Updated: Jul 19, 2021
In the past decade, we have witnessed remarkable advancement in cancer treatments but there is a crucial need for more effective strategies to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments.
Many patients with cancer experience different kinds of side effects (I.e. nausea, vomiting, fatigue, hair loss, neuropathy, etc) from their chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments, and this has profoundly affected their quality of life.
There has been growing evidence in clinical studies that caloric restriction or fasting around chemo/radiotherapy not only helps to counteract many of the side effects of the cancer treatment but also enhances the patient’s response to cancer therapy.
Fasting causes normal healthy cells to switch to a protective mode against the therapy but cancer cells with different metabolic modes are unable to perform the same switch, making them more vulnerable to the cytotoxic therapies.
According to the research done by Dr Valter Longo, combinations of caloric restricted diet/fasting and chemotherapy/radiotherapy/immunotherapy are promisingly able to increase treatment efficacy, prevent treatment resistance, and reduce side effects.
Therefore, fasting 24-48 hours BEFORE and 24 hours AFTER each chemo/radiotherapy is recommended. However, cautiousness needs to be exercised on frail or malnourished patients who are at risk of malnutrition. It is advisable that a patient's nutritional status should be monitored carefully by a trained medical professional.
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