Ask the Nutritionist
Q: I have had three recurrences of (uterine) leiomyosarcoma. Is it true that sugar may attract cancer cells, and if so, what foods should I avoid?
Ruth Morga, Royalton, Vermont
A: For patients who may not be as familiar with this type of cancer, leiomyosarcomas are malignant tumors found in the smooth muscle. Uterine leiomyosarcomas start in the muscular wall of the uterus and account for about 2 percent of uterine cancers.
Dietary recommendations will differ based on the individual treatment you are receiving. Some women receiving radiation therapy may experience upset stomach or diarrhea that can be managed with diet and medication. During treatment, the most important factor is to ensure your body is getting the proper nutrition it needs.
There are no magic bullet foods that will prevent a recurrence of cancer. Instead, an overall balanced diet integrating lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, in combination with other wellness promoting lifestyle choices like exercise, is the best way to ensure your body and immune system are performing at top levels.
Instead of focusing on removing something like sugar completely from the diet, focus on integrating whole grains in place of refined grains and whole fruits in place of fruit cocktails or drinks. Added sugars in the diet from items like soda or baked goods are of greater concern than the sugars that occur naturally in fruit (known as fructose) and should be limited as often as possible but do not need to be completely avoided. You can also consider substituting unsweetened applesauce for sugars in recipes.