Dr. Colin Champ, radiation oncologist at UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) discusses the optimal lifestyle for cancer patients, particularly those with breast cancer in this short YouTube video. Dr. Champ is co-author of a review with Rainer Klement, PhD that was recently published, evaluating KD (Ketogenic Diets), CR (Calorie Restriction) and radiotherapy for cancer patients.
When most people think about cancer patients, they think about weight loss and muscle wasting and patients needing to be enticed to eat. The fact is that a great number of people don’t die of the cancer per se, they die of starvation (cachexia), at the cellular level. Some studies place this figure as high as 30% of all cancer patients die of starvation. The two-second definition of cancer is a group of mutated cells, lacking the signal to stop growing and reproducing. They don’t get the signal that it’s time to die. So they proliferate and are very capable of thriving at the expensive of healthy cells. They out-produce healthy cells and so it goes that at some point, many of these cancers outsmart healthy cells, resulting in most of what those cancer patients eat, feeding the cancer first–resulting in malnutrition and starvation.
But the even worse news is there is a sub-set of cancer patients, those with hormonally driven cancers (hormone positive), who are actually at risk of weight gain–either during or post treatment/diagnosis. And weight gain for anyone with cancer is not associated with living long and prospering–especially for the hormone positive cancer patient or survivor. This is especially true in people with breast cancer. The difficulty is not in wasting away to nothing, the difficulty comes with not gaining weight; eating healthy, deeply-nutritious foods, while maintaining a steady, normal weight. The bigger difficulty is in losing, because many breast cancers share an association with obesity or over-weight people.
Dr. Champ discusses the importance of lifestyle factors (diet, exercise, normalizing weight) in surviving and fighting cancer recurrence in this brief YouTube video – Nutrition For Cancer Patients.