CLL Support Association
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Did anyone alter his/her eating habits, after diagnosis? What do you think regarding food and disease? (I was 'sure' I'd never get cancer because: I have never smoked; I have rarely -virtually never- drunk alcohol; there's no history of cancer in my family, as far as I know; I go to gym fairly regularly, though I am a bit overweight). Of course, I now realise that I was naive. I do, age 62, have CLL and have probably had it for a while. I rarely eat red meat (almost never). I do suffer from stress and have hardly had an unbroken night's sleep for many many years. What are your thoughts on this one?

7 Replies

Hi Gartshore,

I've been wondering about the diet thing too. I think it's partly because I wish I could DO something positive myself, that would make a difference to this disease. It doesn't feel good to just wait passively till it's so bad we need chemotherapy. Some people talk about having to "fight" cancer, but in reality there doesn't seem much we can do.

I'm sorry to hear about your stress and broken sleep though. I'm sure you're already working on that, and this is stating the obvious, but if there were any ways of reducing your stress and improving sleep, it would probably help fight any disease processes.


I have read varying thoughts on what to eat and what not to eat, drink etc so I asked my GP and he told me (as did the consultant at the hospital) that to just eat a normal, balanced diet and an ocassional drink is no problem. There is nothing you can do regarding diet to make the cancer go away so don't deprive yourselves of the odd luxury for no reason. Enjoy life! That's what it's all about surely? x


I would agree with 'kavidacat', just eat WELL. That being a GOOD diet as being healthy will most certainly help you IF and WHEN you do eventually need the chemotherapy. There has been much research about how those who enter chemo being fit and healthy come out much much better than those who are unfit.

I would also say that anyone being diagnosed with cancer should ' Live a Little ', meaning do the things in life that give you pleasure. That could be spending time with grandchildren or just getting away for some holiday sunshine more often.

Being out in sunshine and fresh air is also one of the best things one can do for mental well being and the easing of stress.


Hi Gartshore, I've been beating myself up from time to time over this issue since diagnosis but I've come to the conclusion that it's stress and anxiety that's the real enemy for me. When I was working formally as it were (I still undertake work but I'm not a wage slave in the same way), my b/p was often higher than the national debt! I too was in a demanding profession and I do wonder if this has contributed to my condition. I'll never know.

My doctor said, 'keep doing what you're doing' but in reality how does he really know what I'm doing? Lol. So yes I enjoy a few drinks at the weekend with friends and I'm absolutely convinced that any physical damage it may be doing is counteracted by the immense pleasure I get from 'kicking back' and releasing the tension. I don't smoke and never have and my diet is balanced but not saintly. Im sure my life and longevity would be infinitely more hopeful if I followed the diet of the Okinawan people who are rarely affected by hormone based cancers or heart disease. But maybe it's too late to close that particular gate as the horse has well and truly bolted for me.

So I intend to eat as many fresh vegetables as possible, keep out of fast food joints (fish and chips don't count, right?), get as much fresh air as possible, avoid contagious looking people but mainly try and enjoy life. My b/p has levelled beautifully now since giving up work, I still have immense stress but sharing, music, laughter and a reassuring cuddle works wonders for me. I'm not as good as I should be but I still want to live too and I've had to work hard to get that 'knot of fear' out of my stomach.

I hope you can too Gartshore, you sound to be a lovely lady.

Newdawn x


I preface this by asking that you consult with your doctor prior to making any changes in diet or exercise...we are all different, but diet without exercise is a waste of time. It is a balance.

CLLers are usually fortunate to have long watch & wait periods, to get healthy and improve over all health. This action can reduce immune system stress, reduce comorbidities and prepare your body for the future.

The key for me was a low glycemic index diet, since I was borderline Type2 diabetic, cooked from scratch and twice daily walking for an hour each time. In fact after 18 months I lost 55kg and reversed my absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) from 132k to 42k.

I had 6 rounds of treatment with FR and now regrettably 6 rounds of RCHOP. That's 12 months of chemo with 2 months remission in the middle...

If I had not improved my overall health, I'm convinced I wouldn't be here to tell you about it!

Oh ya...I have a glass of red wine a night and an occasion small bowl of HaagenDazs ice cream for the joy...





I agree, a healthy balanced diet, everything in moderation. I do take a green tea supplement, as I understand you would have to drink vast amounts to make a difference. Have you thought about an alternative approach to your stress such as meditation or acupuncture? I believe stress is the biggest killer, it does so much damage to your immune system.



Thank you to everyone who replied to my question. I am very grateful. I am doing a Mindfulness course at Maggie's Centre. The clinical psychologist taking the course is absolutely excellent. I'll let you know how I get on.

I have read that people who are awake for much of the night and who turn on the light are more prone to cancer. I have been taking sleeping pills for six weeks and feel so much better, though I know this is not to be a permanent solution.

I have more questions for this wonderful board which I shall ask in the next few days. I am most impressed with the expertise so readily available.

Sincere thanks to everyone.

Gartshore x


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