Let’s get personal

I want to help you to do everything you can to beat your cancer diagnosis. First of all, I wholeheartedly recommend getting the best medical help you can as early as possible in the cancer process then, armed with a clear diagnosis, I’d love to help you discover what you can do to come out the other side healthier and happier than before. Patients who are metabolically healthy respond much better to treatment, experience reduced side effects, recover faster and enjoy improved outcomes.

Drawing on 17 years of clinical observation and experience, I support my practice with  functional and nutrigenetic testing to help clients understand and improve their health: gastrointestinal function, hormonal balance and genetic polymorphisms can all help us build a picture of why your body is struggling.

It is widely accepted that cancer outcomes are random but I don’t believe that’s true. It’s more likely that we are not yet measuring the factors that make the difference. Along with many other researchers and oncologists, I believe that correcting the tumour microenvironment may be more important than destroying every last cancer cell.

Research tells us that there are hundreds of pathways involved in cancer development and progression – in fact it’s one of the most challenging aspects of the disease. That, and the fact that cancer seems to have a built-in sat-nav to help it find a diversion every time a pathway is blocked. To my way of thinking this makes cancer unique, and demands that we employ every level of healing, simultaneously, to give ourselves the best chance of survival.

Everyone’s cancer is different, and personal programmes are the best way to leave no stone unturned. For some of us, the power of food, sleep, fasting, exercise, sunlight and joy may be just as important as surgery, radio- and chemotherapy. Given the right conditions, your body has more healing power than the whole of the NHS put together. If you look at the anecdotal stories you will clearly see that there is no grade or stage of disease that cannot be reversed – your body is always trying to heal – and there are countless examples of ‘radical remission‘ even though the mechanisms behind these transformations are not properly understood.

In 2016, after 13 years of clinical practice, I embarked on a Masters degree in Personalised Nutrition. It was a fascinating experience which took me way down the rabbit hole of cancer mechanisms and cellular pathways, and earned me a ‘first’ for the module I completed on breast cancer. One of the things I learned was that diet alone is unlikely to beat cancer. That might sound strange coming from a nutritional therapist, but I believe that with all my heart. Diet is important but a proper cancer strategy needs a multi-factorial approach. We need to throw the book at it: medically, nutritionally, socially, emotionally, spiritually… reviewing every aspect of your lives. They say the definition of insanity is to keep on doing the same thing and expecting different results, and that applies to cancer too. If you want to stay cancer free after diagnosis, you need to take a long hard look at the way you were living, and change some things. 

Based on this understanding I offer a clinical nutrition service for breast cancer clients. I want to be clear about what nutrition can and can’t do: for example there is no evidence that you can cure cancer with diet alone, but it’s possible that you can create such a healthy tissue environment – or cancer-hostile microenvironment – that your body can mobilise its healing potential against the identified ‘hallmarks of cancer’ and inhibit, destroy or transform the rogue cells. Nutrition can also help other therapies to work better: for example it can improve the effectiveness of chemo and radiotherapy, and work in synergy with pharmaceutical protocols, whether with licensed or repurposed drugs.

In clinic, my aim is to put metabolic pressure on cancer cells and also to improve the cellular microenvironment and support the systems involved in cancer so that your body can mobilise itself against the rogue cells.

In my experience, tackling cancer in this way attracts exceptional people and it can bring exceptional results. I find it a great privilege to work with the clients who choose me and I am getting used to hearing the phrase, ‘my oncologist can’t believe how well I’m doing’. However, it’s a demanding approach that may be overwhelming for some, and the desire to change has to come from deep inside you: for that reason I only work with people who contact me directly, so please don’t ask me to help your mother or your best friend, no matter how much you love them: if they are not fully on board and driving the process this is not the path for them.

It’s not unusual for the people I work with to have very strong instincts and convictions about the path they want to take and the things that are important for healing. My practice is firmly evidence-based but I always encourage clients to tune into their inner voices and intuitions, I believe there’s knowledge there that we ignore at our peril.

In recent years the challenge of food and planetary sustainability has added another layer of complexity to our food choices: a plant-based diet is at the core of all my food plans and I work with a range of omnivorous, pescatarian and vegetarian clients, but it is much more difficult to achieve a nutritionally optimised anti-cancer diet as a strict vegan. If you have immovable beliefs around food or habits that will be hard to change, then nutritional therapy may not work well for you. The whole idea of nutritional therapy is that you need to find a different diet to the one you’re eating in order to change your health.

Since almost all of my clients are having treatment at the same time as working with me it’s difficult to make any claims about what is having an effect. In my view it’s the whole combination – medical treatment combined with a synergistic diet and lifestyle plan. Correcting nutrient deficiencies, rectifying hormonal imbalances, gut disorders, calming inflammation, improving detox and repair and addressing sleep and stress issues can help treatment to work better and help you to stay healthy to withstand more treatment. It’s a winning combination that makes all the difference.

Sometimes, despite excellent medical care and monumental personal effort, cancer remains unstoppable; it’s something that we just don’t understand. While nutrition can help at all stages of the process, it is important not to see this as any sort of personal failure.

Building a Personal Nutrition Protocol

Everyone, no matter what your diagnosis or stage of disease, can benefit from a nutritional protocol aimed at supporting metabolism, hormones, immune, digestion and detoxification – to improve general health and create a more cancer hostile microenvironment. You can book an exploratory chat or arrange a Personal Protocol consultation here which will lead to a comprehensive, evidence-based diet and lifestyle programme based on your diagnosis and individual circumstances.

For patients who have been through conventional treatment and have no detectable disease this protocol provides a blueprint for recovery and may be all you need although I may also recommend functional or nutrigenetic testing to help us understand how to promote a complete return to health. I also offer a follow-up consultation service should your treatment of health needs change.

For patients dealing with active cancer nutritional therapy is still relevant. There are several well-researched nutritional approaches that may help to potentiate cancer drugs, support immune function, regulate gene expression and support your body to deal with treatment. Oncogenic testing can help us to be more specific about remedies and, when combined with functional and nutrigenetic tests, it’s possible to build a programme designed for maximum nutritional impact.

For all clients, it is important to approach nutritional therapy with an open mind; while we will work with your preferences, you need a flexible attitude to food, willingness to change drinking habits and meal times, and scope to address sleep and stress levels. So… if you’re still reading, if you’re prepared to work with me in a space of uncertainty, and in a spirit of partnership, then please book an exploratory chat or arrange a Personal Protocol consultation over here.

If you decide that the clinical approach is not right for you please have a look at my workshops – they may be just what you’re looking for – or visit my resources page to find further areas for exploration.

Next Steps

Picture: Artwork by Tracey Emin from a photograph by Dawn Waldron