Fight Cancer With Diet

William Li eloquently develops an answer to the question, “Can we eat to starve cancer?”

NUTRITION In the final months, even a compassionate hug of her fragile frame brought pain. This year, after a valiant fight lasting several years, a good friend succumbed to multiple myeloma. [1] This is why a slide presented by Dr. Li at the TED2010 conference caught my attention. Therein, a graph showed survival rates from this insidious form of cancer has improved 70% since 2004 with FDA approved antiangiogenic drugs. [2]

Dr. William Li heads the Angiogenesis Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is re-conceptualizing global disease fighting. In the U.S., there are currently eight approved anti-cancer therapies with recognized antiangiogenic properties in oncology. [3] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved bevacizumab (Avastin®) [4] for use with other drugs to treat colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, some non-small cell lung cancers, and some breast cancers that have spread to other parts of the body. Bevacizumab was the first angiogenesis inhibitor proven to delay tumor growth and, more importantly, extend the lives of patients. The FDA has also approved other drugs with antiangiogenic activity as cancer therapies for multiple myeloma, mantle cell lymphoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), and kidney cancer. [5]

Angiogenesis, first coined in 1787 by Dr. John Hunter, [6] describes the body's natural ability to form capillaries — tiny blood vessels that feed physiological organs. When functioning properly, they starve cancer cells. Abnormal angiogenesis tricks the body into feeding harmful cancer cells with oxygen and nutrients. Antiangiognic drugs target and arrest such abnormal capillary production. Despite relative success with some forms of cancer, Dr. Li postulates why the treatment is sometimes less than optimal. It is best to treat the cancer cells prior to metastasis — not with some powerful pre-cancer drug — but with diet.

Eat Foods to Prevent Cancer

Diet accounts for 30-35% percent of cancers. Rather than lengthening the list of carcinogenic foods to avoid[7] The Angiogenesis Foundation is investigating foods to consume. Many foods — mostly fresh fruits and vegetables [8] — contain natural angiogenesis inhibitors. The potency varies among different strains and varietals. In fact, with certain combinations, there is food synergy. Effectiveness compares well with statins and NSAIDs.

It should be emphasized that angiogenesis is a necessary part of human and animal life. The goal is not to halt the process completely but to inhibit abnormal angiogenesis as it relates to cancer growth. Hence, mitigating stress and building muscle mass with exercise are encouraged as part of a comprehensive fitness regimen. [9]

Dietary Sources of Naturally-Occurring Antiangiogenic Substances
Green tea Red Grapes Lavender
Strawberries Red wine Sea Cucumber
Blackberries Bok choy Pumpkin
Rasberries Kale Tuna
Blueberries Soy beans Parsley
Oranges Ginseng Garlic
Grapefruit Maitake mushroom Tomato
Apples Tumeric Grape seed oil
Lemons Licorice Olive oil
Pineapple Nutmeg Dark chocolate
Cherries Artichokes Others

Continued research is focusing on establishing a rating system for foods based on their anti-angiogenic data. Those interested in or currently battling cancer can discuss antiangiogenic modalities with their physicians and look for clinical trials. Dr. Li also recommends patients personally research credible sources for current antiangiogenic dietary research. [10]

Tags: cure, dietician, malignant, oncogenic, remission, research, treatment

  1. Multiple myeloma. Mayo Clinic,
  2. William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer? TED, February 2010,
  3. Angiogenesis Inhibitors for Cancer. The Angiogenesis Foundation,
  4. Good and bad news for an antiangiogenic. Journal of Clinical Investigation
  5. Angiogenesis Inhibitors Therapy. National Cancer Institute,
  6. Historical Highlights. The Angiogenesis Foundation,
  7. Cancer and Oncology Information.
  8. Cancer Fighting Foods/Spices. The Cancer Cure Foundation,
  9. Diet, Lifestyle & Angiogenesis. The Angiogenesis Foundation,
  10. Antiangiogenic diet. Google search results,