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Diet and Ovarian Cancer? Diet and Ovarian Cancer?

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Unread 02-10-2004, 07:47 AM
Diet and Ovarian Cancer?

I have seen references to cancer and diet modification. Could someone please explain to me what you all have done? I would greatly appreciate any input. I also am at high risk for heart disease and am taking a drug to lower my cholesterol.
Thanks all,
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Unread 02-10-2004, 09:01 AM
Diet and Ovarian Cancer?


Take a look using the "search" button at the top of this page for posts by SirenSong; she's written extensively about what she has learned in relation to diet and cancers.

A key theme seems to be to cut out refined sugar; this would also include fruit juices (sweetened with corn syrup), etc. Whole grains are important. While you are on chemo, they would likely tell you that you can't eat raw vegetables and fruits, such as in salads (infection concerns if your blood counts are low). But you should be consuming at least 5 types of fruits and veggies a day.

Alcohol is stressful for the liver; especially while on chemo, it and caffeine should be avoided. Some ladies (including me, although I don't have cancer) avoid dairy products as well.

Soluble fiber, such as oatmeal, can help with cholesterol; interestingly enough, so can use of olive oil or polyunsaturated oils such as canola (they can shift around the cholesterol ratio). The South Beach diet was developed by a cardiologist; even if you don't need to lose weight, the recommendations are a healthier way to eat for most of us. The cardiologists I work with have been recommending it for their patients.

Good luck with all this; I know it's a huge change. But it's fighting for your life, not just on the cancer front -- no soda in the world, sugar-free or not, is worth it!

Unread 02-10-2004, 09:38 AM
Diet and Ovarian Cancer?

Dear Audrey,
Thanks for the help. I will look up the posts by sirensong. I am at the point where any information anyone can give me is great.
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Unread 02-10-2004, 11:31 AM
Diet and Ovarian Cancer?

Hi Bertha,
I am one of those using diet, herbs and supplements. I follow the principles of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and SirenSong works with a nutritionist, but we have compared notes and find that there are many similarities.

As Audrey says, much has been posted here about diets and supplements, but if you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer them. I'm sure SirenSong will be along too.

In a nutshell, TCM believes that good health starts with good digestion, so I take digestive enzymes and bifidus. I eat a lot of veggie soups, usually made with organic chicken broth and Chinese herbs to help build my immune system. I also take Milk Thistle, which cleanses the liver, a TCM mushroom formula, another herbal concoction for spleen health, and a liquid multivitamin from Nature's Plus called Source of Life. Vitamin C, of course, and MSM to decrease inflammation. Drink lots of green tea and ginger tea. And water, don't forget water!

We are all different, so my advice would be to do some reading and find what works best for you.

One book I highly recommend is "Herbal Medicine, Healing & Cancer" by Donald R. Yance. Another, even though it concerns breast cancer is "Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way" by Susun Weed. If TCM interests you, "Staying Healthy With The Seasons" by Elson M. Haas, M.D.

Hope this gets you started! Take care.
Unread 02-10-2004, 11:39 AM
Diet and Ovarian Cancer?

Dear Moonflower,

Thank you. I will get the books you told me about. I have been reading the posts that you and sirensong have posted. My head is swimming right now. Can you tell me if it is ok to start the diet while on chemo? I have 4 more treatments to go. I am on Taxotere and Carboplatin. My CA 125 have all been under 32 since chemo started. My last one was below 5.

Unread 02-10-2004, 01:54 PM
Diet and Ovarian Cancer?

Dear Bertha,

I'm glad you're looking at diet and nutrition as an integral part of healing from cancer. I also had Stage 3C cancer, and I'm doing quite well now. I am still doing low-dose chemo. But I have made huge dietary changes -- all of which were very difficult for me, since I was a wine collector who liked cheese, wine and ice cream for dinner. :-)

In general, I've cut out all dairy, all alcohol, red meat, poultry with hormones, anything made with oil other than olive oil/canola oil (e.g., crackers, cookies, etc.), eggs (other than the High Omega-3 eggs), and most sugar (I try to opt for brown rice syrup, etc.). I am sure to eat protein after I eat anything sweet (e.g., a handful of nuts if I eat a fruit-juice-sweetened vegan brownie or something like that).

My typical day might be an apple or oatmeal with flax seeds for breakfast (along with water-processed decaf with unsweetened soy milk); a big salad with carrots, beets, bean sprouts, red cabbage and a piece of poached salmon for lunch (with an olive oil-based salad dressing, such as Annie's or Paul Newman's); a big cup of fresh-squeezed carrot/beet/spinach/parsley/celery juice mid-day (I'm lucky -- I can drive somewhere close and they'll squeeze it for me, which saves time when I'm lazy); and any number of things for dinner -- most of while I buy at the deli counters at two local health food stores (lemon-herb tofu, baked potato, chicken (only sometimes, and definitely without skin) tofu lasagna, bean/rice burrito, falafel wrap with veggies, vegetarian pasta (no cream sauce), soba noodle soup with veggies, etc. (I'm not much of a cook -- too busy, too lazy.)

I don't always eat perfectly, but I do try. I have my chocolate breakdowns, but I have been trying to ensure that my chocolate breakdowns don't involve refined or white sugars.

My thought on diet during chemo is that you should eat what you can. I could only manage potato chips with onion dip and macaroni & cheese for my first three chemo treatments. And ice cream. But for my second three chemo treatments (when they reduced the dose a bit), I was able to eat much more healthfully. I couldn't have raw foods, so salads and fruits were out. But I had steamed salmon, steamed broccoli, plain baked potatoes, oatmeal, etc. My mom was really helpful in that regard, since I stayed with her during treatment and she cooks healthfully every night for my dad and herself.

I'm glad you've found some of my other posts because they were really long and featured a lot of good info.

I think it's important to note that some doctors have researched most every available supplement and some have not. Doctors who say, "We prefer that you take nothing during chemo" tend to be the doctors who haven't had time to study all the possible supplements and how they may/may not intereact with chemo drugs. I was very lucky in that my chemo doctor had researched almost every available supplement. He gave me the go-ahead for almost everything I was taken, with the exception of mega-doses of Vitamin C. But! You should discuss any supplements with your doctors.

Food-wise, you can generally do whatever you want during treatment as long as you are getting protein and proper nutrition. I was, however, strongly cautioned against eating any raw foods during treatment, since the microorganisms that live in the soil and peel can cause infection. So I just steamed vegetables to ensure that they were safe.

You can download some dietary guidelines at The link to the page with the food recommendations document is here. The document is the last one on the page, and is free to download. It has a big list of "Don't" and "Do" foods. This is my primary nutritionist's site. I have consulted with her twice, and am adhering (mostly) to her recommendations. She only works with cancer patients.

You'll notice that this page also has the presentation that she gave at the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance conference, which is where I saw her speak. You can download it for free. But the food recommendations document might be very helpful to you, since it clearly spells out what is a no-no.

I think adopting all these changes at once is overwhelming for anybody. I can definitely see that my choices are better now than they were four months ago. And I am incredibly conscious when I do go off my diet and allow myself a real dessert or something like that. I think that thinking about the food we eat, and being conscious of everything we eat, helps us make the right choices. I went to a party and my choices are pizza, cookies, chips and soda. I thus waited until I got home to eat. I went to another party, and they had pretzels, spanikopita, hummus dip and chips, so I did eat at this party. It's a matter of balance.

I hope some of this helps! If you have any specific questions, please feel free to post them or PM me. I would be happy to help! Like Jochan, another person here who has been so helpful to me throughout my treatment and recovery, I hope that I will be spared so I can help others. I can post a list of what I'm currently taking supplement-wise, if it helps. Just let me know.

Unread 02-10-2004, 01:59 PM
Diet and Ovarian Cancer?

PS -- I forgot to mention that cruciferous vegetables -- such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale -- are possibly the most important cancer-fighting foods. (I'm reminding myself, since I haven't had anything but some cabbage for a few weeks, and definitely need to steam some broccoli.)

The FDA food pyramid should be ignored when fighting cancer, since it favors a diet comprised mostly of grain/starch-based foods. The books I've read and nutritionists I've consulted with all agree that 9-11 serving of vegetables is optimal for someone recovering from cancer.

Like Moonflower, my sister in health-nuttiness, I also take systemic enzymes between meals. These are recommended by both my nutritionists and most of the books I read. The brand I take is Mega-Zyme by Enzymatic Therapies. You can get it at a health food store. I also take Grifron maitake mushroom with D-fraction in liquid form. Both my nutritionists feel that it is vital.
Unread 02-10-2004, 07:52 PM
Diet and Ovarian Cancer?

Hi again,
Just read Siren's post and agree with her advice about eating during chemo. It is more important to eat what you can tolerate to keep up your strength. Raw veggies and salads were forbidden me as well as honey, miso soup, acidic fruits and juices, soy products and coffee. Even after I finished chemo my stomach would act up constantly and I always felt slightly queasy.

My doctor did not allow me to take any supplements, or "those crazy herbs" during chemo, and I respected that. But as soon as I was done and able to tolerate it, I started out slowly with a TCM herbal combination to help rebuild the blood.

This past fall I did a 30 day dietary cleanse under the supervision of my acupuncturist. It was difficult, but I managed to get through it and do feel much better. But this is not something you should even consider at this time!! What I learned most during that 30 days was reading food labels. Even in some so called health food products you find wheat, sugar, high fructose syrup and unhealthy oils. It was quite a revelation.

I don't know about you, but I love bread, pasta, and of course, chocolate. I use Ezekial bread which you can find in a health food store, usually in the refrigerator or frozen section. It is made without flour, just whole grains. The first time I tried it I thought it was like eating cardboard, but I've since grown used to it. I usually toast it and add a little almond butter or sugar free jam.

Alas, I haven't found a good substitute for pasta. I did try some made with rice flour, but it was blah, blah, blah. Just wouldn't hold a sauce and got all mushy, but it is easy to digest. I also eat cheese made from rice milk. It is called Rice Slice, and is in health food stores as well. It takes a little getting used to, but since it's healthier, well.... I also found several brands of crackers that are gluten free and made with rice flour.

Unlike Siren, I have to limit the amount of raw veggies and juices because they are considered "cooling", that is, they dampen digestion. The same for soy products. Now, that is a TCM principle, and everyone has a different constitution, so this may or may not apply depending on the individual, and also where they live. Siren lives in a much warmer climate than I do so she probably does fine. I eat warm foods like soup and steamed veggies until summer.

I sometimes have to struggle with the diet, especially when I see a lovely chocolate cake, or smell pizza. Yum! But I always manage to get back on track. Besides, I see my acupuncturist on a regular basis, and she always knows by checking my tongue if I've been good or not.

So you see there is a wealth of information here, and we've basically just scratched the surface. Hope you aren't afraid you asked. You have a lot on your plate right now (no pun intended) so take your time, read up, and ease into it. We're always here!
Unread 02-11-2004, 05:21 AM
Diet and Ovarian Cancer?

Dear SireSong & moonflower,

Thank you so much for all the info. I have lived my whole life so far as a big time dairy eater. It will be hard to change BUT it will change! My chemo has only nauseated me twice. I feel like one of the lucky ones. My big complaint are the muscle and joint pains which I have learned to live with. My hair has started to grow back in and I am still receiving chemo. LOL. With these diet changes I hope to feel stronger instead of tired all the time. Again thank you so much.


PS: One of the girls I work with has been reading your posts and thainks you both are great.

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