‘MargotMaggie wrote me a note recently: "I’ve noticed that my niece Laura drinks a lot of Coca-ColaCoke for several days after her chemotherapy treatment, to fight off her nausea. This excessive sugar intake worries me, and I’d like you to give us your advice.”

It’s true that it’s not a great idea to consume that much sugar while you’re undergoing chemotherapy. (One can of Coca-ColaCoke, or any equivalent drink, contains twelve cubes little packetst of table sugar). Several studies on animals suggest that cancer cells can “feed” on sugar for their survival, and that their power to resist chemotherapy is increased by the insulin secreted by the our body when it encounters this kind of sugar intake. (1)

It would be better for Laura to try to calm her nausea using these alternatives: - Plan meals that are as small as possible, throughout the day, so there’s minimal content in her stomach at all times. - Avoid fatty or fried foods, which are most likely to increase the risk of nausea. - While resting after chemo treatments, remain in a half-sitting position so that gravity can facilitate the passage of food towards the lower intestine. - Drink ginger infusions tea several times a day. This remedy is often very effective against nausea, whatever its origin. During my own chemotherapy, I drank ginger tea all day (and it doesn’t stop you sleepingwire you up as it contains no caffeine). You can find ready-made ginger tea bags for sale, or just cut a finger-length of ginger into slices and simmer them in barely-boiling water for about 15 minutes. The infusion can be drunk hot or cold. - Try acupuncture, which has been demonstrated a considerable effect on to reliably reduce chemotherapy-related nausea, with no side-effects. The usual practice is one or two sessions a week. - If these remedies don’t work, certain medications, administered before AND after chemotherapy sessions, are often very effective and can usually be tolerated – for example Ondansetron, Dolasetron, Granisetron par exemple. Sometimes At times I’ve had to take them, too.

I hope this advice will be useful for Laura, and perhaps for other readers. Let us know how it goes.

1. Dunn SE, Hardman RA, Kari FW, Barrett JC. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) alters drug sensitivity of HBL100 human breast cancer cells by inhibition of apoptosis induced by diverse anticancer drugs. Cancer Research 1997;57(13):2687-93.