Jane Plant diet

Has anyone any experience of special diets for breast cancer patients, such as the one suggested by Jane Plant. This is basically a dairy free, red meat free diet. The argument is that particularly the hormone driven cancer is fed by the hormones in milk ( they milk pregnant cows you know) and in the meat from the growth hormones given cattle.

What other dietary advice do people follow?

Dear Viktoria, The Bristol Cancer Centre will send you a free dvd and sheets on dietary advice including what supplements they think are worth taking. They suggest a vegan diet too.
Best wishes

Growth hormones are not given to cattle in the European Union.
Organic cows are not milked when pregnant.
In my opinion the Jane Plant diet is twaddle. There have been many studies exploring a link with breast cancer and dairy and there has never been any connection found.
As many people who post here will tell you Jane Plant is very scant on facts and detail. She credits her “cure” to her diet - eventhough she had chemo and radiotherapy too.
(Incidentally she is very pro soya which many oncs are concerned about because of its extreme phyto-oestrogen qualities.)
If dairy products had anything to do with breast cancer then vegans wouldn’t get it - which they do.

My sister followed Jane Plant’s recommendations to the letter, following her BC diagnosis - she became completely vegan. But she still died. I have written to Jane (and to her publishers), but she hasn’t ever replied. I find it infuriating that she writes that her diet is such a success. She says that if you follow it you’ll be OK - this is just not true! Also my sister became badly undernourished as a result - eating an egg or some cheese would have given her some badly needed nutrition while she was on chemo, etc.

I can see there’s a grain of truth in what Jane says - after all the risk of getting breast cancer for Japanese women who migrate to the States and follow a Western diet increases dramatically. However, I think she wildly overstates the dangers of dairy. Also her reliance on soya is very dodgy. Plus she was having conventional treatment while on her diet, but only attributes her success to the diet!

Following my own diagnosis, I eat a bit of dairy (along with anything else I fancy). I would love to meet Jane Plant to discuss her book (but I bet she doesn’t want to meet me!)

Blackheath it’s really disappointing that Jane Plant didn’t reply to you.

Generally the problem is that there is so little research done on diet and she’s pulled together what there is to formulate her diet. I suppose in Jane’s defence the diet won’t work for everyone the same as chemo and surgery won’t.

I am largely following her diet (no red meat, no dairy, juices, wholegrains etc) although not lots of soya becuase I don’t like it. I haven’t gone vegan either as I do eat fish and have organic chicken once a week but other than that lots of things like chick pea curry etc. I missed cheese and milk chocolate a lot at first but not much now. Unlike Jane I have also cut out sugar completely.

All I can say is that it’s made my diet a lot healthier because it’s cut out all high fat and sugary things. My husband is following this as well. To be honest it was really hard for the first 6 weeks but now we love this diet and enjoy things like fruit so much more than we did before. We both wish we’d done this years ago. Ironically even though I’ve been having a hellish time with chemo I keep being told that I’ve never looked so healthy!

A lot of advice out there is conflicting so let’s hope more is invested into looking into this so we can have some conclusive research evidence.
elinda x

Hi Elinda,

Just do a search of the forums for Jane Plant. You will find that there have been many debates about Jane Plant. I won’t give my opinion here, as have ranted on the subject often in the past.

I do know other women who followed her diet, and still died…



what I was trying to say that I’ve opted to go for what I think is the healthiest diet I can as there is insufficient research to know what to add in or cut out with any certainty. I’m not following Jane’s diet to the letter. I’ve looked at other books and research as well not of which is any more conclusive.

My diet wasn’t that healthy before and I needed to lose weight so this reading her book kick started me to eat more healthily and I’ve lost a stone and a half. Personally I feel that I need to do something and diet is something in my control although i try not to be too obsessive about it.

There’s another book by David Servan-Schrieber that recommends giving up sugar and eating plenty of omega-3s (on the grounds that since WW2 agriculture has become more intensive and cows eat less omega3-rich grass, so human intake of omega 3 is too low). I think it’s fairly sensible advice. There’s also Foods to Fight Cancer which recommends specific foods such as citrus, oily fish, berries, cabbage and so on. I think a healthy diet without becoming obsessive is the best route.

Thanks Jenny. It was an article I read by David Servan-Schrieber that led me to give up sugar (I think Penny Brohn recommends that too (?) and generally nutritionists seem to recommend that for general health). I’ll take a look at the Foods to Fight Cancer as well.

“Generally the problem is that there is so little research done on diet”

There is plenty of research being done on diet and breast cancer… I work in food science. But I can’t post links on here!

Dear Mrs Blue

Is it possible to direct us to anything (without posting the link) particularly which has had conclusive results - I’d love to see it as I’m sure others would.
Elinda x

A Google search, especially Google Scholar, should give some helpful pointers. (include the word “research” in your keywords)
Ideally, BCC should be a useful source of information :slight_smile: but the Cancer Research UK and CancerHelp websites mention some research in progress.
The Genesis UK diet advice is also worth a look.
Hope this helps!

But Mrs Blue don’t all the experts end up saying the same thing? Fruit and veg, wholegrains, oily fish, not too much sugar, alcohol, dairy, red meat - if I’ve read this advice once, I’ve read it a million times - and I ate like this before I got BC!! It’s so frustrating.

I believe you are allowed to post links as long as they are to publicly accessible sites. Is that correct?

I agree there are actually LOTS of studies - huge amounts of research dollars already spent on investigating the link with dairy and bc. And nothing has been found.

I read Servan-Schreiber’s book with interest - he gives some sensible advice. Apart from anything else the man is a medical professional unlike Jane Plant who is a geologist.

I have been a healthy eater all my life - including spells as a vegan - but predominantly a vegetarian health food bore. And it didn’t do me any good.
I may as well have been eating deep fried lard sandwiches all my life.

I understand the desire to adjust diet because it is empowering - but I think if you already eat a good balanced diet then it won’t be of much help in preventing recurrence. All this “superfoods” bunkum and the likes of Gillian McKeith are peddling a lie.
Next time you are in the bookshop pick up a copy of Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science. It should be compulsory reading.

I suppose a healthy diet is about reducing risk not eliminating it. My Dad ate a healthy low fat all his life and still got heart disease. The only thing was the doctors thought his healthy diet and lifestyle gave him a longer life than he would otherwise have had. Who knows…

I’m just thinking the healthier I eat the better it must be for the body generally. Also hopefully reduce the risk of other diseases.

Thank you all for your comments.
I,m new to this having just been diagnosed with lobular, bilateral BC. I’m being operated on next week. So I’ve been searching for all and any information. It seems to that some cancers have hormone receptors - those patients get Tamoxifen, and some cancers have protein receptors and are treated with Herceptin. have I got that right?

In that case, perhaps it is only the hormone cancers that respond to jane Plant type diets.
any thoughts on that.

I do believe that I have always eaten a healthy diet, so Is there anything else I can do or is it all down to fate?

Hi Viktoria - I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis and I wish you well with all your treatment.

The Jane Plant diet has not been proven to work with any kind of cancer. In fact because of her obsession with soya (which many oncs are very wary of because of its oestrogenic properties that can undermine the efficacy of Tamoxifen) it may do more harm than good with ER+ cancers.

Jane Plant looked at Asia (China particularly) and noted that breast cancer rates were lower there than in the West. She noted that they consumed less dairy products and ate more soy products. This, she surmised, was the answer to cancer.
There is no hard solid reliable scientific evidence to support her claims at all. None.
In fact there have even been a couple of studies which suggest that a diet high in dairy may be mildly protective in post menopausal women.

If you are ER+ then weight is an issue as your adipose tissue (i.e. fat) creates oestrogen through the production of an enzyme called aromatase. The fatter you are - the more you produce. So if you are ER+ then it is advisable to keep your weight in check. And keep off the booze which stimulates aromatase production.

Best of luck with it all.

I was a Jane Plant devotee when first dx but have now put the book up for sale on Amazon. The Suzannah Olivier book is much better in my opinion.

Hi All,
In China and other Asian countries (especially Japan) the amount of IODINE consumed (seaweed)and Iodine rich foods is much much higher. This may be the “link”. Search the web and make you own conclusions. Also Vitamin D supplements (or reasonable amount of sunbathing-dont get burnt!). Both are non-toxic and cheap. Do your research in order to find out adequate amounts. Please also look at digestive enzymes.
To date, marked reduction in size of lymph nodes and tumour on breast…

Don’t take kelp if you are trying to increase the amount of iodine you consume. Kelp is very high in phyto-oestrogens and has been known to interfere with Tamoxifen.

The Vit D thing is very intriguing and I do supplement my diet with Vit D - it is the only supplement I take. Women in the north of USA have lower levels of Vit D than women in the south of the USA - and women in the north experience higher rates of bc and higher rates of recurrence. Women in Northern Europe have higher rates of breast cancer incidence (with the Scandinavians topping the chart) than women in Southern Europe. I think the connection with breast cancer, sunlight, melatonin and Vit D is a fascinating one.