Did any of you guys change your diet?

Hi all

Its me again, diagnosed Aug 5 lumpectomy scheduled for 2 Sept, had 3 biopsies, mri and ultrasounds (as had calcifications) tests on calcifications in both breasts came back negative thanks goodness, just the lump cancerous so far, 15mm hormone sensitive,stage 2, HER1 I think? They will remove nodes at op to see if spread. Have been told, radio, maybe chemo then tamoxifen.

The question is, did any of you change your diet? I have read many books, especially Your Life in Your Hands and some others, some mention that bc could be related to dairy products. Some of the patients stopped eating meat and stopped all dairy and their tumours shrank.

Were any of you advised to stop eating dairy and buy only organic food, and no red meat and avoid alcohol or minimum alcohol? Did you stop of your own choice after reading perhaps? I have gone completely soya, but do miss my cheese and beef strog, would be interested to hear if any of you did the same or whether you didn’t change your diet and have still fought it off - intersting topic I think.

Any feedback appreciated.
Much love xxx

The simple answer is no. I was given no advice as to diet and so have changed nothing. Unless there is scientific proof, I wouldn’t mess with having a normal diet, full of all the nutrients you need. I have read on here that a lot of people avoid soya with bc.


I was given a sheet about diet by the breast care nurse the day I was diagnosed, but she dismissed it as irrelevant to me. This is not because she thought that eating had no role to play in staying well or in reocvery; she said it was pointless to me because I have followed a strict vegan diet for the past 20 or so years and it’s made no difference to me getting breast cancer. I can’t advocate a diet that cuts out dairy, meats, etc., because in my case it has not helped me in the least and as Kinden above says, there’s no scientific proof that can 100% say it makes a difference. I can advocate this way of heating for other health benefits. Cutting out dairy, meats, and increasing plant-based foods will help with more energy, a good balance of vitamins and minerals to help your body repair and recover, and so on. I’m more than happy to talk about my dietary choices if it helps any of you guys.

Cat, can I ask you if you used soya instead of dairy? I am interested because I am sure soya contributed to my bc - amongst other things.

I attended a talk by a nutritionist last week who suggested that phyto-estrogens should be avoided in ayone with ER+ cancers as these cancers are oestrogen led. Seems sensible.

For myself, I recieved no dietry advice other tha ‘avoid all suppliments’. When asked why, I was told that suppliments are taken to support healthy cell growth and cancer cells will also be supported. But please whould I eat a healthy diet. I suggested that maybe I would be better eating MacDonalds until all my treatments were over to not support any cell growth… the dr just gave a wry smile - I don’t think he knew.

i eat healthily most of the time, but to be honest, the chemo has made me feel so ill and has affected my gut and mouth and tastebuds so badly that for 2 out of every 3 weeks I eat whatever I can manage - mostly rubbish - high carb, high salt foods. I do make my high carb stuff though so am avoiding hydrogenated fats - wouldn’t want my heart to suffer too!!

Good luck for 2nd Sept Curley!

Love Td xx

Yes, Sarcath, I eat soy products. Being vegan is like being a vegetarian but without the dairy products, eggs, honey, etc. My bc is not oestrogen positive, apparently, so not sure what role soy may have played in this.

Td, I love the idea of eating MacDonalds all the time! Zero nutrition and lots of naughtiness ;-)!

This is a subject that really bothers me, and i just dont know what to do about it, i try to be as organic as i can post dx but i have also just had ovaries removed and been told to have a high dairy diet, and i love puddings and alcohol so im not exactly eating healthily at that level either. A huge part of me feels i havent gone through all this treatment to not enjoy simple pleasures and i also think if i ate very healthily and it came back i would be so annoyed!!!
I just wish someone would tell me one way or another

Anna - annoyance is how I feel: I’ve eaten this healthy diet my entire adult life, the one that’s advocated by people who tell you it’ll prevent cancer or help in your recovery, and it’s done stuff all for me! I have to be honest and say that since diagnosis my diet has been rubbish (still vegan) and that I’ve had a drink or several over the past month. I almost feel tha tlife is just too damned short to not enjoy it.

Has anyone actually met a dietician who has specified what to eat or not eat?

On both times that BC has struck I have never been given any dietary advice by my oncs. I first had BC in 1990 and again last year. I continue to eat a normal healthy diet with hardly any meat but lots of yoghurt and fruit and veg. I do not specifically buy organic and I drink a few glasses of white wine a week. I don’t even think about BC when I am shopping. Personally I think the press make far too much of a song and dance about diet - there is no consistency and the conflicting headlines from time to time sell newspapers. My philosophy is eat healthily, exercise and get on with enjoying your life. If there was proof that certain foods cause cancer we would all be informed.

I looked into this when I was first diagnosed I was surprised about the lack of advice on diet.

I stuck to eating a healthy diet I cut out tea as I felt it wasn’t helping to rehydrate me when trying to drink 2 litres of water on chemo. I looked into soya claims and found some info. on the web. In a nutshell, there has been three studies one was inconclusive, another said soya was good and another said it was bad. My oncologist just said don’t take extra soya.

There is some interesting articles on an american cancer website (never too sure about some of what I read on the web) but it talked about exercise and weight control after treatment being beneficial.

take care

I ate a lot more icecream. I read that breast cancer takes about ten years to get to a lump big enough to detect so whatever caused it was not going to be affected by what I eat now. I enjoy my food and try to eat healthily now. I did a lot of comfort eating during treatment hence the icecream although I did lose about a stone in weight probably because the surgeon said I would. Most people seem to put on weight. this may be related to the large number of biscuits which breast cancer nurses plie you with, I noticed they were usually pretty fat too.


I’m personally still eating dairy in moderation and a little soy (ie soy lecithin is in some products) but I’m not drinking a pint of milk or soy every day or anything like that.

I haven’t read Jane plants book and I have no intention to either. I was quite annoyed when I found out she’s a professor of geology, hardly an relevant professiong to be giving nutriotional advice in my mind so not bothering with that one myself.

One this I did do and will be going back to is taking coQ10 supplements, there’s a lot of research going on relating to that and dealing with the effects of chemo which I am currently doing. I think it may have helped a lot. I’ve used it in the past to help when doing very intensive studies and 12 hour programming sessions (the kind where you’re eyes are so dry at the end you can barely blink LOL). I think it’s very important to do as much as possible to prepare your body for the treatment and to aid recovery from the treatment in the early days and then eat a healthy balanced diet.

Interestingly I’ve read that the cultures that have lower incidences of cancer are also known to eat a lot of fresh greens, not so much meat, have high levels of selenium in their diet etc.

I’ve decided to learn as much about nutrition as possible with a broad balanced view rather than get sucked into the whole cancer diet attitude after all there’s the whole holistic body to look after which does have defences of it’s own which I personally would like to make as strong as possible…

as soon as chemo’s finished of course, for now I must do what I’m told (which I am not known for at all LOL).

I certainly subscribe to the advice on excercise thought, glad it does’t have to be anything militant though just a 30 min walk per day is enough and I am lucky enough to live somewhere where you would actually want to go out (even when it’s raining :wink:

One book I’m reading at the moment is Patrick Holfords Optimum Nutrition Bible which is great but some of his points of view are quite scary for someone currently doing chemo (he does make a good case though).

It’s all very eye opening. And I for one will make sure there’s enough selenium in my diet from now on.



My tumour is E+ and I specifically asked my onc about ditching the dairy and he said I would have to drink about 6 pints of milk a day to make any real difference. I have switched to green tea (without milk) tho and try to eat more (home grown) veg and organic meat. Just read in DM that a yeast that was in bread (not in our processed stuff nowadays) boosts the immune system - beta glucan - may get some and try it.

Jo xx

Hi all

Thanks for the feedback, very interesting. I guess I’ll carry on as I was and eat what I like. It has been terrible having to walk past the cheese counter. I am not missing milk as I only had that in porridge, now substituted with soya, but I do miss my cups of tea adn am drinking herbal teas. I have read that caffeine doesn’t help either! You are all right, we are going through enough so why make it worse. Can’t wait to go shopping again, I was always healthy and looked for the organic stuff, my downfall is cheese and red meat, as I loved lasagne, spag bol, chilli etc., but now cook with organic meat so am doing my bit I feel. Will be a bit more liberal now and enjoy food again. Thanks all for your feedback, it is interesting though uh? Thaks Cat for your points of view from a vegan, and also thanks to waitingangel for wishing me luck for 2 Sept, I wish it was today!!! Thanks all xxx

I was given no advice re diet. I asked my onc once his opinion on dairy, he said he had no opinion, but that I should drink red wine!

I have read quite widely on diet, including Your Life in Your Hands. My personal opinion is that Jane Plant is a bit of a nutcase, but I am sure others think differently, and maybe one day I will be proved wrong.

A general consensus seems to be that we should all be eating lots of fruit and vegetables, both in quantity and variety. There have been studies to show that a combination of that, plus exercise, reduces the risk of recurrence.

My favourite book re diet is ‘Foods to Fight Cancer’ - it’s pretty mainstream, not at all controversial, and easy to incorporate into daily life. It lists ten food groups that are known to have cancer fighting properties, and explains the science behind each. The food groups that I can remember off the top of my head are broccoli (plus all members of the same family, eg cabbage, sprouts), tomatoes, onions & garlic, chocolate (70%), red wine (and red grape juice), green tea, oily fish, soya (but NOT for hormone positive cancers) , berries (strawberries, raspberries etc).

I was actually reading a review in “Nature Cancer Reviews” today, I am posting title, authors and abstract

Diet and cancer prevention: the roles of observation andexperimentation
María Elena Martínez, James R. Marshall and Edward Giovannucci
Abstract | Observational epidemiology and experimentation by randomized controlled
trials (RCTs) have been used to evaluate dietary factors in cancer prevention; however,
consistency in findings has been elusive. In several circles, RCTs are viewed as more
credible than observational studies. As the testing of dietary epidemiological findings in
RCTs has been more common for colorectal cancer than for other cancers, we use
experience with this malignancy to critically appraise the reasons for discrepancies
between results of observational and experimental studies.

in the review they basically say that it is not clear yet whether there is a link between diet and cancer, because the studies are quite difficult to do…
anyway, a book I found interesting is Anticancer, the author mention “Foods to Fight Cancer” as the book where he got most of his information when he was diagnosed with cancer. the rules I remember are no milk and cheese, only little organic meat, turmeric, rosemary and aromatic herbs because they are antinflammatory, vitamin D, selenium, and the things that Roadrunner mentioned. Plus meditation, relaxation and visualization exercises. More or less the same things my nutritionist said! I am trying to do my best!
take care

Sorry but I have no intention of poncing around for the rest of my life umming and ahhing about what or what not to eat and drink on the say so of authors who are writing this stuff to sell books to vulnerable members of society (like cancer patients).

So there!!!


Thanks guys

Everyone is different I suppose, so I am just going to carry on as before and have a little of what I fancy and take it as it comes. I will keep you updated after my op on 2nd.


Best of luck, Curley. We’ll all be with you in spirit.

I would like to say that I switched to Soya milk at one time (thinking it would help me lose weight) and I got the most amazing pain/tingling/burning in my breasts - went to the Dr and she didn’t know what it was but said to stop the soya and see what happened - I stopped the soya and the problem went away.