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Q: "My sister-in-law has cancer which unfortunately has spread. Looking for the best diet or macrobiotic diet to tackle cancer."

March 19, 2018
Thank you for reaching out to The Sage: Nutritious Solutions; we are very sorry to hear about your loved one. 

Cancer is a condition, that, unlike others, have many different ways to treat nutritionally. This is not because many different nutrition guidelines are appropriate, but because each cancer may cause different side effects - especially given the various types of cancer TREATMENT. With that said, you will be able to find any diet on the internet with the claim of benefiting/treating/curing cancer. Because we don't exactly know why cancer develops specifically, there really is no such magic diet plan. 
However, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) publishes guidelines for nutrition in the cancer patient. These include:
1. Limiting fast foods, processed foods (like frozen or packaged meals or sides), alcohol, and processed meats (such as deli meat, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, etc.)
2. Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein. Focus on foods high in fiber such as fresh produce, beans, lentils, quinoa, etc. The idea that "sugar feeds cancer" is popular but not founded in peer-reviewed research. It is OK to consume fresh fruits, high fiber grains, and dairy such as yogurt unless otherwise indicated by a Clinical Oncology Dietitian. Avoid seeking advice from "health coaches" and "nutritionists" as they do not have the necessary qualifications to treat people with cancer. 
3. Drink plenty of water and exercise (180 minutes weekly). If the person is physically unable to exercise, do what they can. Chair exercises and simple stretches are also beneficial. 

Because each cancer diagnosis is different and furthermore, each treatment modality carries its own set of side effects, it is important for every cancer patient to be assessed by a Clinical Oncology Dietitian along with their medical team. Symptom management becomes a key component during treatment, especially when significant weight loss occurs. 

We are happy to provide you with suggestions on dietitians in your area. Feel free to email us directly at for more information. However, remember that we can not provide
specific recommendations without a thorough assessment of the person living with cancer. We wish you and your loved one luck through this challenging journey. 

-Zach Breeding, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND
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