For those interested in research on diet and cancer

Diet and lifestyle issues seem to cause a great deal of heated debate here. In the short time that I have been interested in the issue, several threads have devolved into acrimony. One unfortunate side effect of this is that people that are interested in the topic are discouraged from joining the debate, and more importantly discouraged from taking a proactive interest in their own health. As someone that likes to read a lot of diet related research, and to get informed input from others, I get dozens of PMs from people who want to know more and ask for advice on reading material, but are afraid of being ridiculed if they post on the threads. So we exchange PMs like naughty schoolgirls behind teacher’s back. It would be nice if this could be done in the open, and the information shared more widely for those that have a use for it.

So. It has been suggested that we start a thread in the complementary therapies section that is restricted just to those that have an active interest in the subject and wish to exchange information. If it is ok with the mods, I would respectfully ask that those who do not believe that diet and cancer are linked, to please not post on this thread - leave us alone to our delusions! I know it’s tempting to join in - but maybe start another thread instead. The thread on recipe ideas was very friendly and successful - maybe we can replicate that. I don’t mean that the thought police will censor any inconvenient truths - I just mean only join in the debate in good faith. Argue the details but not the general principle. My idea is also that the information on this thread should be restricted to good quality academic research, and not passing on internet miracle cures.

I hope this thread takes off and that we can all learn from each other. If it starts to get rancorous, with the mods permission I would like to refer people back to this post, so that everyone understands the basic principles involved.

finty xx

To get us started I learnt something completely new from a poster here yesterday, and it lead to some interesting reading, and helped connect a few dots. I learnt that an enzyme called the LOX enzyme has been identified as the possible missing link in the jigsaw of how breast ancer metastasises – it seems that cancer has to manipulate this enzyme in order to spread:

I have only done a little reading so far, and it seems that although this is being hotly pursued, no drug therapies to prevent this manipulation are available yet. So I wondered whether there was a dietary connection, and it seems there might be. This is a very technical article, but start from the section headed “Diet, eicosanoids and inflammation”

It has been known for some time that a diet high in Omega 6 and low in Omega 3 is a risk factor for breast cancer;

This is the basic premise of Dr David Servan Schreibers book “Anti Cancer a new way of life” – that a diet rich in Omega 6 causes inflammation that allows cancer to cells to flourish. It seems that the LOX enzyme may be key to this inflammation, and making diet changes to eliminate excess Omega 6 and boost Omega 3 would be very worth while.

finty xx

Great, thanks Finty for starting this. Like you I too have PMs asking me about diet etc and some from people who don’t want to post.

I think there are a couple of areas of interest that I’d like to explore further. One is the omega 6/omega 3 balance which you’ve pointed out above. The other is the acidity/alkalinity of the body. Again this is definitely that can be influenced by dietary changes.

I will post more on this later in the week.

Thanks Elinda - the alkalinity issue is interesting.

On Omega 6 / Omega 3 - what cooking oil do you use? I gather linseed oil can only be used cold or at low temperatures. PB recommend coconut oil, which is fine for most foods, but I love mushrooms on toast and it alters the flavour too much. Also, I am struggling to find a shop that sells it here.

finty xx

I use either organic coconut oil or organic olive oil. Coconut oil I buy in jars from health food shops or Waitrose. I like Biona because it’s in glass jars. It is solid when cold so as you’ve probably discovered. I also have a jar which I use as a body moisturiser. You can order from the Guardian Eco store:

With the mushrooms on toast, have you tried adding some herbs like oregano and/or thyme? That might cover up any flavour you get from the oils.

Most oils aren’t that good at high temperatures which is why I only use coconut or olive.

I’ll try Waitrose - thanks. My local health food shop (H & B) claim to have it, but it’s never in stock. Will try some herbs too. Thanks. x


Thankyou for starting this thread. I have not made up my mind yet about diet and bc links but am interested in finding out more and rather than reinventing the wheel and starting from scratch myself, am grateful that I can benefit from the leg work you have already put in. I will read this thread with interest , for the content as opposed to the arguing!


Thanks for starting this thread Finty. I too am a bit confused and have not done too much reading, although I have just ordered a copy of the Rainbow diet, so I will have a good read and get some more information.

I shall log in regulary into this thread and pick up some of the ideas/expert knowleadge,

thanks again
love Jenny

A pleasure, Vickie.

This popped-up on my favourite website today - a study indicting that diet post primary diagnosis has a significant impact on mortality, specifically a diet high in transfat and saturated fat:

finty xx

Thanks Jenny - I think the Rainbow book is a very good place to start.

finty xx

Tried to post just there, but can’t see my post so apologies if this comes through twice.

Thanks Finty for starting this thread - I am a firm believer that changes to diet will give us a better chance of prevention of cancer so have recently started doing some more reading.

I picked up a copy of Icon magazine from CANCERactive which whilst full of advertising, has given me some pointers. One of the areas that I’d started looking at was the acidity / alkilinity so would be happy to share any findings.


Hi Finty, thanks for starting this thread.
I’ve read the anti-cancer book you mentioned and was very interested.
Haven’t had time to read all the posts here at the moment. Will log back in later. Just wanted to say thanks and I hope it takes off.
Polly x

Thanks so much for starting this thread Flinty. We are all really lucky to have you and Elinda as our very own researchers!

CancerActive/Rainbow Diet were the website and books that I followed from halfway through chemo and while I can’t say anything about my long-term survival just yet, it did make a massive and immediate improvement on my ability to cope with the tax. His books can be a bit random and heavy-going, especially with chemo brain, but very good all the same.

I looked into the acid/alkaline too, but thought it prohibited too many food groups, which I wasn’t that comfortable with. Would love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on it’s benefits.

Also, where is the recommendation on coconut oil - I always thought it was too high is saturated fat? Is coconut milk/cream any good - I do love a Thai curry!

I will watch the thread with interest as since dx I have changed my diet considerably. I admit it was terrible for the last few years before dx due to living on my own and working rediculously long hours. No real excuse I know but ready meals were so convenient. I have been on the Penny Brohn three day course and have introduced lots of their advice but still have occasional meat and have not excluded dairy just cut down. Pam

Dear Finty, I agree with your post whole heartedly as I too have had a lot of mud slung at me for sticking my head above the parapet on this site!!
I was on the bcans canadian website [now closed] and it was completely different in their attitudes towards diet.
I too have had a lot of pms about diet and different lifestyles so am very happy to join you with like minded people.
I did a lot of research on diet and life style changes when I was diagnosed as my homoeopath said to me that a cancer diagnosis means a big wake up call to unpick one’s life!!
I have read the rainbow diet and regularly go onto the canceractive website which is full or articles and research on cancer.
Best wishes to all

Okay I’ll risk a post now…thanks! And here’s hoping this new thread stays on track so we can share information and keep debates respectful. It’s a great resource.


If there is anything I can help with on the practical side of things please ask as we are smallholders and grow and produce most/all of our own veg, meat and eggs also scratch cooks both veggie and non veggie…no commercial veggie stuff bought. Also make all our own bread, cakes etc and never scrimp on best quality ingredients. I don’t use hydrogenated fats in anything and am very fussy re sourcing products and ingredients. I have lived this way all my life and we are all ridiculosly healthy apart from genetic susceptibility for bc( mother, grandmother, aunt and daughter besides me!)
I know many peole have never grown stuff nor kept hens etc so if anyone wants any help ask!

Thanks lif x

Wonderful to see all the postings!

Finty - forgot to say that coconut oil is not with the other oils in our Waitrose but in the section with vitamins, flaxseeds etc.

Gretchen - like everything, there is debate about coconut oil. The most mainstream school of thought is that it is harmful as it’s a saturated fat. See link below:

For the counter argument see this link which states it is beneficial to health:

I’ve decided to use this and olive oil as I’m keeping oil to a minimum anyway. I make a lot of curries but I mix the coconut milk with water anyway to keep the calories down.
I am going to see if I can find more research on this and get some clarification. Interesting though if Penny Brohn recommend it. Finty did they say why?