Cancer Remissions Point Towards A Plant-based Diet

A study of ‘radical’ cancer remissions backs up vegan eating, writes CARRIE STEELE.


I recently listened to John Robbins interview Dr Kelly Turner, as part of the 2017 Food Revolution Network summit. Turner is probably best known for her book Radical Remissions, Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, which is a New York Times bestseller. With a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley on this very subject (her dissertation research was on radical remissions), Turner spent 10 years conducting research in 10 different countries and analysed more than 1500 cases of radical remissions.

It also became clear during Turner’s research that for every one reported case that had been documented, there were many, many more that had not been. Turner defines a radical remission as “a cancer remission that occurs either without conventional medical treatment, after conventional treatment has failed to work, or when conventional and complementary methods are used in conjunction to overcome a dire prognosis”.

‘Radical remissions’ are more often referred to by the medical profession as ‘spontaneous remissions’, but Turner didn’t like that term. The deeper she got into her research talking to survivors and alternative therapists, the clearer it became that there was nothing ‘spontaneous’ at all about these cases, but that they all involved the person making massive changes in their lives. Hence, she re-termed the subject from ‘spontaneous’, to ‘radical’.

I agree with that change in term entirely. Radically changing your diet and lifestyle is hard work and it requires enormous commitment and courage to take charge of your own health. The subject of diet was one that Turner looked at closely and found that there were many different diets that people had followed, including raw, organic, macrobiotic, juicing and fruit. Turner had to step back to get a wide snapshot, and in doing so what she discovered was this: Every one of the people she interviewed had massively increased their consumption of vegetables – without exception. That was the strongest, most obvious link.

At this point in the interview with Dr Turner, John Robbins made mention of a study first published in 2007, which was undertaken by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute For Cancer Research. It was titled ‘Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity And The Prevention Of Cancer, A Global Perspective’. The study and subsequent report aimed to raise awareness of the relationship between diet and cancer risk and to educate people about choices they can make to reduce their risk of developing cancer. The study involved a five year process where a panel of the world’s leading scientists examined literature from around the globe. I’ve managed to find a great summary, so if you’re interested in reading more of this fascinating report, you can download the pdf. But for now, suffice to say, one of the eight principal recommendations is to eat mostly foods of plant origin.

As a result of Turner’s research, nine key factors have been identified as being used by patients who made radical remissions. As you’d expect, Turner doesn’t offer up this information as a sure-fire cure for cancer, but rather as ‘observational data’. But I for one certainly think these factors are worthy of some close consideration to see whether there’s room for implementing any of them in my life. I’d much rather be working towards prevention, rather than having to strive for a cure. In short, here are the nine key factors that patients who made radical remissions identified as playing a part in their recoveries.

  • Radically changing your diet.
  • Taking control of your health.
  • Following your intuition.
  • Using herbs and supplements.
  • Releasing suppressed emotions.
  • Increasing positive emotions.
  • Embracing social support.
  • Deepening your spiritual connection.
  • Having strong reasons for living.

I think Turner’s book is one that I’ll be adding to my reading list. How about you?



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