Cancer diagnosis can be complicated, confusing and stressful for patients and loved ones. An accurate diagnosis may involve a physical exam, analysis of blood, urine, stool, fiber-optic endoscopy, X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), ultrasound and FDG-PET. These tests may help determine the cancer's location, size, glucose dependency and potential metastasis. Confirmation of cancer requires a biopsy removed from the suspected tumor.
Long term survival should be the goal of any treatment strategy, with no "collateral damage" to surrounding tissue or the immune system, which may decrease chances of long term survival. Patients should question if the Standard of Care achieves the goal of long term survival? In some cases less aggressive approach that gradually shrinks the tumor may be preferred, if only to avoid Tumor Lysis Syndrome.
Evidence suggests that the Standard of Care for Brain Cancer does not achieve this goal. However, most people knw someone that has successfully treated other types of cancer with standard care, especially if caught early, but outcome is not as good in late stages. Keep in mind that chemotherapy often reduces appetite, induces nausea and destroys intestinal mucosa, which typically induces ketosis (inadvertently) from malnutrition and malabsorption. Ketosis is beneficial, but chemo-induced ketosis/malnutrition impairs general health, immune function and may decrease long term survival. Chemo is expensive and often decreases quality of life.
There are books that address cancer treatment strategies from a metabolic perspective and gives specific advice on implementing "metabolic therapy" (see chapter 16; HERE). Jeff Volek and Steven Phinney's book, the Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living is an excellent guide to "nutritional ketosis". The Cantin Ketogenic Diet has been a valuable resource for many. Elaine Cantin goes beyond macronutrients and optimizes the diet with specific food selection to avoid potential food allergens that may trigger inflammation, insulin resistance and elevated glucose, which may prevent nutritional ketosis. The efficacy of nutritional therapy will depend on getting blood biomarkers in the "zone of metabolic management"1-3, which may require removing dairy protein. I've noticed that people consuming whey protein typically have little or no measurable ketones in urine or blood, even with carbohydrate restriction (>50g/day). Few ketogenic diet books or websites address this issue. Many of the popular ketogenic diet medical foods consist of milk protein and hydrogenated fats. It's best to stick to whole food on a ketogenic diet and to utilize the best online ketogenic diet resources.
The Blog of Dr. Georgia Ede is very informative and will assist those attempting therapeutic fasting or nutritional ketosis.
- What Causes Cancer (Part 1)
- What Causes Cancer (Part 2)
- Dietary Treatments for Cancer (Part 3)
- Standard Therapies vs Dietary Therapies (Part 4)
- Strategies, FAQs and Challenges with Implementing a Dietary Therapy
1) If cancer is confirmed, patients need to develop an aggressive long term treatment strategy ASAP.
2) Patients should determine if standard care achieves good success with their particular cancer. If not, it could be a heavy financial and health risk.
3) Patients should consider alternative therapies based on research, clinical trials and case reports.
4) Short term fasting (5-7 days) and the ketogenic diet can be used to achieve the "zone of metabolic management for cancer"**. Metabolic management of cancer requires sustained hypoglycemia and elevated blood ketones, which provide an alternative fuel for normal cells, but is not cancer cells.
** Predicted glucose and ketone levels for metabolic management of cancer:
Glucose: 3 ± 1 mM
Ketones: 3 ± 1 mM
Nutritional Ketosis is correlated with stable disease or partial remission.
Jimmy Moore's Fasting Experiment (great practical information here)
Ketogenic Diet may be a key to Cancer Recovery (Dr. Mercola)
Cancer as a Metabolic Disease (Dr. Thomas Seyfried)
Ketogenic Diet Resource (Ellen Davis)
Blood Glucose and Ketone Meter
- Seyfried TN, Kiebish MA, Marsh J, Shelton LM, HuysentruyLC, Mukherjee P. Metabolimanagement of brain cancer. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2010;1807:577-94.
- Seyfried TN, Mukherjee P. Targeting energy metabolism in brain cancer: review and hypothesis. Nutrition & metabolism. 2005;2:30.
- Zuccoli G, Marcello N, Pisanello A, Servadei F, Vaccaro S, Mukherjee P, et al. Metabolic management of glioblastoma multiforme using standard therapy together with a restricted ketogenic diet: Case Report. Nutrition & metabolism. 2010;7:33.