BBC Food Programme on Cancer & Diet Available Here

Sheila Dillon BBC
Sheila Dillon, presenter of the BBC’s Food Programme

Last year I had the great honor of being interviewed by the BBC’s Sheila Dillon about the link between diet and cancer for the Food Programme, the venerable broadcaster’s weekly food show that’s currently in its 35th year. If you missed the show when it was first aired, you can now listen to it here.

The diet-and-cancer program was inspired by presenter Sheila Dillon’s personal experience: Diagnosed in 2011 with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, she soon discovered that food and nutrition are considered a marginal aspect of cancer care.

“In most cancer centres in the UK, diet is still seen as almost meaningless in cancer treatment and aftercare. Yet there is good science available on the subject, though not a lot of it is what medics call “gold standard” science,” she wrote in an article accompanying the program.

Ms. Dillon recalls: “At every chemo session I was offered a white bread sandwich, a fizzy drink, and a chocolate bar or packet of biscuits. Nurses told me that there was no point in worrying about what I ate. “Worrying” is not what I or any other patient wants to do.”

In my experience, many cancer patients and survivors find it empowering to take charge of their diet and boost their chances of recovery. “We want to know what will help us get through treatment in the best way possible, and what, if anything, might keep a recurrence at bay – and that includes how diet may help,” Ms. Dillon writes. “We do not want to feel like a helpless pawn in a big and overwhelming system.”

The Mediterranean Diet was highlighted in the BBC’s program (and the side-bar of Ms. Dillon’s article) as one that may help boost our anti-cancer defenses.  Certainly, the wealth of anti-cancer plant compounds it contains, paired with the absence of unhealthy chemicals and processed food, should help to tip the scales in our favor.

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