Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Randy
A whole-food, plant-based diet may reduce cancer risk and also has potential to treat cancer. Breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy may benefit from adding phytates to their diet. Other specific plant-based foods that may help treat cancer include sweet potatoes, seaweed, strawberries, flaxseeds, amla, avocados, and soy. Turmeric seems especially helpful in treating cancers such as pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and skin cancer, perhaps due to curcumin’s ability to boost immune function.
A type of fiber found in shiitake mushrooms is approved for use as adjunct chemotherapy. However, there are certainly circumstance when chemotherapy is more effective than alternative treatments in both prolonging life and boosting quality of life.
Rheumatoid arthritis patients and multiple sclerosis patients sometimes use chemotherapy drugs to treat their disease, and a plant-based diet may be a safer alternative. The Swank Diet, low in saturated fat, may be particularly helpful for MS patients.
A neutropenic diet (one devoid of fresh fruit and vegetables) has not been found to be beneficial in preventing infections in immune-compromised patients such as those undergoing chemotherapy. Oatmeal lotion may relieve itch and irritation caused by Cetuximab, a class of chemo drugs. Peppermint aromatherapy may help with post-chemotherapy nausea.
While attempting to come up with a chemotherapy-like dose of broccoli or broccoli sprouts, researchers found them to be toxic after about 100 cups a day. The food additive red dye #3 and a few liquid smoke products may cause DNA damage comparable to chemotherapy drugs, which are designed to break down DNA. The chemotherapy drug, Taxol, comes from the bark of the Pacific yew tree.