Helping Patients Navigate the complex maze of claims of dietary cures for cancer

Whether or not you have cancer and searching for the diet that promises cure or if you are trying to be healthy and avoid cancer; there is one question that needs to be asked: Are You confused?

FAdDiet-BAd-DietWhether or not you have cancer and searching for the diet that promises cure or if you are trying to be healthy and avoid cancer;  there is one question that needs to be asked: Are You confused?

If you have answered YES – then you may be on the road to discovery by reassessing the loads of misinformation written and spoken about diet and cancer cures. Over 45 years in cancer medicine – I have seen most fads and “cancer cure diets”. Longevity in the field is a wonderful teacher as you have the luxury of seeing repetition over the years. What works and what doesn’t work!

I see “cancer cure diets” recycled each decade to a new group of enthusiasts who promote the very things that did not work back then but, they don’t know that and so they regurgitate the information to a new group of desperate patients seeking a cure. The newbie enthusiasts believe the old and tired hype and try to make it new and sexy. But as they say You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear!

So, if you are confused, I encourage you to develop your critical thinking skills and question the different ways that are promoted to help you beat cancer and especially to beat cancer naturally with diet and without the help of modern medicine. Most cancer patients believe that with a diet change you can do no harm; but they could not be more wrong!

All things in Balance - So important when dealing with cancer
All things in Balance – So important when dealing with cancer

 The list of “healthy diet health issues” is long…but perhaps the most recent destructive dietary change for cancer patients is the Vegan diet. Regularly in my practice I see patients who have lost 10-20 kg plus following a vegan diet because they went to a workshop program, read it in a book or found it on Dr Google. They have applied a one size fits all approach to their diet, not personalized. When we measure their blood – we find severe deficiencies in critical areas including immunity and vitamin B12 to name a few – the complete opposite of their goal- but often we also find dangerous levels of selenium, zinc, Vit D & A as they have tried to use supplements to adjust for dietary lack. Faecal retention and constipation is common on low fibre diets.

The natural therapies movement has convinced patients that their bodies can no longer be trusted to function and that they are toxic and must detox from very pore and orifice. As well they must do the same with their “emotional baggage”if they want to recover from cancer! This is a sad indictment of a supposedly health promoting profession.

Apart from diets where Juicing reigns supreme with 8- 10 juices a day; vegan and raw vegan seem to create the most most destructive side effects for cancer patients. Many patients who have written blogs and books on the subject have sadly died following the wrong dietary advice. Yes – patients die from cancer too….but in my experience those who engage in the fad cancer cure diets do far worse than those who just have medical treatment.

I was in a local Homestyle-Kitchen store recently and on the shelf I discovered several new copies of Jess Ainscough’s (Wellness Warrior’s) book – “Make Peace with your Plate”.  It is well documented – Jess and her mother both died by adhering to their singular dietary cure for cancer. The store concerned was not interested to know that Jess had died as a result of her choices.

If patients have delayed treatment or delayed seeking a proper diagnosis – the consequences can be horrendous. SEE Delayed treatment World Journal of Psycho warning graphic image in this Journal article.

One question to ask yourself is “Do I have time to experiment with this one one precious life?” All that myself and my colleagues can do is keep on educating cancer patients – but sadly by the time some patients visit – there is little than can be achieved.

A recent paper published in the MJA by Professor Ian Haines takes a look at this issue from the perspective of the oncologist. The paper is written to assist oncologists to develop better communication with patients who take the this  alt-med-dietary path to cancer recovery.

Resources – please pass on:

  1. See Prof Haines’ paper at:   Also download the PDF version: ian haines mja aug 2015
  2. Visit my podcast website to hear my interview on BBC Bristol UK:

Cancer Patients: If you need assistance with personalizing your diet or if you help due to delayed diagnosis – please contact me via the Contact page

Grace Gawler Grace Gawler Institute – why alternative medicine is often not enough in cancer treatment.

Part one of Understanding Cancer:
A key function of the Grace Gawler Institute is education about cancer. Being a veteran – I have seen a lot during my 35 years of working with cancer patients. Most cancer patients I see in my practice have foregone conventional therapy for what appears to be the more logical solution of natural remedies. Some choose not to have surgery and go totally natural while others have their initial surgery and refuse further treatments or future diagnostic monitoring. Surely our bodies know what to do – the theory being that if we can just get our bodies nourished by a flood of good food, juices and doses of mega supplements – that it will fix the multitude of dietary and lifestyle sins we have committed in the immediate past and the damage passed on to us via genes and damaged DNA – add to that mix the environmental pollutants of the present. Believe me – it is not that simple!

I was raised believing that good food and a healthy lifestyle can prevent certain illnesses and I believe that is a possibility; however times have changed and so has the environment we live in. We are often exposed to hundreds – maybe even thousands of cancer causing substances as we innocently go about our daily lives – it is a cost of the conveniences that we love, the products we use and the 20th and 21st century lifestyles we’ve lived.

Unlike 35 years ago when I began working with cancer patients, many patients who contact me now seem to have had quite reasonable diets; they are disappointed because they had tried in earnest to cancer-proof their lives by becoming vegetarian, vegan, juicing daily, exercising at the gym going to yoga and practising meditation daily and positive thinking etc. They are surprised to learn that yogis, naturopaths, meditators & natural lifestyle folk can all succumb to cancer. There must be more to this cancer riddle than seems obvious. Continue reading “Grace Gawler Grace Gawler Institute – why alternative medicine is often not enough in cancer treatment.”