Cancer-Fighting Foods: Which Dietitian Do You Trust?

| 8/12/2009 9:03:09 AM

Tags: Environment, diet, cancer, nutrition, health, alternative medicine, herbs, mindful living,


My friend Pete has lymphoma, and it’s been inspirational to watch him as he works methodically and systematically to kick the cancer’s ass. Pete is doing everything his treatment team recommends— foremost chemotherapy and radiation—and then some: He’s gone beyond the realm of the typical hospital dietitian as he eats an all-organic, mostly vegetarian diet packed with suspected and known cancer-fighting compounds like antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.

Writing for Diner Journal, fellow lymphoma sufferer Danny Bloomberg goes down a similar road and finds, like Pete, that he’s caught between two worlds: the old-school, cautious approach of the typical hospital dietitian and the more open-ended but sometimes slightly woo-woo ideas of the alternative dietitian.

Bloomberg visits “Dietitian A” at the hospital first and tells her about all the cancer-fighting diets he’s read about online. She’s suspicious of “wacky theories” and non-FDA-approved diet choices, and is more interested in discussing basics like the four food groups and recommended daily percentages:

She scolded me and tapped the desk gently yet firmly. Then she brought out the silicone molds. She flopped the rubbery faux-foodstuffs onto the desk: A serving of broccoli, a serving of green beans, a serving of potatoes. The molds were fleshy and their flat bottoms slapped happily against the desk, jiggling proudly to attention. The colors were wrong and faded. She demonstrated how many vegetables were recommended to eat daily by organizing different combinations of molds on the desk. … Could all that I had Googled and read have been dangerous propaganda perpetrated by evil hippies?... Clearly, Dietitian A wasn’t for me. She was meant for the guy who thinks vegetables are what’s between the burger and the bun.

Casting about for an alternative, Bloomberg visits “Dietitian B” in the Alternative Medicine building and has a wholly different experience:

leo voisey
8/9/2012 5:22:09 AM

Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), or the pathological restriction of venous vessel discharge from the CNS has been proposed by Zamboni, et al, as having a correlative relationship to Multiple Sclerosis. From a clinical perspective, it has been demonstrated that the narrowed jugular veins in an MS patient, once widened, do affect the presenting symptoms of MS and the overall health of the patient. It has also been noted that these same veins once treated, restenose after a time in the majority of cases. Why the veins restenose is speculative. One insight, developed through practical observation, suggests that there are gaps in the therapy protocol as it is currently practiced. In general, CCSVI therapy has focused on directly treating the venous system and the stenosed veins. Several other factors that would naturally affect vein recovery have received much less consideration. As to treatment for CCSVI, it should be noted that no meaningful aftercare protocol based on evidence has been considered by the main proponents of the ‘liberation’ therapy (neck venoplasty). In fact, in all of the clinics or hospitals examined for this study, patients weren’t required to stay in the clinical setting any longer than a few hours post-procedure in most cases. Even though it has been observed to be therapeutically useful by some of the main early practitioners of the ‘liberation’ therapy, follow-up, supportive care for recovering patients post-operatively has not seriously been considered to be part of the treatment protocol. To date, follow-up care has primarily centered on when vein re-imaging should be done post-venoplasty. The fact is, by that time, most patients have restenosed (or partially restenosed) and the follow-up Doppler testing is simply detecting restenosis and retrograde flow in veins that are very much deteriorated due to scarring left by the initial procedure. This article discusses a variable approach as to a combination of safe and effective interventional therapies that have been observed to result in enduring venous drainage of the CNS to offset the destructive effects of inflammation and neurodegeneration, and to regenerate disease damaged tissue. As stated, it has been observed that a number of presenting symptoms of MS almost completely vanish as soon as the jugulars are widened and the flows equalize in most MS patients. Where a small number of MS patients have received no immediate benefit from the ‘liberation’ procedure, flows in subject samples have been shown not to have equalized post-procedure in these patients and therefore even a very small retrograde blood flow back to the CNS can offset the therapeutic benefits. Furthermore once the obstructed veins are further examined for hemodynamic obstruction and widened at the point of occlusion in those patients to allow full drainage, the presenting symptoms of MS retreat. This noted observation along with the large number of MS patients who have CCSVI establish a clear association of vein disease with MS, although it is clearly not the disease ‘trigger’.For more information please visit

leo voisey
6/11/2012 11:40:28 AM

David Summers, a 37 year old MS patient from Murfreesboro, Tennessee was a score of 8.0 on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) when he had the Combination Liberation Therapy and Stem Cell Transplantation at CCSVI Clinic in March of 2012. Having been diagnosed in 1996 he had been in a wheelchair for the past decade without any sensation below the waist or use of his legs. “It was late 2011 and I didn’t have much future to look forward to” says David. “My MS was getting more progressive and ravaging my body. I was diagnosed as an 8.0 on the EDSS scale; 1 being mild symptoms, 10 being death. There were many new lesions on my optic nerves, in my brain and on my spinal cord. My neurologist just told me: ‘be prepared to deteriorate’. I knew that he was telling me I didn’t have much time left, or at least not much with any quality.” David had previously sought out the liberation therapy in 2010 and had it done in a clinic in Duluth Georgia. “The Interventional Radiologist who did it told me that 50% of all MS patients who have the jugular vein-clearing therapy eventually restenose. I didn’t believe that would happen to me if I could get it done. But I have had MS for 16 years and apparently my veins were pretty twisted up”. Within 90 days, David’s veins had narrowed again, and worse, they were now blocked in even more places than before his procedure. “I was so happy after my original procedure in 2010. I immediately lost all of the typical symptoms of MS. The cog fog disappeared, my speech came back, the vision in my right eye improved, I was able to regulate my body temperature again, and some of the sensation in my hands came back. But as much as I wanted to believe I felt something, there was nothing below the waist. I kind of knew that I wouldn’t get anything back in my legs. There was just way too much nerve damage now”. But any improvements felt by David lasted for just a few months. After his relapse, David and his family were frustrated but undaunted. They had seen what opening the jugular veins could do to improve him. Because the veins had closed so quickly after his liberation procedure, they considered another clinic that advocated stent implants to keep the veins open, but upon doing their due diligence, they decided it was just too risky. They kept on searching the many CCSVI information sites that were cropping up on the Internet for something that offered more hope. Finding a suitable treatment, especially where there was no known cure for the disease was also a race against time. David was still suffering new attacks and was definitely deteriorating. Then David’s mother Janice began reading some patient blogs about a Clinic that was offering both the liberation therapy and adult autologous stem cell injections in a series of procedures during a hospital stay. “These patients were reporting a ‘full recovery’ of their neurodegenerative deficits” says Janice, “I hadn’t seen anything like that anywhere else”. She contacted CCSVI Clinic in late 2011 and after a succession of calls with the researchers and surgeons they decided in favor of the combination therapies.For more information please visit

leo voisey
4/9/2012 4:35:34 AM

Stem cells are “non-specialized” cells that have the potential to form into other types of specific cells, such as blood, muscles or nerves. They are unlike "differentiated" cells which have already become whatever organ or structure they are in the body. Stem cells are present throughout our body, but more abundant in a fetus. Medical researchers and scientists believe that stem cell therapy will, in the near future, advance medicine dramatically and change the course of disease treatment. This is because stem cells have the ability to grow into any kind of cell and, if transplanted into the body, will relocate to the damaged tissue, replacing it. For example, neural cells in the spinal cord, brain, optic nerves, or other parts of the central nervous system that have been injured can be replaced by injected stem cells. Various stem cell therapies are already practiced, a popular one being bone marrow transplants that are used to treat leukemia. In theory and in fact, lifeless cells anywhere in the body, no matter what the cause of the disease or injury, can be replaced with vigorous new cells because of the remarkable plasticity of stem cells. Biomed companies predict that with all of the research activity in stem cell therapy currently being directed toward the technology, a wider range of disease types including cancer, diabetes, spinal cord injury, and even multiple sclerosis will be effectively treated in the future. Recently announced trials are now underway to study both safety and efficacy of autologous stem cell transplantation in MS patients because of promising early results from previous trials. History Research into stem cells grew out of the findings of two Canadian researchers, Dr’s James Till and Ernest McCulloch at the University of Toronto in 1961. They were the first to publish their experimental results into the existence of stem cells in a scientific journal. Till and McCulloch documented the way in which embryonic stem cells differentiate themselves to become mature cell tissue. Their discovery opened the door for others to develop the first medical use of stem cells in bone marrow transplantation for leukemia. Over the next 50 years their early work has led to our current state of medical practice where modern science believes that new treatments for chronic diseases including MS, diabetes, spinal cord injuries and many more disease conditions are just around the corner. For more information please visit

robert taylor
7/26/2011 12:18:32 PM

“Unnecessary risks are being taken by patients seeking the liberation treatment.” says Dr. Avneesh Gupte of the CCSVI Clinic. “It has been our contention since we started doing minimally invasive venous angioplasties nearly 6 years ago that discharging patients who have had neck vein surgery on an outpatient basis is contra-indicated. We have been keeping patients hospitalized for a week to 10 days as a matter of safety and monitoring them for symptoms. Nobody who has the liberation therapy gets discharged earlier than that. During that time we do daily Doppler Ultrasounds, blood work and blood pressure monitoring among other testing. This has been the safe practice standard that we have adopted and this post-procedure monitoring over 10 days is the subject of our recent study as it relates to CCSVI for MS patients.” Although the venous angioplasty therapy on neck veins has been done for MS patients at CCSVI Clinic only for the last 18 months it has been performed on narrow or occluded neck veins for other reasons for many years. “Where we encounter blocked neck veins resulting in a reflux of blood to the brain, we treat it as a disease,” says Gupte. “It’s not normal pathology and we have seen improved health outcomes for patients where we have relieved the condition with minimal occurrences of re-stenosis long-term. For more information Log on to OR Call on Toll Free: 888-419-6855.

jessica forester
7/6/2011 6:56:44 AM

After 6 months of offering stem cell therapy in combination with the venous angioplasty liberation procedure, patients of CCSVI Clinic have reported excellent health outcomes. Ms. Kasma Gianopoulos of Athens Greece, who was diagnosed with the Relapsing/Remitting form of MS in 1997 called the combination of treatments a “cure”. “I feel I am completely cured” says Ms. Gianopoulos, “my symptoms have disappeared and I have a recovery of many functions, notably my balance and my muscle strength is all coming (back). Even after six months, I feel like there are good changes happening almost every day. Before, my biggest fear was that the changes wouldn’t (hold). I don’t even worry about having a relapse anymore. I’m looking forward to a normal life with my family. I think I would call that a miracle.” Other recent MS patients who have had Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation (ASCT), or stem cell therapy have posted videos and comments on YouTube. Dr. Avneesh Gupte, the Neurosurgeon at Noble Hospital performing the procedure has been encouraged by results in Cerebral Palsy patients as well. “We are fortunate to be able to offer the treatment because not every hospital is able to perform these types of transplants. You must have the specialized medical equipment and specially trained doctors and nurses”. With regard to MS patients, “We are cautious, but..For more information visit

1/25/2010 2:50:41 AM

I very inerested in cancer fighting experements all over the the world . I hope icouid getagood amount of informatin about the subject to help others who need the advice .

8/19/2009 11:35:53 AM

I believe eating organic, healthy fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans is good for you, but I also believe the power of the mind that is you think you are healthy you will be. That is how I rationalize the fact my grandparents live happily into their 90's, and great-grandfather to 101 eating well, but too much sugar and grease. They were very happy people. Imagine if they ate all really good food they may have lived to 125 or not. I wonder about obsessive types that measure every grain of their egg white only omlets and hope they aren't missing the point of enjoying life.

8/17/2009 4:39:10 PM

I once ran an alternative therapy clinic for chronic disease (primarily HIV, diabetes. western medicine is not open to alternatives because they cannot be controlled and do not produce a revenue stream for doctors. if it works for you, whatever it is...use it.

8/14/2009 11:42:00 AM

Thanks, Diana -- very well said. (Too bad we weren't warned about the character count limit.)

8/14/2009 11:40:14 AM

...It helps me, but more importantly, I hope these exchanges of information will also be brought to light for my loved ones, those who simply wish to eat in a healthy manner, and others who are dealing with cancer. The insurance companies are not profiting much from good food, so we need all the help we can get.

8/14/2009 11:38:27 AM

Sounds like Katrina didn't read Danny's original article. Too bad it's not printed here in its entirety. As long as we're all making assumptions here, I wish I had the time and budget to visit the obviously awesome facility of Katrina's (U. Penn?). As it is, after spending the necessary time interacting with my insurance company, my employer's HR department, the masterminds my employer uses as an "absence management service" in case I use FMLA time, and the actual medical treatment, I feel fortunate to be able to hold down a job. I can accurately say I've spent more time dealing with the FMLA insurers and ensuring that my health insurer will cover PET scans than the entire diagnostic time itself. This doesn't leave a lot of time to even research a good dietitian who is also a CSO, let alone forage for non-processed foods. From my point of view, Katrina is absolutely correct: there are no typical dietitians. And, the field is complex, if not expansive. Good dietitians don't seem to be popping out of the woodwork (although a friend recommended a well-regarded one associated with a food co-op 350 miles away). They are obviously not swaying my congress people with their lobbying clout. They don't even seem to have much mindshare in my highly-regarded oncology clinic. On the positive side, when I'm not working or getting treatment or foraging for good food, I have the internets to aid me in researching the drugs I'm taking, the treatments I'm receiving, and what else I might be able to do to prolong and appreciate the time I have left on the planet. I'm thankful for stumbling across authors like Michael Pollan, Paul Roberts, David-Servan-Schreiber and others before finding out I had cancer. I'm thankful for people like Tara, above, who provide useful information and suggestions. I'm especially thankful for discussions about this topic, as is taking place on a forum like this one. It

8/14/2009 11:25:03 AM

The positive in this article is that a cancer patient is proactively seeking out reliable nutrition advice as a necessary component of his personal approach to true comprehensive cancer care. However, as both a registered dietitian (RD) and a cancer survivor, I can assure the author and other readers from my own experience that navigating the scope of nutrition information and misinformation available to a cancer patient today is mind-boggling and stressful, complicating an already highly stressful situation. The stress is compounded when a person has to try to seek out helpful (and reliable) nutrition information on their own, as I did because there was no RD at my cancer center in 1995, plus has to balance the pros and cons of information from multiple sources (i.e., friends, relatives, co-workers, strangers, the 'wide-open-west' of the internet, and various health care professionals). What is it going to take for all people diagnosed with cancer to not feel they need to take this aspect of care into their own hands but instead have a nutrition status assessment and appropriate advice included as an automatic component of their cancer care, done pro-actively and individualized to a person's own cancer, stage, anticipated nutritional consequences of the selected cancer therapy, while first taking the patient's prior medical history into account and then helping the patient identify and prioritize short-term and long-term nutritional goals to optimize the hoped for beneficial results of their cancer therapy plus overall health, wellness, and quality of life after therapy is completed? That was a very long sentence but still does not fully cover what an experienced RD with the Certified Specialist in Oncology (CSO) credential can offer to an oncology patient. Yes, in addition to the importance of including all food groups in the diet along a refresher about portion sizes (that is the starting point for some people), RD-CSO's will be a

8/14/2009 7:53:37 AM

Sounds like Danny didn’t do his homework to ensure he met with a dietitian specializing in oncology. Better yet, he could have met with a dietitian who is a Certified Specialist in Oncology (CSO). While most “hospital dietitians” are very competent, meeting with a dietitian specializing in a disease or medical condition can be helpful especially when you are seeking information on non-traditional or complementary nutritional therapies. Would Danny have gone to his primary care physician for his lymphoma treatment, so why did he assume that oncology nutrition was within “the realm of the typical hospital dietitian” (although I take exception to any dietitian being described as typical since the field of dietetics is expansive and complex). Furthermore had Pete met with an oncology dietitian he would not only have been instructed on a similar (if not better) diet to the one he now follows, but he would have received additional beneficial information. I am a Registered Dietitian and a CSO and work in a large cancer center, had Danny or Pete been counseled at my facility they would not have had to choose between Dietitian A and B.

8/13/2009 1:20:44 PM

I am a registered dietitan, working with oncology patients who practices in a large hospital/research center. The depictions of these two dietitians is both accurate AND one-sided. The "A" version is what we in the business call an "old-school" dietitian, who tends to be a little out-dated with their recommendations. The "B" dietitian is a more typical picture of a modern RD. This type stays up-to-date with current research more although can be more easily wooed by quackery. The old-school RD may be a little soft in what she's saying here, but she isn't wrong. And the "B" model knows what he saying but may be subject to some less-tested theories and practices which could be harmful. The main things to look for in a dietitan are: 1) They practice in the area of medicine you need (i.e. oncology, cardiac, wt loss, etc.) 2) They have the credential "RD," designating them a professional and not somewhat who may have done a 6-month internet course in nutrition or is being paid by a commercial company to peddle information/products. 3) Their style fits your needs and they address your questions/concerns appropriately and find the best solutions for YOU as an individual. Also - as a hospital dietitan, please don't assume we don't know anything about current nutrition recommendations (as in the story above). We are some of your best advocates and are VERY knowledgeable in our area of practice. If we weren't we wouldn't keep our jobs in this very competitive field!