My Mom’s Story
“You’ve got 6-12 months to live” “We can offer you chemotherapy, which might allow you to live a few months longer, or you can choose Hospice”. This is what we heard from the oncologist as my mother and I sat in her office reviewing the 2 options available. “There is really nothing else we can do.”
So, at 80 years old, mom decided to do nothing. Her main reason? She didn’t want to lose her hair. She also figured, at her age, what’s the point in suffering through the last few months of her life with the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. She made the right decision. In 2014 a study of 70 FDA approved chemotherapy agents found the cancer treatments extended life by an avg of only 2.1 months
Dad and I supported her as best we could but now I realize now that we could have done more. Although I doubt I could have “saved” her, knowing what I know now, in the least I might have been able to help improve her quality of life.
Food as Medicine
I believe there is something more we can offer cancer patients, whether they decide on Hospice, chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation. We have a powerful tool, as an adjuvant, or additional therapy, we can use Food as Medicine.
Healthy whole food does not have the side effects that frequently accompany radiation and chemotherapy – nausea, vomiting, hair loss, diarrhea, skin irritation, fatigue and pain. What’s more, when used in conjunction with the standard treatment, a Ketogenic Diet and time restricted eating can not only lessen these disabling side effects but it may even improve outcome.
Cancer and the Sugar Connection
Cancer is an inflammatory metabolic disease. Ketogenic diets have been shown to slow and even halt the growth of cancer cells, especially in those cancers that thrive on glucose. Breast cancer is one of those. We can essentially “starve” these cancer cells by eliminating their source of energy, by eliminating sugars and starches.
Another under-utilized tool is time restricted eating, especially if used appropriately around chemotherapy and radiation. Radiation and chemotherapy in a fasted state often reduces side effects, especially gastrointestinal, hits the cancer cells when they’re (starving) down, and might allow for lower dosing.
A low carbohydrate healthy fat food plan and time restricted eating can be powerful weapons for cancer prevention and treatment.
As with most cancer patients, issues with food and weight weren’t the only contributing factors to my mother’s diagnosis. If she had completed a Terrain Ten Questionnaire, I’m certain we would’ve been able to address some of the other reasons she got cancer. Her terrain was in disarray. She had inflammation; her diagnosis was inflammatory breast cancer which metastasized to the liver. Her life long mental health and emotion management was poor. Her insulin levels were high; looking back, she definitely had signs of hyperinsulinemia and blood sugar disregulation, although she was never diagnosed with diabetes. Her hormones were imbalanced, she was obese yet cold all the time, but they always told her her thyroid “was fine”. She used vegetable oils which cause oxidative stress; she was told she needed to eat low fat, avoid butter. There is more we can do than chemotherapy and hospice.