Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Over 14 million people were diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Cancer occurs when a cell in your body goes out of control and starts to infect the cells around. There are several types of cancer, and it can occur in your lungs, blood or different parts of your organs or body. Once infected, it can affect other parts of your body. Certain types spread quickly, and others take time. The extent of the spread of cancer determines its stage; stages 1 through IV. The stage of the cancer is an indication of the extend to which cancer has spread through your body.
One of the ways in which cancer is treated is through the use of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy in conjunction with medicines targets the infected cells preventing the spread or even reducing the number of infected cells. Chemotherapy impairs the ability of the cells to divide, aka mitosis. It also targets the source of food for the cell. Cancer cells thrive on sugar (glucose) and deprived of this; they begin to die. Chemotherapy also triggers the suicide of cancer cells aka apoptosis and stops the growth of new blood vessels that provide nutrition to the infected cells.
The University of Southern California conducted an interesting experiment in which scientists studied the effects of fasting along with chemotherapy in mice. What they found was that fasting and a diet that mimicked fasting could be an alternative to chemotherapy. The findings showed that fasting starves the cancer cells of the much-needed nutrition required to survive and grow. Cancer cells, in particular, are inflexible about how they produce energy. This inflexibility makes them vulnerable to a bout of starvation. Deprived of glucose, they rely on an emergency back up (a type of enzyme called kinase) for their growth. The shift to kinase causes a change in metabolism causing toxic free radicals to be produced. Please speak to your doctor if you or someone you know is at risk of cancer.