The Dietary Advice No Cancer Patient Can Ignore
The world of medical sciences has evolved a lot in the last decades. We no longer rely on home-made concoctions of different sorts to treat different symptoms, nor are we any longer powerless against most common diseases.
However, there are some diseases that still cause us to tremble upon hearing their mention. Among the top of this list is cancer. It is a disease that is sometimes difficult to diagnose at an early stage, and can be difficult to treat once spotted. For years, scientists have tried to find a cure, and alongside these attempts, there have been some claims that certain dietary restrictions can help cancer patients fare better against the disease. Such claims have finally been put to rest by the Irish Cancer Society in a warning that no cancer patient can ignore.
Vegetarians and Vegans Get Affected by Cancer less Often
An analysis of multiple studies was done in 2012, which proved that people who had a vegetarian diet got affected by cancer lesser than those that consumed meat. Vegans were seen to be affected even less than vegetarians. As an example, vegan women developed female-specific cancers like breast cancer 34% less often than non-vegetarians.
Dr. Dean Ornish and Elizabeth Blackburn found that more than 500 genes of the human body changed after only three months of someone opting for a vegan diet. The genes that prevent diseases were turned on while those causing diseases such as some types of cancer were turned off.
While these results are true and based on long-term research, the claim that turning to a vegan diet while already suffering from cancer helps patients fight their existing cancers, has been called bogus by the Irish Cancer Society. They have put forth a warning to all cancer patients believing in such claims, and no patient can afford to ignore it if they want to survive their disease.
Cancer Treatment Requires a High Protein Diet
The reason they have issued this warning is because, opting for a vegan diet in the middle of cancer treatment could mean, (if not done under proper supervision), that the patient will obtain too little protein to help keep them strong enough for procedures like chemotherapy. Chemo is extremely hard on the patient’s body and one needs to be able to withstand the impact of these treatments. That is possible only with a high protein diet. A whopping 80% of cancer patients see a substantive drop in weight during treatment, and 40% become victims of rapid muscle loss. Both of these problems reduce the chances for survival and, coupled with a lack of dietary protein, can cause some serious problems.
It is true that vegans do not develop cancer at the rates of their omnivorous counterparts. It also seems to be true that vegans undergo impressive genetic changes that can help protect them against cancer and other diseases. It is true that women with a plant-based diet seem to better dodge the chances of developing breast cancer. But it is not necessarily true that existing cancer patients can fight existing cancers better with a vegan diet than a non-vegan one, and this is a warning that no cancer patient should ignore.