Does Eating Well matter to me now?

Of all the Healing Practices, Eating Well tends to be the one that most people with cancer choose to add to their conventional cancer care. 

You might make Eating Well a priority in your cancer care if you:

  • Are drawn to this practice for whatever reason—it makes sense to you. Trust your intuition.
  • Have a cancer that is strongly linked to diet—for which diet contributes to cancer growth, or diet is linked to improved outcomes, or both. See What does the evidence show for a list of cancers connected to diet. 
  • Have a metabolic imbalance or disease, such as insulin resistance, diabetes or obesity, all of which are linked to cancer. Your diet might improve these conditions and make your body environment—your terrainthe internal conditions of your body, including nutritional status, fitness, blood sugar balance, hormone balance, inflammation and more—less supportive of cancer.
  • Love to cook and/or eat—or you have family or friends who love to cook and will cook for you—and the idea of preparing and eating delicious, health-supportive food is appetizing.

A diet that provides benefits to you may not be the same as the one that benefits a friend or family member. And your ideal diet may change over time, varying considerably during treatment compared to after treatment, for instance. We encourage you to listen carefully to both your oncology team and your body in making food choices.

Personal story

Bonnie Gintis, DO: Shortly after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2009, I had the sense that I needed to stop eating animal fat and protein. I became a vegan and remained so for about four years. I began to recover from the ravages of cancer during that time. One day I felt the imperative to eat a lamb chop. I would not have trusted a craving for ice cream, but feeling like I needed a lamb chop or that I would die seemed like an important message to follow. I ate the lamb chop and felt as if it entered my cells and created a huge surge of energy. It was clear that it was time to change my diet, which has continued to change and evolve as 12 years of living with metastatic breast cancer has allowed me to thrive.

More stories

Other stories from our cancer community of people who made Eating Well part of their lifestyle.

Keep reading

Authors

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Reviewers

Rebecca Katz

Expert on the role of food in supporting health for the chronically ill and CancerChoices advisor
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Rebecca Katz, MS, is a nationally recognized expert on the role of food in supporting health for the chronically ill. With a master of science in health and nutrition education, Ms. Katz is founder of the Healing Kitchens Institute and has been a visiting chef and nutrition educator at the Commonweal Cancer Help Program for more than a decade.

Rebecca Katz Expert on the role of food in supporting health for the chronically ill and CancerChoices advisor

Whitney You, MD, MPH

Research Consultant
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Dr. You is a physician specializing in maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) with a specific interest in cancer in the context of pregnancy. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health services research with a focus in health literacy and received a Master of Public Health.

Whitney You, MD, MPH Research Consultant

Miki Scheidel

Co-Founder and Creative Director
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Miki Scheidel is Co-founder and creative director of CancerChoices. She led the effort to transform Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies, the prior version of CancerChoices, to its current form. Miki and her family were deeply affected by her father’s transformative experience with integrative approaches to metastatic kidney cancer. That experience inspires her work as president of the Scheidel Foundation and as volunteer staff at CancerChoices. She previously worked with the US Agency for International Development and Family Health International among other roles. She received her graduate degree in international development from Georgetown University, a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from George Mason University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Gettysburg College.

Miki Scheidel Co-Founder and Creative Director

Last update: December 1, 2022

Last full literature review: June 2021

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.