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Paradox25's avatar

Can a ketogenic diet be a viable alternative treatment for certain types of cancers?

Asked by Paradox25 (10203points) May 16th, 2012

According to an article by Time magazine, and this one, which goes into much more detail, the ketogenic diet seems to have produced some positive results for treating certain types of cancers, mainly brain tumors. Do you think this could be a mainstream treatment for cancer in the future?

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2 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

It sounds like it might be a promising avenue for further research and looking at the second link and just glancing over some of the other papers it looks like a number of people are doing research in this area, but the science would have to support it as a viable alternative to existing treatments before it becomes mainstream I think. Though it looks promising enough that if I had a brain tumor and was out of other options I would probably give it shot. But it is still an experimental treatment at this point and I am not an oncologist or a biologist or any kind of -ist at all.

funkdaddy's avatar

Diet is used to treat all sorts of diseases, so I would think it’s an easy jump if there’s even a weak connection between the diet and positive results.

The thing here is that the diet doesn’t eliminate or even stop the growth of the tumors, it just slows them down. So it would need to be used in conjunction with other methods if the goal was to eliminate the tumors.

Would the diet work well with chemotherapy or radiation? I obviously don’t know, but in my limited exposure to people who are going through either their doctor’s recommendation is to eat anything they can keep down. They just need food so they can keep some weight on and keep their strength up as much as possible. Forcing them into “starvation mode” at the same time might produce more problems than benefits.

Interesting research all the same and hopefully it will lead to more treatment options.

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