How diet can help fight cancer Health and fitness editor Matt Guy Wright talks to the experts on the link between nutrition and cancer
Most of us will be affected by cancer at some point in our lives. Whether battling it personally or watching a loved one fight the disease, cancer is a dragon that must be slain. There is though more and more evidence-based research coming to light with proof that, while we may not yet have discovered the cure, there are steps we can take to improve the situation for those undergoing cancer treatment. And for the rest of us, these steps can minimise the risk of being diagnosed with the disease. As an advisor to the National Institute Of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), I spend a great deal of time studying reports on cancer research, prevention and treatment. But in order for me to write about this subject with even more authority, I interviewed two experts in breast cancer research.
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Barbara Parry MSc RD is one of only two senior research dieticians in the country. And Penny Ericson is a breast cancer survivor and carer, chef and author. She has written several books, including the best-selling Chemo Cookery Club. The importance of gaining strength We know a healthy diet can be of great assistance to the quality of life during all stages of cancer, its many forms of treatment and during remission. There is considerable evidence supporting the benefits of a plantbased diet in cancer prevention.
there is learning ‘a new normal’,” Penny tells me. “Simon’s chemo nurses were amazed that every two weeks he had gained weight and built body strength while on chemotherapy. That boiled down to a positive attitude, good nutrition and exercise.
Penny’s husband, novelist Simon Hawkins, received the all-clear two years ago after enduring colon cancer.
“This period in Simon’s treatment was the turning point. His oncologists and surgeons were the first to acknowledge that without regaining his strength through good nutrition and diet they could never have attempted the extensive and groundbreaking operation that saved his life. Simon underwent an operation that would have been a challenge for even the fittest of men. The extent of the procedure had never been done anywhere in the world.”
“He learned that part of the healing process is change. There is no ‘going back to normal’,
When it comes to breast cancer, weight gain can be one side effect of treatment.