advice about food please

Don’t want to wind anyone up but thought I’d throw my tuppence worth into the mix. After I finished treatment for bc in 2007 I bought “Anti-Cancer - a way of life” by Dr David Servan-Schreiber. He has a lot of advice on diet and lifestyle without trying to claim that this is a cure. I found it helpful to feel I was doing something positive to try and stay healthy for as long as possible, without going mad -I agree with the ‘little of what you fancy does you good’ theory. To me, life would be miserable without chocolate, so I eat it when I fancy but in moderation. But others on this thread are right, some people get this disease despite their best efforts. I don’t smoke, have the odd glass of wine now and then, am a healthy weight with no family history of bc and got a primary diagnosis at the age of 35 and now 6 years later have a recurrence. I’m still trying to eat well as it helps me feel like I’m doing all I can to beat this and give the treatment every chance to work, but equally I’m not going to beat myself up if I fancy an ice cream mars bar and glass of wine!

Poor Chris Wollams is having to take a beating in this review. As a follower of his ICON magazine I suggest you make up your own mind as to what you want to believe. There is so much food and nutritional information is out there compared to what it used to be. At the time of my diagnosis the only place I could find that was taking an interest in food was Bristol Cancer Care (now the Penny Brohn Centre). Now almost all the cancer support groups offer some kind of diet advice including the Maggie Centres. Don’t get me wrong, I had junk food last night but the joy of it was, I didn’t enjoy it. Good eating makes good sense to me.

Thank you for your word of caution Linda. I like the common sense approach and love the Mail article! - time to chuck those yellow wellies!
I do think the title of Wollams books may reflect his time in the marketing industry! Chris Wollams is not a medical doctor as you say- in fact he is the first to state and recognise this. He states he has a Masters in Biochemistry from Oxford University and if that is correct he may have a better understanding about how compounds you eat affect the cellular structure of the body than your average GP.
Chris Wollams doesnt propose a very restrictive diet -in fact the opposite -and very much based on the Mediteranian diet. He doesnt propose any one thing is a cure for cancer -in fact the opposite. His advice is more that you need variety and that many different substances that we get from a range of foods interact and can help. He does however suggest certain substances and foods/ drink are not particularly good for you - caffeine, alchohol (unless its organic red wine!) salt, sugar, dairy, mass produced red meat etc but this advice is common to many dietry advice books/sources that I have read.
Having read the ‘Rainbow Diet’ book I dont see it as being anti conventional medical treatment- in fact he points out foods that may compliment and help support you whilst undergoing conventional treatments. His personal rant seems to be more that there is insufficient funding for and research/trials being done on the benefits of natural foods and substances as they cannot be licenced by the big drug manufacturers and sold for profit. So things that may benefit you- have few side effects and cost very little dont get the thorough research, trials and attention they may deserve in comparison to drugs (with greater side effects )that benefit the drug companies.
You are right Jayne there are so many views.
Personnaly, I feel better for doing a bit of research and trying to support myself and diet is just a part of that. I follow my own instincts as to what makes me feel better/more possitive - if its green algae one day and a curry, a beer (or organic red wine!) and a funny film with friends the next then so be it.
All the best Karen

Just thought I would add that I too should not have secondary cancer if a healthy lifestyle was the answer to not getting cancer. I am a healthy weight, exercise, breast fed my children, don’t drink too much, not eaten meat for about forty years and I eat healthily. Oh also BC not known in my family.

My Dad who is 83 has recently been diagnised with bowel cancer. Now he does not exercise much and barely knows what a vegetable looks like. At the moment his cancer is contained. I was talking to my Macmillan nurse about this i.e. me looking after myself and having this diagnosis and him reaching 83 and not having a healthy lifestyle and she said there is often no reason for the onset of cancer but if I was not as healthy as I was I would not be doing as well as I am (if you know what I mean).

Definitely don’t stop myself having a treat when I feel like it.

Hi Karen and Thank you , hope you are doing well pet, (and good you have chucked those Yellow Wellies lol.
I can fully understand the need for us cancer patients to do everything we can in order to be able to try and help ourselves, and a good balanced diet is extreamly important whether we think it will help us in cancer pervention or just in the helping of many other heath issues.

The Link i have put up in my previous post, refers to Cancer Active’s New book, “Everything you need to know to help you beat cancer” but i feel is equaliy valid to raise even though you have refered more to the Rainbow Diet book in particular.So what i would say is that if you have read this book, you will begin to understand why the author of this particular blog has made some very valid (and in my view) correct statements and criticisms in pointing out some of the many errors it contains.
I will try and go through some the points made by the author of the blog ,and also hope to answer some of the other vaild points that you have made if you will bear with me , because this is a topic that i am extreamly passionate about as i feel that it is imperitive that all cancer patients can gain access to the most reliable advice and information in order for them to be able to make fully informed decisions for themselves. (whatever that may be)

Firstly there are many curious claims often made by the alternative health industry, and also some of those claims are advised in this book. so I will try to address some of them.
The first claim refers to the assertion that we should try and keep out bodies Alkaline , by eating alkaline foods ,this is because Cancer cells cannot live in a alkaline enviroment, this is a claim that most of us at some point would have heard or read when trying to access cancer information from the internet, but it is a claim that is wildly inaccurate, impossible and not biologically plauseable.

Our bodies operate within an extreamly narrow pH range, the pH balance of the blood is 7.4 – slightly alkaline or basic. Enzymes that facilitate chemical reactions in the cells work only in a narrow range of pH. Any significant change (below about 7 or over 7.7) means you would either be very seriously ill or almost certain death.
A series of buffers and compensation mechanisms keep the pH in our blood from moving far from 7.4. Because the blood circulates throughout the body constantly, it can compensate any changes in pH in any of our organs . The lungs actually provide the biggest source of acid elimination in our body. Our kidneys provide a secondary protection of the pH, eliminating acid in the urine . Everything that we eat is broken down by stomache acid, Everything that is ejected from our stomach, into our intestines, is then immediately neutralized by digestive liquids and enzymes. So everything we eat and digest will end up the same pH in our intestines, what this means is the initial pH of anything we eat is completely irrelevant.
Therfore while it is correct that cancer cells cannot live in an alkaline enviroment, the problem is neither can any of your other body cells.The only thing you can manipulate from acidic to alkaline in your body is your urine, this is because urine is a waste product, but your urine is Not a window to your blood’s pH balance.
Many things in a dish in the lab kills cancer cells, includeing an alkaline enviroment, paracetomel, even vodca ect but lab studies rarely reflect the same processes in the body.

Bicarbonate Of Soda, this is often touted by the alternative health industry as also being able to kill cancer, this idea was first put into practice by an Itialian oncologist called Tullio Simoncini, in which he claims that all cancers are fungal colonies. ( Tullio Simoncini is not, and never was a real oncologist, but worked as an unpaid "Volunteer for a short spell in an oncology dept, his real job was assessing social security patients for disability payments) However, this is another wildly believed claim aimed at vulnerable cancer patients often found in anti cancer diet books (referencing that you should be drinking solutions of Bicarb to alkalise)and alternative medicine website online, Many people have even travelled to Italy to seek out Simoncini’s treament of injections of Bicarb of Soda , costing them substancial amounts of money, some even re morgageing their homes in the vain hope that this treatment as claimed will help them . it wont, and it might be usefull to note that infact Tullio Simoncini was convicted and sent to prison in 2003 for fraud and wrongfull death for killing breast cancer patients with his injections of Bicarbonate of Soda, (Simoncini has unfortunatly now been released as part of an itilian prison ammnesty ,and although his Medical Licence has been revoked ,continues to promote this very dangerous nonsense, but hey, i quess dead people dont talk.

These are just 2 tiny examples of the extent of misinformation to be found online , on alternative promoteing websites, in some anti cancer diet books ,and people who are in the busisness of promoteing or selling alt.

Finaly, ( i realy didnt mean this to become an essay lol , ) When any cancer website online “suggests” that there is insufficient funding for any research/trials being done on the benefits of natural foods and substances as they cannot be licenced by the big drug manufacturers and sold for profit. Or that Big Pharma "Does’t want to find a “Cure” because cancer is Big Busisness, be Very Wary, Yes, Cancer is big Busisness, So is ALT, Alternative therapy made 33.8 Billion dollars alone in america last yr, (Thats more money in a yr than cancer research) i find that staggering ,all for treatments that have not been proven to have any clinical evidence that they work.
The claim made by proponents of ALT regarding lack of clinical trials ,and not being able to patent any foodstuff, is False, Alt, makes billions worldwide, if the Alt industry realy believe’s what they are claiming can help, or cure cancer ,why are they not conducting any proper robust clinical trials? It is for the "person makeing the claim to prove that claim, not for others to do it for them, Foodstuff CAN be patented, as has recently been shown by the patent of a Type of Soya Bean , compounds can be isolated from foodstuff, and patented, so that realy also is a bit of a myth ,but often used as an excuse.

It realy is a minefield out there, but with knowledge and better education each of us can make the right and more importantly fully informed decisions for ourselves.The truth is, there realy is no such thing as alternative medicine, there are treatments that work, and there are treatments that dont, treatments that have been proven to work are called Medicine ,therefore they are no longer alternative.
Best wishes to everyone.
Linda xx

Well said, Linda.

Thanks Linda for your very informative and albeit a small insight into a very interesting topic.
I feel for everyone out there beating themselves up ( when they have secondaries) about eating a mars bar or having a glass of plonk. ENJOY THE LIFE YOU HAVE. Enjoy your family and friends, Enjoy all meeting up over a lovey meal and treasure these times.
Love to you all, and try not to take these insitutions, books, web sites too seriously…eat healthily with a bit of what you fancy and enjoy iy. Laura xxxxx