Two and a half years ago, our lives changed forever when mum was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. We almost lost hope. But today we know there is so much more to cancer than chemotherapy and surgery. We want to tell you how we’re starving mum’s cancer.
The first thing mum noticed was a really bad hangover after a Christmas ‘do’, but I didn’t think much of it. She had never been one to handle her drink. But a month later she went to the doctor about a pain in her right shoulder, which Dr Google said might be liver cancer. The GP wasn’t concerned but did a blood test.
A few hours later she was back for more tests, then scans and if you are reading this, you probably know the drill. Three months later, Yvonne was diagnosed with stage four ER+ HER2- breast cancer, spread to the liver and spine. Because the cancer had spread, it was considered treatable, but incurable. She was 59 years old.
Chemotherapy was the plan of action, and we couldn’t have got her on it fast enough. It went well for a few weeks, with mild side effects, but then mum got a serious infection. She was hospitalised and it was terrifying. It felt like the beginning of the end.
“My oncologist told me in no uncertain terms that I had weeks to live”Yvonne
The doctor changed her treatment and put mum on a new drug, called Palbociclib. It’s an expensive targeted drug that typically works for up to two years. The plan was to take it alongside a hormonal treatment called Letrozole.
“By then I could hardly walk, I couldn’t even lift a jug of water and put it in the fridge”Yvonne
Mum was in bad shape, but we ploughed on. I can’t say I felt very hopeful at this point. I would have described mum as severely depressed. She had given up on life.
Like many families, we had researched all of the cutting edge private treatments. I had dreams of us going to Germany for proton beam therapy. But she wasn’t up to it.
“I totally accepted my fate as I prepared to die”Yvonne
But something changed over the summer of 2018. The aftereffects of the chemotherapy began to subside, the new treatment was helping, and through the power of prayer and wonderful friends mum had begun to feel some hope.
“Two Christian friends came to pray for me. They told me God didn’t want me to die and that if I put my head in the grave, my body would follow. It was a big wake up call. My mindset very slowly began to change”Yvonne
In September, mum started to change her diet to a Mediterranean style. She’d heard an oncologist talking about how being in a healthy BMI range improved your change of survival. But that wasn’t shared across the board.
“I had asked three oncologists did they think diet made any difference to cancer. Two said no, the other said he ‘didn’t know anything’ about diet”Yvonne
But mum was starting to think it did matter.
A month later another cancer patient on a Facebook group told mum about Jane McLelland. She immediately bought her book, How to Starve Cancer.
“It was like I had been thrown a life line. I was totally blown away by what I read. It’s changed my life completely”Yvonne
Mum read it through once, and though she thought some of it was ‘gobbledegook’, she persevered. Jane’s book is both her own personal success at starving her cancer, and a manual for others who want to. She tells you about how she used cheap, existing, repurposed drugs – like those used for diabetes or malaria – to starve her cancer of the nutrients it needs to thrive. She also focuses on diet and specific targeted supplements, like berberine, which are able to mimic the repurposed drugs and more.
“I know many people do not understand it at first. I am not even sure I understand it all now. But don’t worry if you don’t understand it, you just need to know HOW to do it!”Yvonne
Cautiously we started adding in supplements, the first two being Berberine and Curcumin. Mum perfected a low GI diet as recommended, and became plant-based and dairy free. If this is something that it totally alien to you, it was for us too. I could never in a million years have expected my mum to become a vegan, but thats exactly what she has done.
The next thing to do was to make an appointment at the Care Oncology Clinic, a private clinic in Harley Street that supplies the repurposed drugs. It might be on Harley Street, but the drugs cost about £30 a month. So it’s accessible for all. There is also a COC in the United States now.
“I felt empowered. I assure you its better than doing nothing. I did small things first, adding supplements in slowly, and set aside time to study. Its not easy if you are feeling ill and frightened. I often felt overwhelmed. Am I doing too much? Or not enough?”Yvonne
Mum decided to focus on Jane’s protocol, learning the pathways to feed cancer as outlined in the book. Over the next six months she continually improved. From being unable to get off the sofa, she was off to the Caribbean for our dream Christmas cruise. She started walking every day, twice a day. And joined networks on Facebook groups with other cancer patients like her.
As a daughter it’s almost impossible to explain how miraculous this journey has been. I had almost given up too, I thought I was going to have to live life without my mum. But looking at her now, I see her as healthier than before she was diagnosed with cancer. She is a healthy weight – in fact she’s almost thinner than me! – and she is full of life and joy. We are both very grateful to God.
Some might think that it’s only the NHS drugs that are making her feel well. We are hugely grateful for the targeted treatment she has, but as cancer patients in her situation know these are only designed to extend life. Palbociclib is only supposed to work for around two years. And thats just not enough for us. We’re also two and a half years into this now.
Also, it feels impossible to attribute how healthy mum is simply to the NHS drugs. She looks amazing, feels vibrant and hasn’t had one infection since she started starving her cancer.
We believe that starving mums cancer is making a huge difference to her life. And though we are committed to it, it has certainly been a process to understand how to do it.
“I have now learned to listen to my own instincts, follow my intuition and not to overthink it. Though that last one can be a challenge”Yvonne
Fasting has become a part of mum’s routine. The purpose is that it both rests and rejuvenates the body which is crucial for cancer. To find out more, visit our ‘Where to Start’ page. Mum eats between the hours of 12pm and 6pm and rarely deviates. Of course if we are going out for a meal, we relax the rules a little. Life is for enjoying after all.
Mum cooks everything from scratch, we don’t eat processed food or ready meals, and we don’t count calories. Gut health is crucially important and mum always takes both pro and prebiotic’s.
Twenty minutes after every meal, mum goes for a brisk walk. The idea is that it sends the nutrients to her muscles rather than her cancer.
“Please note that I don’t do (the walk) if I go out for dinner with friends. They would think I was crazy!”Yvonne
This isn’t to say everything is rosy. Some people are sceptical about what mum is doing, and they might even disagree with it. They might say there isn’t enough evidence for this ‘starving cancer thing’. We don’t blame them for that.
But this isn’t alternative medicine without evidence. There is plenty of research-based evidence for starving cancer – or treating cancer as a metabolic disease as it is scientifically known. It’s just that these trials are not on a large enough scale for these drugs to be approved for cancer treatment on the NHS.
For now, the starving cancer protocol remains outside of the NHS standard of care. And thats why thousands of patients – like my mum – are doing it themselves.
“Most people think I am cured and I like that. I really do feel amazing. I now have the same figure I had in my twenties (well, not quite). I am two and a half stone lighter than when I was diagnosed.”Yvonne
In terms of mum’s progress, her tumours have shrunk considerably. Her scan results are a mixture of stable and sometimes shrinkage. Her last scan result came in as completely stable. Tumour markers are always around eleven which is a normal range, meaning her cancer isn’t active.
“I often have had to remind myself that God is the author of my destiny not a white coat doctor. I believe one day I will live cancer free. And I believe in the meantime I can live with this as a chronic illness because I have adopted a metabolic approach alongside NHS treatment” – Yvonne
It’s incredible to have my mum back. We have the most wonderful relationship and we cherish everything. In 2019, we made a documentary about mum’s story, as I was studying a Masters in Journalism at the time. That was the main reason for making this website.
But its also a way for mum to share everything she is learning. Everyday she sits on her iPad watching professors and oncologists on Youtube or a podcast, who are sharing their knowledge. This isn’t alternative medicine, its backed up by the science too.
We know how overwhelming it is to become a ‘cancer family’, and feeling like hope is lost. But if you are wanting to think outside the box, we hope this website can act as a resource to find information without any stress. Mum has done the stressing for you.
“I now have a wonderful life, a life I thought I had lost. It’s ok to grieve for the life you once had, but today I live a healthier life than I had before. There was a time when I thought I would wake up every day with black clouds looming but I can honestly say that I wake up every day with pink fluffy clouds.”Yvonne
Starving your cancer isn’t easy. It takes time and effort, and of course money on supplements and the repurposed drugs. But its nothing like the cost of the cutting edge treatments we all hope might provide a silver bullet for ourselves or our relatives.
It also gives you power over your own fate. Just going to hospital and putting your arm our for chemotherapy is a passive experience. This is the opposite. Its taking matters into your own hands while also accepting the NHS standard care. It’s been really empowering for mum.
“Everyone with cancer has a RIGHT to know about and try these wonderful repurposed drugs and supplements. I’m so glad I did. The question I always came back to was: what have I got to loose?”
We hope you enjoy Starving Mum’s Cancer!