Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells that results in tumors that can spread to different areas of the body. Diet and lifestyle play a major role in the prevention and improvement of various cancers, including breast, prostate, colorectal, and skin cancers. A diet focused on immune-boosting foods, especially G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, seeds/nuts) is crucial in the fight against cancer.

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Among women, cancer is the second leading cause of death. While genetics play a small role in the development of tumors, the Standard American Diet (SAD), obesity, sedentary lifestyle, tobacco and alcohol use, and environmental exposures fuel the development and growth of cancers. There are four dietary factors working simultaneously that make the SAD so powerful at promoting cancer.

  1. It is highly glycemic and insulin promoting
  2. It is low in antioxidants and phytochemicals from green and other colorful plants
  3. It is high in animal protein, raising IGF-1 to cancer-promoting levels
  4. It is high in toxins and chemicals that promote cancer

A Nutritarian diet, on the other hand, is designed to be maximally protective against cancer. It is the most important thing people can do to reduce their risk of cancer.

Cancer screening is promoted as preventive health, and while this may detect early forms of cancer so it can be treated earlier, it does not prevent the development of cancer and has minimal effects on reducing cancer deaths. A Nutritarian diet has the power to repair defects that can lead to cancer, detoxify carcinogens, cause cancer cell death, cut off blood supplies to growing tumors , and stimulate the immune system to recognize, repair abnormalities, and even fight and kill cancer cells. The vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants found in a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds is the key to prevention and even can play an important role in the treatment of various cancers.

My book, Super Immunity, discusses the details and supportive science to embrace an anti-cancer lifestyle.


Action Plan


  • Many classes of plant foods have been found to contain cancer-fighting nutrients and are associated with reduced cancer risk.
    • Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, and collards) contain high amounts of special sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates that fight cancer, and have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. 1, 2
    • Similar to cruciferous vegetables, Allium vegetables (garlic, onions, scallions, leeks, shallots, etc.) also have cancer-fighting sulfur-containing compounds, and greater consumption of garlic and onions is associated with decreased risk of several cancers, including esophageal, colorectal, breast, ovarian and prostate cancers.3.
    • Fiber-rich foods (such as beans and vegetables) protect against colorectal, breast and prostate cancers.4-6 Many varieties of mushrooms (white button, cremini, and Portobello in particular) contain compounds that interfere with tumor cell proliferation and migration. Mushrooms have all been shown to have a wide variety of anti-cancer properties. .7-15
    • Berries are rich in flavonoids, antioxidant phytochemicals with anti-cancer effects. Clinical trials have shown that adding berry powders to the diet led to improvement in certain pre-cancerous conditions.16, 17
    • Seeds and nuts  plant sterols, and antioxidant compounds that have anti-cancer effects.18
    • Flax, chia, and sesame seeds contain lignans, which have anti-estrogen effects helpful for preventing breast cancer.19
  • Reducing or eliminating foods that are associated with higher risk, such as high-glycemic processed foods and animal products, is also an important strategy for reducing cancer risk.
  • Meal plan: Anti-cancer/High micronutrient


  • Dr. Fuhrman’s general supplement protocol for adults (see Vitamin Advisor for details) includes:
  • Additional supplements:
    • Green tea has anti-cancer effects in vitro, drinking green tea regularly is associated with a lower risk of cancer, and studies suggest that green tea supplements may help to reduce cancer-related biomarkers.20
    • Turmeric/curcumin: Curcuminoids, the widely studied bioactive components of turmeric, have anti-cancer effects in vitro, and human studies suggest beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.21, 22
    • Grape seed extract has anti-cancer effect in vitro, such as inhibiting inflammation, proliferation, angiogenesis, and aromatase activity.23 Clinical trials are being conducted to find out whether grape seed extract is helpful for people with cancer or at high risk of cancer.
    • Ultra Cell Biotect provides absorption-enhanced curcumin and green tea extract plus turmeric, grape seed extract, and black turmeric extract to help neutralize free radicals and promote cellular health. Consult your physician if you are on medication.
    • Mushroom extracts: Studies suggest that concentrated mushroom extracts may be a useful addition to cancer treatment, to decrease the immunosuppressive effects of chemotherapy.24
    • Immune Biotect provides assorted immune-supporting mushroom phytochemicals that are not normally consumed in the diet, plus astragalus, elderberry and other berry extracts. Consult your physician if you are on medication. 
    • Read more: Do you have a supplement formulated to enhance protection against cancer?

For supplement recommendations personalized for your health condition and goals, visit the Personalized Vitamin Advisor and answer a few questions.


Regular physical activity is associated with lower risk of cancer. Moderate exercise is helpful, and vigorous exercise provides even more protection.25


Eat For Life

Super Immunity

Position Paper: IGF-1, Dietary Protein and Cancer


Sign up for the online Combat Autoimmune Disease and Cancer Masterclass

Other Considerations

  • Weight loss: Obesity increases the risk of several cancers, likely by increasing inflammation, and is also a predictor of poor outcomes among patients with cancer.26 If you are overweight or obese, a Nutritarian diet style will help you reach your ideal weight.

Find additional help

ONLINE: All members of can search the Ask the Doctor archives for discussions on this topic. Platinum and Diamond members can connect with Dr. Fuhrman by posting questions in the forum. Not a member? Join now.

IN PERSON: Book a stay at Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live Retreat in San Diego, California. With options ranging from one, two and three months (and sometimes longer) you will be under Dr. Fuhrman’s direct medical supervision as you hit the “reset” button on your health. For more information: (949) 432-6295 or [email protected]

EVENTS: Join Dr. Fuhrman for an online boot camp, detox or other event. During these immersive online events, you’ll attend zoom lectures, follow a special meal plan, and have access to a special, live Q&A session with Dr. Fuhrman. Learn more about events.

  1. Liu X, Lv K: Cruciferous vegetables intake is inversely associated with risk of breast cancer: a meta-analysis. Breast 2013, 22:309-313.
  2. Tse G, Eslick GD: Cruciferous vegetables and risk of colorectal neoplasms: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Cancer 2014, 66:128-139.
  3. Galeone C, Pelucchi C, Levi F, Negri E, Franceschi S, Talamini R, Giacosa A, La Vecchia C: Onion and garlic use and human cancer. Am J Clin Nutr 2006, 84:1027-1032.
  4. Aune D, Chan DS, Greenwood DC, Vieira AR, Rosenblatt DA, Vieira R, Norat T: Dietary fiber and breast cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Ann Oncol 2012.
  5. Continuous Update Project. Colorectal Cancer Report 2010 Summary: Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Colorectal Cancer.: World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research; 2011.
  6. Ornish D, Magbanua MJ, Weidner G, Weinberg V, Kemp C, Green C, Mattie MD, Marlin R, Simko J, Shinohara K, et al: Changes in prostate gene expression in men undergoing an intensive nutrition and lifestyle intervention. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008, 105:8369-8374.
  7. Hara M, Hanaoka T, Kobayashi M, Otani T, Adachi HY, Montani A, Natsukawa S, Shaura K, Koizumi Y, Kasuga Y, et al: Cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms, and gastrointestinal cancer risks in a multicenter, hospital-based case-control study in Japan. Nutr Cancer 2003, 46:138-147.
  8. Zhang CX, Ho SC, Chen YM, Fu JH, Cheng SZ, Lin FY: Greater vegetable and fruit intake is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer among Chinese women. Int J Cancer 2009, 125:181-188.
  9. Martin KR, Brophy SK: Commonly consumed and specialty dietary mushrooms reduce cellular proliferation in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Exp Biol Med 2010, 235:1306-1314.
  10. Fang N, Li Q, Yu S, Zhang J, He L, Ronis MJ, Badger TM: Inhibition of growth and induction of apoptosis in human cancer cell lines by an ethyl acetate fraction from shiitake mushrooms. J Altern Complement Med 2006, 12:125-132.
  11. Ng ML, Yap AT: Inhibition of human colon carcinoma development by lentinan from shiitake mushrooms (Lentinus edodes). J Altern Complement Med 2002, 8:581-589.
  12. Adams LS, Phung S, Wu X, Ki L, Chen S: White button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) exhibits antiproliferative and proapoptotic properties and inhibits prostate tumor growth in athymic mice. Nutr Cancer 2008, 60:744-756.
  13. Lakshmi B, Ajith TA, Sheena N, Gunapalan N, Janardhanan KK: Antiperoxidative, anti-inflammatory, and antimutagenic activities of ethanol extract of the mycelium of Ganoderma lucidum occurring in South India. Teratog Carcinog Mutagen 2003, Suppl 1:85-97.
  14. Cao QZ, Lin ZB: Antitumor and anti-angiogenic activity of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides peptide. Acta pharmacologica Sinica 2004, 25:833-838.
  15. Lin ZB, Zhang HN: Anti-tumor and immunoregulatory activities of Ganoderma lucidum and its possible mechanisms. Acta pharmacologica Sinica 2004, 25:1387-1395.
  16. Stoner GD: Foodstuffs for preventing cancer: the preclinical and clinical development of berries. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2009, 2:187-194.
  17. Chen T, Yan F, Qian J, Guo M, Zhang H, Tang X, Chen F, Stoner GD, Wang X: Randomized phase II trial of lyophilized strawberries in patients with dysplastic precancerous lesions of the esophagus. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2012, 5:41-50.
  18. Falasca M, Casari I: Cancer chemoprevention by nuts: evidence and promises. Front Biosci (Schol Ed) 2012, 4:109-120.
  19. Higdon J: Lignans. In An Evidence-Based Approach to Dietary Phytochemicals. New York: Thieme; 2006: 155-161
  20. Khan N, Mukhtar H. Cancer and metastasis: prevention and treatment by green tea. Cancer Metastasis Rev 2010, 29:435-445.
  21. Park W, Amin AR, Chen ZG, Shin DM. New perspectives of curcumin in cancer prevention. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2013, 6:387-400.
  22. Panahi Y, Hosseini MS, Khalili N, et al. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of curcuminoid-piperine combination in subjects with metabolic syndrome: A randomized controlled trial and an updated meta-analysis. Clin Nutr 2015, 34:1101-1108.
  23. Katiyar SK, Athar M. Grape seeds: ripe for cancer chemoprevention. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2013, 6:617-621.
  24. Patel S, Goyal A. Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review. 3 Biotech 2012, 2:1-15.
  25. American Institute for Cancer Research: The Exercise Factor []
  26. Kolb R, Sutterwala FS, Zhang W. Obesity and cancer: inflammation bridges the two. Curr Opin Pharmacol 2016, 29:77-89.

Ask The Doctor

The following are sample questions from the Ask the Doctor Community Platinum and higher members can post their health questions directly to Dr. Fuhrman. (All members can browse questions and answers.)


Do you have a supplement formulated to specifically to enhance protection against cancer?


Dietary supplements by definition do not treat, prevent, or cure a disease and cannot claim to on labels or in advertising. However, plant extracts are continually being studied for their potential to maintain health and affect the disease process.  Clinical trials are being conducted, aiming to figure out whether certain plant extracts could affect cancer-related biomarkers, act as beneficial adjunct treatments to be used with chemotherapy, or help to prevent progression of an early stage cancer or pre-cancerous condition. Read more


I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. I follow a vegan diet and I have been using soy milk in place of dairy milk, 1 to 2 cups per day, and use other soy products. Should I avoid soy which increases the estrogen in your body?


The potential problem here stems from your use of the word "vegan" diet and not "vegan-Nutritarian" diet because the anti-cancer power comes from the careful inclusion of the plant foods with the most documented benefits against cancer–G-BOMBS. For example, a very low fat, high carb vegan diet will not expose you to enough phytochemical benefits and will decrease their absorption. So the question is, where do the two cups of soy milk come into play in your diet? It is a processed food with limited antioxidants and phytochemicals, so if you are using it as a drink, it would make more sense to drink a glass of carrot, kale, lemon, tomato, and ginger juice. It is not that unsweetened soy milk is bad, but that it may reflect an overall lack of attention to the optimal choice of foods.

Avoiding all soy has no benefit for breast cancer patients and does not increase estrogen in the body. Unprocessed soy beans and tempeh are excellent foods. You should not eat isolated soy protein or overly processed soy products. Use miso sparingly and only low salt varieties. Tofu and tempeh are fine, and use unsweetened soy milk in limited quantities.


Is there a link between Nutritarian eating and healing skin melanomas or preventing more?


Of course. Melanoma is powerfully related to diet and a major cause is lack of protective antioxidants in the skin, so, this program is essential for recovery after excision as well as future prevention. Of course, sun protection without using chemical sunscreens is also important. Chemical sunscreens may increase the risk of developing melanoma, so look into the sunscreen options we make available here.


Do you think basal cell skin cancer is related to nutrition or purely caused by the sun? I have been diagnosed with basal cell cancer on my upper lip line and just wonder how this could happen to me, as I have been following a Nutritarian diet for the past 3 years or so and before that I followed a plant based mostly vegetarian diet. I am scheduled to have the MOHS surgery and am so worried what I may look like afterwards. I just keep thinking I must have done something wrong in the diet area to get this.


Sorry to hear about your skin cancer. Cancers occur from damage to cells that began 40 60 years ago. A cancer is many, many years in the making before it appears. Certainly burning the skin could be the initiating event and then nutrition does play a role, but sometimes it is hard to know exactly what went wrong to initiate the problem. But, the longer you are eating this way and maintaining excellent nutrient levels and the earlier in life you fix things, the lower and lower your risk will be.

Nevertheless, looking back and trying to align causation is not always the best exercise. I hope the surgery goes well, and they can make you look as good as you do now. It is amazing what a great plastic surgeon can do these days.


Since healthy people have carotenemia, a slightly orange hue to their skin, does this correlate and/or cause a decrease in skin cancer?


Absolutely, a Nutritarian diet colors the skin with protective phytochemicals. The carotene coloration parallels the heightened concentration of other important phytonutrients, so the real protection comes from the synergistic effects of all the healthy foods, which is not the same as taking carotene from a supplement.

Eating vegetables colors the skin and decreases risk of skin cancer.


My mom has had many cases of basal cell carcinoma that have been removed. I just had an irregular mole removed that I’m waiting to hear the results on, so, needless to say, skin cancer has been on my mind. I have been making the case for a Nutritarian lifestyle with her for years but was wondering if there are any specific things that can be done to decrease the risk of getting skin cancer.


We do know about the link between high levels of exposure to UV rays (sunlight) and risk of skin cancers, so it is still important to minimize this exposure, but there are significant chemo-protective effects of plant food nutrients, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, that have been identified in research studies. The Nutritarian diet is ideally designed to decrease the risk of cancers, including skin cancers. The general advice for preventing cancer applies here: eat more cruciferous greens, onions, garlic, leeks, all type of mushrooms (cooked) and a variety of colorful fruits and other vegetables (high amounts of flavonoids) every single day. If you make this effort it will translate into decreased risk over the years.


I’ve had at least 15 skin cancers, likely from a childhood in the sun. I’m careful these days and use sun block, but I was wondering if your Immunotect supplement might help? I already follow a Nutritarian diet and am using your Woman’s Formula, LDL Protect, and DHA/EPA Purity.


The mushroom extracts in Immunotect have skin cancer benefits, however, heed my advice on sunscreens, because most commercial sunscreens do not protect melanocytes from damage and can give a false sense of protection, increasing risk of melanoma. Read more about the non-chemical sunscreens, without nanoparticles that we make available here.


Recently, after taking a routine blood test, my doctor informed me that my PSA was 13.4. Does this high PSA mean that I have prostate cancer? If so, does PSA determine what stage I am at? I went to see the urologist who informed me that I should do a biopsy and ultrasound. What would you advise as my next course of action?


On a global scale, testing and treating men with a PSA level like yours has not been shown to extend lifespan. There is no convincing evidence in the scientific literature that evaluating and treating prostate cancer is extending the healthy life expectancy of men. In other words, all the tests and treatments may be a big money-generating medical industry, but they do not prolong lifespan in men.

On an individual level, if I were you, I would follow a Nutritarian diet strictly (with a glass of green juice once a day) and follow up my PSA levels in 6 months to see how low I can get it to go. If it improves and does not keep rising, I would continue to only treat it nutritionally. The standard of care, however, is to get tested and treated if cancer is found, but I am less concerned with whether the biopsy shows prostate cancer or not, as I have even seen those reverse (as has Dr. Ornish). So, you have all the options, but it is still your decision. The option I am recommending here is often called "watchful waiting" by physicians.


I had my first colonoscopy at age 50, which was fine. Now, 10 years later, the office has called telling me to schedule another one. Since the first one, I have lived a Nutritarian lifestyle (with few exceptions) and have no family history that I’m aware of. Is it necessary to repeat a colonoscopy every 10 years while maintaining a Nutritarian lifestyle?


While I can’t give you specific recommendations, we know that people who are at optimal weight, who are not insulin resistant, who eat a nutrient, fiber rich diet with limited animal protein, and who are active and exercise have reduced risk of colon cancer. Though I strongly believe a Nutritarian diet offers dramatic protection from cancer, the diet in your childhood and the earlier part of your adult life plays a role in this risk. So, since you only started the Nutritarian diet 10 years ago and had only one negative colonoscopy, I would have just one more and then never again after that if staying with dietary excellence, however, this is just an educated guess. Again, I have no specific recommendations based on scientific studies, so I cannot give definitive guidelines here; it still is personal decision after a discussion with your primary physician. If there is a family history, every 5 years may be recommended.


I have colon cancer and am curious how many ounces of animal products a week you recommend and which kind?


In the context of this post, the answer would be no animal products. Animal products promote anabolic hormones (especially IGF-1) that can induce cell proliferation increasing the risk or growth of the cancer. A vegan Nutritarian diet (with green juices) is more appropriate for a person with cancer.

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