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UPMC Doctor: Fight Cancer Through Eating Well

By: Andrew Limberg
(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Photo Credit: KDKA KDKA Morning News
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PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020) – The reasons for eating a healthy diet are obvious but have you ever thought about the relationship your diet has to cancer? One doctor think there is a strong link and hopes that people change their minds about that link in the next few years.

Dr. Colin Champ, Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at UPMC joined “The KDKA Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway to talk about the link between nutrition and cancer.

What are some specific foods should you eat or not eat when preventing or during cancer treatment?

“The first and foremost is avoiding sugar and foods that further increase your appetite that lead to binge-eating, like the bread basket at the restaurant,” said Dr. Champ.

Dr. Champ says that the sugars and breads are carbohydrates that turn into sugar when you eat them and, “that can feed cancer cells.”

How many grams of carbs can you have a day?

“I generally think in terms of grams ranging anywhere from 50 to a 150 or even 200,” Dr. Champ said. “A can a Coke or half a two-liter bottle, that’s your carbs for the day. That’s why you should stick to nutrient-dense foods.”

Specifically, Dr. Champ says you should eat, “leafy green vegetables, some berries and fruit and then well-sourced and health meats like grass-fed beef, free-roaming chickens, and wild salmon.”

But isn’t that kind of food hard to find?

“You just get on [Interstate] 79 or [Route] 28 and within a couple minutes, you can find these items (at a farm),” Dr. Champ said.

For example Dr. Champ says that grass fed beef has higher amounts of Omega-3s.

“Overall, a lot more vitamins and nutrients,” Dr. Champ said.

How much of a difference can a change of diet make to a future prognosis? Dr. Champ says it makes a big difference.

“There’s data that shows if you gain weight, specifically about 10 pounds or so, after treatment for breast cancer, it increases the risk of it coming back by about 60 percent, so staying slim can make a difference.”

When it comes to a diet being a cure for cancer Dr. Champ says that the information is still unclear.

“I think diet can work (with) treatments that exist (for cancer) like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation and that’s a question that is currently being perused in the field and hopefully there will be an answer in a couple years,” Dr. Champ said.

Dr. Colin Champ on Nutrition And Cancer

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Listen to the KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

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