Subscribe to CONQUER: the patient voice® magazine

Receive timely cancer news & updates, patient stories, and more.

First Name *
Last Name *
Address (Continued)
Zip Code
Country *
Need multiple copies? Click here

Subscribe to CONQUER: the patient voice® magazine

Receive timely cancer news & updates, patient stories, and more.

First Name *
Last Name *
Need multiple copies? Click here
Breast CancerNutrition & CancerSurvivorship

Proper Nutrition Can Help to Conquer Cancer

After being diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, Johna Jennings went to see a nutritionist who told her to eat organic foods as much as possible.

February 2018 Vol 4 No 1
Johna Jennings
Petersburg, New Jersey

I am currently 54 years old, and in September 2016, I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. I was completely devastated: How could this happen to me? I cried for hours. Not only did I have breast cancer, but this was the kind that is most difficult to treat.

A Nutritionist’s Advice

A friend told me to go see a nearby nutritionist named Stephanie Iannarone, so I did, and she told me to eat organic vegetables and meats as much as possible, because nonorganic food is full of harmful pesticides, chemicals, and antibiotics. She also said that I should stay away from sugar, and gave me several natural supplements. I even made juice smoothies full of vegetables, and protein drinks with organic berries.

I drank fresh ginger tea, ate raw garlic, amla powder, moringa, spirulina, and turmeric—all of which are full of nutritious antioxidants, vitamins, and proteins that are beneficial to a person with cancer.

The Benefits of Proper Nutrition

I then went to get a second opinion at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, and they told me what I had heard before: I had to get a lumpectomy, followed by at least 6 months of chemotherapy, and 6 weeks of radiation therapy.

They also said that I had to get a genetic blood test, to see if the cancer was associated with the breast cancer gene known as BRCA, because my cancer was rare and often linked to that abnormal gene; but the test showed that my tumor was not associated with that gene.

The surgery was performed in November 2016, and while I was in recovery, the doctor told me that the tumor was not as big as it had originally been. The original size was 1.2 cm however, at time of surgery, it was only 0.5 cm. This suggested that the change in my diet had shrunk my malignant tumor by more than half—the benefits of proper nutrition.

When I visited my oncologist later, he said that because the tumor had shrank to 0.5 cm, it was now borderline, and I would only need 3 months of chemo, or I could take a chance and only have radiation. I was elated and cried from happiness. I decided to skip the chemo and just do radiation and stick to my new diet. I started radiation therapy in mid-December 2016.

Making It Through Radiation

I didn’t feel much in the first 2 weeks of radiation, but soon I felt soreness in my breast (similar to what some women experience during menstruation). By week 4 of radiation therapy, my skin was very red, so I would put ice packs on it as soon as I got home each day. I also would rub my breast with coconut oil, or with frankincense oil mixed with grape seed oil. These oils seemed to help.

I also went to a support group at Gilda’s Club South Jersey and told the group my story. I even invited my nutritionist to give a seminar at Gilda’s Club about eating healthy. Through it all, I tried to keep a positive mindset, and worked out at the gym as much as I could, to help keep my body strong and my mind clear. No doubt God was with me every step of the way.

A Clean Bill of Health

I had my mammogram and blood work done in August 2017, and the doctors said I was all clear—cancer-free. I continue to eat well, and try to live an overall healthy life, but once you are diagnosed with cancer, it remains a nightmare that follows you every day: it never goes away, and is hard to shake.

Choose to live each day with a smile on your face, love all those around you, and keep a positive mindset. Life is a gift. Treat your mind and body as well as you possibly can.

Key Points

  • Organic foods are much healthier than nonorganic
  • Many nonorganic foods contain pesticides, chemicals, and antibiotics
  • Try to avoid sugar to maintain a healthy diet
  • Fruits, vegetables, and protein drinks are great sources of necessary vitamins and nutrients
Recommended For You
Last modified: March 7, 2018