(and research) tells us that a healthful diet and taking part in
regular exercise provide tangible health benefits to cancer
survivors, which might also improve our survival, and is likely
to improve our quality of life. (Energy and fitness = quality of life)
… These practices, if maintained, can help us to recover from
treatment and can broaden the range of therapies that we can use
when treatment is needed.
... Such practices can also prevent some
medical conditions (such as diabetes and heart disease) that can
limit our therapeutic options.
That said, we are skeptical about the potential of diet as a
TREATMENT for lymphoma. We suppose that this position puts us at
odds with a good many patients who understandably want to
believe otherwise, who may then ask:
What is the harm in the
The harm we see (and have observed on some message boards) is that
the belief can translate into a fixation on questions and
stories about the activity of this or that dietary factor, which
are taken as evidence of benefit if the lymphoma behaves well in
The belief leads also to the non-critical and selective
acceptance of preclinical scientific papers that support the belief, such as
from test tube assays.
The belief reinforces
confidence in the weakest standards of
evidence (testimonials) and distracts us from the important,
evidence-based advances in clinical research, based on an
understanding of what drives the disease and how it can be
targeted, and on standards of evidence for proving clinical
The belief can also cause some patients to delay or avoid proven
standard therapies and to lose sight of promising
investigational protocols (while the community focuses on yet
another claim that was heard on the Internet).
We are aware that challenging beliefs can cause discomfort and
sometimes anger. Fortunately, we have abundant reason to be hopeful about
making additional progress against the different kinds of
lymphoma and therefore more reason to point out the weaknesses
… Lymphoma cells have many normal receptors (cd20, 22, 19, … and
more) that can be targeted or used to deliver anti-cancer
compounds. Investigators are evaluating small molecule drugs
that target internal pathways that prevent programmed cell
death, such as bcl-2. (Here we are merely scratching the
Meanwhile, some types of lymphoma can behave exceedingly well
for many years without the need for treatment (a reason diet
testimonials continue to persuade) and virtually all the types
of lymphoma are responsive to standard therapies – some types
can be cured; others can be managed very well as treatment is needed.
So our position on diet as a treatment for lymphoma is not
always a popular one, but it’s one that we feel is credible and
necessary in order to shift the focus to more plausible science- and
evidence-based research. It is a policy that's based on our
reading of the available clinical evidence and on the input from
our scientific advisors.
Our goal is to make the case for a science-based approach to
patient support, and to realize part of that goal requires that we urge
patients to critically review medical claims and testimonials.
scientific evidence comes forth that is contrary to our
perspective on the potential of foods to treat lymphoma, we will
certainly inform the community about it!
Patients Against Lymphoma
Providing support and evidence-based information, independent of
health industry or supplement companies