Diets for chemotherapy make tumors shrink more

Breast cancer patients who follow a low-calorie diet in the days before their chemotherapy will see their tumors shrink more than patients who simply eat. This is shown by Dutch research, reported by De Standaard. However, it is still too early to decide that every patient should fast from now on.

The study included 130 women who had breast cancer at an early stage. Before the operation, the patients had to undergo six to eight cures of chemotherapy, to reduce the tumour already as much as possible and thus make the operation less strenuous.

Half of the patients were asked to fast three days before each chemotherapy treatment and on the day of the chemotherapy treatment. It was a meatless protein and low-calorie diet – 1,200 kilocalories the first day, a little 200 kcal the next three days. The other patients, who formed the control group, were allowed to eat whatever they wanted.

Breast Cancer Research.
©Hollandse Hoogte/Flip Franssen – Breast Cancer Research.

After the chemotherapy, the tumors in the dieting group appeared to shrink more, based on scan images, than in the non-fasting participants.

However, cancer patients should not now start fasting on their own, because shortages of nutrition and vitamins during a stress period also entail risks. Nor can fasting be included in the treatment process just like that. More research is needed for this.

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