Nutrition and Cancer: What Other Doctors Say, Part 1

Abstract: At CA Care, we always advise cancer patients to eat well and to refrain from consuming harmful foods such as meat and dairy products, refined sugar, salt, refined cooking oil, etc. We are aware that this advice to eat well is contrary to what your doctor/oncologist has told you or what you are used to in your old lifestyle. In all probability, your doctor would have advised you that you can eat anything you like. Is this a sound and truthful advice?

Yeong Sek Yee & Khadijah Shaari

10, Jalan SS 19/1K, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor.

Tel: 03-56342775 / 019-3278092




At CA Care, we always advise cancer patients to eat well and to refrain from consuming harmful foods such as meat and dairy products, refined sugar, salt, refined cooking oil, etc. (for more details read Dr Chris Teo’s book FOOD AND CANCER). Although there is no one food, supplement or product that has been proven to reduce the risk, if not to prevent cancer, however, we do know that when we avoid certain foods, habits and lifestyle, we are able to keep cancer at bay quite successfully.

We are aware that this advice to eat well is contrary to what your doctor/oncologist has told you or what you are used to in your old lifestyle. In all probability, your doctor would have advised you that you can eat anything you like. Is this a sound and truthful advice?

To find out whether your doctor’s/oncologist’s advice (“to eat anything you like”) is based on scientific research or just their own bias, prejudice or ignorance, we reviewed 10 books (there are many, many more) written by prominent medical doctors  on the subject of cancer and nutrition. These are prominent medical specialists (read their credentials) from prominent medical institutions. Read what they have to say.




1) ANTI CANCER: A NEW WAY OF LIFE by Dr David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD.

Dr Servan, French-born psychiatrist and neuroscientist, is clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He co-founded the Centre for Integrative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre.

At the age of 31, Dr Servan was a rising neuroscientist with his own laboratory and funding for brain imaging. During the course of testing new brain imaging equipment, he discovered a tumor the size of a walnut lodged in his own brain.

This book is about his experience as a doctor as well as a cancer patient. Dr Servan looks at the relationship between a body and its cancer, at the immune system, the new blood vessels necessary for cancer growth, and the roles played by nutrition, environmental toxins, emotions and physical activity in containing cancer. For the purpose of this review, we shall concentrate on his views and research on nutrition which he calls the Anti Cancer Foods in Chapter 8.

The following are his main comments on nutrition:

v      All my life, until the day I was diagnosed with cancer, I drank milk and ate eggs, and meat from animals fed with corn sprayed by pesticides. My ignorance of nutrition long led me to assume a contemptuous attitude toward the therapeutic role of food. My knowledge of nutrition… was considerably less than that of an average reader of COSMOPOLITAN.

All these changed after his intensive research following his diagnosis and treatment. Now Dr Servan firmly believes that we should be returning to the food of yesteryear.

v      Today, surveys of nutrition reveal that 56% of our calories come from three sources that were non-existent when our genes were developing:

i) Refined sugars (cane and beet sugar, corn syrup, etc)

ii) Bleached flour (white bread, white pasta)

iii) Vegetable oils (soybean, sunflower, corn, trans fats)

These three sources contain none of the proteins, vitamins, minerals, or omega-3 fatty acids needed to keep our bodies functioning. On the other hand, they directly fuel the growth of cancer. The sugar boom contributed to the cancer epidemic. People who want to protect themselves from cancer should seriously reduce their consumption of processed sugar and bleached flour.

v      Cancer feeds on sugar – the metabolism of malignant tumours is largely dependent on glucose consumption. When we eat sugars or white flour… blood levels of glucose rise rapidly… sugar nourishes tissues and makes them grow faster. They promote the factors of inflammation … and also stimulate cell growth and act, in turn, as fertilizer for tumours.

v      For the last 5000 years, all the great medical traditions have used diet to influence the course of disease. Ours is no exception. In the fifth century B.C., Hippocrates said: Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine thy food. SO WHY IS ADVICE ON NUTRITION STILL MISSING FROM THE CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT OF CANCER?

v      In the early part of the book, Dr Servan does write quite extensively on chronic inflammation and cancer. Cancer cells need to produce inflammation to sustain their growth. The more successful cancers are in provoking local inflammation, the more aggressive the tumour and the better it is at spreading long distances, ultimately reaching lymph nodes and creating metastases.

v      The two main causes of chronic inflammation are diet and psychological stress. If the tumour’s environment is deprived of the inflammatory factors needed for its growth, it will not succeed in spreading. The fact is that these inflammatory factors, these fertilizers for cancer are provided directly by our diet. Major dietary fertilizers are refined sugars, which drive up pro-inflammatory insulin and IGF; insufficient amounts of Omega-3s and the corresponding excess of Omega-6s, which change into inflammatory molecules; and growth hormones (present in meat and dairy products).

v      Inflammation aggravators (which can lead to cancer)

  • Traditional western diet
  • White bread and pasta
  • Red meat, raised industrially
  • Oils rich in omega-6 fatty acids (corn, sunflower, safflower, soy)
  • Dairy products from industrially raised livestock (especially full fat)
  • Eggs from industrial farming hens fed corn and soy beans
  • Unmanaged stress, anger and depression
  • Less than 20 minutes of physical activity a day
  • Cigarette smoke, atmospheric pollution, domestic pollutants.

In summary, the main results of Dr Servan’s research into nutrition and cancer are:

i) Some foods are cancer “promoters” and feed into the mechanisms that fuel cancer growth.

ii) Other foods are “anti-promoters”. They block the mechanisms necessary for cancer growth or force cancer cells to die.

iii) Food acts every day, three times a day. It thus has a considerable influence on the biological mechanisms that speed up or slow down cancer growth.



Dr Blaylock is a board-certified neurosurgeon with more than 20 years experience. He is the Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi .

Dr. Blaylock writes very passionately about nutrition and cancer, having spent more than 20 years of nutritional research directed towards improving the results of conventional cancer treatments and of the treatment of cancer by nutrition alone. He feels that without a strong nutritional foundation, a patient’s odds of surviving the treatments – let alone beating cancer – are greatly reduced.

In his more than 20 years of treating cancer patients, he said: Dietary compliance is the most difficult problem I face in treating cancer patients. This is especially so for the patients having the worst diets.

It is estimated that as many as 70% of all cancers are related to diet. To continue eating the same foods that led to your cancer in the first place is to travel down the road to disasterbecause foods often contain extremely powerful cancer-causing and cancer-promoting substances as well.

The central and most important part of Dr Blaylock’s treatment program is DIET. … if cancer patients begin to follow a strict diet and basic supplement regimen at the time of their original diagnosis and continue to follow them for life, most recurrence of cancer can be avoided.

The typical Western (and probably Malaysian as well) diet—high in red meats, bad fats, additives and carbohydrates—is a perfect cancer brew. This brew not only causes cancer, but can promote the growth of existing cancers as well. This is especially true of FATS. Certain fats, called the omega-6 fatty acids (such as animal fats, animal proteins, most refined vegetable oils and fats, dairy products, etc) not only stimulate cancer growth but also powerfully suppress the immune system and increase inflammation at the same time. Theomega-6 fats can make your tumour grow faster and increases the likelihood that it will spread.

After you begin the (new anticancer) diet, you will notice that you have much more energy than ever before, your mind is clearer, your aches and pains are improved or gone, and your bowel movements are much more regular and normal in appearance

So what does Dr Blaylock’s anti cancer diet look like? You must avoid certain foods (for life):

v      Avoid red meats such as beef and pork, which are high in two powerful cancer promoters (i.e. methionine and arachidonic acids) and also high in absorbable iron. Iron is a powerful stimulus for cancer growth, invasion and metastasis.

v      Avoid cow’s milk, cheese, and other milk-based products especially if low in fat. Low fat milk products have a higher concentration of glutamate (an excitotoxin).

v      Avoid foods containing aspartame, MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein or the additive carrageenan. Carrageenan, commonly used in ice cream and baked goods, is an especially powerful promoter of cancer growth and spread.

v      Avoid all commercially prepared foods. Try to make all your foods from fresh ingredients. Do not use commercial sauces, mixes, or seasonings unless they are made with pure herbs or spices.

v      Avoid sugar, no matter what the source. Honey is sugar. Although there are a few flavonoids included but it is still sugar and can be used by the cancer.

v      Avoid fruit juices. While fruit juices contain many anti-cancer flavonoids and vitamins, especially folate, they are high in sugar and many have high levels of fluoride.

v      Avoid all foods and drink in plastic containers, especially if the plastic has a pungent odour. Plastic releases estrogenic-like compounds, which can promote estrogen-sensitive cancers such as breast cancer, colon cancer, some brain tumors, renal cancers, and possibly prostate cancers.

After avoiding the above, WHAT CAN I EAT THEN?” This is the most common question cancer patients ask Dr Blaylock. Most of us are so accustomed to eating only what we like that the idea of eating for health comes as a shock. Accordingly to Dr Blaylockthe healthiest diet is a vegetarian diet plus fish. Several studies have shown that eating large amounts of fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables, not only retards the growth of cancers, but can convert very aggressive cancers into much more benign tumors. The produce with the greatest anti-cancer effect are the cruciferous vegetables, which include kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage; etc.

On many occasionsdeviating from the diet in even minor details can mean the difference between success and failure. Reverting to previous, unhealthy diet becomes a big problem when a patient begins to feel really well, full of energy, and relieved of the pain and discomforts of the traditional treatments. The longer patients are free of their tumours, the more likely they are to jump ship and yield to the temptations of their old diet. This can be fatal.

It is vital to understand that, in many cases, the tumours are not eradicated, but only suppressed. As long as your tumours remain suppressed, you will do well. Once activated, however, these cancers may grow and spread with vengeance. At that stage, they are much more difficult to control.

While no one can guarantee your success in your battle against this dreaded disease, you can be assured that you will have a much better outcome than if you ignore the importance of nutrition in your treatment.




Dr.  Boyd, a graduate of the Cornell University Medical School, currently teaches at the Yale Cancer Centre. He is the founder and director of the Integrative Oncology at Greenwich Hospital (a member of the Yale New Haven Health System).

According to Dr Boyd, controlling weight, becoming active and reducing stress are absolutely necessary for the successful treatment of cancer. Even with the best medical care, a patient’s cancer treatment can be sabotaged if these areas are neglected.

For this article, we summarize below the main points on NUTRITION and CHRONIC INFLAMMATION as recommended by Dr Boyd:

v      For most patients, cancer is a wake-up call to eat in a more healthful way. When you are being treated for cancer, it is even more important to understand how the food you eat as well as the amount you consume may affect your treatment.

v      Avoid all unhealthy saturated fats, trans-fats – they are pro-inflammatory in nature. Saturated fats are mainly animal fats from meat and dairy products. High saturated fats also promote higher insulin resistance. Trans-fats have been closely linked to inflammation, raising the risk of both heart disease and cancer through this effect.

v      Diets rich in Omega-6 fats (particularly corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, etc.) used in fast foods, have been shown to increase inflammation and may enhance tumour growth and development.

v      Avoid all spicy, oily, salty fried foods, all of which are more difficult to digest.

v      We are a nation of sugar junkies – sucrose, corn syrup is hidden in processed foods of all kinds.

v      While meat is a good source of protein and iron, it is also a source of saturated fat and cholesterol – so is milk and other dairy products made from fat. Avoid all beef, lamb, pork and poultry.

v      Consume more omega-3 fats such as salmon, sardines, trout and herring. The best plant-food sources are flaxseed and flaxseed oil, walnuts, soybeans, wheat germ, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, leeks and broccoli. Omega-3 influences the inflammatory state, improves insulin resistance, alter the synthesis of prostaglandins, and decreases cell growth.

v      Vegetables are the best carbs – fresh vegetables are low in calories. They add variety and flavor to your diet and provide fiber, vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidant and anti-inflammatories.

Nature has blessed the plant world and the foods we obtain from it with myriad valuable nutrients, vitamins, complex carbohydrates, and many trace minerals. These vary from plant to plant, particularly between different plant families such as alliums (garlic and onions) and cruciferous plants (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts). This rich mixture of nutrients is the crucial point in your dietary plan. Together they work to reduce cancer risk, in part through mechanisms that detoxify carcinogens. The biodiversity dietary plan means the wider the variety, the greater the number of nature’s medicines.


4) CANCER AND NUTRITION by Dr Charles B. Simone, MD.

Dr Simone, MMS, MD, graduated from Rutgers Medical College, is an internist (trained at the Cleveland Clinic), medical oncologist and tumor immunologist (trained at the National Cancer Institute), and Radiation Oncologist (trained at the University of Pennsylvania).

Whilst training at the above prestigious cancer institutions, Dr Simone saw the drastic methods used for treatment – surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy and he also saw the incredible suffering experienced by patients as a consequence of these cancer treatments. One of the first patients he consulted with at the NCI was a senior statesman who was dying of malnutrition secondary to his cancer. An intensive course of chemotherapy cleaned out the cancer cells, but the patient failed to improve. Hence, Dr Simone began devoting some of his time investigating the effects of nutrition on cancer and the possibilities of cancer and disease prevention. The result was this book, CANCER AND NUTRITION.

Here are some of the main points pertaining to nutrition:

v      Diet and nutrition appear to be factors in 60% of women’s cancers and 40% of men’s cancers as well as about 75% of cardiovascular disease cases. So it is important to understand the role that diet plays in the development of cancer. Nutrition affects immunity and also affects the development of cancer.

v      Food may contain carcinogens, chemicals that can cause cancer, either as natural components of the food or in the form of additives. Carcinogens may be present in food that is spoiled by bacteria, fungi, or chemicals, food that is improperly washed, or food contaminated with industrial pollutants.

v      Processing or cooking may activate existing carcinogens in foods. Food products (like meat) may contain nitrite preservatives, which can form an extremely potent carcinogen,nitrosamine. Intestinal bacteria may be altered by diets high in animal fat and cholesterol, and these altered types of bacteria may activate or produce carcinogens from the ingested food or bile acids.

v      Dietary animal fat is found in all red meat, luncheon meats, and all dairy products, including milk, cheese and eggs. Dietary animal fat promotes and probably initiatescarcinogenesis. Dietary animal fats also weaken the immune system by decreasing antibody production and impairing the function of T-cells and phagocytes.

v      Polyunsaturated fats are liquid oils of vegetable origin (e.g. corn, cottonseed, safflower, soybean and sunflower). Polyunsaturated fats can be attacked chemically by free radicals because they have empty or “unsaturated” chemical bonds that can ‘accept’ the extra electron of the free radical. These free radicals can damage cells and lead to the development of cancer.

v      All fats, whether saturated or unsaturated, should be severely restricted or eliminated to reduce your risk of developing cancer. There are several mechanisms by which dietary animal fats promote and initiate carcinogenesis. It increases bile acids and bile steroids. It also significantly increases the number of colonic anaerobic bacteria which then form carcinogens from bile acids.

v      Proteins the source of protein does not have to be animal meat, a fact that is aptly demonstrated by pure vegetarians who are active and have normal life spans. Seventh-Day Adventists, a religious group composed of many pure vegetarians, have a very low incidence of cancer and heart disease compared with non-vegetarians. On page 37, Dr Simone provided a table of Energy from different protein food sources – soybeans have 45% of usable energy whereas beef have only 38% of usable energy!

v      There has been a fair amount of epidemiological human data to support that total protein intake will correlate with the incidence of and mortality from cancers of various sites. This correlation has been seen for breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer.

v      Complex carbohydrates such as beans, peas, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grain breads and cereals not only provide calories and essential nutrients but also increase dietary fiber. Dietary fiber, such as lettuce, if eaten daily, can absorb some gastrointestinal carcinogens, increase stool weight and induce bowel movements daily. Carbohydrates in processed foods are generally depleted of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

v      Food additives – currently there are about 3,000 intentional food additives. One is nitrite,which can be converted in the body to a potent carcinogen, nitrosamine. There are over 12,000 unintentional additives from packaging, food packaging, food processing, and other phases of the food industry.

v      Fast foods – how nutritious are the meals? Most fast-food meals obtain 40 to 55% of their calories from fat, there are 700 and 900 milligrams of sodium in most fast food sandwiches, and the fiber content of fast food meals is extremely low and so is calcium.

In summary, Dr Simone’s nutritional advice is to eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, eliminate salt and food additives, dairy products, all fats and oils, all barbecued, smoked and pickled foods, caffeine and more importantly eat a high-fiber diet. Vegetables of the Brassica family provide fiber and induce enzymes to destroy certain carcinogens.

In conclusion, Dr Simone stressed that it is your responsibility to learn about the risk factors involved in cancer developments and then modify those risk factors accordingly. You should devise your own anti-cancer plan.


5) DR CITRON’S EVOLUTIONARY DIET by Dr Ronald S. Citron, MD, and Kathy J. Citron.

Dr Citron attended New York University Medical School and the prestigious Institute for Immunology in Basel, Switzerland, doing basic research on cell growth and metabolism. After years of successful practice as a board-certified oncologist and internist, Dr Citron decided that he could do more on the preventing of cancer and heart disease, rather than trying to help patients when it was already too late. And so, The Evolutionary Diet was written.

As a medical oncologist – a cancer specialist, Dr Citron spent 20 years battling one of the toughest diseases known to human beings. Patient after patient came into my office dying of an illness that was, in part, caused by poor eating habits. So Dr. Citron began researching the effects that certain foods had on a person’s health and sought answers to questions like:

1.      Why could some foods prevent illness while others were so life-threatening?

2.      Why did the human body not only metabolize certain foods properly, but actually behave as if it were being poisoned?

After much research, Dr Citron concluded that we, as a species had outwitted evolution. We, unlike any other animals, had developed the ability to change our environment. Along with inventing new types of technology, we had also begun creating new types of foods – PROCESSED FOODS, full of fat that Mother Nature never intended us to eat. And this was killing us – because we had not yet evolved the genes to metabolize these foods. Our cultural evolution had moved faster than ourgenetic evolution. In essencewe should be eating the same foods that our early Cro-Magnon ancestors (30,000 years ago) ate.

The Cro-Magnon foods were a diet high in protein, high in carbohydrates, and most importantly very low in fat. Why is a diet that’s 30,000 years old actually better for us than what we’re eating today? The answer is simple: Our genes haven’t change in 30,000 years but our eating habits have. What that means is that we’re trying to digest fast-food hamburgers and fries using a Cro-Magnon metabolism. And eating that way is killing usOur industrialized urban culture has brought with it a diet made up of foods that are processed, high in dairy products, loaded with fat, sugar and full of salt.

Dr Citron emphasized heavily on the deleterious effects of saturated fats. A high-fat, high saturated-fat diet is associated with an increased risk for cancer and heart disease. On the other hand, a low-fat diet of mostly unsaturated fat is the key to avoiding these diseases. Saturated fats are found in abundance in all animal products. Domesticated meats (especially red meat) and all dairy products (including cheese, milk, yogurt, and butter) are all high in saturated fats. Unsaturated fat is found in plant foods, fish and wild game.

With all the above in mind, Dr Citron feels all cancer and heart patients should eliminate domesticated red meat from the diet, all dairy foods, all fast foods and bad oils (such as all margarines, shortenings).

Cro-Magnons got the bulk of their carbohydrates from a lot of tubers (starchy vegetables such as potatoes and yams), beans, fruits and nuts … and it’s the same way we should be eating. Unfortunately, most of us get our carbohydrates from processed foods, which have little nutritional value and full of fat. We also eat far too many sweets.

On the subject of milk, Dr Citron stressed that our Cro-Magnon ancestors lived just fine (and very healthily!) without drinking milk as adults. Once they had been weaned, hunter-gatherers never again ate dairy foods in any form. In fact, modern humans are the only species on earth that continues to drink milk after they have passed early childhood. Dairy foods are our own worst health enemies. Dairy products have more calories from fat than any other “natural” foods. Worse yet, most of this fat are saturated.

The main anti-cancer foods in Dr Citron’s Evolutionary Diet are basically fruits, vegetables and fiber – with whole grains, beans and nuts included. Some of the most flavorful and nutritious protein comes in the form of beans, peas, and lentils and not from animal proteins. Just as humans suffer from the fruits of our modern civilization, animals also suffer when we impose our civilization on them. When animals are cooped up and fed foods that they have never seen before, their bodies degenerate in the same way that ours do.

In conclusion, Dr Citron laments: it’s been a very painful lesson to learn that the best cure for cancer is not a cure at all… it is prevention and risk reduction.

We promise you a review of 10 books … so more books in our next article! In the meantime, take time to digest the messages in these five books! Then ask this question: Who are the real quacks, actually?


About CA Care

In obedience to God's will and counting on His mercies and blessings, and driven by the desire to care for one another, we seek to provide help, direction and relief to those who suffer from cancer.

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