Diet & Cancer


The American Institute for Cancer shows that up to 40% of cancer risk may be related to diet. And though numerous studies show that a plant-based diet offers significant cancer-fighting protection, there are currently no general evidence-based recommendations for diet therapy during cancer treatment, due in part to the significant differences in cancers.

Loss of appetite and severe weight loss are common in many cancer patients, and significant weight loss at the time of diagnosis – as well as malnutrition that may occur during the course of the disease – is a predictor of poor outcome. Malnutrition also impairs the response to chemotherapy.

Due to these risks, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) suggests early nutrition screening and intervention, as well as close monitoring throughout cancer treatment and recovery.

To counter weight loss and malnutrition, people often focus on increasing protein and energy intake. This can lead to the same type of diet that might have contributed to the development of the malignancy. Evidence suggests that ad libitum diets high in fat, sugar and animal protein may, by increasing cancer growth factors and stimulating cellular events, lead to immune suppression and inflammation, foster cell proliferation and metastasis, interfere with effective treatment and potentially worsen survival odds.

Our Approach

This is serious. And we approach it from a serious scientific perspective, as educators and care givers. Nourish Health starts with the specifics of your situation, whether you want to prevent cancer, have cancer, are in treatment, or are in remission. And we work with you to establish a long-term program that will support a healthy life.

Either individually or in a class setting, Nourish Health explains the cancer-fighting benefits of a plant-based diet. We show how specific nutrients work. And we teach you how to adjust your diet to provide alternatives for traditional staples like meat and dairy. Then we show you how easy it is to prepare simple, delicious, healthy meals for you and your family.

But this isn’t a quick fix. We are committed to your health and will be here to support you and work with as your life moves forward.

(Although identification of nutrition problems and treatment of nutrition-related symptoms have been shown to stabilize or reverse weight loss in 50% to 88% of oncology patients, there is still little evidence that these patients survive longer than patients whose weight loss is less aggressively treated.)

Insights from a Nourish Health Patient:

“Dr. Sigal took a very long time to go over the most recent research literature in the Cancer course, explaining the connection between diet and cancer. I am a breast cancer survivor and diet will play a huge role in my survival as well as in my chance to get another form of cancer, that is unrelated to breast. I know that now very clearly. Why would I ever want to jeopardize that, when the plant based, whole foods way of living is so easy, satisfying and delicious? I wish only I had known it a long time ago, before I ever got sick. But it is never too late.”

Gayle Otis