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  • "The Best Diet for Cancer Patients"

  • Our lifetime risk of developing an invasive cancer,

  • not like some superficial skin cancer or like ductal carcinoma

  • of the breast, but serious cancer is about 40%.

  • Two in five of us are going to get a cancer diagnosis in our lifetimes.

  • What can we do to reduce our risk?

  • Only about 5% of cancers are caused

  • by problem genes we inherited from our parents.

  • The other 95% are caused by mutations

  • in our DNA we acquire in our lifetimes.

  • For example, based on a genetic analysis of lung cancer,

  • smokers may acquire an average of one DNA mutation

  • for every 15 cigarettes smoked.

  • Smoking is bad, but the number one cause of these mutations is our diet,

  • and that's not even including the cancers attributed to obesity.

  • I've got tons of videos on dietary approaches to prevent cancer,

  • but what if you already have it?

  • Well-meaning professionals sometimes counsel cancer patients

  • toEat whatever you want.“

  • Given the time constraints that doctors face, it may be understandable

  • that the treating oncologist, the treating cancer doctor,

  • may be reluctant to engage in a conversation about nutrition,

  • but given the critical role that diet may play,

  • perhaps it should be a critical part of their job to be able

  • to answer patients' questions about nutrition before and

  • after cancer treatment and not default to the unhelpful

  • it doesn't really matter, eat whatever you want

  • which may not be in the best interest of the patient.

  • The official recommendation

  • of the American Institute for Cancer Research,

  • a leading authority on diet and cancer,

  • is that those with cancer should follow the same diet

  • that helps prevent cancer from taking root in the first place.

  • That means more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans,

  • while limiting fast food, processed food, meat, soda and alcohol.

  • Similar recommendations have been

  • put forth by other cancer authorities:

  • more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and beans,

  • and less salt, sugar, meat, and alcohol.

  • Cancer survivors adhering to these guidelines do seem

  • to live significantly longer, or at least older female cancer survivors,

  • the only group in which it's been looked at so far.

  • They add that there are certain foods that may be beneficial

  • in cancer care including: beans, berries, cruciferous vegetables,

  • flaxseed, garlic, green tea, tomatoes, and others,

  • but emphasizes it's not about a single magic bullet food or component,

  • but the combination of foods in a predominantly plant-based diet.

  • Here's how some popular diets used by cancer patients stack up.

  • The so-called alkaline diet gets high marks for being

  • vegetable-focused and encouraging people to cut down on animal foods.

  • The keto diet does the worst, though they get points for keeping

  • people away from refined grains, alcohol and soft drinks.

  • Macrobiotic diets win the day, being closest to a whole food,

  • plant-based diet, centered around whole grains, vegetables,

  • and beans though may not be advising enough fruit.

  • Paleo diets are a mixed bag with insufficient whole grains and beans

  • and too much meat, and the vegan diet starts out strong,

  • but doesn't necessarily preclude all manner of vegan junk food.

  • Have any of these diets been put to the test?

  • I've done a video on the abject failure of the keto diet.

  • The alkaline diet was tried on eleven lung cancer patients.

  • They lived an average of 28 and a half months,

  • which is about 40% longer than most patients have

  • historically lived, but there was no direct control group.

  • The only diet proven in a randomized controlled trial

  • to reverse the progression of cancer was Dr. Dean Ornish's whole food

  • plant-based lifestyle program, which I've covered before.

  • Most randomized controlled trials to date on diet and cancer

  • are like this, feasibility studies just to see if we can get

  • cancer patients to eat healthier. Period.

  • Otherwise what's the point of even running the study?

  • Here they did find they could get patients with head and neck cancer

  • to ramp up green leafy and cruciferous vegetable intake

  • up to 9 cups a week, so it's at least something you could test,

  • but we don't yet have outcomes data, but why wait?

  • What's the downside of trying to eat healthier?

  • It may even save your life, another way.

  • Cardiovascular disease competes with breast cancer as the leading cause

  • of death for older women diagnosed with breast cancer.

  • Researchers followed more than 60,000 women

  • diagnosed with breast cancer over the age of 65 for

  • an average of nine years, by which time half had died.

  • And the number one cause of death was actually cardiovascular disease,

  • edging out the breast cancer, and so choosing a healthy diet

  • centered around whole plant foods, the only diet ever proven

  • to reverse heart disease in the majority of patients,

  • may save your life, whether you have cancer or not.

"The Best Diet for Cancer Patients"

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