How can Eating Well help you? What the research says

We summarize the clinical evidence for each medical benefit here. We begin with our assessment of the strength of evidence within each category, followed by a brief summary of individual studies or reviews of several studies. In assessing the strength of evidence, we consider the study design, number of participants, and the size of the treatment effect (how much outcomes changed with treatment).

To see more details, click the plus sign to the right of any section.

For guidance on improving your diet, see these pages:

Improving treatment outcomes

Is Eating Well linked to improved survival? Is it linked to less cancer growth or metastasis? Does it enhance the anticancer action of other treatments or therapies? We present the evidence.

Cancer as a whole

Modest evidencesignificant effects in at least three small but well-designed RCTs, or one or more well-designed, mid-sized clinical studies of reasonably good quality (RCTs or observational studies), or several small studies aggregated into a meta-analysis (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of better survival among people following the recommended diet patterns of increasing vegetables and fruits and reducing red meat, processed foods, and saturated fats

Bladder cancer

Preliminary evidencesignificant effects in small or poorly designed clinical studies OR conflicting results in adequate studies but a preponderance of evidence of an effect (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of better survival among people with bladder cancer eating 1 or more servings of broccoli per month

Brain cancer

Preliminary evidence of better survival among people with grade 4 malignant glioma with high intake of protein in their diet, while people with grade 2 disease had better results with moderate intake

Breast cancer

Good evidencesignificant effects in one large or several mid-sized and well-designed clinical studies (RCTs with an appropriate placebo or other strong comparison control or observational studies that control for confounds (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of longer survival and fewer events such as metastases among people reducing dietary fat, increasing fruits and vegetables, and following other healthy eating patterns

Preliminary evidence of lower overall and cancer-specific mortality among people with breast cancer eating a diet for diabetes risk reduction before and after a diagnosis of breast cancer

Modest evidence of better survival among people with breast cancer eating soy foods

Good evidence of better survival among postmenopausal women eating foods high in plant lignans—flaxseed and sesame, but also whole grains, berries and some other fruits, vegetables such as broccoli and kale, and green tea—or fiber

Preliminary evidence of anticancer action of flaxseed among postmenopausal women with breast cancer

Preliminary evidence of better survival and reduced risk of early events among people drinking coffee

Modest evidence of higher mortality among people with ER-positive tumors and those with higher body mass index (BMI) drinking sugar-sweetened soda beverages

Colorectal cancer

Modest evidence of moderately better survival and lower risk of metastasis among people following the recommended dietary pattern: reducing dietary fat, red or processed meat, and processed grains (white flour, white rice, and such)

Preliminary evidence of better survival among people eating tree nuts

Gastrointestinal cancer

Preliminary evidence of longer survival among people with end-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treated with Oncoxin, a solution containing amino acids, vitamins, micronutrients, and biologically active substances

Head and neck cancer

Modest evidence of lower overall mortality among people with head and neck cancer with high vegetable intake before diagnosis

Preliminary evidence of substantially lower mortality among people with head and neck cancer following a whole-foods diet

Ovarian cancer

Preliminary evidence of lower mortality among people with ovarian cancer eating a diet with the highest diet-quality indices

Preliminary evidence of better survival among women with invasive epithelial ovarian cancer eating fiber, green, leafy vegetables, fish, and polyunsaturated fats, and worse survival among women eating foods with a higher glycemic indexan indication of the ability of a food to raise blood sugar, in a value from zero (not at all) to 100 (pure glucose); high-GI foods are digested quickly and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream, while low-GI foods release glucose slowly and steadily into the bloodstream

Weak evidenceone or more case studies, supported by animal evidence OR small treatment effects of limited clinical significance OR studies with no controls OR weak trends of effects (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of lower overall mortality among people with ovarian cancer with high vegetable intake before diagnosis

Prostate cancer

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of Gleason grade progression among men with newly diagnosed low or low-intermediate risk prostate cancer eating a baseline diet higher in total fruits, whole fruits, total vegetables, greens and beans, whole grains, dairy, total protein foods, seafood and plant proteins and unsaturated to saturated fatty acids ratio and/or lower in refined grains, sodium, added sugars and saturated fats

Preliminary evidence of moderately lower mortality among people with prostate cancer eating a diet with the highest diet-quality indices

Modest evidence of less progression among people with prostate cancer eating higher levels of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli family)

Preliminary evidence of slightly lower androgen levels among people with prostate cancer eating a low-carbohydrate diet

Preliminary evidence of increased risk of progression among people with prostate cancer eating eggs or poultry with skin, but no evidence of an effectoverall, one or more studies did not demonstrate that a treatment or intervention led to an expected outcome; this does not always mean that there is no effect in clinical practice, but that the studies may have been underpowered (too few participants) or poorly designed. Larger, well-designed studies provide more confidence in making assessments. with other types of meat

Modest evidence of lower cancer-specific mortality among men with non-metastatic prostate cancer eating higher levels of vegetable fats after diagnosis and higher all-cause mortality among men with non-metastatic prostate cancer eating higher levels of saturated and trans fats

Weak evidence of longer prostate specific antigen (PSA) doubling time among people drinking pomegranate juice

Preliminary evidence of lower free prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels but no evidence of an effect on PSA doubling time among hormonally untreated men with prostate cancer and increasing PSA levels treated with verum, a dietary supplement containing plant estrogens, antioxidants including carotenoids and selenium, and other substances

Weak evidence of lower prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels among men with prostate cancer treated with green tea or green tea catechins

Eating Well combined with other practices and therapies

Modest evidence of better survival and lower risk of recurrence among people with high-risk positive stage 1–3 breast cancer but otherwise healthy with the highest scores for following a healthy lifestyle regarding physical activity; body weight; eating more fruits and vegetables and less red and processed meat or sugar-sweetened beverages; and low or no smoking or use of alcohol

Good evidence of better survival among people with colorectal cancer practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors

Good evidence of lower risk of lethal prostate cancer, but not overall prostate cancer, over 27 years among people with high genetic risk following a healthy lifestyle of a healthy weight, vigorous physical activity, not smoking, and a healthy diet

Preliminary evidence of decreasing PSA levels among men with early stage prostate cancer combining a low-fat, vegetarian diet with physical activity, group support, and stress management

Preliminary evidence of better survival and lower risk of relapse among people with breast cancer combining diet and exercise

Preliminary evidence of better survival among people with colorectal cancer following diet and physical activity guidelines

Preliminary evidence of less cancer proliferation among men undergoing radical prostatectomy eating a low-fat diet and taking omega-3 supplements

Preliminary evidence of substantially longer survival among people with hormone-refractory prostate cancer following a diet low in polyamine-containing foodstuffs (eliminating mushrooms, peas, hazelnuts, pistachios, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans) and treated with partial gut decontamination

Weak evidence of PSA stabilization among people eating more tomato-based foods and taking soy supplements

Optimizing your body terrain

How does Eating Well promote an environment within your body that is less supportive of cancer development, growth or spread? We present the evidence.

Several imbalances in your body terrainthe internal conditions of your body, including nutritional status, fitness, blood sugar balance, hormone balance, inflammation, and more can make your body more supportive of cancer. Resolving terrain imbalances can decrease your risk of cancer or recurrence, promote healing and wellness, and improve survival. See Optimizing Your Body Terrain ›

Find health professionals who specialize in managing body terrain ›

Bleeding and coagulation imbalance

Weak evidenceone or more case studies, supported by animal evidence OR small treatment effects of limited clinical significance OR studies with no controls OR weak trends of effects (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of better anticoagulant activity among people eating a diet high in nutrients from specific plants

Body weight

Good evidencesignificant effects in one large or several mid-sized and well-designed clinical studies (RCTs with an appropriate placebo or other strong comparison control or observational studies that control for confounds (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of more weight loss and less weight gain among people with body-mass index (BMI) higher than 25 eating more fruits and vegetables

Modest evidencesignificant effects in at least three small but well-designed RCTs, or one or more well-designed, mid-sized clinical studies of reasonably good quality (RCTs or observational studies), or several small studies aggregated into a meta-analysis (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of lower body weight or more weight loss among people eating earlier instead of late in the day

Preliminary evidencesignificant effects in small or poorly designed clinical studies OR conflicting results in adequate studies but a preponderance of evidence of an effect (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of less body fat among people eating a diet high in carotenoids (carrots, squash, mango, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and tomatoes) or lycopene (tomatoes, guava, watermelon, papaya, red oranges, and pink grapefruit)

No evidence of an effectoverall, one or more studies did not demonstrate that a treatment or intervention led to an expected outcome; this does not always mean that there is no effect in clinical practice, but that the studies may have been underpowered (too few participants) or poorly designed. Larger, well-designed studies provide more confidence in making assessments. on obesity among people eating high-calorie (energy-dense) foods in a combined analysis of reviews and combined analyses

Good evidence of lower body weight and a weak trend toward lower body mass index among people using nonsugar sweeteners

Preliminary evidence of larger waist circumference among older adults drinking diet soda

Preliminary evidence of higher intake of calories among females, but not males, after drinking beverages containing sucralose

Good evidence of lower weight, waist circumference, and body fat among people drinking green tea or beverages containing green tea catechins (not specific to cancer)

High blood sugar and insulin resistance

Good evidence of higher risk of type 2 diabetes among people eating high-calorie (energy-dense) foods

No evidence of an effect on markers of blood sugar or insulin among people using nonsugar sweeteners

Good evidence of better fasting blood glucose and insulin among people eating legumes such as dried beans, lentils, split peas and chickpeas

Modest evidence of better blood sugar balance, insulin levels, and markers of metabolism among people eating a low-glycemic or low-carbohydrate diet

Preliminary evidence of lower blood sugar levels among people with type 2 diabetes with a diet high in inositol hexaphosphate (IP-6, abundant in cereals, legumes, and nuts)

Preliminary evidence of lower markers of insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome among people eating foods rich in carotenoids (carrots, squash, mango, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and tomatoes) and especially lycopene (tomatoes, guava, watermelon, papaya, red oranges, and pink grapefruit), but not after only 4 weeks

Modest evidence of lower markers of blood sugar and insulin resistance among a general population drinking green tea, but not among people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes

Preliminary evidence of lower levels of an insulin-like growth factor, a biomarker linked to increased cancer risk, among people eating 8 small meals per day compared to 3

Preliminary evidence of higher risk of high blood sugar among people eating at night

Hormone imbalance

Changes in hormone levels seen in the studies here may not be beneficial in every situation. Your oncology team needs to determine whether any changes would be favorable for your condition.

Modest evidence of better hormone balance among people eating the recommended dietary patterns or eating fewer calories

Preliminary evidence of changes in gastrointestinal hormones that affect digestion and insulin secretion after robotic or laparoscopic subtotal gastrectomy among people with stomach (gastric) cancer drinking green tea

Preliminary evidence of higher levels of the enzyme alpha-amylase but no evidence of an effect on salivary cortisol among people drinking caffeine

Preliminary evidence of maintained levels of the hormone melatonin and also of the enzyme tryptophan during chemotherapy among people with lung cancer treated with an amino acid nutritional intervention

Preliminary evidence of suppression of the hunger hormone ghrelin and increase in satiety hormones, with corresponding lower reported appetite and hunger, among people with obesity/overweight following a weight loss diet with morning-loaded calories

Preliminary evidence of lower male sex hormone levels among hormonally untreated men with prostate cancer and increasing PSA levels treated with verum, a dietary supplement containing plant estrogens, antioxidants including carotenoids and selenium, and other substances

Immune function

Increased immune system activation is not always beneficial, so your oncology team needs to determine whether immune activation would be favorable in your situation.

No evidence of an effect markers of immune activation after robotic or laparoscopic subtotal gastrectomy among people with stomach cancer drinking green tea

Inflammation

Strong evidence of one lower marker of inflammation (TNF-α) but not others (C-reactive protein and interleukin-6) among people eating fermented foods

Modest evidence of lower inflammation among people eating low-carbohydrate or plant-based diets

Modest evidence of lower markers of inflammation among people eating cruciferous vegetables (broccoli family), sometimes with apiaceous vegetables (carrot family)

Modest evidence of a lower marker of inflammation among people drinking tomato juice or a tomato-based drink

Preliminary evidence of lower markers of inflammation among people eating bilberries or freeze-dried blueberries

Preliminary evidence of lower markers of inflammation among women with diabetes eating higher amounts of whole grains and/or bran and lower amounts of high-glycemic foods

Preliminary evidence of some lower markers of inflammation among people with prostate or stomach cancer drinking green tea

Modest evidence of a lower marker of inflammation among people with type 2 diabetes drinking green tea (not specific to cancer)

A diet high in omega-6 fatty acids inhibits the anti-inflammatory and inflammation-resolving benefit of omega-3 fatty acids.

No evidence of an effect on a marker of inflammation after pancreaticoduodenectomy among people with cancer treated with a carbohydrate-containing preconditioning oral nutritional supplement enriched with glutamine, antioxidants, and green tea extract

Oxidative stress

Modest evidence of lower markers of oxidation and DNA damage among people eating blueberries

Preliminary evidence of less oxidative stress among people following low-carbohydrate or Mediterranean diets

Preliminary evidence of less oxidation among women eating extra-virgin olive oil

Preliminary evidence of a lower marker of oxidative stress among people increasing cruciferous vegetables in their diets

Weak evidence of lower markers of oxidative stress among healthy volunteers eating fresh broccoli sprouts

Preliminary evidence of higher total endogenous antioxidant capacity after pancreaticoduodenectomy among people with cancer treated with a carbohydrate-containing preconditioning oral nutritional supplement enriched with glutamine, antioxidants, and green tea extract

Weak evidence of better antioxidant status among people with cancer eating additional amounts of garlic, onion, tomato, shiitake, rice bran, kale, blueberry, pineapples, and/or turmeric powder

Your microbiome

Modest evidence of a healthier microbiome among people following the recommended dietary patterns

Preliminary evidence of a less favorable balance of fecal microbes among children eating a typical western diet high in animal protein, sugar, starch, and fat and low in fiber

Weak evidence of fewer beneficial gut bacteria populations and less ability of fecal samples to stimulate the host’s immunity among healthy people eating a gluten-free diet

Preliminary evidence of higher production of  beneficial short-chain fatty acids by microbes among people eating a vegetarian diet

Preliminary evidence of lower pH and counts of some potentially pathogenic microbes among people eating a vegan diet

Preliminary evidence of higher levels of beneficial butyrate-producing bacteria and lower levels of zonulin—a protein causing gut permeability and linked to diabetes—among older adults affected by “leaky gut” eating a diet with 3 daily portions of polyphenol-rich foods

Preliminary evidence of changes in the proportion of microbes within 24 hours among people altering their diet

Other terrain factors

Preliminary evidence of higher albumin levels—a prognostic factor for poor prognosis—during adjuvant chemotherapy among people with stomach or non-small cell lung cancer treated with Oncoxin, a solution containing amino acids, vitamins, micronutrients, and biologically active substances

Eating Well combined with other practices or therapies

Modest evidence of links between longer naps, smoking, and/or eating late in the evening or before napping, and poorer measures of body weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and risk of metabolic syndromea cluster of conditions that occur together, including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels

Preliminary evidence of more of a decrease in body weight and both visceral and subcutaneous fat among people with type 2 diabetes eating a vegetarian diet and also participating in exercise

Weak evidence of better markers of body mass index and cardiorespiratory fitness among people with breast cancer participating in an intervention of nutrition and exercise

Preliminary evidence of better insulin sensitivity and higher incidence of reduced diabetes medication among people with type 2 diabetes eating a vegetarian diet and participating in physical exercise

Weak evidence of lower markers of glycemic imbalance among men with prostate cancer participating in a diet and an exercise program

Weak evidence of better markers of insulin growth factor among men participating in a diet and exercise program

Weak evidence of better markers of blood sugar and insulin among people participating in both diet and exercise

Modest evidence of more benefits with breast cancer-related sex hormones among healthy, physically inactive postmenopausal women combining diet and exercise

Preliminary evidence of higher levels of adiponectin (important for regulating blood glucose, insulin sensitivity, and lipid metabolism) and lower levels of leptin (which inhibits hunger) among people with type 2 diabetes eating a vegetarian diet and participating in exercise

Weak evidence of better markers of inflammation among people with breast cancer participating in an intervention of nutrition and exercise

Weak evidence of less inflammation among people with cancer-related anorexiaabnormal loss of appetite, often leading to weight loss/cachexiaweakness and wasting of the body due to severe chronic illness and oxidative stress treated with a special diet, antioxidants, medroxyprogesterone acetate, and celecoxib

Managing side effects and promoting wellness

Is Eating Well linked to fewer or less severe side effects or symptoms? Is it linked to less toxicity from cancer treatment? Does it support your quality of life or promote general well-being?

Anxiety

Good evidencesignificant effects in one large or several mid-sized and well-designed clinical studies (RCTs with an appropriate placebo or other strong comparison control or observational studies that control for confounds (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of modestly lower risk of anxiety symptoms among people following the recommended diet patterns, but higher risk with a pro-inflammatory diet

Good evidence of higher levels of anxiety symptoms among people consuming higher amounts of caffeine

Insufficient evidencepreclinical evidence only OR clinical studies with such poor or unclear methodology that no conclusion can be drawn OR conflicting findings across clinical studies with no preponderance of evidence in one direction; conflicting evidence occurs when studies find conflicting effects (positive effect vs no effect or negative effect) with the same treatment and the same general study population (same cancer type, for example) (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of an effect on anxiety among people participating in a diet intervention in combined analyses of studies

Body composition or cachexia

Modest evidencesignificant effects in at least three small but well-designed randomized controlled trials (RCTs), or one or more well-designed, mid-sized clinical studies of reasonably good quality (RCTs or observational studies), or several small studies aggregated into a meta-analysis (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of better body composition among people with head and neck cancer undergoing radiotherapy receiving a nutritional intervention

Preliminary evidence of less protein loss and a smaller impact on nitrogen balance after gastrointestinal surgery among people treated with amino acids added to tube feeding for a week

Cardiovascular symptoms

Good evidence of lower blood pressure among people with overweight increasing fruit and vegetables in their diets

Insufficient evidence of any benefit for survival or hospitalization among people with heart failure limiting salt to less than 2000 mg per day compared to higher salt intake

Cognitive difficulties

Preliminary evidence of better cognitive performance among people eating foods containing lemon balm

Weak evidenceone or more case studies, supported by animal evidence OR small treatment effects of limited clinical significance OR studies with no controls OR weak trends of effects (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of better alertness and attention among people chewing gum

Dehydration

Good evidence supports recommendations for adding electrolytes and sugar to oral fluids and reducing caffeine and alcohol to prevent and treat dehydration

Depression

Strong evidenceconsistent, significant effects in several large (or at least one very large) well designed clinical studies or at least two meta-analyses of clinical studies of moderate or better quality (or one large meta-analysis) finding similar results (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of moderate improvements in depressive symptoms among people following the recommended diet patterns

Modest evidence of greater likelihood of depressive symptoms among people following a diet with a high inflammatory index

Weak evidence of less mood disturbance and depression among young adult males eating 2 kiwifruit per day

Modest evidence of higher rates of depression among people with higher sugar consumption

Fatigue

Preliminary evidence of substantially less fatigue among people with cancer eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids

Preliminary evidence of less fatigue after robotic or laparoscopic subtotal gastrectomy among people with stomach (gastric) cancer drinking green tea

Weak evidence of less fatigue and more vigor among young adult males eating 2 kiwifruit per day

Gastrointestinal symptoms

Modest evidence of fewer gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea and vomiting, among people eating diets high in fiber or low in fat and lactose

Modest evidence of lower severity of esophagitis and diarrhea during chemoradiotherapy among people receiving immunonutritionactivating the body’s immune system by adding specific nutrients to the diet

Preliminary evidence of less nausea and vomiting among people drinking ginger tea

Preliminary evidence of shorter time to gastrointestinal function recovery after robotic or laparoscopic subtotal gastrectomy among people with stomach (gastric) cancer drinking green tea

Preliminary evidence of less liver (hepatic) toxicity during adjuvant chemotherapy among people with stomach or non-small cell lung cancer treated with Oncoxin, a solution containing amino acids, vitamins, micronutrients, and biologically active substances

Neurological symptoms

Preliminary evidence of a link between lower blood levels of saturated fatty acids and less chemotherapy-induced polyneuropathy (CIPN) among people with breast cancer

Oral symptoms

Preliminary evidence of lower severity of oral mucositis during chemoradiotherapy among people receiving immunonutrition

Pain

Modest evidence of less cancer-related pain among people eating specific diets for each symptom, such as mucositisinflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract, usually as an adverse effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment for cancer or esophagitisinflammation of the esophagus

Preliminary evidence of less perception of pain although no evidence of an effect on analgesic use during days 1–4 after robotic or laparoscopic subtotal gastrectomy among people with stomach cancer drinking green tea

Quality of life and physical function

Modest evidence of better quality of life among people following the recommended dietary pattern

Preliminary evidence of better quality of life among people eating a high-fiber diet during pelvic radiotherapy

Preliminary evidence of better quality of life during adjuvant chemotherapy among people with stomach or non-small cell lung cancer treated with Oncoxin, a solution containing amino acids, vitamins, micronutrients, and biologically active substances

Sleep disruption

Good evidence of substantially more insomnia among people consuming energy drinks

Preliminary evidence of better sleep quality among people eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids

Preliminary evidence of poor sleep quality among people eating late in the evening or at night

Stress

Preliminary evidence of similar effects on stress among people making either healthy or unhealthy food choices in response to stress

Preliminary evidence of less stress among people eating a specific whole-grain food with protein

Preliminary evidence of higher stress among people consuming caffeine

Other symptoms

Modest evidence of shorter hospital stays, fewer infections, and lower markers of inflammation after surgery among people with colorectal cancer treated with immunonutrition, usually containing arginine, omega-3 fatty acids, glutamine, and RNA

Preliminary evidence of shorter hospital stays after robotic or laparoscopic subtotal gastrectomy among people with stomach cancer drinking green tea

Modest evidence of fewer complications after surgery among people with cancer treated with supplemental whey before and/or after surgery

Symptoms not specific to cancer

Modest evidence of a link between risk of major adverse cardiovascular events, including death or nonfatal myocardial infarction or stroke, among people with the highest circulating levels of multiple polyol sweeteners, especially erythritol

Strong evidence of lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure among people drinking green tea compared to no green tea (not specific to cancer)

Preliminary evidence of fewer symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including abdominal pain, among people following a diet of low-FODMAP diet of foods high in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols

Preliminary evidence of fewer mild hot flashes not related to cancer, but no evidence of an effect on moderate to severe symptoms among people eating less fat and increasing vegetables, fruits, and grains

No evidence of an effect of dietary flaxseed on hot flashes among postmenopausal women

Preliminary evidence of lower pain scores among people with diabetes with painful peripheral neuropathy eating a low-fat, plant-based diet

Modest evidence of less chronic or neuropathic pain (not specific to cancer) among people following the recommended dietary patterns

Preliminary evidence of less musculoskeletal pain (not specific to cancer) among people eating blueberry, strawberry, and passion fruit peel extract

Weak evidence of substantially better measures of pain and quality of life, plus less use of prescription medication, among adults with celiac disease and severe irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia syndrome eating a gluten-free diet

Modest evidence of less pain not related to cancer among people eating soy foods

Modest evidence of better measures of physical function and less pain among overweight and obese older adults with knee pain and osteoarthritis participating in a weight-loss diet

Preliminary evidence of more frailty and less community-associated microbiota diversity among elderly people in long-term residential care eating diets with more fat and less fiber

Eating Well combined with other practices and therapies

Good evidence of slightly less anxiety among people with cancer participating in a combined intervention of diet and physical activity

Preliminary evidence of less depression among women with early breast cancer participating in an intervention of both diet and exercise

Preliminary evidence of less fatigue among women with early breast cancer participating in an intervention of both diet and exercise

Modest evidence of much better physical function among people with head and neck cancer participating in an intervention of nutrition and exercise

Good evidence of slightly improved quality of life among people with cancer participating in both better diet and physical activity

Preliminary evidence of better measures of physical function and less pain among overweight and obese older adults with knee pain and osteoarthritis participating in a diet and exercise intervention

Modest evidence of less depression and anxiety among overweight or obese women participating in an intervention of physical activity and/or diet

Preliminary evidence of less pain at 3 and 6 months among people with hormone-refractory prostate cancer following a diet low in polyamine-containing foods and treated with partial gut decontamination

Weak evidence of better appetite, body weight and lean body mass, less fatigue, and better quality of life among people with cancer-related anorexiaabnormal loss of appetite, often leading to weight loss/cachexiaweakness and wasting of the body due to severe chronic illness and oxidative stressan imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body in which antioxidant levels are lower than normal; this imbalance can cause harmful oxidation reactions in your body chemistry treated with a diet rich in polyphenols, antioxidants, medroxyprogesterone acetate, and celecoxib

Reducing cancer risk

Is Eating Well linked to lower risks of developing cancer or of recurrence? We present the evidence.

Researchers estimated that more than 80,000 new cancer cases in the United States in 2015 were associated with suboptimal diets among US adults, with middle-aged men and racial/ethnic minorities experiencing the largest proportion of diet-associated cancer burden in the US. Colorectal cancer had the highest number and proportion of diet-related cases.215Zhang FF, Cudhea F et al. Preventable cancer burden associated with poor diet in the United States. JNCI Cancer Spectrum. 2019 May;pkz034.

Healthy eating scores

Four scoring methods for diets have been linked to lower risk of cancer mortality among people without cancer at baseline in a very large observationala type of study in which individuals are observed or certain outcomes are measured, but no attempt is made to affect the outcome (for example, no treatment is given); an example is a study that records people’s diets, but doesn’t try to alter their diets, and looks for patterns of disease or other outcomes related to different foods study:216Shan Z, Wang F et al. Healthy eating patterns and risk of total and cause-specific mortality. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2023 Jan 9.

While these scoring systems show a great deal of overlap, a few differences do exist, indicating that more than one eating pattern can reduce your risk of cancer mortality.

Cancer types related to diet and nutrition

Cancer as a whole

Good evidencesignificant effects in one large or several mid-sized and well-designed clinical studies (randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with an appropriate placebo or other strong comparison control or observational studies that control for confounds) (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of lower cancer mortality among people following a diet high in vegetables—but not starchy vegetables—and fruits before diagnosis

Good evidence of lower cancer risk among people eating anti-inflammatory dietsa diet including tomatoes, fruits (strawberries, blueberries, oranges, and cherries), nuts, olive oil, leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards, and more), and fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines) and low in pro-inflammatory foods: refined carbohydrates (white bread and pastries, white rice), French fries and other fried foods, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage), margarine, shortening, and lard compared to pro-inflammatory diets

Strong evidenceconsistent, significant effects in several large (or at least one very large) well designed clinical studies or at least two meta-analyses of clinical studies of moderate or better quality (or one large meta-analysis) finding similar results (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of lower cancer mortality among people regularly eating chili peppers

Good evidence of lower risk of cancer among people eating fermented dairy foods (yogurt, kefir, cultured cheese)

Good evidence of lower cancer mortality among people drinking several cups of coffee per day

Modest evidence of lower cancer mortality among people without cancer at baseline drinking the highest levels of black tea

Modest evidencesignificant effects in at least three small but well-designed RCTs, or one or more well-designed, mid-sized clinical studies of reasonably good quality (RCTs or observational studies), or several small studies aggregated into a meta-analysis (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of moderately lower risk of cancer as a whole among people eating mushrooms

Good evidence of lower risk of cancer as a whole among people eating the highest levels of olive oil

Good evidence of lower risk of cancer among people eating less meat

Modest evidence of higher risk of cancer as a whole among people drinking higher levels of sugar-sweetened beverages

Good evidence of higher cancer mortality among people eating higher levels of saturated fats

Good evidence of higher risk of cancer as a whole among people eating higher levels of ultra-processed foods such as pastries, sweet or salty snacks, breakfast cereal, sweetened drinks, sweetened yogurt, hot dogs or meat nuggets, sausages, and other highly processed foods

Bladder cancer

Weak evidence of lower risk of bladder cancer among people eating higher levels of fruits compared to lower levels

Good evidence of lower risk of bladder cancer among people eating fermented dairy foods (yogurt, kefir, cultured cheese)

No evidence of an effectoverall, one or more studies did not demonstrate that a treatment or intervention led to an expected outcome; this does not always mean that there is no effect in clinical practice, but that the studies may have been underpowered (too few participants) or poorly designed. Larger, well-designed studies provide more confidence in making assessments. on risk of bladder cancer among people eating foods with a high glycemic index or high glycemic load

Insufficient evidence of lower risk of bladder cancer among people drinking the highest levels of tea

Preliminary evidence of substantially lower risk of urinary tract recurrence among people with bladder cancer or urothelial cancer among nonsmokers, but not among people who had ever smoked, drinking green tea, with higher benefits among people drinking higher levels

Brain and nervous system cancer

Lower risk of brain cancer (glioma) among people drinking the highest levels of tea

Good evidence of higher risk of central nervous system cancer among people eating higher levels of ultra-processed foods such as pastries, sweet or salty snacks, breakfast cereal, sweetened drinks, sweetened yogurt, hot dogs or meat nuggets, sausages, and other highly processed foods

 

Breast cancer

Recurrence or relapse

Good evidence of lower risk of breast cancer recurrence or relapse among people eating lower levels of dietary fat among specific subgroups, in some studies with higher levels of fruits, vegetables, and fiber

Modest evidence of moderately lower risk of recurrence about 2 years after diagnosis among women with breast cancer eating the highest levels of vegetables, although no evidence relating specifically to cruciferous vegetables (broccoli family)

Modest evidence of lower risk of recurrence among people without hot flashes or people taking tamoxifen eating a diet combining lower amounts of fat with higher levels of fruits, vegetables, and fiber

Good evidence of lower risk of breast cancer recurrence among people eating soy foods after diagnosis

Preliminary evidencesignificant effects in small or poorly designed clinical studies OR conflicting results in adequate studies but a preponderance of evidence of an effect (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of much higher risk of recurrence among postmenopausal women who are insulin-like growth factor-I (IGFI) receptor positive and who do not reduce levels of carbohydrates after diagnosis

Modest evidence of lower risk of breast cancer recurrence among people drinking green tea, with some evidence that the benefit may be strongest in earlier stages of cancer

Preliminary evidence of lower incidence of recurrence among people with breast cancer, especially obese people, eating higher levels of foods containing quercetin: apples, black or green tea, onions, red grapes or wine, cherries, raspberries, citrus fruits, and broccoli

Cancer risk

Modest evidence of moderately lower risk of breast cancer among Asian people eating a healthy dietary pattern or adhering to a healthy eating index, and 44% higher risk of breast cancer among people eating an unhealthy diet pattern

Good evidence of a moderately lower risk of breast cancer among people eating more vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables (broccoli family) or carrots

Modest evidence of moderately lower risk of breast cancer among people eating fruits and vegetables

Modest evidence of moderately lower risk of breast cancer among Asian people eating soy protein but no evidence of an effect from soy foods as a whole

Good evidence of moderately lower risk of breast cancer among people eating mushrooms

Good evidence of lower risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women eating foods high in lignans—flaxseed and sesame, but also whole grains, berries and some other fruits, vegetables such as broccoli and kale, and green tea—or fiber

Good evidence of lower risk of breast cancer among people eating the highest levels of olive oil

Modest and somewhat conflicting evidence of a slightly lower risk of breast cancer among people drinking green tea

Good evidence of little impact for most breast cancer types among women eating higher levels of fat, dairy foods or calcium, but an increased risk of ER-negative tumors among people eating higher levels of yogurt

Good evidence of slightly higher risk of breast cancer among people eating red or processed meats, with increasing risk with higher consumption

Good evidence of higher risk of breast cancer among people eating higher levels of ultra-processed foods such as pastries, sweet or salty snacks, breakfast cereal, sweetened drinks, sweetened yogurt, hot dogs or meat nuggets, sausages, and other highly processed foods

Modest evidence of slightly higher risk of breast cancer among people eating 5 or more eggs per week

Colorectal cancer

Recurrence or relapse

Modest evidence of lower risk of recurrence of colorectal cancer among people eating foods high in omega-3s

Modest evidence of a substantially higher risk of recurrence of colorectal cancer among people eating large amounts of processed meats and refined grains and low quantities of vegetables and fruits

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of recurrence of colorectal cancer among people eating tree nuts

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of colorectal tumor recurrence among people drinking more than 3 cups of coffee per day

Cancer risk

Good evidence of a moderately lower risk of colorectal cancer among people eating foods with higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, found in fatty fish and walnuts

Modest evidence of lower risk of colon adenoma among people eating fish and/or shellfish every day

Good evidence of lower risk of colorectal cancer among people eating fermented dairy foods as a whole (yogurt, kefir, cultured cheese), but no evidence of an effectoverall, one or more studies did not demonstrate that a treatment or intervention led to an expected outcome; this does not always mean that there is no effect in clinical practice, but that the studies may have been underpowered (too few participants) or poorly designed. Larger, well-designed studies provide more confidence in making assessments. on risk of colorectal cancer among people eating cheese in a very large combined analysis of studies

Good evidence of lower risk of colorectal cancer among people eating dark green leafy vegetables

Modest evidence of lower risk of distal colon adenoma or rectal cancer among people eating vegetables every day

Modest evidence of lower risk of rectal cancer among people eating seaweed every day

Modest evidence of lower risk of colon cancer among people eating beans every day

Good evidence of lower risk of colorectal cancer among people eating foods high in calcium or fiber

Modest evidence of lower risk of colon cancer among people drinking at least 1 cup of coffee per day

Modest evidence of lower risk of colorectal cancer among people drinking the highest levels of tea, with stronger effects for green tea and substantially stronger effects for women

Insufficient evidence of an effect on risk of colorectal cancer among people drinking green tea

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of colorectal cancer among women, but higher risk among men, and modest evidence of lower risk of colorectal adenomas among people eating plant lignans, found in flaxseed and sesame, but also whole grains, berries and some other fruits, vegetables such as broccoli and kale, and green tea

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of colorectal cancer among people eating at least 1 portion of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli family) per week

Modest evidence of lower risk of proximal colon cancer, but only among people with high fruit intake or Healthy Eating Index scores or with low tea consumption, among people eating the highest levels of foods with quercetin: apples, black or green tea, onions, red grapes or wine, cherries, raspberries, citrus fruits, and broccoli

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of colorectal cancer among people eating at least 1 portion of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli family) per week

Good evidence of higher risk of colorectal cancer among people eating red meat

Modest evidence of higher colorectal cancer risk among people eating higher levels of foods with trans-fats

Modest evidence of substantially higher risk of early onset colorectal cancer among women drinking higher levels of sugar-sweetened beverages

Good evidence of higher risk of colorectal cancer among people eating higher levels of ultra-processed foods such as pastries, sweet or salty snacks, breakfast cereal, sweetened drinks, sweetened yogurt, hot dogs or meat nuggets, sausages, and other highly processed foods

Gastrointestinal cancer

Colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer are listed separately.

Good evidence of lower risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinomas among people eating more fruit, vegetables, and white meat, but higher risk among those eating more red and processed meats or drinking maté

Good evidence of lower risk of esophageal cancer among people eating fermented dairy foods (yogurt, kefir, cultured cheese)

Good evidence of lower risk of digestive system cancers among people eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as wild-caught salmon, mackerel, or sardines and high omega-3 eggs

Good evidence of lower risk of digestive system cancer among people eating the highest levels of olive oil

Modest evidence of higher risk of stomach cancer among people eating red or processed meat and lower risk with white meat

Weak evidenceone or more case studies, supported by animal evidence OR small treatment effects of limited clinical significance OR studies with no controls OR weak trends of effects (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of higher risk of Barrett’s esophagus—a risk factor for esophageal cancer—among people with higher levels of total meat but no evidence of an effect of white meat

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of esophageal cancer but no evidence of an effect on risk of stomach or pancreatic cancer among people eating at least 1 portion of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli family) per week

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of gastric adenocarcinoma, with stronger effects for female smokers, among people eating foods with the highest levels of quercetin: apples, black or green tea, onions, red grapes or wine, cherries, raspberries, citrus fruits, and broccoli

Weak evidence of lower risk of stomach and esophageal cancer among people drinking the highest levels of tea

Modest evidence of lower risk of stomach cancer among people drinking tea

Insufficient (conflicting) evidence of an effect on risk of gallbladder cancer among people drinking green tea

Good evidence of lower risk of esophageal cancer among women drinking green tea, but not men

Good evidence of a moderately lower risk of liver cancer among people drinking green tea

Preliminary (conflicting) evidence of lower risk of stomach cancer among people drinking green tea

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of chronic atrophic gastritis (CAG), a precancerous lesion of the stomach, among people drinking large quantities of green tea

Good evidence of lower risk of liver cancer among people drinking higher levels of coffee 

Modest evidence of lower risk of esophageal cancer among people eating foods with the highest levels of lignans, quercetin, and resveratrol

Gynecological cancer

Ovarian cancer is listed separately.

Weak evidence of lower risk of endometrial cancer among people eating the highest amounts of foods with quercetin: apples, black or green tea, onions, red grapes or wine, cherries, raspberries, citrus fruits, and broccoli; see Quercetin ›

No evidence of an effect on risk of endometrial cancer among people eating at least 1 portion of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli family) per week in a mid-sized study

No evidence of an effect on risk of gynecological cancer as a whole, endometrial cancer, or cervical cancer among women drinking tea in large combined analyses

Good evidence of moderately lower risk of endometrial cancer among people drinking green tea

Head and neck cancer

Good evidence of substantially lower risk of head and neck cancers among people eating higher amounts of carotenoids—substances giving the yellow, orange and red colors to many vegetables, fruits and salmon

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of cancer of the oral cavity or pharynx and a weak trend toward lower risk of cancer of the larynx among people eating at least 1 portion of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli family) per week

Good evidence of moderately to substantially lower risk of head and neck cancers as a whole and good evidence of lower risk of nasopharyngeal cancer in particular among people drinking tea from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant (not herbal teas)

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of oral cancer among people drinking green tea

Kidney cancer

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of kidney cancer among people eating at least 1 portion of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli family) per week

Leukemia

Good evidence of higher risk of chronic lymphocytic leukemia among people eating higher levels of ultra-processed foods such as pastries, sweet or salty snacks, breakfast cereal, sweetened drinks, sweetened yogurt, hot dogs or meat nuggets, sausages, and other highly processed foods

Modest evidence of higher risk of chronic lymphocytic leukemia among people eating a Western diet pattern (high intake of high-fat dairy products, processed meat, refined grains, sweets, caloric drinks, and convenience food)

Lung cancer

Modest evidence of lower risk of lung cancer among never-smokers eating higher levels of fruits and vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of lung cancer among people eating higher levels of plant lignans and phytoestrogens found in flax and in some vegetables and fruits

Modest evidence of higher risk of lung cancer among people who are heavy tobacco smokers eating higher levels of red meat

Modest evidence of lower risk of lung cancer among people, including heavy tobacco smokers, drinking tea regularly

Modest evidence of moderately lower risk of lung cancer among people drinking green tea

Melanoma and other skin cancers

Good evidence of lower risk of basal cell carcinoma among people eating high levels of monounsaturated fats found in some oils (olive, peanut, and canola), avocados, some nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans), and seeds (pumpkin and sesame seeds)

Good evidence of lower risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) among people eating higher levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids or with higher ratios of omega-3s to omega-6s

Modest evidence of a slightly higher risk of SCC among people eating high levels of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats found in some oils (sunflower, corn, soybean, canola, and flaxseed), walnuts, flaxseeds, fish, with the risk partly dependent on the cooking methods used

Modest evidence of lower risk of non-melanoma skin cancer, mostly basal cell cancer, among people drinking the highest levels of coffee or caffeine

Ovarian cancer

Insufficient evidence of an effect on recurrence among women with serous or endometrioid ovarian cancer drinking double-brewed green tea

Good evidence of a moderately lower risk of ovarian cancer among women following a recommended dietary pattern for more than 4 years

Good evidence of lower risk of ovarian cancer among people eating diets high in glycemic index and glycemic load

Modest evidence of lower risk of ovarian cancer among women eating more fiber

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of ovarian cancer among women eating the highest levels of vegetables

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of ovarian cancer among women eating the highest levels of carotenoids, found in carrots, winter squash, and pumpkin

No evidence of an effect on risk of ovarian cancer among people eating at least 1 portion of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli family) per week

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of ovarian cancer among women eating the highest levels of lignans

Weak evidenceone or more case studies, supported by animal evidence OR small treatment effects of limited clinical significance OR studies with no controls OR weak trends of effects (this is the CancerChoices definition; other researchers and studies may define this differently) of increased risk of epithelial ovarian cancer among people eating higher levels of trans-fats

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of ovarian cancer among women eating the highest levels of stigmasterol, found in soybean oil and some other vegetable oils, legumes, nuts, and seeds

No evidence of an effect on risk of ovarian cancer among women eating foods with higher levels of quercetin in 2 very large studies: apples, black or green tea, onions, red grapes or wine, cherries, raspberries, citrus fruits, and broccoli

No evidence of an effect on risk of ovarian cancer among people eating the highest levels of eggs in a combined analysis of observational studies

Weak evidence of lower risk of ovarian cancer among women drinking tea

Good evidence of moderately lower risk of ovarian cancer among people drinking green tea

Pancreatic cancer

Good evidence of higher risk of pancreatic cancer among people eating more fructose

No evidence of an effect on risk of pancreatic cancer among people drinking green tea in combined analyses of studies

Good evidence of higher risk of pancreatic cancer among people eating higher levels of ultra-processed foods such as pastries, sweet or salty snacks, breakfast cereal, sweetened drinks, sweetened yogurt, hot dogs or meat nuggets, sausages, and other highly processed foods

Prostate cancer

Recurrence

Preliminary evidence of increased risk of recurrence among people eating eggs or poultry with skin, but no evidence of an effect with other types of meat

Cancer risk

Modest evidence of lower risk of prostate cancer among people eating more cruciferous vegetables (broccoli family), yellow-orange vegetables, or legumesa class of vegetables that includes beans, peas, and lentils, although no effect from eating 1 serving of cruciferous vegetables per week

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of prostate cancer among men with the highest intake of total vegetables in foods

Modest evidence of lower risk of prostate cancer among people with higher serum concentrations of enterolactone, a metabolite of plant lignans

Preliminary evidence of lower risk of prostate cancer among men with the highest intake of lignan precursors in foods

No evidence of an effect on risk of prostate cancer among people drinking tea

Preliminary (conflicting) evidence of lower risk of prostate cancer among people drinking green tea

Good evidence of slightly higher risk of prostate cancer, but moderately higher risk of advanced prostate cancer, among people eating the highest levels of red or processed meats

Modest evidence of higher risk of prostate cancer among people eating higher levels of foods with trans-fats found in most shortening, fried food, margarine, microwave popcorn, and many baked goods

Weak evidence of higher risk of prostate cancer, with stronger effects among people with Gleason grade higher than 6 or higher grade tumors, among people eating a Western dietary pattern (high intake of high-fat dairy products, processed meat, refined grains, sweets, caloric drinks, convenience food, and sauces and low intake of low-fat dairy products and whole grains)

No evidence of an effectoverall, one or more studies did not demonstrate that a treatment or intervention led to an expected outcome; this does not always mean that there is no effect in clinical practice, but that the studies may have been underpowered (too few participants) or poorly designed. Larger, well-designed studies provide more confidence in making assessments. on risk of prostate cancer among people eating higher levels of ultra-processed foods such as pastries, sweet or salty snacks, breakfast cereal, sweetened drinks, sweetened yogurt, hot dogs or meat nuggets, sausages, and other highly processed foods

Modest evidence of slightly higher overall prostate cancer risk, but no evidence of an effect on risk of advanced prostate cancer, among people eating higher levels of dairy protein

Good evidence of a higher risk of fatal prostate cancer, but no evidence of an effect on risk of overall prostate cancer among people eating the highest levels of eggs

Thyroid cancer

No evidence of an effect on risk of thyroid cancer among people drinking green tea in a combined analysis of studies

Preliminary evidence of higher risk of thyroid cancer among rural residents in Pakistan eating a diet high in iodine or among urban residents eating a diet higher in meat, fast food, cruciferous vegetables, and/or fat, and a lower risk of thyroid cancer among urban residents eating a diet higher in seafood

No evidence of an effect on risk of thyroid cancer among people drinking green tea in a combined analysis of studies; see Green Tea or EGCG ›

Eating Well combined with other behaviors

Modest evidence of lower risk of cancer as a whole and of several specific cancer types among people with higher adherence to World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research Cancer Prevention Recommendations regarding diet, physical activity, and body weight

Modest evidence of lower risk of lethal prostate cancer among men practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors, including eating tomatoes and fatty fish but not processed meat

Modest evidence of lower risk of cancer as a whole and of several specific cancer types among people with higher adherence to World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research Cancer Prevention Recommendations regarding diet, physical activity, and body weight

Modest evidence of lower risk of lethal prostate cancer among men practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors, including eating tomatoes and fatty fish but not processed meat

Helpful links

Soy and Breast Cancer ›

The Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group answers the question “Are soy foods safe for breast cancer survivors, including women who were treated for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer?

 

Mudryj AN, Yu N, Aukema HM. Nutritional and health benefits of pulses. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 2014 Nov;39(11):1197-204.

Integrative Oncology, 2nd Edition ›

Donald Abrams, MD, and Andrew Weil, MD, discuss integrative approaches to cancer care, including the role of diet.

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
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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 and writer for CancerChoices and also served as the first program manager. 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

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

Maternal-Fetal Medicine Physician
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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 Maternal-Fetal Medicine Physician

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: April 5, 2024

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.

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