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Topic: Diet, suplements and Stage IV

Forum: Stage IV and Metastatic Breast Cancer ONLY —

A place for those managing the ups & downs of a Stage IV/metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. Please respect that this forum is for Stage IV members only. There is a separate forum For Family and Caregivers of People with a STAGE IV Diagnosis.

Posted on: May 11, 2011 02:02PM - edited May 11, 2011 02:03PM by alicia_en_madrid

alicia_en_madrid wrote:

I do not post often, but I read everyday. I have been trying to find information on the Internet about suplements, diets, etc and cancer. I suggested my mother going to a nutricionist / homehopath and maybe change the diet.

I guess there are not scientific evidence that it helps to improve survival (maybe it does improve quality of life), but then you read/ hear someone who tells you that something works and you want to believe that, even if that means eating broccoli every day.

I know how much my mother loves sweets and chocolate (me too) and I do not want her to stop eating that (that would really ruin her QOL), but I know that if an expert tells us that something is not good because it produces estogen or whatever, she could consider that.

As I said, I do not post often, but I read a lot and I trust you (because I "know you") more than I trust any website I can find on the Internet. For example, I watched this video yesterday (a speech by David Servan-Schreiber, author of the Anticancer: A New Way Of Life ) and they say sugar is not good:


i would like to know how many of you follow a special diet supervised by an nutricionist (kind of "anti cancer diet"), if you believe it can improve survival, if you think homehopathy can help or if you know about any other complementary thing that can also help.

My mother's cancer is still ER+ and lobular, which has a tendency to go to the gastro intestinal system. That is also why I thought about the diet.

My mother is the kind of person who takes care of everybody (except herself) and this I why I know she would not consider it important to take care of herself..However, I do not want to "push" her to do something she does not really want to.

Thank you for reading and, again, sorry for my mistakes. It takes me ages to write something...

Dx 1/25/2011, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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May 12, 2011 04:19PM 3katz wrote:

Alicia - I'm kind of surprised no one answered you yet but when they do, you'll get lots of opinions. I'm no expert in the nutritional area - mainly due to the fact I'm 35-40 pounds overweight. But eating a healthy diet is important. Also, diet will depend on the type of treatment your mom is going through. My recommendation is to see the nutritionist at the onc's office (if there is one) or have the onc recommend someone. While she probably doesn't need to go on a strict "diet," maybe an analysis of her eating habits would be enlightenting. Common sense is the most practical application though - plenty of fruits & vegetables, whole grains, lean meats. And definitely don't remove sweets and ruin the QOL - sweets are a wonderful treat. Moderation is the key there. And don't forget plenty of water during the day.

I don't take a lot of stock in the eating asparagus everyday, wild blueberries & currants, coffee, etc hype you see in emails, on TV and in print. However, if your mom is ER+, staying away from soy products is a good idea, although a little edammame or tofu on occasion probably won't hurt. But ask the doctor - that's always the best thing.

Good luck to you.

Amy D - orig dx 2005, stage III / recur-mets Stage IV dx 2008, multiple bone lesions / er/pr+, her2neu+++ / Dx 5-2010 brain met
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May 12, 2011 05:17PM Fitztwins wrote:

Get the book fighting cancer with nurtition. I stay away from processed foods...no soy, very little dairy.  Lots of water. No soda.

Anything else, not convinced it works.

Enjoy Every Sandwich. Dx 12/12/2004, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/lungs, Grade 2, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 1/19/2005 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap Chemotherapy 2/1/2005 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 5/1/2005 Breast, Lymph nodes Targeted Therapy 6/1/2005 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 1/1/2006 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 6/2/2008 Aromasin (exemestane) Targeted Therapy 7/1/2008 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 6/15/2013 Arimidex (anastrozole) Targeted Therapy 9/5/2015 Perjeta (pertuzumab)
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May 13, 2011 11:28AM Suze35 wrote:

I hope it is okay to add my input.

I've changed my diet quite a bit since diagnosis, and the one thing I've learned is that the best way to stick to those changes is to make sure you ENJOY them.  I don't think diet and supplements can cure cancer in any way, but I do think they can help improve your health which helps you deal with treatments and recovery better.  So have your mom keep the chocolate and occasional wine, but maybe make changes where she can.

For example, I eat oatmeal every morning with blueberries and soymilk.  This is supposed to be very good for me, but I really enjoy it!  I've tried avoiding animal protein except fish, but it got boring fast, so I've added lean meats back in.  I've replaced any white flour products with wheat and whole grains, but I like them, so no big deal for me.  I love wine, but have switched to red.  So see what your mom is up to doing, and go from there!

And I really recommend Dr. Servan-Schreiber's book - easy to read, doesn't promote EXTREME changes, and is very uplifting.  His dietary suggestions really make sense.

Best to you both.

Original dx Stage IIIa TN 9/2010 Dx 9/19/2011, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 8/12 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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May 13, 2011 12:57PM JeninMichigan wrote:


I saw a naturalist doctor the week after I started chemo.   My GI track was instantly a mess. .  He gave me so much good advise and instruction on eating a high alkaline - low acid diet.  Kind of like balancing the PH in your pool water .. he said my stomach was like green pool water.  It really helped me get back in order.   Probiotics have been another miracle for my guts.   Additionally he provided me advise on various other supplements.  I have a big list of them I take daily.   Does it work???  I couldn't say for sure... however I will tell you that I worked nearly every day during chemo, I didn't catch as much as a sniffle and I was NED in 3 cycles and have stayed that way.  Now, I give credit for the NED to Taxotere and Herceptin but I give my health otherwise credit to the help from the naturalist and supplements.   Vit D and Calcium at the minimum is a must.   I took a boat load of antioxidants too.    I am not big on the fad stuff like eating asparagus three times a day.   However, basic stuff my naturalist told me like, no processed stuff (of course), eat a slice of pineapple with before every meal (balances Ph)  eat a handful of spinach and red grapes every day.   No Beer ... drink red wine (yes!!!!).   I could go on and on as I have been seeing him for over three years.  

You are welcome to PM me if you want to know more.


Dx 2/22/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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May 13, 2011 01:14PM ibcmets wrote:

I'm ER+, read many books and decided to avoid  caffiene, diet soda and soy products.  I also like sweets but I do cutback a lot.  I also started juicing apples, oranges & carrots.  When I can find kale, I add it as it has lots of nutrition.  I also drink alkaline water from a filter as I heard cancer can not grow in an alkaline state.  Some believe it and some don't but just in case it's true, I'd rather drink the alkaline water. 

I was hit with stage IV inflammatory with spinal bone mets from the get go in 6/09.  I finished a BMX in January and will do scans again in June.  I've been stable since 2/2010.


6/2009 stage IV diagnosis w bone mets ,Xgeva , 2015 brain mets, liver metastasis
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May 13, 2011 06:58PM ejnova wrote:

i try to follow a decent diet but you what . . . i've got terminal cancer and if i want to have a hot fudge sunday and pizza i'm a going to eat it.

Dx 1/1/2010, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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May 13, 2011 08:45PM CamilleL wrote:

All the diet advice here is excellent.  Dr. Berkson at the Intergrative Medical Center also places cancer patients on a regimen of supplements, all pharmaceutical grade as he has lab tested many over the counter brands and found them seriously wanting.   I can send the specifics to anyone who wants, but essentially the regimen consists of alpha lipoic acid, vitamin D, Selenium, B Complex, Magnesium Citrate, curcumin, artemisinin, Coenzyme Q10,  and Omega 3 fish oil, a calcium/mineral combo, and a mult-vitamin without iron.  It's a lot of pills, but there's some research of cancer-fighting properties behind each one.  I also take low-dose naltrexone, which requires a prescription, but is pretty inexpensive. 

Dx 1/29/2011, ILC, Stage IV, mets, ER+
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May 14, 2011 10:59AM Heidihill wrote:

Probiotics will strengthen her gastric immunity. To lower blood sugar, have your mom eat apples. An appe a day, as they say. Dried apples will work, too!

Dx 8/2007, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 2, 2/19 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 3/25/2015 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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May 22, 2011 08:54AM alicia_en_madrid wrote:

Wow, thank you very much for your replies. I somehow missed them the day you all replied and found my own thread today when I was searching information on low-dose naltrexone.

In the hospital where my mother is being treated there is an "integrative" cancer treatment center and they do have a nutricionist. My mother said she is going to make an appointment after the next appointment with the oncologist and her holidays.

In the meantime, I will buy one of two books and read them. And of course I will let her know about all your suggestions.We are also juicing a lot (mainly fruits and carrots) and drinking greend tea.

Again, thank you so much for all your replies. You are amazing.


Dx 1/25/2011, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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May 27, 2011 07:14PM - edited May 27, 2011 07:15PM by TerriD

HI Ladies, I am a survivor, and am researching for my younger sister who was just re-dx'd with satge 4. It is in her liver, she is still undergoing tests at this point.  I am wondering, becasue when I was doing chemo my onc told me NO supplements (he has a dont strengthen the cancer cells policy), However I know Vitamin D is very important etc.  So do you think he (my onc) has a valid oint? or do you suggest supplementin?   @Camille, yes I woul appreciate your information. Thanks Terri

2x survivor. 1Peter 2:24 Claim Victory! Dx1 age 37 Masc 2/2000 Tumor 4.5cm ER+ Implant Chemo 6 months Dx2 age46 Masc 12/2008 No recons.ER+ Chemo 6 months 36Rads 2/12 Lymph nodes Mild Lymphadema Re-current cellulitis (well over 100 episodes!)
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May 27, 2011 07:40PM - edited May 27, 2011 07:41PM by revkat

This Post was deleted by revkat.
Dx 1/28/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 1/20 nodes, ER+, HER2-
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May 27, 2011 10:06PM JanBan wrote:

I bought this book yesterday and quickly skimmed through it.  I did read the first 10 pages last night and the content looks promising.  I hope to decrease the amount of red meat that I eat and have more fish which I happen to love anyway.  I asked my oncologist (who is a breast cancer survivor) this morning about supplements and she said that she takes only calcium and vitamin D in addition to a nutritional diet containing many fruits and vegetables.

Dx 8/3/2010, DCIS, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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May 28, 2011 11:12AM TerriD wrote:

yeah calcium for teh bones...good idea!

2x survivor. 1Peter 2:24 Claim Victory! Dx1 age 37 Masc 2/2000 Tumor 4.5cm ER+ Implant Chemo 6 months Dx2 age46 Masc 12/2008 No recons.ER+ Chemo 6 months 36Rads 2/12 Lymph nodes Mild Lymphadema Re-current cellulitis (well over 100 episodes!)
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May 30, 2011 08:44AM KSkier wrote:

@TerriD re: supplements.  I am currently reading Dr. Keith Block's book Life Over Cancer, in the last few pages of chapter 4 he addresses the oncologists' logic that you are both feeding the cancer cells, as well as perhaps fighting off the treatment (chemotherapy).  I've only got far enough in the book for him to cite a 2007 study/paper he published in Cancer Treatment Reviews where he found no evidence.  He then argues that supplements are neccessary, and promises to further address the question in subsequent chapters; I'll keep you posted!   Since so far I can find no evidence that he is trying to sell me supplements, I am going to listen to what he has to say. 
Dx 8/15/2008, IBC, 6cm+, Stage IV, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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May 30, 2011 11:42AM sharalou wrote:

Do you think Vit.D, is Vit.D, no matter which company?  I use the Nature Made, and mine has D3 in it.  Any thoughts?


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May 30, 2011 12:43PM TerriD wrote:

@KSkier...thanks...in talking with someone last night...they commented that perhaps vitamin d is not absorbed properly or effctive while doing chemo, so this is a very common perception out there... THANKS! for sharing

2x survivor. 1Peter 2:24 Claim Victory! Dx1 age 37 Masc 2/2000 Tumor 4.5cm ER+ Implant Chemo 6 months Dx2 age46 Masc 12/2008 No recons.ER+ Chemo 6 months 36Rads 2/12 Lymph nodes Mild Lymphadema Re-current cellulitis (well over 100 episodes!)
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May 30, 2011 10:44PM K-Lo wrote:

What's bad about sodas? What about Splenda, any real data? Thx

Kathy Dx 8/30/2010, IDC, 4cm, Stage IV, 8/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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