Hi WP23, when I met with my oncologist last year I mentioned that I had been taking supplements to improve my immune system and was shocked to be told that I had to stop immediately as basically they could interfere with my treatment. The oncologist explained exactly why and it made sense. So I stopped. You have to do as the professionals say as they know best.
Take care x
I had my appointment with the surgeon today to get the results, then my appointment with the oncologist - a lot to take in today. Both told me NOT to take any supplements - even vitamins - as they can interact with the chemo drugs. And apparently the book is wrong - soy/soya are NOT good if you have an oestrogen receptive cancer as they will do the opposite to what we need to drugs to do. The advice was no supplements - even vitamins - at all as they might interact with the chemo drugs and make them less effective. I have learned that we have to be very careful with the advice we take from books or articles.
They were happy enough with all the food we have on the list though!
I also spent a few days on a course at the Penny Brohn Centre in Bristol about a year after my diagnosis and would certainly recommend it. I went on my own but several of the other participants had partners/family members with them.
I didn't agree with all the recommendations and did find a couple of the presenters rather patronising but, that aside, it was a very worthwhile experience and the group of people I was with were very varied and good fun, and I'm still in touch with a couple of them, 4 years later.
I hope you are all doing well and enjoying any dietary changes! Last week I went on the 2 day "Living Well With the Impact of Cancer" course at the Penny Brohn Centre in Bristol. For anyone on this thread who is interested in making lifestyle changes and helping themselves to live a better life after cancer, I cannot recommend it highly enough. In terms of the information presented, I felt there was not so much new stuff as I have read fairly widely and been on a 1 day course at the Haven, but in terms of relaxation and getting connected with your inner spirit again, it was amazing. I came home feeling as if I had been on a retreat. The course is free (donations welcomed!) including fantastic healthy food and beautiful accommodation in the countryside just outside Bristol (and no they aren't paying me to advertise it!) If you can get to Bristol (it's about 140 miles away from me) it's well worth it, and you can go at any stage of treatment or, like me, after treatment is over.
Their approach to healthy eating "has at its core the belief that people are healthiest when they follow a diet composed of foods in their most natural state....The Bristol Approach to healthy eating aims to encourage people to eat a whole food diet that is based on fresh, unprocessed foods." Much of the advice was very much like what has been discussed on this thread. I can't copy all their recommendations her but in summary of food groups, they recommend;
Foods to eat in abundance
vegetables and fruit, whole grains, pulses, protein foods, healthy fats, herbs and spices, water
Foods to eat in moderate amounts
read meat, dairy products, caffeine, soya products
Foods to eat in minimal amounts
refined grains and sugars, damaged fats, processed meats, barbequed or griddled foods, salt, alcohol
For me, one of the key benefits of having been on the course is that now I can have a one-to-one appointment with a nutritionalist and with a holistic doctor. I really want to talk through all the diet changes I have made with a professional, and I want some advice on supplements before spending a fortune on tablets I may not need.
Best wishes to everyone.
I think it was the sh-it-ake mushrooms PaulS (didn't like the first 4 letters! 😄 ) x
Ha ha! Thanks Jo. Wonder why it didn't like mushrooms? I couldn't work out what swear word it might think I'd typed!
Re: aspirin, what makes you say "we are not told we cannot take it for pain relief"?
Just curious, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. In 2011 my gastro-enterologist recommended a daily dose of 75mg aspirin as a precaution against developing bowel cancer (of which I have a strong family history). I have been doing it ever since.
yet another interesting article........... questions whether aspirin can improve breast cancer survival rates..........guess it is worth asking the question. I would try if my oncologist agreed........ however we are not told we cannot take it for pain relief
I note all of the foods are also recomended in the beat cancer book by Jane Plant.....the book also lists foods and other things to avoid...like deodorants, plastics, sunsceen,types of soap, perfumes,make up... she recommended sites below:
She emphasises the importance of avoiding category 1 carcinogens - : http://monographs.iarc.fr
I also read the article below......again food for thought and any knowledge can be enriching. However I have not found any recent research to support the article re olive oil x Donna
Thanks for that PaulS, it's pretty much just what I'm doing, except I do eat fruit by the bucketful. I take organic flax seed oil, which tastes awful, so I put one tsp of that on my salads and top it up with olive oil,and it gets mixed up with tomatoes, beetroot etc, and have linseeds sprinkled on top of my breakfast weetabix, with oat milk.
I tended towards a vegetarian diet for many years, and mentioned on the other thread about dairy that I needed to take control when a second breast cancer was found 5 years after the first. I read more about Jane Plant's findings and went from there, no dairy at all, no chocolate etc, my one treat each day after being discharged following my mastectomy is a glass of champagne.
Interesting stuff here. Thanks, Jo x
PS I like the idea of bleeping mushrooms!
I was reading your post and noticed that our automatic 'smut' filter has edited one of the mushrooms! I can't type it in again as it will automatically edit it again. Made me laugh - I will bring this to the attention of our technical team, we don't need to be editing mushrooms!!
Interesting thread. However, there seem to be so many contradictions in advice whether it be in books, websites, learned journals. Some people are strong advocates of soy-based products, personally I avoid them because of the phytoestrogens. I avoid parabens in products too which is a pretty easy thing to do.
Interesting comment about getting the "right water", difficult if tap water is not considered 'right' when most bottled water comes in plastic bottles and there have been concerns over carcinogenic chemicals leaching into the contents.
I found myself going round and round in circles trying to wade through the evidence so now I just stick to what I was doing before my diagnosis i.e a balanced diet, plenty of variety, not too much of one thing, no convenience foods, no refined sugars. I include dairy, alcohol in moderation (wine/beer/cider) and (occasional) red meat because I enjoy them
I think the main thing is to be happy with any adjustments to your diet. As someone commented, it's important to feel like you're taking some control. Best wishes to everyone.
Thanks everyone for posting - I really want to do whatever I can to help myself, and all of you.
I plan to speak with a nutritionist and a herbalist at the Maggie's Cenre at my hospital, and I'll let you know! I also feel that the advice on all the supplements is a bit confusing and that I could find myself buying loads of different thinngs just because I see them on a list and land up with a hotchpotch. I have the added problem that I am diabetic so I can't eat all the carbs as they simply turn into sugar. Having worked so very hard over the past six months to lose all this weight (6 st 3 lbs), and get my blood sugar reaings down to a very healthy 4.2 this morning, I am not going to undo all this work.
I have been adding/changing one thing a day. Today I began on the ginseng (which apparently does the same job as tamoxifen, only much better and much more kindly!) and it is to be taken with soy (which I will need to get tomorrow). I am nowhere near the stage of the hormone drugs but thought that this would do no harm and might be doing some good! I have tried to eat little more each day in preparation for Monday's surgery - the 600-800 calories a day I have eaten since January might not give me the strength I need to recover quickly! So I have added a little more protein to my meal this week. I am really fed up that I need more surgery as I have healed so well and have full arm movement again. But I am trying to be positive!
I wish you all well with whatever you are eling with this week.
Interesting question fimbo123.
I was 24 when I first started following the diet. For approximately the next 10 years,I needed to keep an eye on my diet and keep getting back on track as slipping would soon ensure that my glands would swell up, the flu-like symptoms would rear their ugly head and my energy levels would plummet. Eventually, I found that I could have a certain amount of forbidden foods and still be fine and so since then (probably the past 8 or 9 years) my basic diet has been healthy and I cook most meals from scratch.... but I have been eating the occasional cakes, puddings, snacks, white flour products, pre made pizzas etc. So, although my ME had been 'cured', who knows if this latest development could have been avoided if I had continued to stick to it?
I think in this BC journey you can spend quite a lot of time trying to find the reasons 'why'. Truth is, we'll never know. But I do intend to give my body the best chance to recover that I can and I do know from experience that what you put into your body is a very important part of that.
I have ordered a copy of "Beat Cancer: How to Regain Control of Your Health and Your Life" by Jane Plant after a recommendation by a friend. I believe she recommends a dairy free, predominantly vegan diet.
It's great to learn of so many of us trying to take control of improving our health! Mel and PaulS, both your stories are inspirational! Whilst not wanting to introduce a negative note, I would like to ask Mel if you feel that you need to make any changes to your diet now given that (I assume) you were diagnosed with BC while following it?
One thing which has not been mentioned much is the power of the mind to influence the immune system. This used to be thought a lot of old hocus pocus, yet the placebo effect is accepted without question now. I read a book called "Getting Well Again" by Dr O Carl Simonton, Stephanie Matthews-Simonton and James L Creighton. Dr Simonton was an American oncologist and his wife Stephanie was a psychologist. In the 60s they started to look at how the mind could effect cancer. They used visualisation and a number of other techniques and had some really remarkable results. There is a lot of information in the book about creating helpful mental imagery to visualise cancer being healed. With regard to the immune system, they say that it is really important to visualise your white blood cells as much more clever, organised and prolific than the cancer. For myself, now that my active treatment is finished, I try to imagine the Tamoxifen circulating in my blood and wrapping a film like clingfilm around any tiny cancer cells that might be lurking. Then I imagine some "lookout" immune system cells noticing what is happening and calling for reinforcements...a huge army of white blood cells arrive, surround the cancer cells, eat them up and take them out of my body via the liver or kidneys. I then picture my blood, lymph, bones and organs as being healthy and clear. I'm not sure how biologically accurate this is and you might think it's a load of mumbo jumbo but I do find it helpful.
I was diagnosed in May 2013 and have made quite a few changes to my diet since then. I'll try to list them in case anyone else finds it useful. I have based my changes on the books I have read, the canceractive website, and a introductory course I went on at the Haven which included a session on nutrition. I found all the information overwhelming but made changes in small steps.
Some principles I try to stick to: little or no sugar, no white refined carbohydrates, no processed foods, no dairy, no red meat (although in the winter I did have some venison but if it's farmed I'm not sure it's any better for you than beef or lamb), no alcohol except red wine. Eat as many vegetables as possible(!), especially raw, juiced or lightly steamed. Eat as many colours of vegeatbles as possible. Try to eat no more than 2-3 pieces of fruit per day (to limit sugar intake). i only juice vegetables, not fruit, as the fructose is absorbed too quickly when the fibre is removed from fruit. Eat whole grains (brown rice, bulgar wheat, quinoa, oats etc). I try to eat less wheat than before just to make sure I eat different grains and don't rely on wheat. At each meal, try to make 50% of the plate vegetables, 20% protein, 20% carbohydrates and 10% fat. Make sure every meal includes protein as this slows down the rise in blood sugar you would get if you only ate carbs. Eat organic produce as much as possible (but it's SOOO expensive!).
Foods I make a special effort to include are: berries, nuts (walnuts and almonds), seeds, pulses, garlic, onions, spring onions, oyster mushrooms, flaxseed, sprouted seeds and beans, green tea (at least 4 cups of Japanese Sencha per day). At least one helping of cruciferous vegetables per day. I think it is important to keep your gut healthy by taking a probiotic but I haven't quite worked out what to take yet! I do have home fermented almond milk kefir on my muesli in the morning and I'm hoping the cultures in the kefir are doing something for the good bacteria in my gut, but I think I need to research this further. Oh, and I eat some Green & Blacks organic 80% dark chocolate every day as my treat. My tastebuds have really changed and now I would find milk chocolate or processed sugary products too sickly.
This all sounds difficult but I have made the changes really gradually and I have never enjoyed what I eat more than I am doing now. And I feel really well . Obviously I don't know if it's working or not, but my onc thinks I look well and is supportive. I have a husband and 3 young sons and they go along with some of this. They know I really want to be well, and they want me to be well, so by and large they humour me, with only a few complaints! I sometimes don't cook exactly what I'd like to because I know the boys wouldn't eat it, and I am the only one who drinks the green tea or green juice!
The next area I want to work on is supplements. I currently take a multivitamin with selenium, vitamin D3, fish oil, brewers yeast and modified citrus pectin, but it feels a bit ad hoc and I'd like to get some advice on it. I'm going on a course at the Penny Brohn Centre next week and I'm going to ask there. I'll let you know if they have any further useful tips. Does anyone here know where you can get reputable advice on supplementation?
It's great to hear everyone's information! xx
I'm a great believer in the power of food to heal. I had a particularly bad bout of glandular fever when I was 14 years old which I never fully recovered from. A few years later, following countless blood tests and head scatching, I was diagnosed with ME, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I lived with this for 10 years until a met a lady (who has since become one of my closest friends) who had been diagnosed with the same and told that she would probably never be able to hold down a full time job again... but she had been cured.
She gave me the name of a naturopath who I went to see. I was given a variety of homeopathic remedies but told that the secret to the cure was diet. There were plenty of do's and dont's but she explained that the crux of it all was that, in general, if it didn't look like it had been just dug up, just picked or just shot.... don't eat it! In addition to these rules, red meat and pork was out, eggs and chicken had to be free range and organic, fish not farmed. Pulses and lentils were great and the more veggies eaten raw the better. No limit on natural herbs and spices. No tea or coffee (herbal/green was fine) No sugar. Honey was fine. Organic natural bio yoghurt. Organic wholegrain bread was ok. I was told that once I had been symptom free for 6 months, I could add red wine in too. Bonus!!
Basically, this means that every meal must be cooked from scratch but it is something that very quickly becomes a way of life and not a chore. You just have to get inventive. (you also find that your dustbin remains remarkably empty due to the lack of packaging!)
After 3 months of following this diet, I felt my energy levels return and felt better than I had for 10 years. I also lost a couple of stone in weight. I never had another full blown episode but for several years used to feel myself going back down every so often and would have to stop all the odd treats I had been adding in and get back on track.... each time, within days, I would start to feel better.
I'm not going to attempt to follow this to the letter whilst I am going through chemo as it may be a case of just eating what I can stomach, but I have every intention of following it to the letter afterwards to clear the last of the chemo out of my body and boost and support my immune system.
Thanks so much for starting this thread, I really do think that changes to diet will be a huge benefit.
I am pleased you are feeling so well following surgery and wish you lots of luck with results of nodes.
Hopefully we can keep this thread going with regular updates on how we are all changing diet and lifestyle 🙂
Green tea - I have bought it and plan to drink it instead of coffee, regular tea, etc.
Interestingly, I have just been recommended bee propilis for my diabetes and plan to get that tomorrow. I have now read the whole Quillan book and plan ot make a list of all the foods the recomments. I am unsure about all the other supplements though. Is there a list of the very best.essential ones that we should get? Now, on to read Radical Remissions.
Good luck ladies with this week's challenges!
Thanks everyone for these posts. I have bought the Quillian book and have found it very interesting reading. I'll look for the other books on Amazon and try to read them.
I am in a tricky place with food, as in January was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and I asked my GP if this was me for life. He said this was a very interesting question, and pointed me to research that had recently been done at Newcastle University by researchers who challenged the view that it was permanent and argued that it could be reversed with a very low calorie diet and exercise. Apparently obese people who had bariatric surgery often have Type 2 dibetes and symptoms disappeared within weeks of the surgery. The researchers hypothesised that this was to do with the severe reduction in calories, and eating only non-starchy vegetables and berries, and did a clinical trial with diabetics and for most of them it reversed!
Anyway, since January I have been on this Newcastle diet (they provided recipes for meals and soups which use garlic, cinammon, tumeric herbs etc) and and have lost 6 stones 1 lb, and my blood sugar readings are now completely normal. I took control of my body, and my GP is amazed at what I have achieved! I have only eaten non-strachy vegetables and strawberries, raspberries, bluberries, with absolutely no sugary fruits, meat, sugar, dairy, carbs, etc. From the Quillin book it looks like this will have been good! No sugar in my system to feed the cancer (apparently cancer likes sugar!)!
I plan to read more, educate myself better, and will add to the list of foods already on this thread. Let's take control! I will trust the medics to do the other things - surgery, chemo, radiotherapy, but this is something I can do for myself. Thank you so much for starting this thread! It is good to feel we can do something.
I'd like to hear the answer that that question! I think they mean superfoods - blackberries, blueberries, pomegranates, mushrooms, grape seed extract, cinnamon, etc etc which are very high in antioxidants and excellent for our immune systems. We have a colleague who was diagnosed last year with inoperable brain tumours - she had the conventional treatments to shrink them, which helped, but then she trawled the internet for advice on healthy eating to turbo charge her immune system and she is convinced they are helping as the tumours are still shrinking and the medics are amazed and very interested! She is a biochemist and definitely understands much more about how the body works than I do, and is pretty convinced she is making a difference. She walked the Pennine Way (I think this is what it is called) over the summer! Last summer she could hardly walk to the bathroom!