Image Credit: Ed Uthman, MD / Wikimedia Commons

Can diet be used to treat kidney cancer?

I’ve been diagnosed as follows: Papilary renal cell carcinoma. The carcinoma is metastatic (Stage IV).

Wondering if you have any subscribers know of anyone who have beaten this type / stage of metastatic cancer using diet? Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. I need to make a decision very soon regarding traditional (western) treatment or a better way.

Thank you very much,
Jeff J.

jeffj / Originally Posted in Preventing Kidney Failure Through Diet


The nice thing about dietary interventions is that they can be undertaken in addition to whatever you and your physician agree upon is the right course of action in your case.

Unfortunately I’m not aware of any studies on the role of diet in surviving renal cell carcinoma. I do have videos on diet for bladder cancer survival, early stage prostate cancer (in relation to flax seedssaturated fatplant-based diets), breast cancer survival (in relation to soy, flax seeds herehere and heresaturated fat, and trans fat) and reversing the progression to esophageal and oral cancer, but none that cover dealing with kidney cancer because it apparently hasn’t been studied.

However, because Cancer Prevention and Treatment May Be the Same Thing in many cases, I would recommend you consider eating the kind of diet that has been associated with kidney cancer prevention. For example, in the current issue of one of my favorite journals, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this question was put to the test in what may be the largest prospective study ever, the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, which followed nearly half a million people for about a decade. Noting that “Plant-based and fiber-rich diets high in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains are recommended to prevent cancer and chronic conditions associated with renal cell carcinoma,” the study found fiber intake was associated with a significant 15-20% lower risk of renal cell carcinoma and that the most powerfully protective foods included legumes (beans, chickpeas and lentils), whole grains, and cruciferous vegetables. Refined grain intake, however, was associated with increased risk. Last year the same group of researchers found that cooked meat carcinogens may double the risk of papillary renal cell carcinoma. The only other new study I know of found that nitrite from processed meats and other animal sources (but not plant sources) was associated with an increased risk as well.

Finally, given that most of the new treatments developed for renal cell carcinoma (Axitiniband, Bevacizumab, Everolimus, Pazopanib, Sorafenib, Sunitinib, Temsirolimus) attempt to block the formation of new blood vessels to the tumor, that would be all the more reason to pack your diet with foods containing anti-angiogenic phytonutrients such as apigen, luteolin, and fisitin found in strawberries, citrus, celery, peppers, and many other fruits and vegetables. In my volume 13 DVD I have a video on this whole concept called Cutting Off Tumor Supply Lines. It should be up on the website in a few weeks, but if you email me your mailing address I’d be happy to send you a copy.

Image credit: Ed Uthman, MD via Wikimedia Commons


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

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