Some thoughts on Diet and Cancer

I am not a doctor.  I've never had cancer, though I've had numerous close to me diagnosed and have actually studied it quite a bit.   So with Jimmy's Crap on the Jaminets fest going on over on his blog, lots of opinions on diet for cancer, ketogenic specifically, and Paul's "dangerous" recommendations are being bantied about.  I would be remiss if I didn't point out that Shou-Ching Jaminet is a cancer researcher!   But I guess she's only responsible for Paul's white rice consumption, and has no bearing on Paul-the-astrophysicist's understanding of molecular biology.   Yeauh right.  :-(

I remain ambivalent that diet can be used to "starve" cancer.  The signalling molecule angle doesn't sway me either, because, the big thing about cancer cells is that they have lost their signaling.  They have gone rogue and are as foreign to your own body as bacterial cells.  Indeed one of the knocks on in vitro human cell cultures is that they are derived from cancers.  Why?  Because bacteria replicate because that's what they do.  But the cells of multicellular organisms can be put in nutrient rich media and they will NOT divide and grow.  They (may) survive for a while and die.   And so all higher organism tissue cultures require establishment of "immortal" cell lines that divide and multiply in a dish.  (Not all in vitro experiments use these, they use isolated cells cultured and exposed to various stimuli ... such experiments are short-lived!)  The phenotype of these cell lines is also variable.  For my PhD thesis I was going to look at bone titanium interactions and did a fare amount of research before selecting a particular human cell line.  Bone physiology is complicated and not all bone cell lines express the matrix-building characteristic, etc.  Indeed often "functional" cells will de-differentiate in culture and stop expressing their identifying phenotype.

Chemotherapy basically works by intervening in cell growth/proliferation mechanisms.  Basically to kill the cancer before it kills you.  This is why your hair falls out, because hair follicle cells are rapid proliferators.  Radiation is stressful on the body.  Newer therapies are harnessing the power of your immune system.  ALL are benefitted by the rest of you being as nourished and able to fight the *bad* as possible.

If I were diagnosed with cancer, I would provide my body with the most healthful, least stressful diet possible so the rest of me will live and be stronger.  You're under enough stress, why add more with a diet that stresses the body?  That would include at least 100g-150g starch carbs.   Folks the cancer cells are going to take the nutrition they will whether you add it directly in the diet or not.  


perishedcore said…
Well, actually, we each and every one of us, has cancerous cells across organs frequently. It's just that they don't proliferate and take off.

That underlies some of the biggest debates about cancer screening and treatment (see today's NYT prostate screening/treatment article for a current example).

Going as far upstream as possible, I want to know what controllable factors minimize the risk of CA cell proliferation.

And that would lead, nutritionally, at least, to looking for populations and cultures who didn't/don't suffer from various forms of CA.

When CA is proliferating, the question shifts to that of what nutritional aspects lead to halted/slower progression of disease?

I don't know if the answer to both questions is the same or not. My guess is that there are many more metabolic demands on the person with active and proliferating CA, and so a balance of feeding the body toward a homeostatic state but starving CA cells is the goal, with the achievable being something less than optimal.

aek (My Wordpress profile doesn't work here - could you offer a name/url option?)
CarbSane said…
Hi aek, I'm not sure what you mean. I allow "OpenID" and it says that allows WordPress. I'm not keen on allowing Anonymous -- I think that's the only other option here on Blogger.

It's been a long time, but I actually took an entire class on cancer and the statistic as to how many cancer cells we generate a day was staggering (I don't recall the number but I do recall the impact that tidbit had on me). Let's just say it's amazing we don't all have cancer!

Jack Kruse's comments on Jimmy's blog were especially disconcerting on this topic.
Tsimblist said…
I recently ran across this in vitro study using human cancer cells:

#1 Anticancer Vegetable
Sanjeev said…
> Jack Kruse's comments on Jimmy's blog were especially disconcerting on this topic.

indeed. Posturing a minority (dare I write "FRINGE"? ... I guess I did) opinion as if it were standard.
Sanjeev said…
put Kruse and Taubes together with Fred's standard diabetes spiel and Dr. Lustig and all you can conclude is that all

1. obesity researchers / scientists
1a dieticians
1b nutritionists
2. oncologists
3. cancer researchers
4. diabetes researchers
4a MD diabetes specialists
5. exercise / sports / metabolism researchers
6. food researchers (chemistry and engineering) (industrial and gov/university funded)
7. food industry engineers
8. food industry geneticists (molecular or otherwise)
9. genetics researchers (molecular or otherwise, industrially funded or gov/university funded)

are out to lunch and / or are all conspiring, and have been for a generation.

What other groups can we add?

Put this together with what Dr. Su wrote and the warning signs and "red flags" indicative of pseudoscience and "persecuted subculture" are just piling up.

Should I add "Wheat Belly" here?
perishedcore said…
Has anyone checked Kruse's credentials? I looked at the TN licensure site, and he's NOT board certified in anything. So the guy with the dental and medical degrees practices what, exactly? Anecdotally, I don't know of any accredited hospital that would let someone practice a specialty - especially a high risk specialty such as neurosurg, without board certification.

@CarbSane: Every time I try to sign in here using my Wordpress account, Blogger strips my comments and tells me that my username is incorrect. So I use Google, which doesn't have my correct username (I use that mostly to scan for spam in my mail account)

There is a non Open ID option to use name and url, with the url being optional. That's what I'd prefer to use since Blogger tends to leave that alone.

CarbSane said…

I'll look into it, but that likely opens the door for Anonymous and I'm not a fan of that.
perishedcore, you can edit your Blogger profile to change the name Blogger displays. That's what I did (I use Google).
Lerner said…
but cancer is prothrombotic and so is most chemo and so is inactivity/prolonged bedrest. A la Virchow's Triad: hypercoagulability, stasis, endothelial injury.

So, to my mind, the 'single fatty meal' phenomenon is something to be avoided, with the resulting Clotting Factor VII resulting in stories I've heard like this: "it's not fair, dad was doing so good with his chemo so we took him out to dinner and later that night he died of a heart attack".

wrt to google: I wouldn't doubt they rig things to try and herd people into using google accounts. I try to avoid eveything google but finally did get the google account so I could post... here.