Having been through chemotherapy and radiotherapy myself, I can remember all too vividly what chemo does to your appetite. Changes in your sense of taste and smell, a sore mouth, and damage to your digestive tract play havoc make eating a necessity rather than a pleasure, and challenge your ability to tolerate certain foods. It’s difficult to eat an optimal diet when treatment is in full flow: some days it’s hard to eat anything at all.
On top of this, most oncology departments are not happy for patients to take supplements during treatment and, broadly speaking, I tend to agree. Chemo and radiotherapy are designed to kill cancer cells so we don’t want to do anything to help them survive.
As a result, my approach during treatment is to make things as comfortable as possible for you, focussing on reducing side effects, supporting energy levels and helping your digestion to function as efficiently as it can.
But we still want to make life as challenging as possible for your cancer cells.
There is growing evidence that diet and lifestyle changes can work alongside treatment to amplify its effect, weakening cancer cells so that the cytotoxic drugs and radiation have a better chance of killing them. The following case study shows how combining conventional treatment with diet changes and other complementary therapies led to unprecedented results for one woman with advanced breast cancer.
İyikesici, M.S. et al., 2017. Efficacy of Metabolically Supported Chemotherapy Combined with Ketogenic Diet, Hyperthermia, and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Stage IV Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Cureus.
These and other diet and lifestyle strategies may have the potential to make you feel better and get better during your ordeal. Together we can make a plan that you feel comfortable with and I can give you all the information and clinical references you need to keep your medical team up to date with what you are doing.
For most people a single appointment is enough to plan a treatment strategy to support you through chemo- and radiotherapy. Follow-up support is always available. You can make an appointment that fits in with your diary here.