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advice about food please

26 REPLIES 26

Re: advice about food please

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

Re: advice about food please

Well said, Linda.

Re: advice about food please

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

Re: advice about food please

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.
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Re: advice about food please

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

Re: advice about food please

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.

Re: 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!

Re: advice about food please

Here it is lol, think we all need a good laugh sometimes. x
http://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/community/forums/daily-mail-lastest-bc-story

Re: advice about food please

Hi Linda I was thinking of that thread as I was typing. x

Re: advice about food please

THe Daily Mail is not all bad though Belinda, i did throw out those Yellow Wellies , (wasnt worth the risk lol)
Linda x

Re: advice about food please

Hi jayne j, there was an article in the Daily Mail (of course!) just recently and I ticked all the right boxes so it's very unlikely I will ever get breast cancer..except I have and I was diagnosed with secondaries, also er+, from the very beginning, ten years ago when I was in my early 40's. I breast fed, for a much longer time than the average first 4-6 months, I was a young Mum, just twenty years old, have always been a non smoker and tee total. I have never taken the pill, was slim, active and had a healthy diet, with organic dairy, meat fruit and veg etc.
Some ladies with secondaries who post on the forums have asked me about my diet every now and then as I have been living, pretty well, for ten years now. I have no tips or secrets, my diet is still the same as it was. I have had some good responses to common cancer treatments available to all and that is the only reason I'm still here. Well meaning and kind friends sent me various 'you can beat this' diet books when I was first diagnosed. I thanked them and then gave them, unread, on to charity shops.
I'm so sorry to read of your diagnosis, I too have bone mets and was diagnosed with bc and bone mets when my hip spontaneously fractured. Quite a shock. I had a hip replacement which went well. I had no problems from the op or recovery. And since then I've had both hormonal treatment and chemo.
The advice I gave myself was not to ask 'how long' as no-one knows how you will respond to any one treatment. I desperately wanted my life to carry on pretty much as it did before...(not that it can really) but I try my best. I wish you well in your treatment. For me part of feeling 'normal' was not avoiding certain foods or drinking something horrible because someone has said it helps control cancer.
With Love, Belinda..x
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Re: advice about food please

Thank you for all your posts. I will look at all the recommended websites. I do realise this is a hot topic and there are many views.

Re: advice about food please

Linda, very eloquently put and very informative,thank you
Z

Re: advice about food please

I think there is far too much of a blame culture sometimes surrounding cancer , the main risk factor for getting breast cancer is haveing BREAST'S, like most ladies i didnt have any of the so called risk factors either , no family history, always ate organic, home cooked meals, very little meat, t-totall all my life ,never been over weight, very fit ,ect ect ect ,it was proberly was just bad luck, and likely a gene fault somewhere yet to still be be discovered.

I think it is natural to try and blame something for the cause of our cancers , but the truth is cancer is a very complex desease and likely has many factors involved all comeing together at once , i dont blame anything i did /didnt do for getting BC and havent change anything in my lifestyle ,as i dont see what i could have changed anyway that may have made any difference.
I think its also usefull to remember that BC has been around for a very long time ,the first ever recorded case of breast cancer for instance was found on eygptian mumies as far back as 3000 BC so long before some of the "so called" risk factors banded around today.
There are a lot of very misleading and tottally unreliable "websites" online regarding cancer , and the information and advice can be extreamly conflicting and very often wrong, unfortunatly many claims, re "Cures" Diets" "Supps" Pills and potions ect are very often aimed at the vulnerable, and especialy cancer patients so its no wonder that it can be confusing as it certainly is a minefield out there.

Diet/food has always been a Hot Topic on the forums ,its a subject that has often raised heated debate, however in the 6+ yrs that i personaly been researching the subject, along with ALT, i have yet to find any credible evidence to support any of the many claims, Diet is important in the case of obesity as being obese has now been shown to be a definate risk factor for BC , however, there are currently No foods, this includes dairy,sugar,meat ect that have been shown to have any strong links with breast cancer.

The advice from BCC ,Macmillan and also CRUK is sound, and was again confirmed along with the vast majority of other studies conducted over the yrs into diet and bc by EPIC ,The EPIC study is currently the largest , and most comprehensive study ever conducted into diet and cancer to date, EPIC included 500,000 people, in 10 different countries ,all with very different dietry needs ,ie dairy eaters/non dairy eaters, meat eaters/non meat eaters Epic also included vegetarians and vegans , In aug 2010 , EPIC concluded again that NO Strong dietry links had been found between "Breast Cancer or Prostrate Cancer ".

My advice, (for what its worth) is Always try and stick to the most reputuable and reliable websites ,where you will find up to date information that you can trust , any cancer related website that has a "Shop" or sells diet books, Supps or any other unproven treatments/remedies for cancer should signal a red flag, reptuable cancer websites will never try to sell you any of these things.

Charlie oo7 , Just wanted to raise a word of caution re the Cancer Active Website , Chris Wollams is not a medical dr, and also has No medical degree ,many claims on this particular website are pretty dubious to say the least and again totally unproven and unsubstanciated, Many Cancer Scientists, Drs,Oncologists do not support the claims made on this site, A very good blog (which is one of many online) (Written by a medical Scientist) is currently highlighting this website ,includeing the new Cancer Active book ","Everything you need to know to beat Cancer"
http://josephinejones.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/book-review-everything-you-need-to-know-to-help-you-b...

Linda

Re: advice about food please

That's ok thumbie

Re: advice about food please

Sorry, Zuleika, I didn't mean you were blaming drinking and smoking. I meant 'you' as in 'one'.

Re: advice about food please

I'm not blaming drinking or smoking

Re: advice about food please

As regards risk factors it's important to keep them in perspective. Tiny percentages of extra risk attach to various life style choices such as smoking. But the major risk factor is being female and over a certain age. Even that doesn't mean you can't get BC if you are male or under the age. If everyone gave up smoking and drinking tomorrow it would not wipe out BC. You can't blame smoking, drinking or whatever, you can only blame being alive. Sadly some people seem to think that an individual is to blame for their BC, understandable in a way because it gives the idea that you can control whether you get it. You can reduce the risk a little bit, that's all.

Re: advice about food please

I admire anyone doing what they can to help their own condition, but agree with horse 5040 regarding having a bit of what you fancy, now and then. My own situation is that I have breast cancer, despite no risk factors. My diet has always been healthy, I don't drink caffeine at all, drink very little alcohol, am not overweight, exercise regularly and have never smoked. Despite all of this, I still got bc. So, I don't think anyone should beat themselves up if they did/do these things.
A healthy diet is good for long term health benefits in general.
Good luck to everyone doing their bit, however small
Z x

Re: advice about food please

the only thing I do different is dandelion tea for fluid retention but studies have shown its good for breast cancer x

Re: advice about food please

Haya, I am so sorry that you have mets, a secondary diagnosis is always a huge shock and one which takes a long time to "sink in", if it ever does. Like you I have bone mets and I also have liver mets.

What I would like to say is that once the cancer has spread around your body there is no food on this planet which will cure you, please don't think that reading a book about Rainbow Diets is going to sure/ beat the cancer. It isn't. You may think I am sounding harsh, but it's fact. Those lucky enough to have a Primary Diagnosis are in a completely different place to us and are hoping a good diet will stop reacurrance. The advice I would give you is to eat sensibly and try to loose any excess weight ( I apologise if you are whippet thin) if you need to , this will help the burden on your spine. But - if you fancy eating a box of Mint creams, do. If you fany a bag of crisps and a glass of wine, then do it! You need to enjoy your life and not endure it!
Eat healthily, enjoy treats and talk to your oncologist, he/she will give you sensible advice. Good Luck.xxx

Re: advice about food please

The Haven also do a healthy eating leaflet, www.thehaven.org.uk if you are near to one (London, Hereford, Leeds) they alo offer appointments ith a dietician which may be useful

Re: advice about food please

Hi Jane,
Macmillan has also produced a short video on Eating Well and the role of diet which offers advice about healthy eating and is written by one of the macmillan specialist dietitions.
http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Causesriskfactors/Causes/Dietlifestyle.aspx
All the best to you
Linda
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Re: advice about food please

Hi Jayne
Im just finishing reading 'The Rainbow Diet and How it Can Help you Beat Cancer" by Chris Woollams. Available on the Cancer Active web site or through Amazon. Iv found it to be full of very usefull information on diet and supplements and easy to read and dip in and out of. It also has a chapter "Eat to beat oestrogen" (my breast cancer was also very ER+). There is no one wonder cure but lots of things that in combination can help. The advice he gives seemed to make alot of sense to me.
After i finished my recent 9 months of treatment-I also visited a homeopathic nutritionist- thats been an expensive venture and i found it all rather daunting at first- but i took about 2 weeks to research the advice i was given and again found it all to be well founded. I am following much of this advice and I have to say my energy levels and general sense of well being is improving.
All the best
Karen

Re: advice about food please

Hi Jayne

In addition to the replies you will soon have here, please feel free to call our helpliners to talk through your queries on 0808 800 6000, lines are open 9-5 weekdays and 10-2 Saturdays

You may find the follwoing information from BCC useful to read through too, just click on the following link:

http://www2.breastcancercare.org.uk/publications/health-wellbeing/diet-breast-cancer-bcc98

Best wishes

Lucy

Re: advice about food please

Hi Jayne
I went to a 'Living Well with Cancer' Course run by the Penny Brohn (ex Bristol Cancer Centre). They focus quite a bit on diet and the advice I was given can be summerised as - tr to get as much of your food from vegetable sources as possible, be moderate with red meat, dairy and soya. If you want to avoid these do but be aware of eating a too restricted diet. Avoid sugar, alcohol , caffiene and proccessed food. Eat organic if you can afford it but not to over worry. Basically I was advised to follow the 80% approach i.e. try to stick to the guidelines about 80% of the time but remember life is for living and kicking over the traces once in a while is not going to kill you.
Very down to earth and doable. Have a look at their website.
All the best - Jacqui

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advice about food please

Hi, can anyone give me some advice about food? I have er+. When i was 1st diagnosed 11years ago, i didn't really change much of my diet. I had a mastectomy, tamoxifen and zoladex, and headed for the door, till the next check up. Now i have extensive bone mets ( still coming to terms - if you ever do - With it) I really want to do everything i can to help myself. I have read some of the posts on complementary therapies, and know it seems like a minefield. I f anyone is in the same situation as me and has some advice i would love to hear from you. I have given up alcahol and am eating more veg., always have lots of fruit and salad anyway. I looked up high oestrogen food and saw olive oil,peppers, tomatoes,carrots + other healthy food! on the list. Is there any anti oestrogen foods? The internet is very contradictary, my onc just said not to eat too much soya. Thanks Jayne.j