“It isn’t really about eating healthy. It’s about eating specific foods that fight disease.” Kathy Bero
In 2005, Kathy Bero was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer and was given a prognosis of 21 months. At the time Kathy was just 41 years old and was the mother of two young girls. Doctors treated Kathy with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, but the cancer continued to spread.
She says, “Eleven months after my first diagnosis, I was diagnosed with a high-grade tumor in my head and neck.” The medications that she had been taking were also taking a toll on her body. She says, “My kidneys were failing. My liver was failing. My lungs were damaged. My heart was damaged. I told my oncologist that I’m done with that protocol because one way or another, I’m going to die. And I don’t want to go that way.”
It was at that point that a friend suggested that she take a look at changing her diet. Kathy recalls, “My friend kept saying you have to learn about anti-angiogenic foods.” Angiogenesis is a process by which cancerous tumors release growth factors that stimulate blood vessel growth, providing it with nutrients. Utilizing an anti-angiogenic diet can interfere with this process and work to starve the cancer.
In order to learn more, Kathy bought the book, “Anticancer: A New Way of Life, by David Servan-Schreiber. She explains more, “Science was finding that people who have reoccurring cancer, may be able to get rid of the cancer cells, but the cancer stem cells remained. Anti-angiogenic foods take away the blood source so the stem cells start dying. The unhealthy growth of blood vessels gets blocked.”
In February 2008, Kathy traded in all of her medications for a diet of healing foods. “For three years I only ate anti-angiogenic foods. After five years (from her original diagnosis), my oncologist said, ‘You’re clean’ and was left scratching his head wondering how that could even be possible. When she informed her doctor of what she had been doing, his response was, ‘Huh. That is interesting,” but he didn’t seem to want to learn more about her diet plan.
Some of the staples of her diet included a large variety of organic vegetables such as beets, kale, leeks, garlic, purple potatoes and carrots, along with lots of fruits including an assortment of berries, a variety of nuts, herbs, and green tea. Kathy says that leeks and garlic were always on her menu because of their anticancer properties. She says, “When a recipe calls for two cloves of garlic, I’m probably going to put in six because garlic is a really strong cancer fighter.”
Most of the foods were eaten in the raw form, with the exception of a limited amount of grass fed animal proteins that she included in her diet. She ate raw foods because cooking can deplete the beneficial nutrients and enzymes that are naturally found in raw living foods. These enzymes can assist in the breakdown and assimilation of the nutrients that are found in foods.
Kathy attributes her special diet, along with reiki therapy, meditation and visualization with healing her body, and she credits her diet for keeping her in remission. “If you want to prevent this disease, your best defense is this food,” Kathy says. Now, more than 12 years after her initial diagnosis Kathy remains cancer free. Kathy works as a cancer coach and health advocate and also wrote a book about her experience of healing from a terminal cancer.
When researchers at Harvard University recently learned of her success they decided to study her case further. “It’s exciting,” Kathy said. “I’m now validated. I’m no longer the ‘crazy cancer patient.’ There’s a real science that is going to be there.” The researchers will be studying people who’ve had exceptional outcomes while following similar programs. “They’re looking at our genetics and the genetics of the tumor. What the outliers did; their attitude, environment, faith, social support. What they’re trying to do is create a database of all these different things and look for the commonalities between these people.” Dr. Isaac Kohane also stated that since these outcomes are rare, this particular study will take some time to complete.