A published review of 13 ‘anti cancer’ diets has arrived at the unsurprising conclusion that there is a lack of solid evidence to support a benefit for any of them, and a real risk of harm from malnutrition from several of them.
When a person is told they have cancer, a common reaction can be to turn away from conventional medical treatments and to seek an unproven remedy that offers the claim of ‘curing’ cancer. Sadly, if a true cancer cure was found, all doctors and health professionals would know about it and cancer would be a thing of the past.
Unproven cancer treatments are sometimes called ‘alternative medicine’, but this is not the case as they do not represent a true alternative to conventional medicine.
In a recent review of 13 common ‘cancer diets’ promoted on the Internet and widely used by patients with cancer, expert groups assessed the clinical evidence for the cancer-curing claims made by the diets. There was little in the way of any quality clinical evidence to support a benefit for any of the diets, and of concern, risks such as malnutrition were linked to several of the diets.
While seeking out unproven treatments does offer hope and gives some sense of control back to the cancer sufferer, the cost can be very expensive both financially and physically and can place major strains on a person’s lifestyle and personal relationships.
It is best to be cautious about unproven ‘cancer cures’ and to always seek some professional independent advice. Many unproven treatments advise cutting out whole entire food groups such as meat or dairy which can severely lower energy intake and add to weight loss, tiredness and decreased immune function.
Many books have been written by people who have conquered cancer using an unproven ‘cancer cure’. These are only personal accounts and there is no way of assessing if the treatment was the cause of the cure as many people successfully beat cancer without using unproven treatments. To take the opposing view, there is very little written or said about those people who do not have the same success with such treatments.
One of the best resources that a person with cancer could read is that produced by the American Cancer Society on Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors.
The Guidelines deal with nutrition during and after cancer treatment, the beneficial role of exercise, considerations for specific types of cancer and includes a detailed ‘patient friendly’ FAQ near the end of the document on many common questions asked by people with cancer.
Confused about the mixed soup of nutrition messages being stirred through the media? Tim maintains an active nutrition blog at www.thinkingnutrition.com.au where you’ll find the latest nutrition research and controversies discussed in straight forward language, distilling out what you need to know for your better health.