heads and cloves of garlic

Q. I will be starting chemotherapy for breast cancer. What can I do to improve my chances for the best result? I am especially interested in healthy anti-cancer foods.
I don’t just want to be passive in my treatment!

A. We applaud your proactive initiative. Many cancer treatments involve surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Once the protocol is complete patients are sent on their way with instructions to return periodically for evaluation. An exercise and dietary program may not be mentioned but we think they are crucial, along with social support.
David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, was an amazing neuroscientist who developed brain cancer at age 31. He was told that his prognosis was grim and he wasn’t expected to live longer than a few months or years. He fooled the doctors, though, and survived nearly 20 years. We were honored to be able to interview David on our one-hour radio show two times. He provides incredibly practical information for all cancer survivors. To listen to his inspiring interviews here are the links:
Show # 708

Show # 757

Do your best to eliminate sugar from your diet. We have come to believe that sugar stimulates growth factors and hormones (like insulin) that encourage abnormal cellular proliferation.
Our Top 20 Anti-Cancer Foods are:
Brussels Sprouts
Green Tea
Bok Choi

We also recommend our book, Recipes and Remedies From The People’s Pharmacy with our top anti-cancer food recipes including:
Roasted Garlic (page 151)
Leek and Sweet Onion Frittata (page 129)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts (page 150)
Quinoa Radish Salad (page 140)
Grilled Tofu & Avocado Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette (page 123)
Cancer-Fighting Cabbage Curry (page 115)
Beet Juice Smoothie (page 34)
Farmer’s Market Saag (page 146)
Coleslaw with Mint (page 145)
Broccoli and Garlic Stir Fry (page 49)
Cauliflower and Red Petter Quiche (page 118)
Baba Ganoush (page 153)
Lentil and Roasted Bell Pepper Salad (page 133)

You can also find meal plans and recipes and remedies for managing common conditions like arthritis, hypertension, indigestion, skin problems and overweight. We are offering a 25% discount for a limited time. Learn more by clicking here.
We wish you great success in your efforts to stay healthy.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Rose

    To manage the diarrhea after chemo, I found taking probiotics to be essential. I alternated between Culturelle and an acidophilus supplement. The supplements were more effective for me than yogurt or any food with the cultures.

  2. Judith

    Hopefully people will learn to eat well, exercise and follow a healthy lifestyle from a young age so cancer will occur less frequently.

  3. Karen

    >is that only processed sugar? What about the sugar in beets, blueberries, red wine, etc., the foods we know are good for us? Does that sugar contribute to health problems if you have too much of it?
    For a quick-and-dirty guideline, use “no white carbs.” The more (natural) color in a food product, the better for you. Potatoes are probably (?) the least bad of the white carbs; flour and refined sugar among the worst except for modified corn products.
    Another guideline: If it has a PLU code, it’s probably good for you. If it has a SKU, avoid it.
    Too much red wine is its own set of problems.
    >Anybody have some insights that can help me get back to my salads and other goodies?
    Have you tried Florastor? It’s sold in pharmacies; pricy ($40-50 a bottle). My pharmacist said it had the equivalent goodies of 4 gallons of yogurt / pill. No real idea if this would fix what ails you. Chemo targets the fast growing cells but it also much affect the intestinal flora. A recent issue of Wired magazine had a discussion of how long it took to recover intestinal diversity after antibiotics–much longer than we give credit to. Don’t remember the issue but it was within six months.

  4. Susan P.

    Eliminating sugar from your diet is impossible. Natural sugars are in so many things. Overdoing the sugar isn’t good for anyone. And too much wine leads to all kinds of trouble. But a moderate amount of sugar in my diet, including fruit like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, bananas and oranges, as well as the occasional serving of ice cream or brownie has had no effect on my Stage IV breast cancer. It has shrunk with treatment in spite of my diet which sometimes isn’t as rigorous as I would like it to be.
    I found David Servan-Schreiber’s book, The Anti-Cancer Diet soon after my mets diagnosis four years ago and have tried to follow it. The American Cancer Society’s web site has good diet information as well. Basically a Mediterranean style diet seems to be what everyone recommends. My oncologist told me, however to avoid raw cruciferous vegetables. Those would be things like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. A Chinese oncology trained chi gong master also told me to cook all vegetables. I don’t recall the reasons. Lack of Vitamin D-3 is thought to be linked to breast cancer (women in northern climates are more likely to get it), so most oncologists will tell you to take a supplement.
    Diet is helpful, but doctors really don’t know why some people get cancer and some don’t. Please don’t make the mistake of blaming yourself. Cancer is such a complex disease that no one single thing is likely to be a cause. In my own case I had a tiny estrogen receptor positive tumor removed by mastectomy in 1982. I think it may have been caused by an abscess in the very same spot 19 years before since we know inflammation causes genetic changes in tissue. Twenty six years later, in spite of healthy living, it came back in my liver and lung. No one knows why.
    I’m lucky that the least impactful treatment has shrunk it to the point of invisibility. In addition to trying to follow a good diet, I take a number of supplements thought to have a beneficial effect on cancer: 20 mg of melatonin, curcumin with bioprene, an Indian herb named Ashwagandha and a multivitamin formulated for cancer patients. I also happen to love broccoli, and eat lots of it cooked. But I can’t choke it down raw.
    I’m getting really tired of hearing that a vegan diet is the answer. The China Study data does not support that idea no matter what the book says. Anecdotal evidence, like the one woman who switched to a vegan diet and did well, is meaningless. Statistics show that 30% of women who develop breast cancer will eventually have it spread. Everyone wants a magic bullet. So far there is no such thing, but researchers agree that diet is a factor.

  5. CM

    Red Wild Caught Salmon, you need a good protein….I make salmon patties with shitaki mushrooms, watercress, chives, celery, parsley and dill added to increase the veggie content (especially green veggies, try to get organic).
    Also, every day blend up a batch of kale, parsley, spinach, or watercress with apples and bananas to make it taste better….and don’t forget the carrots and sweet potatoes in your diet.
    Good luck!!

  6. Donna S.

    I watched the documentary ” Forks over Knives” recently regarding a plant based diet. They interview a woman with breast cancer who basically went vegan and had great success with no sign of recurrence.

  7. Karen

    Get your Vitamin D level checked, and supplement with D3 if you’re lower than 50. Major correlations appearing in survivorship %ages and higher levels of D. Perhaps, the correlation is more accurately that people with lower D die faster, which isn’t exactly the same thing.

  8. fbl

    Good luck with trying to eat veggies! Maybe it is different for breast cancer but I had chemo and radiation for cervical cancer 1 1/2 years ago and still can’t eat veggies w/o severe runs. I sure miss my veggies too.
    Anybody have some insights that can help me get back to my salads and other goodies?

  9. C.S.

    I had surgery for early stage invasive breast cancer almost 9 yrs. ago. I have followed your program as faithfully as I can. I attribute the information I have acquired as helpful to me in avoiding a recurrence, and improving my general health.
    We on a daily basis eat the foods you are listing. Thank you for your list as a reminder I can post.
    It is uncanny how the topic you cover each week is of very current interest to me.

  10. Cindy

    When they say no sugar…is that only processed sugar? What about the sugar in beets, blueberries, red wine,etc., the foods we know are good for us? Does that sugar contribute to health problems if you have too much of it?

  11. BG

    Sounds to me like an alkaline diet…which I credit with saving my life after cancer diagnosis 5 years ago. Vegetarian, alkaline, or whatever…it works.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.