Strength needed to weather chemo



April 30, 2018 - 11:00 PM

To Your Good Health

Dear Dr. Roach: My daughter-in-law has stage 1 breast cancer and has just started her chemotherapy. I am concerned about her decision to fast for two days before and one day after each treatment. She weighs only 90 pounds, and fasting while you are trying to fight cancer does not sound like a good idea. What is your opinion of fasting during chemotherapy? — K.B.

Answer: In theory, fasting may make cancer cells more susceptible to chemotherapy, and there have been studies in mice suggesting this approach might have value. However, during chemotherapy, the whole body needs good-quality nutrition, and I could not recommend fasting for someone who weighs so little, nor could I recommend two full days of fasting before chemotherapy. Until there is clear evidence that intermittent fasting is of benefit, I don’t recommend it. Your daughter-in-law, in particular, is not a good candidate, being so very thin (assuming she is of near-normal height).

Dear Dr. Roach: My dermatologist suggested that I get the HPV vaccine, as it will help my body fight warts of various kinds. I’ve had plantar warts and warts on my fingers and hands. They go away with treatment, but seem to come back in a different spot over time. I am a 62-year-old male in good health otherwise. Is getting the vaccine a good idea? Thank you. — K.L.

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