diet-what not to eat!

i was wondering if anyone had any tips on how the dealt with working out what to eat or not after treatment to avoid a reoccurence? I have read so many different things about diary, alcohol, sugar, red meat etc and am getting different options from people.
I feel like if i have to abstain from certain foods for the rest of my life then the cancer has won and I’ll never be free of that fear that a cappuciono or piece of cake is going to give me cancer again!

If a dr told me to stop eating things I would do it but all the books written are just people’s opinions and have no real evidence apart from one person’s reaction to not eating something.

Any words of wisdom of how to let go would be really helpful.


Hi Snowie,

I’ve put for you below the link to BCC’s publication regarding diet and BC, which I hope you find helpful. There are a lot of different threads on the forums where diet is discussed.

Also here’s the link to where diet is discussed on this website.

Hope this helps. Take care,
Jo, Facilitator

Hi snowie
jury is still out on that one.There are so many opinions and theories.When i was first dx I did loads of research and cut out so many foods.As I have a secondary dx I want to stay healthy for as long as possible so I have now decided to stick with a healthy diet.I only eat small amounts of red meat and dairy,Eat loads of fresh fruit and veg,drink geen tea because i like it and limit cakes and choccies to treats.I have put on weight due to drugs so need to limit calories anyway.Having cancer is bad enough without adding guilt.Oh and yes I do have a glass of red on the days I need a lift.
There is a thread running on diet and recipes if you want ideas and another with really good info on research.I do follow both but at the end of the day you have to make a decision on what is right for you.I do try to eat mostly organic, and ensure I eat lots of fresh fruit and veg and wholegrain.
I am sure you will get lots of differing opinions.I feel i have to at least try to stay healthy but I still need to live as normal a life as possible.
Love lucinda xx

Hi snowie,

I just want to say that I agree with Lucinda - it’s very much a personal choice what to eat or avoid.

The only thing I would add is that if you have ER+ cancer then it’s best to try and avoid things that have phyto-oestrogens in them, like soya products. I don’t think it matters if you only have it very occasionally but if you are thinking about giving up dairy you will find that a lot of dairy free products use soya as a replacement.

Nymeria x

Eat healthily to avoid diabetes and heart-disease (oh and exercise) so you can enjoy non-recurrence. Those are diseases we know can be prevented or minimised by diet - any other diet tips are just conjecture so far (although the phyto-oestrogens is a good point, particularly if you take alternative meds e.g. for menopause).

Enjoy dinner tonight!


There is so much conflicting information/supposition/advice out there, that we could all go mad trying to figure it out. Aim to be a healthy weight and have good fitness - and that’s the best we can do, in my honest opinion. BC is NOT taking over the rest of my life, and whilst I have the utmost respect for anyone who follows the ‘my body is a sanctuary’ route, it is just not for me. Life without chocolate, baileys, spaghetti and beer? Sorry, that just wouldn’t be MY life, lol… I’ve been blessed to come out the other side of chemo/rads/mx, and right now I am planning on enjoying the rest of my days - no matter how long or short that time is.

You have to be happy with yourself, and your own way of life - why make yourself feel deprived and miserable on the off chance that you might add a few more months?

If it were proved CONCLUSIVELY that, for example, carrots were extremely likely to raise your risk of bc by 90%, then I’d probably cut carrots out. But I’m not cutting half my diet out because there has been a small survey/study somewhere that suggests it might help.

Moderation in everything. That’s my aim. Not actually achieved it, but it’s a good aim, right?


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Oh, and re: dairy - the info you see about milk containing oestregen/hormones etc applies to the USA - NOT the UK. Dairy cattle in this country are NOT pumped full of hormones, so the risk is not the same at all - something that information on the internet is not very good at getting across - if it happens in the US, the attitude seems to be that everyone in the world does it their way!

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Hear hear Triphazard!

Ditto ! Just enjoying a Christmas tree choc without any anxiety. Well it was a broken one.

Hi Snowie,

All advice so far is good. I went to a meeting with a nutritionist at our local Maggies and she was fab.No preaching or blaming! Very down to earth and nothing faddy. No big lists of no’s. It was more a small list of what to eat more of including Red onions, apricots, almonds and RED WINE!! all the things which we know already benefit heart/ cholesterol. She has a website, but I haven’t looked yet.

I can post up the link if you are interested.

I have cut out most of my habitual drinking at home but if I want a doughnut I have it!

Take care Carolyn x

I am REALLY REALLY confused with the dairy free or soya a risk? oestrogens and phytoestrogens in food? Cause my cancer was ER+
Can anyone help in REALLY simple terms please?
Thank you xxx

Yes, please post the link Carolyn.
Thank you,
Kate x

TeeCass - I can tell you my understanding of it - there is no real proof that plant oestregen can be metabolized by the body into tumour growth, but many people avoid soya etc ‘just in case’. Which is perfectly sensible - why give yourself anxiety unnecessarily? Cattle (dairy cattle) in the USA are given hormones to increase milk production, and these hormones can pass through to the milk, which therefore may well not be safe when trying to keep oestregen levels down/as low as possible. BUT cattle in the UK are not given the same hormone supplements - so dairy here is perfectly safe to drink.

I know that for some people, following strict diet protocols makes sense, and helps them to feel in control - hugely important for our mental well being. However - I disapprove hugely of the odd ‘food nazi’ out there who would happily make us all feel miserable, guilty and stupid for carrying on as normal. I fully support anyone’s decision - in fact, would love more self-control myself - but I expect the same respect in return…lol… this thread is lovely, I hope it stays that way!!

Thanx, (love your pic)
doesnt brocolli etc have plant oestrogen? Thought we were encouraged to eat those kinda foods?
still a bit confused-doesnt take much these days!!!

Excellently put Triphazard.

TeeCass, it all gets extremely complicated very quickly if you start looking into it. Yes, broccoli does have phytoestrogens but at significantly lower levels (thousands of time less)than, say, soya or flax. You can find loads of look up table online (probably reflecting US rather than UK) which will tell you content.

There are so many weird and wonderful schemes and theories you can tie yourself into endless knots and get stressed in the process.

My broad rule of thumb is “if I make choice X and the cancer comes back, will I wish I’d make choice Y?” I know what that looks like for me, but for you it could be very different. As my old boss used to say, we can never go back to repeat the experiment, we just make our best judgement at the time and go with it.

My onc was very much of the ‘eat a healhty balanced diet, and a few treats now and then are fine’ school - I tend to go with that.

Very good advice from triphazard & revcat…you must LIVE your life, and hopefully for many years. We are too long dead to have regrets about whether we should have had that last choccie bar!

Hi Kate,

Not tried any of these sites as we left Maggies with an A4 folder full of advice. is the nutritionists own site

She recommended several but here’s just one! which she says has advice, recipes and layman’s interpretation of current research findings.

Right I’ll have a look at foodtoglow now!

Carolyn x

After another day at my public health job, with the recent report on life-style link to many cancers doing the rounds, I’m about to have, yes, a glass of wine. I like Triphazard’s view, not worth ruining the rest of your days feeling anxious or guilty.

Though I was a bit baffled at last night’s Food Hospital programme where they recommended plant estrogens to woman who had, what she called - I think - hormone related breast lumps and serious hot flushes. I have to say I don’t feel deprived if I have to avoid soy.

I have made some small changes but only ones I can take. Lots of almonds and fruit (only on top of the chocolate).


Glad it’s not just me Sheil!

I poured a glass of wine tonight (and no I don’t normally drink at home!) because the News reports and over generalisations depressed me lol!

Take care, Carolyn x

Isn’t there something about avoiding grapefruit if you’re on Tamoxifen? I can’t remember properly, but that’s mainly because I haven’t been near a grapefruit for years and years so that’s no hardship at all!

I’m still using dairy, eating cheese, red meat and the odd medicinal glass of something or other, but I do try (and fail) to increase my intake of veggies. To deal with the weight gain I’m trying to reduce my portion sizes and walk a bit faster when walking the dog but to very little effect so far.

And as for today’s reports? That must be four or five of such reports this year. I WILL NOT take on the blame for my cancer - much bigger risk factors for BC are being female and getting older, and I can’t escape either of those. So I utterly refuse to let other people crucify me because I’m not a size 4 and have the odd drink. I’ve done the other things right (lots of babies, not taking hormones for years and years, not smoking, keeping fit, not having BC in the family) but it still happened. And as usual, the reporters just don’t know how to report statistics, prefering the simple sound bite - “it’s her own fault she’s got cancer”. Makes my blood boil!

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