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Thread: Sugar and Cancer

  1. #1
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    Mar 2011

    Sugar and Cancer

    Hi everyone I just joined the forum today but I have lurked here quite a number of times.

    The reason why I joined was to try to find out more about the connection between sugar and cancer.

    My mom has stage 4 PNET Brain Tumor/Cancer, not sure if that is the right term or not, but she left Rochester MN a month ago where they gave her two months to live. She sleeps about 20 hours a day and can hasn't really walked for quite some time and for the last several weeks has needed to be fed all her meals. She does't have the energy/skills to feed herself anymore.

    My dad is determined to feed her a healthy diet that is high in antioxidants and salmon (wild caught in Alaska) every day among other foods that are the best of the best that he can find.

    He's getting a lot of information on the net and I'm trying to make heads or tails of it all. I've taken my life and put it on hold to be a caregiver and support person for my dad so i have to support him in everything that he does.

    He's just approved to let her have eggs because he now feels we need to boost her protein. Something I have been trying to get him to agree to for some time now. Last night he agreed to giving her whole milk, but this morning he realized that a cup has 11 grams of sugar so he won't let her have it anymore. But will let her have almond milk because it doesn't have any sugar.

    He also read where the sugar found in fruit is just as bad as refined sugar in the bag added to foods so he's going to decrease the blueberries and grapes for that reason. Too much sugar.

    Are there any medical documents that I can show him to help prove that point wrong, or help me to understand what he is doing is right. I know that cancer feeds off sugar, but does that mean you need to cut as much sugar out of your diet as possible including natural sugars found in milk and fruits/veggies?

    Two days ago pain started for her, and he's convinced that she is in pain because of her nutrition. He told me that those with brain cancer won't have the pain (body) like those with other cancers.

    I want to be supportive, but i also want what's best for my mom in the little time left that she has. My dad is convinced that he can make her better and give her a few more months or even years by changing her diet. There are no more medical treatments left to try. She's even been through two stem cell transplants and the second one almost killed her. So diet is all we have left.

    Just looking for any help or advice to help me understand some of my dad's choices.


  2. #2
    Super Moderator Top User sheila's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    bethel park pa
    Krissy- Im sorry to hear your mom isnt doing well. Its so wonderfull that you and your dad care so much for your mom. As far as nutrition-yes important ..sugar is still waay controversial with not alot of valid proof, altho too much of anything isnt good for anyone.-My mom has been in stage IV for 5 years now, grant you moms colon cancer is far different from brain yet cancer nevertheless is cancerThe most important thing my moms doctor told her was to have stregth get as much of anything you can get down in to gain weight so she would have something to fight with. He suggested heavy creams extra butter( high protein fish meat eggs)ensure shakes gatorade to keep balanced, vegetables as she can tolorate them(which she can hardly eat due to her colostomy) shes to eat potatoes pastas etc.
    If sugar was definately the cause I doubt he would be telling her to consume all those carbs when they ca convert to sugars. mom cant eat fruit either but if it didnt bother her she would. Plus he told her to eat whatever she wants -just get it in and she takes many suppliments that he uses to balance her body what the missing intestines can no longer do. with bloodwork they are keeping things balanced as possible. I say as long as your mom can eat-you ought to make it easy for her and let her eat whatever is enjoyable for her anythings better than having to be on TPN(total parental nutrition) given in IV form.Mom was on that for 1month no food.
    luckily she bounced back. No matter what you feed her unfortunately I doubt it will prolong life-its her body how much it can handle and whenever her time is destined to be, I would let her enjoy her favorite foods. I can see your dads attempt to try and keep her as healthy as possible but cutting sugar completely isnt going to change anything. Eggs and salmon and white fish being high in protein may be easier for her to eat than most meats-and protein is important especially with all the muscle breakdown that happens when one lies around alot. keeping her hydrated will be one of the toughest things -water gatorade the best. they wanted mom to drink 4 gatorades (big ones) a day plus water . we were lucky we got 1 gatorade and 2 water- and it wasnt good she got dehydrated 2 times to almost the point of..well you know what I mean we almost lost her. hang in there-prayers for your family. hope this helped some take care keep us posted
    MOMS Journey
    April06- Emergencysurgery,exploratory,10units blood,largetumor and 10inches of colon removed,temp.colostomy.diagnosed stage IV colon.
    Oct06-radiation,surgery,several lymphs,cervix,1 ovary,fallopian,40% remaining colon,large tumor to adipose tissue,appendix,gallbladder removed.permant colostomy/iliostomy
    April 07-xeloda-overdose
    surgery-1/3liver,partial diaphra, removed clipped and questionable spots oblated.
    port-port rejection-port removed 1week.
    picc line,5fu,oxyplatin,camptosar.
    Oct-08-surgery-remaining ovary engulfed in tumor,partial bone scrape.
    transfusion central line TPN 1 month.
    oct-09-surgery tumor ,colon and jejuneum removed.
    xeloda reduced. severe dehydration,heart attack.
    mar-11 return to original site-oxyplatin,5fu
    dec-28-blood transfusion
    dec-30-back to chemo erbitux camtosar
    Jan-16 injections neulasta and aranesp
    feb 21-Tumor found stomach,liver, and liver "hot spots" inflamed lymph in rt ureter in kidney causing obstruction-surgery schedualed Mar 16.
    march 16/12-no more kidney obstruction not lymph ...dehydration is causing blockage, two litters blood for anemia, stomach liver tumor small-med,abalation, 1 hidden tumor deep in muscle mass on side flank(hid from scans) -gone!
    june/15/12-blood transfusion
    starting a regimine of celebrex
    aug/16/12-blood transfusion
    aug/30-12 discontinued celebrex -failure one kidney. needed to see urologist
    sept/10-12-good urologist report one kidney functioning well for now.
    oct/23/12-chemo pill Stivarga(regorafenib)
    Nov/22/12-blood transfusion
    dec/18/12-blood transfusion chemo pill dosage cut back to 1 pill.
    Feb/21/13 neulasta injection
    Feb/22/13-blood transfusion. still taking stivarga.
    mar/20/13-arenespt injection rehydration and magnesium IV
    mar/21/13-acute renal failure-kidney infection
    april/1/13.-recovery from 4 day coma infection cleared/4 units blood/ off stivarga/starting rehab therapy,
    swollen hand no apparent reason black spots in vision off and on. both cleared up.
    may/22/13-home oxycodone for pain shoulder neck arm
    june/1/13 pain subsided off oxy onto aleve
    june/09/13-pain back off aleve on vicodin
    june 10/13-cancer in back/neck- starting radiation for arm neck and shoulder pain.
    june24/13-last day of radiation-on steroids
    july1/13-swollen legs and feet-lasix off steroids still on vicodin and xanax
    july 23/13 vicodin cut in half blood transfusion.
    sept/6/13-off all pain meds since late aug
    scan results fracture in spine mid back
    sept/12/13-spine healing on its own,weaning off steroids, no visible tumors.
    nov/7/13-edema both legs and one arm on lasix since oct.
    nov/21/13- leg edema subsiding still alot in one arm- she is talking but keeps her eyes closed. achy but no major pain. nurse and aide to visit once a week schedualed. having trouble standing.
    nov/24/13-sadly but peacefully moms cancer journey is at an end, she will start her new spiritual journey together hand in hand with dad.

  3. #3
    Administrator Top User brainman's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
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    Hi Krissy. I am so sorry about your mother's PNET. Obviously, a good diet can only help her through this time. However, there really is no conclusive evidence that sugars (any type) cause cancer or cause cancers to grow faster. There is only some bad logic that says that it does. The logic goes:
    "If cancers are cells growing faster than normal cells, then they must use more sugars than normal cells. Therefore, reducing or trying to eliminate sugars from a diet should make cancer cells die faster than normal ones."
    This logic sounds good but it really is bad. In non hypoglycemic or diabetic people, the body will work to stabilize blood sugar levels so it does not matter how much pure sugar you take in. The body will just start converting fats, cholesterol, triglycerides, starches... into sugars.

    Fruits have way too many good things in them too. Some are also great sources of antioxidants.

    Having said this, I can understand not wanting to give up. You, your father, and your mother are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Long-term cancer survivor
    1992 Astrocytoma grade 2, left motor strip
    2005 Recurrence this time said to be an Oligodendroglioma grade 3, same location.
    My Story Part 1: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=2528
    My Story Part 2: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?p=7350
    My Story Part 3: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=8029

  4. #4
    I am new to the forum like you and just reading...I had colon cancer and my wife had brest cancer one year apart...We are doing great now...Just want to bring your attention to something you may not be aware of and the research....Go to LINK DELETED and also if you can get the book The Hidden Story of Cancer...You can also get a ebook for about 24.00...My wife and I follow his recomendation to the letter..I wrote a resourse to give away and will give you a lot of info..articles, his research ect..Brian Peskin bases a lot of his work on Dr Otto Warburg and his own research..He is an Electrical Engineer from MIT and lives in Houston, TX...He connects the dots to cancer like no other you will ever read...It all has to do with getting oxygen to the cells...Lots of his work comes from medical school textbooks and medical journals...you will be shocked...if you want my resourse just email me...
    LINK DELETED and put in suject line cancer resource
    Last edited by pbj11; 07-04-2011 at 12:28 AM. Reason: Removed links
    Sid Aust

  5. #5
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    Nov 2011
    I asked my doc (one of the top hemotological oncologists in the country; at City of Hope). She said it's been studied and there is absolutely nothing that has shown that consuming sugars of any kind "feed" cancers and make them grow.


  6. #6
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    Feb 2012

    SUGAR : What Harvard, UCLA, MD Anderson, have found in their research

    SUGAR : What Harvard, UCLA, MD Anderson, have found in their*research and clinical trials. They found that people with the highest levels of common sugar in their blood streams survive less!There are lots of different types of sugar. Fructose, sucrose, plant sugars, and polysaccharides that aid your immune defences, and intra- and inter-cellular messaging. White refined and brown sugar = glucose that is tantamount to a chemical toxin. It has been totally refined from its natural source. It causes diabetes when in excess in our diets, and high blood glucose in people results in higher levels of cancer and less survival if you already have cancer. Fact. You need to keep blood glucose levels to a minimum if you want to beat cancer.
    Laboratory research at Duke University, found cancer cells appear to use a combination of sugar and specific proteins to keep growing when they should die. These cancer cells appear to use sugar at a high rate, in order to ignore cellular instructions to die off. Cancer metabolizes through a process of fermentation.
    If you've ever made wine, you'll know that fermentation requires sugar.
    Sugar provides energy, but doesn't give you any nutrients that are needed to reduce your cancer risk. Natural sugars are in fruits and vegetables , they should be part of a healthy diet. Processed sugars such as white or brown sugar and corn syrup should be avoided.. STOP eating sugar-loaded foods such as candy, baked goods, sugary cereals and sodas to reduce your cancer risk. Balance your diet with plant foods, fish, and whole grains. Excellent sugar substitutes AGAVE SYRUP OR STEVIA (stevia known also as sweetleaf may be a little more bitter in cooking)+ Exercise and avoid stress.
    Best, GQ Stage 4 colon cancer survivor

  7. #7
    Senior User Bamabelle's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Alabama, USA
    Does a book title count as a forbidden link for newbie posting purposes? Several books say processed carbs and oils are a bad idea for everyone, especially cancer patients. A fairly recent and real authoritative one was put out by a U. Pittsburgh researcher a couple of years ago. He lived 20 years with a poor brain cancer prognosis, and his book includes a ton of first-hand anecdotal and research-backed evidence for his recommendations. Hopefully that's enough info to find the book if the name gets zapped out of this post. The book is "Anticancer: A New Way of Life" by David Servan-Schreiber.

    Seems to me, no good can come of loading up on processed food and calories' for calories' sake. Empty calories don't do anything to build a strong body. Cachexia's not a syndrome of too little body fat, it means the body's not absorbing the nutrients it needs, so force-feeding only targets the visible symptom, not the problem.

    (I am neither a doc nor a long-term cancer survivor at this point, so I'd take what I say with a grain of salt. But my main research source has been the library, and anything I cite as "fact" comes from a published source with a footnote pointing to a real research study.)

  8. #8
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    Feb 2012

    Based on what I've read over the years, dealing with my son's ALL (12 years ago) and my own oral cancer (and, my body also being a T2 diabetic), I can comfortable state:
    - Suger does feed cancer. It gives it energy to grow faster. Man-made sugars are very bad on the body.
    - Always pick natrual sugars (like in fruits) over man-made sugar. Sugar in pure form (like white table sugar, sugar in candy) and hidden sugar within many "process foods" is very bad for the body.
    - The body needs natural fruits to remain healthy. An apple each day does keep the doctor away. And, many Tropical fruits help fight free radicals (which reduce the risk of getting cancer) as well. Thus, having tropical fruit is good (even though it contains natural sugars).
    - Its better to pick north of North America fruits over south of North America (aka: tropical) fruits. For example, pick berries instead of an tropical orange.
    - When having tropical fruit, its best to have at a snack time. And, only have that fruit item during snack time. For example, have an orange at 3:00 PM snack time. When possible, have 1/2 an orange, wait 20-30 minutes, then have other 1/2 of the orange. Having orange slices every 5 minutes over 1 hour time period is even better. Spread the time out because tropical fruits have his GI number.
    - Being a Diabetic person, its always best to eat to one's BG (Blood Glucose) meter. If oranges (as an example) are too much on your unique "D" body, then never eat oranges again. If wondering, my T2 body can only have 1/2 an orange. Anymore than 1/2 and its BG numbers spike too high.
    - After eating tropical fruits (like oranges, grapefruit, etc.), brush one's teeth afterwards. The acid from this items burn away one's teeth. Best to brush teeth afterwards. And, never eat an acid based fruit and go directly to bed (without brushing one's teeth).
    - When having fruits, always shake & wash them. Always!!! And when possible, peel the fruit (like peal an apple) to remove its outer chemicals as well. Lots of pestisides on apple's outer skin. Always best to remove all (most) of these chemicals (like natural acid rain and man-made pestiside) as possible. Thus, the correct statement of "eat a peeled apple each day keeps the doctor away". LOL!!!!

    Long mumblings short.... It's also best to have "balance diet" within one's life as well. Eating too much sugar is bad. NOT eating enough natural sugars (like natural fruits, natural honey - from a bee keeper) is bad as well. Always think "balanced" diet food items. And, remember to physical exercise as well. When fighting cancer, even getting enough exercise (even walking the dog 30-45 minutes each day) is as critical as well. Balance of proper foods and proper (which isn't MORE) exercise helps....


  9. #9
    Moderator Top User jpearson's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Richland, Wa
    talking to my 3 oncologists and my nutrisionist. Eat everything in moderation. There is no sound proof about sugar. They have me on a high protein diet to help with my energy level. the only thing I am to stay away from is alcohol. For the last 8 months my weight has only varied 4 pounds. I walk and exercise daily


  10. #10
    Senior User Bamabelle's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Alabama, USA
    Thanks for the fruit info, Jack. Some of the nuttier things I have read say to eschew even that.

    Why is fruit sugar needed in the diet? The only "need' I thought I had was to fill a lifelong sugar addiction. :P Fruit's been a lifesaver for keeping me out of the cookie jar, so to speak.

    One other note about tropical fruits: Pineapple is an awesome anti-inflammatory. I have been eating a half a one a day for two days to combat disabling shoulder and wrist pain. If it's a placebo affect, it's a whole lot better than the ibuprofin and vicodan the doc prescribed for me. Neither made a dent in the pain, and I went so far as to make myself sick taking vicodan every few hours trying to get to sleep one night.

    (Above's especially useful bc kidney and liver-damaging chemo treatments can preclude a lot of other pain relievers.)

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Top User Baz10's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Sorry to hear of your mom.
    An Australian friends mother was diagnosed nearly 25 years ago with incurable stomach cancer and was given less than 6 months to live. As she lived in the outback it was a plane journey to Perth for diagnosis, they did all the tests and said no treatment as it has progressed too far.
    Her doctor (Flying doctor Service) who was an old German doc told her to eat as much raw black cane molasses as she could tolerate, which she did.
    6 months later she returned to Perth hospital they were astounded, not a trace of cancer.
    She eventually died many years later of a totally cancer unrelated problem.
    Diagnosed stage 3 March 011
    Radical resection April 011
    Restaged 2b April 011.
    12/09 Colonoscopy clear but picked up hospital infection.
    Aorta & femoral arteries occluded.
    Clot buster drugs put me in ICU with internal bleeding. 9 blood units later they got it under control.
    Aortobifemoral surgery 5th May. yughh.
    PET scan indicates clear
    DEXA bone scan clear
    13/5 CT showed "unknown" but no concern from docs.
    Inguinal lymph nodes and severe groin pain.
    Ultrasound and MRI show no nasties. Pheww
    Groin pain and enlarged lymph nodes still there.
    October -still the same pains but under semi control.
    Additional chest CT scan ordered for 11th November prior to surgery.
    Sinus surgery done and dusted.
    July 2014 PSA at 5.10. 2months of antibiotics in case of UTI, jan 2015 PSA at 7.20.
    Stop grumbling Baz, your still alive and kicking so far.

    Do what I love doing, when I can until I can't.

  12. #12
    Is there a caregivers' support group your dad could attend? It sounds to me like he's not really processing information very well right now, and meeting other caregivers might help him start to accept the situation. It's very tempting to think we can find a clever way to control what's happening. Is the doctor addressing her pain?
    Diagnosed with stage 2c papillary serous cystadenoma borderline malignancy of the ovary in 2009. Hysterectomy, omenectomy, appendectomy, debulking. 2010 - laparoscopy showed inoperable recurrence, so started chemo. Frontline chemo - carboplatin and cyclophosphamide, six cycles; Avastin - ten cycles; Weekly Topotecan - 4 cycles. Spring 2012 developed pleural nodules. Topotecan plus Avstin - 1year. April, 2014, had surgery to remove Aspergillus infection from right lung.

  13. #13
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    Jack hate to tell you this but nearly everything you stated above is either unproven or outright inaccurate - most notably, "sugar feeds cancer." Nope. Old wives' tale with nothing to back it. That said, the overall point of minimizing sugar should be IMO common sense - too much sugar is bad in a variety of ways.

  14. #14
    Senior User Bamabelle's Avatar
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    My overall take on sugar is that Mom was right. It really isn't good for you. I don't see the point in anyone keeping it in his diet, especially when refined carbs are among some of the most clearly unhealthy foods out there. Not to mention the fact that there are plenty of naturally sweet foods with nutrition in them.

  15. #15
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    Good reading at: http://www.drheise.com/cancersugar.htm

    For the non-believers... It took many, many years for the general public to fully understand that smoking kills the body. It will take many, many years for the public to understand that "added sugar" in our foods / drinks is bad as well. There's more than enough natural sugars in foods to help our bodies. Too much sugar (especially man-made refinded sugars) creates increase in free radicals. Free radicals create higher risk of cancer. Therefore, sugar creates cancer. Or, "sugar feeds cancer". It's that simple. Just like sugar promotes tooth decay as well. Therefore, sugar feeds cavities as well.. Added sugar in our diets is very bad. Just like smoking people have a dramatic risk of getting cancer (or dying earlier than average age) due to its negative side effects as well. Stay away from "added sugar" items / drinks. It's that simple...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack99 View Post
    Good reading at: http://www.drheise.com/cancersugar.htm
    For the non-believers... It took many, many years for the general public to fully understand that smoking kills the body. It will take many, many years for the public to understand that "added sugar" in our foods / drinks is bad as well. There's more than enough natural sugars in foods to help our bodies. Too much sugar (especially man-made refinded sugars) creates increase in free radicals. Free radicals create higher risk of cancer. Therefore, sugar creates cancer. Or, "sugar feeds cancer". It's that simple.
    Again: no. It's not that simple and that's incorrect. Sugar does not "feed cancer," although your overall point of minimizing sugar intake is a good one. And really I think the public understands the dangers of too much sugar; they just don't care. Darwin in action perhaps.

    And no offense but referencing some "alt med" site is not exactly a way to build credibility - in fact the alt med mindset is generally poorly thought of here, and with good reason. It is long on claims and short on verifiable evidence/proof.

  17. #17
    Administrator Top User ChemoMan's Avatar
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    While I appreciate people trying to help there is not much point in coming here to a forum where people actually have cancer and preaching about the dangers of sugar.

    I am now locking this thread
    Age 58
    Diffuse Large B cell Lymphoma
    Stage 2a
    Finished six cycles of R chop 21 26th May 2008
    Officially in remission 9th July 2008
    Remission reconfirmed 1st October 2008
    Remission reconfirmed 17th June 2009
    Remission reconfirmed 7th June 2010
    Remission reconfirmed 6th July 2011
    NED on the 2/01/2013
    No more scheduled visits to the Prof

    RULE NUMBER 1.....Don't Panic
    RULE NUMBER 2..... Don't forget rule Number 1

    Great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

    I may not have gone where I intended to go,
    but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

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