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What should I Eat?

is the most common question asked by cancer patients.
Choose food and nutritional supplements which reduces adverse interactions with your cancer treatment and support them.

is the most common question asked by cancer patients. Choose food and nutritional supplements which reduces adverse interactions with your cancer treatment and support them.

Get your personalized nutrition plan for cancer at 

Get your personalized nutrition plan for cancer at

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Which 3 Foods to Avoid for Cancer of Unknown Primary?

Apr 21, 2021

Home » Blogs » Which 3 Foods to Avoid for Cancer of Unknown Primary?

Highlights

No two cancers are the same and neither should your nutrition be. The most commonly asked question to dieticians and oncologists globally is “What Should I Eat?”. The answer is “It Depends”. It depends on the type of cancer, current treatment and supplements being taken, age, gender, BMI, lifestyle and any genetic information available. In short – the answer to “What Should I Eat” for Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP) needs to be personalized to minimize adverse interactions between nutrition (from foods/diet) and treatment, and to improve symptoms.

Foods like Beetroot and Bell Pepper should be eaten when undergoing Temozolomide treatment for Cancer of Unknown Primary. On the same lines, avoid foods like Anise and Buttermilk with treatment of Temozolomide for Cancer of Unknown Primary. 

You get the point – your nutrition needs to be personalized and it needs to be re-evaluated as soon as any of the conditions change. Create and follow a nutrition plan personalized to you to minimize adverse interactions of nutrition for cancers like Cancer of Unknown Primary.



What is Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP)?

Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP) is a rare cancer in which the cancer has spread in the body, but the primary location of the body where the cancer began is unknown. The incidence rate of this cancer is only 4.1 per 1 lakh people per year. This cancer is commonly diagnosed in people who are over the age of 60, however, it can occur in people of any age. It is more commonly found in White males and African Americans as compared to other ethnic groups.

Cancer of Unknown Primary - Symptoms, Treatment, Diet, Foods

CUP has prevalence of certain genetic changes. Some of the genes such as TP53, KRAS, TSHZ3, and ARID1A are known to have genetic abnormalities in this cancer resulting in a change of function. 

The genetic abnormalities found in CUP can influence specific biochemical pathways to drive these cancer cells to aggressive growth and survive the ongoing treatment.  In addition, lifestyle conditions or habits like smoking, alcohol consumption and BMI (Body Mass Index) can have a big influence on the response to your physician prescribed treatments for Cancer of Unknown Primary. Numerous studies have consistently shown that your nutrition/diet – both food and nutritional supplements can adversely affect the treatment or be supportive or play no role. Hence, the triangulation of Cancer of Unknown Primary genomics, planned or ongoing therapies and lifestyle need to be thoroughly considered to make decisions on what foods and supplements to consider and avoid while designing diet/nutrition plan. Also, it is important to note that when any of these conditions change, like treatment or lifestyle or cancer diagnosis – it may impact the nutrition and the nutrition/diet plan for this cancer may have to be redesigned.

Why Eating Right Matters for Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP)?

In this cancer, activation or inhibition of some of the biochemical pathways including Oxidative Stress, MAPK Signaling, P53 Signaling, Angiogenesis, NOTCH Signaling, MYC Signaling, NFKB Signaling, Inflammation, PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling and RUNX Signaling plays an important role in driving the disease. All foods and nutritional supplements contain active ingredients which have a specific molecular action on different biochemical pathways. Hence, while the intake of certain foods and nutritional supplements as part of the diet may support a specific treatment of Cancer of Unknown Primary, eating few other foods and supplements may lead to adverse interactions with the treatment or may increase the cancer progression.

Example Foods to “Not Eat” and Eat with Temozolomide treatment for Cancer of Unknown Primary (CUP)

The nutrition for cancer always depends on the type of cancer, treatments and supplements being taken (if any), age, gender, BMI, lifestyle and any genetic information available. Here we show an example of nutrition/diet for Cancer of Unknown Primary considering only one specific treatment.

Foods to Avoid

Anise : Anise contains active ingredients such as Apigenin, Oleic Acid, Bergapten and others. Apigenin interferes with the impact of Temozolomide in Cancer of Unknown Primary by activating a specific biochemical pathway called PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling. Hence, avoid foods like Anise with Temozolomide treatment for Cancer of Unknown Primary.

Buttermilk : Buttermilk contains active ingredients such as Lauric Acid, Retinol, Vitamin D3 and others. Lauric Acid interferes with the impact of Temozolomide in CUP by activating a specific biochemical pathway called PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling. Hence, avoid Buttermilk with Temozolomide treatment for this cancer.

Foods to Eat

Beetroot :  Beetroot contains active ingredients like Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Oleic Acid. Intake of Vitamin E along with Temozolomide treatment for CUP causes a decrease  in a specific biochemical pathway which is called PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, and this is a very positive effect. Beetroot hence should be eaten with Temozolomide treatment for this cancer.

Bell Pepper :  Bell Pepper contains active ingredients like Vitamin E, Folic Acid, Isorhamnetin. Intake of Vitamin E along with Temozolomide treatment for CUP causes a decrease  in a specific biochemical pathway which is called PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, and this is a very positive effect. Bell Pepper hence should be eaten with Temozolomide treatment for this cancer.

Should I take this Nutritional Supplement for Cancer of Unknown Primary?

Black Seed : Black Seed has no known reported CYP (drug metabolizing enzyme) interactions with Temozolomide treatment. Black Seed supports the Temozolomide treatment for Cancer of Unknown Primary by decreasing the biochemical pathways/processes like Angiogenesis, MAPK Signaling, MYC Signaling, NFKB Signaling, Inflammation, Notch Signaling and PI3K-AKT-MTOR Signaling, and increasing pathways like RUNX Signaling.

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What are the Symptoms of Cancer of Unknown Primary?

In the initial stages, most cancers including Cancer of Unknown Primary may not cause any signs or symptoms. However, as the disease progresses and spreads, it may start showing symptoms depending on which organ it has spread to. 

Following are some possible signs and symptoms of Cancer of Unknown Primary.

  • Swollen, firm lymph nodes
  • A mass in the stomach that can be felt
  • Feeling of “fullness”
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the chest/abdomen
  • Bone pain
  • Skin tumors
  • Low red blood cell counts
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss

Though many of these symptoms may also be caused by various other health conditions, consult your doctor if you experience these symptoms to rule out the possible chances of Cancer of Unknown Primary.

What are the Treatment Options for Cancer of Unknown Primary?

The treatment for Cancer of Unknown Primary may be decided based on different factors including the location of the cancer, stage and extent of spread of the cancer, cancer characteristics, symptoms, patient’s general health and medical history, and whether the cancer can be removed completely by surgery. The treatment options for Cancer of Unknown Primary include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Targeted Therapy
  • Palliative Care to control Symptoms

As part of the diet, avoid including those foods and supplements that may adversely interact with the treatments for Cancer of Unknown Primary.

In Conclusion

The two most important things to remember are that cancer treatments and nutrition are never the same for everyone. Nutrition/diet which includes food and nutritional supplements is an effective tool which is controlled by you, while facing cancer such as CUP.

“What should I eat?” is the most frequently asked question to cancer dieticians and physicians. The right answer depends upon cancer type, underlying genomics, current treatments, any allergies, lifestyle information, and factors like BMI.

The addon personalized nutrition plan keeps you safe from adverse nutrition interactions.

Get started NOW with answering questions on type of cancer, current treatments, supplements, allergies, age group, gender, and lifestyle information.

Top 10 Foods and Supplements to Avoid for Cancer

Go beyond same nutrition guidelines for everyone and make personalized decisions with confidence.


Cancer patients often have to deal with different chemotherapy side effects which affect their quality of life and look out for alternative therapies for cancer. Taking the right nutrition and supplements based on scientific considerations (avoiding guesswork and random selection) is the best natural remedy for cancer and treatment related side-effects.


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