Can a low-carb diet during radiation treatment help fight brain cancer?
The chief of neurosurgery at Upstate and an aspiring oncologist will examine whether a low-carbohydrate diet during radiation therapy can improve the prognosis for someone with glioblastoma, the aggressive brain tumor that U.S. Sen. John McCain has. Larry Chin, MD, who leads Upstate's neuro-oncology program, says patients will be able to choose whether to follow a ketogenic diet while they are receiving treatment for their brain tumor. Treatment may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. A ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrates and high in fats, meaning patients would not eat bread and pasta. Fourth-year medical student Hans Kim says a ketogenic diet is designed to prompt the body to burn fat as its primary fuel instead of sugar. Their study will look at whether such a diet can enhance the effectiveness of radiation therapy.