Therapies based on diet

One of the most common things that people with cancer who try complementary therapies do is make nutritional changes. Some people want to make changes to their diet to help their body cope with the effects of cancer and its treatments, and to give themselves the best chance of recovery.

Many therapies incorporate general dietary advice while some, such as traditional Chinese medicine and ayurvedic medicine, have their own specific approaches to diet. Most doctors and cancer nurses recommend eating a balanced diet. Your doctor, nurse or dietitian can give you advice on healthy eating.

Benefits: Vegetables and fruit contain vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, which are natural substances such as antioxidants that may destroy cancer-causing agents (carcinogens). Cancer Council recommends the Australian Dietary general community guidelines of two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables daily for cancer survivors. Fruit and vegetables are best eaten fresh and whole rather than as a supplement, and consumption of a variety of both cooked and raw vegetables is recommended.

Naturopathic nutrition

What it is: Naturopathic nutrition is about what you eat and how it affects your health and wellbeing. It promotes the use of whole foods, organic foods and certain food types for different people.

Why use it: For your body to function efficiently, you need to eat a balanced diet of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. You also need vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients found in fresh food. If you are deficient in certain nutrients, you may experience worse side effects from cancer treatment, experience new symptoms and need a longer recovery time.

What to expect: A naturopathic nutritionist develops a treatment plan, which is focused on creating diets from nutrient-rich food rather than medicinal or bodywork. Sometimes supplements are also recommended.

Evidence: There is some clinical evidence that a healthy diet can help people recover from cancer treatment. There is no strong evidence that organic food is better than conventionally-grown food for improving health.

Dietitians Association of Australia

Differences between dietitians and nutritionists

Nutritionists - The term nutritionist refers to both qualified nutrition scientists and naturopathic nutritionists. Some dietitians also call themselves nutritionists.

Nutritionists working in the natural health industry should have at least a diploma of nutrition, or equivalent, from a university or naturopathic college. Those working within a naturopathic framework are usually employed in private practice or in a holistic medical or complementary therapies centre. Practitioners will approach dietary issues differently according to their level of training and qualifications.

Dietitians – To become accredited, dietitians need university qualifications in science, nutrition and dietetics. They modify diets based on scientific evidence to help treat   disease symptoms and to get the most out of food without the unnecessary use of supplements. They often work within a conventional medical framework in hospitals, aged care facilities and medical practices.

For cancer patients, a dietitian works out specialised diets, helps with weight issues, and makes sure you are adequately nourished if you have eating difficulties. You may be given supplements if you are unable to meet your nutritional requirements through diet alone.

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Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

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To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
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Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

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Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
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Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.