving before grilling anything, by watching labels for nitrite and nitrate added foods such as hot dogs/lunch meats/pepperoni etc.. they do make nitrate/nitrite free versions of these foods, you have to look for them. Eating or drinking a vit c source with these foods if you must have them can negate the carcinogens. Just to note sone natural foods like salads and fresh veggies etc do have natural nitrates in them but are not assumed to be carcinogenic. Do not eat too many carbs, too many processed foods, aspartame, splenda etc... those things sit in your gut for a long time.
If you google the studies on exercise, people who exercised an hour a day for at least 6 days a week had 50% less recurrences.
When I am done with chemo, i plan to do some juicing, eat heavily on the cabbages/broccoli family which have huge anticancer properties, lots of berries, fresh stuff etc.. and exercise exercise exercise.

KathiM's picture
KathiM
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

This comes up every once in a while, and I'm glad you shared.

Another small addition...my PET scan tech and I discussed this very thing. He said "The reason that we have you lie still, no reading, talking, etc (in fact, we wish you would sleep for the period before the test), because any muscle movement will steal the radiated glucose away from the cancer, and will light up on the scan. This is because all movement uses glucose (sugar) as its fuel". He told the story of a guy that he told "No cell phone talking". He came back to find the idiot TEXTING on his cell phone!!! Naturally, his hands lit up on the PET....

Hugs, Kathi

CherylHutch's picture
CherylHutch
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Wow Kathi... I had almost the same talk with my PET scan tech the last one I had at the beginning of Sept. No one had actually explained to me why the "relaxing for an hour" before the scan, other than to say it gives the glucose/radiation time to make it's way through your body. But when I had my first scan and they said I couldn't read, I took them at their word, but I didn't understand that. They did say I needed to totally relax and who was I to explain that reading WAS my way of relaxing?? But hey, I do as I'm told, so I didn't read.

This next PET scan, I knew I couldn't read, but I really had to understand why, because for the life of me, I couldn't understand what reading had to do with whether the scan would work or not. So it was my scan tech who explained that every movement you do requires muscles, even turning a page, or how one holds a book... and muscles need the "fuel" (aka glucose) for that movement. He too suggested that if it was at all possible, then to just fall asleep for the hour and he then turned the lights down and turned on some very peaceful, quiet music. Sure enough, I fell sound asleep :)

But it really helps if they explain this ahead of time rather than the patient wondering why :)

Huggggs,

Cheryl

msccolon's picture
msccolon
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

I am feeling SO guilty and like maybe my scan wasn't accurate! I knit or crochet CONSTANTLY, which means I bring a project with me whenever I might experience wait time. I don't, however, usually knit or crochet after injection of the radioactive sugar mainly because they usually leave the IV start in my vein until they are ready to take me to the scanning room! This time they took it out immediately so I DID knit! Bummer... I certainly will remember this in the future, however!
Mary

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2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2085
Joined: Dec 2001

Hi Mike,

Some good advice here for the most part. I think when people talk about "sugar feeding cancer" we are assuming refined sugars (pop, candy, ice cream etc). I don't think we are talking about naturally occuring sugars in apples or pineapples which have fiber and nutrients that work in synergism with the natural sugars. Refined sugar is just empty calories and immediately messes with your insulin uptake which is where the whole issue with the cancer lies. In your research look into the insulin/cancer connection rather than just the "cancer feeds on sugar" issue.

When I walked into my local chemo clinic here in Minnesota, I was appalled to see the clinic feeding donuts to their chemo patients. When I asked the onc about it, he rolled his eyes at me and said that I was simplifying the issue. I walked out of there having made the decision that chemo was not for me if even the oncologists were going to feed their chemo patients junk food in conjunction to the cytotoxic chemicals. I didn't feel they had my best interest in mind if they refused to look at diet and cancer.

So I healed from cancer post surgery using a dietary protocol that included juicing and macrobiotics. For me, the fact that I got Stage III colon cancer in my 30's was a radical enough impetus for me to go into the dietary issue with intensity. I went vegan for 6 months to give my digestive system a break in order to heal. No junk. Nothing but veggies, some brown rice, fruit, nuts and seeds. I have remained cancer free for 7 years now.

Others have gone about it in the way it works for them be it "moderation" or by eating whatever they want. And thankfully I have not had to walk that path during chemo where nothing tastes good. But I haven't had any recurrences either nor secondary cancers. I have to think that the way I eat has something to do with it. I can't ignore my personal stats.

What you may want to look into while putting together the kind of diet that will work for you and your lifestyle, is pH. Foods that create an acid ash are foods that can increase chances of cancer and foods that create an alkaline ash are the foods that can help heal cancer.

You can buy pH strips and test your urine throughout the day.

Veggies and some fruits are alkalizing. Meats, dairy, sugars, alcohol and grains are acidifying.

If you create a plan that draws from both catagories, then maybe you can find balance. I highly recommend finding a Naturopathic doctor who is schooled in nutrition to help you through this. Doctors are not educated in nutrition. they practice medicine. They do wonderful life-saving surgeries. Western medicine doctors are not typically looking at you holistically. I always make the analogy that if I want my car fixed I don't take it to the plumber.

Hope this helps. I have some wonderful book recommendations if you're interested and you can also read my webpage on here if you want to know more about what dietary things I did to heal my cancer.

peace, emily

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