Alternative Cancer Therapies – Nutritional Therapies
There is some confusion about the efficacy of nutritional therapies in the treatment of cancer. For a start, it is said that 40 per cent or more of cancer patients die from malnutrition, rather than the cancer. This is because the disease makes it physically difficult to eat, causes nausea or has a deleterious effect on the digestive system. It is also well recognized that at least a third of all cancers originate with some sort of nutritional connection – and that a diet that is well balanced, containing optimum amounts of important food groups (carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins) is important for the health of everyone, not just those suffering from cancer.
Research shows that if you want to avoid getting cancer you can follow a diet that is high in fiber and avoid red meat and refined foods like white flour and sugar. Some fruits and vegetables, like garlic and broccoli, have been shown scientifically to lower the risk of getting cancer. Tomatoes and tomato products can lower the risk of getting prostate cancer. You should make sure your food contains folic acid (green vegetables), carotenoids (red and yellow vegetables), antioxidants (green tea) and probiotics (yoghurt), and avoid food contaminated by pesticides or chemicals like fluride or chlorine, to steer clear of cancer symptoms.
However, proponents of nutritional therapies go beyond these general premises. They believe that eating certain foods can cure cancer – a whole different proposition. The claims are many and varied. Here are just a few.
* Raw asparagus has healing properties. Since asparagus contains many nutrients and is a good source of Vitamin C, glutathione and potassium, it has been seen as a ‘miracle food’ by some.
* Turmeric and ginger have strong anti-tumor properties (they have been used in traditional Malaysian medicine for many years).
* Ingesting organic cold-pressed flaxseed oil mixed with cottage cheese will provide omega 3 acids that have curative properties.
* A regimen involving large quantities of wheatgrass is beneficial for cancer sufferers.
* Drinking dark grape juice can cure lung cancer.
The Kelley regimen, involving self-administered doses of various vitamins, enzymes and minerals has had adherents since its beginnings in the 1960s.
Unfortunately, most alternative dietary treatments do not take account of the age or condition of the patient, what stage their disease has reached, or the type of cancer they are suffering from. Although there may be some advantages to some of the dietary factors involved, and many are under active scientific investigation, there is no evidence yet for a nutritional silver bullet.