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Author: Eugene Ahn

Breast medical oncologist and integrative oncologist at City of Hope Chicago SIO VP Communications Associate Professor City of Hope Director of Clinical Research at COH Chicago/Atlanta/Phoenix

Inclusivity Guidelines

2022 Inclusivity Guidelines

adapted from YSC publicly posted guidelines


SIO constituents come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. We ask that speakers/facilitators use language and visuals that make everyone attending the conference feel welcome and included. We strive to create an environment where all attendees feel safe, supported, and empowered.


Please keep in mind the following:

  • These individuals come from diverse backgrounds. This includes geographic location, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic background, language, politics and religion. During your presentation(s) and interactions with attendees, avoid stereotypes and making assumptions, and use language that is inclusive of those whose background may be different than your own.
  • This is an inclusive and welcoming environment. Please refrain from making comments about an attendee’s appearance, experience, language or anything else that could make them uncomfortable. Even if you think comments are harmless, let individuals tell their own story.
  • When speaking about romantic partnerships, acknowledge that some attendees are in same sex relationships. For example, consider using “partner” instead of “husband” or “boyfriend” during your presentation.
  • Not all participants have a romantic partner. When speaking about relationships or support network, know that not all attendees are married or in a committed relationship. Sometimes their family and friends are their main source of support.
  • Individuals are at various phases of breast cancer diagnosis. They may be newly diagnosed, post-treatment, a long-term survivor or living with metastatic breast cancer. Please provide information and use language that is inclusive of those who are living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), in-treatment for the rest of their lives or who don’t know their prognosis. For example, YSC uses “thriver” to describe those living with MBC, as opposed to survivor. For the same reason, YSC refrains from using the terms like “warrior,” “battlefield,” or “winning the fight.” When an individual dies of breast cancer, it is not because they didn’t fight hard enough.
  • Co-survivors also attend SIO events. Co-survivors may be the partner (male or female), parent, sibling or friend of a young breast cancer survivor/thriver. Co-survivors will also have loved ones who are at various phases of diagnosis.

For additional useful tips that promote mindfulness in choosing language carefully for optimal inclusivity, click on this useful article link here.


Educational Workshop template

Session Title:


Full Name of submitter and primary contact for the workshop proposal:


Phone #:

SIO Committee (if applicable, is an SIO committee behind the proposal?):



Session Type: Educational Workshop


Proposed Presenters/Subtitles:


Please list the presenters proposed and what each speaker will be presenting


Presenter 1:

Full Name/Degree(s)/Institution/e-mail:

Title of presentation:
Alternate speaker (if available) with Full Name/Degree(s)/Institution/e-mail


Presenter 2:

And so on for the number of presenters proposed



Learning Objectives:


Target Audience:


Description of workshop:

Word limit for this section is 500 words and references can be included in this section



FAQ for Scientific Abstract Submissions #SIO2024

For the 21st International SIO conference hosted by City of Hope in Cosa Mesa California on October 25-27th 2024 (#SIO2024 for short), we will be introducing slight modifications to our processes in reviewing our annual conference scientific abstracts. In the past we would have simultaneous scientific abstract and educational workshop submissions managed by the Scientific Review Committee (SRC). This year the Scientific Review Committee will only be reviewing the scientific abstracts, and the Education Committee (see Educational Workshops FAQ for #SIO2024) will be reviewing the workshop submissions.  All submissions must be relevant to the field of integrative oncology to be considered competitive.

What are the new changes to the SIO 2024 International Conference processes regarding scientific abstract submissions?

The scoring system for scientific abstract submissions will be simplified to a 4 score system this year. “Needs assessment” i.e. one of last year’s criteria was found to confusing so it was removed this year. Each abstract will be rewarded a score of 1-5 with 4-5 being oral abstract quality, 2-4 being poster quality, and 0-2 being consider for rejection. Just because an abstract scores an average below 4 does not exclude the abstract from oral presentation as final rankings are decided upon by a meld of the absolute score and the SRC (Scientific Review Committee) qualitative assessment of the abstract and its fit with the rest of the selected oral presentations.

·         Significance – Impact on the science and practice of integrative oncology

·         Approach – Study design, sample size, novelty of research

·         Presentation – Clarity, logic, completeness of data presented

·         Relevance to conference theme and published program

Keep in mind the scoring criteria will be different for educational workshops, so please review the Educational Workshop FAQ as well if you are planning on submitting a workshop as well.

When is the deadline for scientific abstract submissions for #SIO2024?

The deadline for scientific abstract submissions for the SIO 2024 Annual Conference will be April 1st 2024. Please note this is earlier than prior SIO conferences and we likely will not be extending the deadline so please respect the deadline this year! Keep in mind this deadline is >2 weeks later than the deadline for educational workshops (March 15th) since the latter will require more post-submission production processes. You do not have to be an SIO member to submit an abstract or educational workshop. But you are required to be planning to attend and register for the SIO 2024 Annual Conference in person if you are submitting a scientific abstract.

When will I know whether my abstract was selected, and whether it was selected as a poster versus an oral presentation?

We cannot promise a date at this time, but every documented author who wishes to be notified of the result, will be notified via direct e-mail of the decision. We always share selection results with the authors before the end of the early bird deadline for registration discounts. Usually, the decisions are shared within 6 weeks of the deadline. When the decision letter is sent, it will include instructions of early bird registration, and other important things to know to help prepare the author and the group if applicable for the SIO 2024 Annual Conference. Please be aware that all poster and oral presentation selections will be expected to be presented in person at the SIO 2024 Annual Conference. There is no available compensation for registration or lodging, outside of the usual SIO accommodations and discounts for eligible people. If in person presentation is not available, then we will ask the submission to be cancelled if an alternative speaker cannot attend.

Is there an option to present my poster or oral presentation virtually?

No. If no in-person presenter is available, we will ask the poster/oral presentation to be cancelled. Please be mindful of this issue if you are an international member. The SIO 2024 Annual Conference will be a hybrid conference with option to attend virtually, but virtual attendance will not have access to all the scientific abstract breakout sessions, and the only presentations guaranteed to be recorded for virtual attendees, will be the Best of SIO session (top abstracts submitted to #SIO2024). Usually, we have at least one scientific abstract breakout session recorded each time interval, but we estimate only 1 out of 4 breakout sessions will be available for virtual attendees this way. We are aware sometimes things happen with international travel so please talk to us at SIO, if something comes up. But to be clear we cannot promise a virtual solution for people presenting, only those attending.

What if we expect results for our scientific abstract after the submission deadline and before the SIO 2024 Annual Conference?
If you guarantee results will be ready to discuss at the conference, please specify that in your submission as that might make it eligible for oral presentation but only in situations where the author has a track record of reliability as we cannot take on faith all promises will be kept, nor do we know if the results will be significant. If you do not include any results to discuss in your abstract, we will be more likely to assume your trial has no data to report and it is only a clinical trial summary and at best will only be selected as a poster. If you don’t have any clear results available before the conference, then please make it clear your presentation is to highlight and publicize a clinical trial, not to discuss results. ASCO calls these abstracts “Trials in Progress”, so specifying that in the title of your abstract will be very helpful for reviewers. Case reports and literature reviews are not typically selected for oral presentation and usually at best will be selected for posters, but we will accept those types of submissions for #SIO2024.

May I present findings if they have already been published or presented or will be presented elsewhere before the meeting date?
If an author chooses to submit information from an abstract that has previously been presented and/ or published, all data must be updated, current, and rewritten in a manner that does not infringe on copyright laws, and the audience/reviewer should be clear on what exactly that is being presented is new and the reason for another presentation. Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to include any copyrighted material in their abstract presentations. All authors will be required to agree to a copyright assignment statement when submitting an abstract. The Scientific Review Committee will give priority to research that has not been presented elsewhere or published prior to #SIO2024.

Do I have to declare potential conflict of interest?
Yes, to comply with continuing education credit guidelines, the presenting author will be required to disclose all relationships with ineligible companies over the previous 24 months. These disclosures must be detailed during the abstract submission process. If the presenting author does not complete this disclosure process, then SIO will not be able to offer continuing education credit for your presentation. Authors of accepted poster presentations are not required to provide this information.

If I am selected for an oral presentation what will the presentation format be?

Your abstract and a few others will be combined into a ‘breakout session’ usually with a theme for that group of abstracts. Each breakout session will feature a moderator and the panel of speakers presenting the selected abstracts. The oral presentation will be limited to 12 minutes, with 3 min for Q&A afterwards or saved in sum for all speakers at the end of the breakout session.

How do I create a strong proposal?

The strongest proposals will be clearly written and as specific as possible, with avoidance of generalities and simple narratives in lieu of scientific data. Competitive edge will be given to scientific abstracts that fit well with the SIO 2024 conference theme “Full circle translational integrative oncology: from bedside to bench and back”. Also please follow standard scientific abstract format with an abstract title, introduction, methods, results, discussion. Variations on this format are allowed but we will not be giving the benefit of the doubt to a submission that is highly disorganized and does not respect any normal standard of scientific abstract writing. Obviously, some abstracts like a meta-analysis or review on a topic or a case report might not fit cleanly into this format and in lieu of the standard format we would just ask the abstract be clearly written and accurately reflect the content of the poster/presentation we can expect. The more specific the better. If the reviewer can’t have a clear idea of what it is you are planning to present, this will generally lead to a poor score.

What if I have a question not covered by this FAQ?

Feel free to reach out to for any questions related in general about the conference such as registration and conference schedule/details. For any questions related to your scientific abstract submission, the Co-Chairs of the 2024 Scientific Review Committee are John Camariano MD and Sheila Garland PhD would be best to reach and you can be connected to them through

FAQ for Educational Workshop Submissions #SIO2024

 What is the new educational workshop proposal system that SIO will be using for #SIO2024?

For the 21st International SIO conference hosted by City of Hope in Cosa Mesa California on October 25-27th 2024, we will be introducing a new process for our annual conference educational workshops. In the past we would have simultaneous scientific abstract and educational workshop submissions managed by the Scientific Review Committee (SRC). The best educational workshop proposals would be selected by SRC and invited to present at the conference. Usually, we would not prescribe or change the content of the presentation, and the original author of the proposal would the main driver for the final content for the conference.

This year, based on feedback from prior successful workshops in the past, workshop submissions will no longer be judged by the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) who will continue to judge the scientific abstracts. The educational workshop submissions will be judged by SIO 2024 Education Committee, which will be staffed by similarly qualified individuals with a particular passion for integrative oncology training and education.

In a similar model to how educational workshops are developed for the ASCO annual conference, the best educational workshop submissions will be selected in the first phase of the selection process. Phase two of the process will be creative collaboration between the selected workshop authors and the Education Committee. For example, it is possible multiple excellent workshop submissions addressing the same topic will be selected, and the authors asked to merge the best of their proposals together to make the new workshop better than the sum of its parts. It is possible the Education Committee selects a workshop proposal with conditional adjustments, for example, more interactivity or experiential activity for attendees. But at any point in the process if an author does not wish to modify their submission, they may withdraw their application at any time in the selection process. Our goal is the same as the workshop authors – to make the workshop as useful and impactful as possible.

Also given the extra time involved in producing the workshops, we will end the deadline for submissions 2 weeks earlier than scientific abstracts i.e. March 15th 2024 instead of April 1st, 2024. Please respect these deadlines because we do not expect in extending the deadlines this year.

What workshop slots are available for the SIO 2024 21st International conference?

We have five workshop slots for 75min each that will occur as breakout sessions during the core of the conference schedule October 25-27th 2024. We also have two preconference workshop slots of 120 minutes each that will be featured on the morning of October 25th 2024 before the official kick off to the meeting. Attendees will have to pay for the preconference workshops, but will not have to pay extra for the intra-conference workshops. In general, we would advise preparing a proposal geared towards a 75min interactive workshop session.

How do I create a strong proposal?

The strongest proposals will be clearly written and as specific as possible as to what the workshop will be. The content should be current, supported by scientific research, and consistent with best practices in integrative oncology. Competitive edge will be given to workshop topics that fit well with the SIO 2024 conference theme “Full circle translational integrative oncology: from bedside to bench and back” and have a diversity of speakers (for example, speakers not all affiliated with one academic center) and perspectives. Controversial topics are welcome; in fact, they often generate the most engagement. In the description of the program please provide the important details for example, in what way will the workshop be not just didactic but interactive and experiential? Highlight the activities, if any, that participants would be asked to do during the workshop. Specify handouts and other materials that will be provided to attendees. Be clear on who the intended audience is as we will be looking for a diversity of intended audiences as much as possible. Provide details of the facilitators/presenters and their credentials and why they are the best to present this topic. Strong facilitators with a track record of being engaging, and well-reviewed at prior scientific meetings is a big plus.

Proposals will be graded on a 1-5 scale on five criteria. Keep in mind this is not the same scoring system as for scientific abstracts (see separate FAQ for that).

  • Scientific support and content – how much of the workshop content is backed up by scientific research?
  • Impact on Clinical Practice – will attendees potentially benefit in terms of seeing better clinical outcomes?
  • Clarity/Interactivity – proposal provides clear goals, content and level of experiential involvement or interactive discussion with attendees (more the better)
  • Diversity/Inclusion – generally we would like to see a diversity of speakers from different cancer centers, qualifications, and perspectives (gender, race, ethnicity and backgrounds)
  • Relevance to conference theme

Scores will be given for each category on a 1-5 scale but no workshop submission will be excluded entirely just based on a total score. Commercial bias is not a reason for automatic exclusion but must be acknowledged in the proposal and a plan to manage that bias made clear in the proposal if appropriate.

What will be provided if we are selected for a workshop?

As per precedent from our 20 prior annual conferences, reimbursement for travel, registration, and speaker fees is not available for awardees. However, if there are unique needs that might make or break the success of the workshop, please be explicit in the proposal about what those needs may be to make sure we can fulfill them (like certain AV equipment).

What will be required before the workshop presentation October 25-27th 2024?

The conference will supply the usual essentials i.e., LCD projector for PowerPoint presentations, screen and PC laptop. We will request final PowerPoint slides and presentation usually at least a month before the conference date. Conference registration of presenting authors is required for accepted workshops. If you register before the early bird deadline you can receive a significant discount and announcements of decisions will be made well before the deadline for early bird registration.

The conference will be held at the Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel in Costa Mesa California. We recommend arriving at least the night before the workshop presentation to avoid minimize impact of travel delays. Cost of hotel accommodations, travel and food not covered with the conference registration is the responsibility of the presenters/authors. Due to the complexity of conference scheduling, we cannot accommodate any request to present on a specific day/time.

We will also request CVs, speaker bios and headshots as we get closer to the conference date in personal e-mails.

What if I have a question not covered by this FAQ?

Feel free to reach out to for any questions related to SIO 2024 registration or conference details. For questions about your workshop submissions, the Co-Chairs of the 2024 Education Committee are Eugene Ahn MD and Ashwin Mehta MD and they would be the best people to contact if you have questions specifically about the educational workshop submission process and you can be connected to them via the e-mail with

Call for Scientific Abstracts and Educational Workshop submissions opens January 29th, 2024 for #SIO2024

We are excited to announce the opening for both Scientific Abstracts and Educational Workshops submissions for the 21st SIO International Conference, hosted by City of Hope on October 25-27th 2024 in Costa Mesa California, with the conference theme “Full Circle Translational Integrative Oncology – from bedside to bench and back”. Submissions are welcome from all members of the integrative oncology community including trainees and persons with a cancer diagnosis.

Please be forewarned that unlike in years past we will likely not be having an extended deadline for workshop or abstract submissions, so respect the deadline dates! Click here to link to the Oxford Abstracts submission portal to submit your abstract/workshop.

The 21st annual conference will have both in person and virtual attendance options, but workshops will only be available to those who attend in person and will not be recorded for the virtual attendees. We will have five slots of 75 minutes to host an educational workshop during the core schedule of the conference from October 25-27th, and 2 slots of 120 minutes to offer a more detailed educational workshop on the morning prior to the official start of the conference on Friday October 25th Friday at 10:15am. Those who are selected to present a scientific abstract (poster or oral) or an educational workshop are expected to present physically in-person, not virtually.

Although SIO has identified English as the most common language among its members, SIO is committed to language access. If you need accommodations for language access, please let us know. We will do our best to facilitate.

The deadline to submit educational workshops is midnight Pacific Time on March 15, 2024. The deadline to submit scientific abstracts will be midnight Pacific Time on April 1st, 2024.

The submissions must be relevant to the field of integrative oncology, and should specifically address the conference theme: “Full Circle Translational Integrative Oncology – from bedside to bench and back (the transformative power of clinical observation to ignite scientific discovery and optimize patient outcomes)”

Members of the SIO 2024 Scientific Review Committee will evaluate the quality of scientific abstract submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Significance – impact on the science and practice of integrative oncology
  • Approach – Study design, sample size, novelty of research
  • Presentation – Clarity, logic, completeness of data presented
  • Relevance to conference theme

Scores will be given for each category on a 1-5 scale. Commercial bias is not a reason for automatic exclusion but must be acknowledged in the proposal and a plan to manage that bias made clear in the proposal if appropriate. This is a simpler scoring criteria compared to last year.

Members of the SIO 2024 Education Committee will evaluate the quality of the educational workshop submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Scientific support and content – how much of the workshop content is backed up by scientific research?
  • Impact on Clinical Practice – will attendees potentially benefit in terms of seeing better clinical outcomes?
  • Clarity/Interactivity – proposal provides clear goals, content and level of experiential involvement or interactive discussion with attendees (more the better)
  • Diversity/Inclusion – generally we would like to see a diversity of speakers from different cancer centers, qualifications, and perspectives, with language sensitivity
  • Relevance to conference theme

To be clear diversity and inclusion is equally important in scientific abstract review but will be more assimilated into the scoring for Approach/Presentation. For guidance on how diversity and inclusion principles influence the review process, we encourage authors to review this guidance on diversity and inclusion.

Also please be aware that we will have an opening for “late breaking abstracts” after the above deadlines for educational workshops and scientific abstracts is past us, but abstracts submitted at that time will only be eligible for poster consideration (not oral presentation as that lineup will already have been decided).

The process of selecting and producing an educational workshop will undergo a significant change this year. The complete details of the changes we are implementing with the SIO educational workshops can be reviewed here [link to the SIO 2024 Educational Workshop FAQ]. You can also use this Educational Workshop blank template to help guide your workshop submission. In the first phase, we will be soliciting educational workshop submissions from Jan 29- March 15, 2024, as per usual process. However, in the selection process leading up to the actual workshop presentation, there will be a lot more creative license shared between the SIO Education Committee and the workshop author(s) to modify and improve the workshop speakers/content so that it can be the best possible workshop for SIO attendees. Multiple workshops might be selected and asked to merge their speakers/efforts to make a greater and better single workshop, better than just the sum of its parts.

Primary Author Responsibilities:

If the material has been accepted for publication or has recently been published, it is the author’s responsibility to make sure that the journal’s copyright rules are not violated.  If chosen, the organizers and speakers must disclose conflicts of interest as required by continuing education accreditation bodies. Submissions are limited to a 1000 word maximum.

SIO has the right to review and select workshops and abstracts at its discretion for reconsideration in a different form. A common scenario might be that the workshop submission might not be at the top of the list, but the Education Committee might feel it still would serve as an excellent webinar for SIO attendees and applicants might be offered an opportunity to present the topic as a webinar outside of the annual conference format October 25-27th 2024.


SIO Webinar: Ayurveda in cancer care Feb 15, 2024 12-1pm EST

SIO is proud to host a timely webinar addressing a hot topic in the integrative oncology field, “Ayurveda in cancer care” on February 15, 2024 12-1pm EST. Q&A will be available after the formal presentation.

Registration for this webinar is open for all. Click here to register.

Title: Ayurveda in cancer care

Speakers: Dr Rammanohar, Dr. Eran Ben-Ayre, Dr. Jeffrey White, Dr. Julia Arnold, Dr. Anand Dhruva, Dr. Santhosshi Narayanan,

Moderator: Dr. Krupali Desai

Topics covered in the webinar:

  1. Ayurveda and its status in cancer care in India (10 minutes) – Dr. Puthiyedath Rammanohar
  2. Global status of Ayurveda, with a focus on European activities (10 minutes)- Dr. Eran Ben-Ayre
  3. Ayurveda research in cancer: past, current, and future (10 minutes)- Dr. Jeff White/Dr. Julia Arnold
  4. Ayurveda in Integrative Oncology care models in US (15 minutes) – Dr. Anand Dhruva, Dr. Santhosshi Narayanan


Bios and Headshots of the speakers and moderator:


  1. Dr. Puthiyedath Rammanohar, MD BAMS (Ayurveda)

Dr. Puthiyedath Rammanohar received BAMS and MD (Ay) degrees from Bharathiyar University, Coimbatore and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bengaluru respectively. He has been contributing in the field of Ayurvedic research since the last 30 years He has made research visits to United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Latvia, Russia, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Argentina, Brazil, Singapore and Sri Lanka for the promotion of Ayurveda. He is presently serving as Research Director at Amrita School of Ayurveda managed by Amrita University. He also served as faculty in several institutions that are imparting courses and training in Ayurveda like Southern California University of Health Sciences, USA, European Academy of Ayurveda, Germany and so on.  He is an approved guide for the PhD program in Ayurveda at Amrita University. He was PI on Indian side of NIH funded research study on Ayurveda and Rheumatoid Arthritis that won the Excellence in Integrative Medicine Research from European Society of Integrative Medicine. He is member of National Commission for Indian Systems of Medicine (NCISM), Govt of India, Research Advisor (History of Science) for Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Govt of India.


  1. Eran Ben-Aytre, MD

Eran Ben-Arye is a Clinical Professor, presently serving as the Chairman, Department of family Medicine, in the Rappaport Faculty of Medicine Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. He is the Director, Integrative Oncology Program, Lin, Carmel & Zebulun Medical Centers, Israel. Prof. Ben-Arye is the Primary Researcher of the Middle East Research Group in Integrative Oncology (MERGIO) within the Middle East Cancer Consortium (MECC) and is an elected member of the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) Board of Trustees and serves as the SIO Regional Ambassador to Europe and the Middle-East. He has authored and co-authored 187 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals published in Pubmed/Medline and 9 chapters in oncology textbooks concerning integrative oncology, doctor-patient communication, sociology, and nutrition. Prof. Ben-Arye has constructed and co-conducted more than 15 clinical studies in the area of complementary and integrative medicine, including three randomized controlled studies.


  1. Jeffrey White, MD

Jeffrey D. White, Associate Director, Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Cancer Institute

Dr. White is a board-certified medical oncologist and a cancer researcher.  Dr. White graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Applied and Engineering Physics in 1979 and received an M.D. from Howard University in 1984. He completed a residency in internal medicine in 1987 and fellowships in oncology and hematology in 1990 at The Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.  Dr. White joined the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1990 initially working in the then Metabolism Branch (now the Lymphoma Branch) as a Medical Staff Fellow and later as director of the Clinical Trials and Clinical Care Program.  From 1995 to 1998, Dr. White also served as an oncology consultant to the director of the NIH’s Office of Alternative Medicine. In October 1998, he was chosen to direct a new office in the NCI titled the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM). This office promotes and supports research and the generation of good quality information on the various disciplines and modalities associated with the field of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as they relate to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer.


  1. Julia Arnold, PhD, MS (Ayurveda)


Special Volunteer – NIH-National Cancer Institute, Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCI-OCCAM)

Dr. Arnold joined NCI- OCCAM in 2023 as a Special Volunteer. She has 40+ years of cancer research experience in cell biology, cancer prevention and mechanisms of tissue microenvironmental regulation of cancer cells. Dr. Arnold received her PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and did her post doctoral studies at NCI and at Johns Hopkins Medical School. Her 22 years at NIH include 11 years in the intramural lab at the NIH-National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM; now NCCIH) and 11 years of as a Program Director in the Translational Research SPORE Program at the NIH-NCI. She received a master’s degree in Ayurveda in 2021.

Dr Arnold has published 2 book chapters and over 34 peer-reviewed manuscripts including a recent comprehensive 2-part review on “Integrating ayurvedic medicine into cancer research programs”. Dr. Arnold serves as a Guest Editor for the Journal of Ayurvedic Integrative Medicine (JAIM)-Special Issue on “Integrative Approaches to Cancer Care and Research”.


  1. Anand Dhruva, MD

Dr. Dhruva is a medical oncologist and hematologist. He is a clinician, educator, and researcher specializing in medical oncology, integrative oncology, Ayurveda, and Yoga. He is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at UCSF’s School of Medicine. He is the Director of Education at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, where he also serves on the research and clinical faculty. He is an Associate Program Director of the UCSF Hematology and Oncology Fellowship Program.

Dr. Dhruva is a graduate of the University of Arizona Fellowship in Integrative Medicine. Dr. Dhruva has completed Ayurvedic Practitioner training along with other ongoing training in Ayurvedic medicine.

The primary focus of Dr. Dhruva’s research program is the study of complementary and integrative medicine therapies, specifically Ayurveda and Yoga, for cancer palliative and supportive care. He was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health K23 Career Development Award from National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH/NCCIH). He is currently the Principle Investigator on an R01 grant from NIH/NCCIH investigating Ayurvedic approaches for cancer survivors


  1. Santhosshi Narayanan, MD

Dr. Santhosshi Narayanan is a Clinical Associate Professor of integrative medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, USA. She co-chairs the Global committee and Ayurveda special interest group and is a board member of the Society of Integrative Oncology. Dr. Narayanan co-founded and served as the associate director of the MD Anderson Onco-hospitalist fellowship program in 2015, emphasizing a comprehensive patient care approach. In 2018, she transitioned to the integrative medicine center, focusing on incorporating diet, exercise, and mind-body approaches into cancer treatment plans. A co-author of multiple peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, she has presented her work at various national and international conferences. Dr. Narayanan’s impact extends to awards recognizing her educational and leadership contributions in medicine.


  1. Krupali Desai, MD (Ayurveda), MPH

Krupali Desai is a Project Coordinator and Ayurveda program lead at the Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). She has an MD in Ayurvedic Medicine from India and a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Thomas Jefferson University. She is deeply passionate about integrating complementary and alternative medicine such as Ayurveda and Yoga into the evidence-based cancer care. Krupali was a part of the Integrative Medicine research team at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focused on understanding the use of yoga among cancer patients. Currently, her work at MSKCC is focused on evaluating and expanding integrative medicine programs for cancer patients and survivors.

City of Hope receives $100 million philanthropy to support integrative oncology programs and research

One the week of our 20th SIO annual scientific conference in Banff Canada, City of Hope announced a major new precedent-setting $100 million donation to support integrative oncology programs at City of Hope and its network of hospitals around the United States. Andrew and Peggy Cherng, philanthropists, co-founders and co-CEOs of Panda Express, made the landmark donation via their Panda Charitable Family Foundation.

For more about this historical moment, please see the official press release ->

September 2023 Newswire


From the President

Dear SIO Members and Friends,
I can’t believe this is my last Newswire to you as President of SIO! It’s been a bit of a wild ride these last two years, from co-chairing the 2021 hybrid Baltimore conference with 100 people in person and 200 online, to Scottsdale in 2022 where 200 attended in person, and now looking forward to Banff with close to 300 making the journey to Canada in just over a week! I am beyond excited to host everyone in my backyard reconnecting, learning, laughing and strengthening our Integrative Oncology community. It will be balm to the soul after the last few months when instead of sailing into the sunset of my Presidency, I (and all of the EC) have been working flat out to rebuild the society after being financially defrauded by our management company. It has not been easy, but we are getting back on track and the tremendous support from you, our members and friends, has made all the difference. In that vein, keep scrolling below for details of how you can support SIO by making a secure donation.

Despite all the hard work, of course I made time this summer to be with my family in the great outdoors, and we had some fun adventures!


New SIO-ASCO Guideline Published


Another highlight of my term as President has been co-chairing (alongside Dr. Julia Rowland) the Expert Panel for the SIO-ASCO joint anxiety and depression guideline, “Integrative Oncology Care of Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression in Adults With Cancer: Society for Integrative Oncology–ASCO Guideline,” which was published in August in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Since August 15, 2023, the publication has been downloaded over 4,500 times and has appeared in 23 news outlets, scoring in the top 5% Altmetrics score of all scientific articles. We strongly believe the guideline is on its way to making an impact in the way we manage psychosocial symptoms experienced by people with cancer. Click on the “Supplements” tab to discover resources including slides, treatment algorithms, information for people with cancer, and the visual abstract below. To read more about SIO’s history of guideline development, click here.


SIO 20th International Conference

After more than a year of planning, the 20th International SIO Conference in Banff, Alberta, is almost here! Close to 300 registrants will join us in person, and so far over 60 will attend virtually. 

If you’re attending in person, make sure to book your shuttle or other transportation between the Calgary International Airport and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Check out more travel tips, including how to stay safe around the wildlife in the area, by clicking on the conference website tab, “Traveling to Banff.” There are still a few tickets left for the Gondola Gala – if you didn’t pick yours up yet, contact It will certainly be a night to remember atop beautiful Sulphur Mountain!

While at the conference, be sure to pick up a print copy of the August issue of the Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine (JICM) at registration. JICM is a partner journal of SIO, and this issue contains a new commentary from SIO experts on advancing health equity, inclusion, and belonging in integrative oncology as well as other high-profile research articles. Read it online now by clicking here

Can’t travel to Banff for #SIO2023? Don’t worry, you don’t have to miss out. Join virtually to gain access to live streaming of all the talks and events in the main ballroom, and access to recordings afterwards. Registration fees also include continuing education credits, so it’s a great deal! To register for online attendance, please click here, and check the appropriate “Attendance Type” option. See the screenshot below.

Not a member of SIO yet? Click here to join today and qualify for lower registration rates. 

In addition to our usual social media contests, we are debuting “Voices of SIO” which will feature a person with lived experience of cancer, a clinician, a researcher and a nurse educator who post their thoughts on social media. More info in Banff! Follow the conference hashtags #SIO2023, #SIOCelebrates20 and #integrativeoncology on X, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


Donation Campaign

Has SIO changed your life? Helped you professionally? Made you feel at home in the field of integrative oncology? Please consider giving back to SIO as we celebrate two decades of integrative oncology excellence. (In fact, that’s the title of the ebook we’ve put together, which will be given to all conference attendees as a special gift). You can make your donation securely through the SIO website by clicking on the “Support SIO” tab at the top. You may also donate by mailing a check (preferably via certified mail) to the address below:

Society for Integrative Oncology
℅ Dr. Ana Maria Lopez
502 Addison St
Philadelphia PA 19147

In conclusion, I’m both excited to pass the reins of the Presidency to Dr. Santosh Rao, who I have no doubt will do wonderful things in the position, and sad that my time at the helm is coming to an end. However, I will still be around and a member of the EC for another two-year term as Past-President, so you haven’t seen the last of me yet! All the best, and of course always keep your eye on the prize, which is our mission to advance evidence-based, comprehensive integrative healthcare to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.

Linda E. Carlson, Ph.D., R.Psych.              
Enbridge Research Chair in Psychosocial Oncology
Professor, Department of Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine  
Co-Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Psychosocial Oncology Research and Practice (official journal of the International Psycho-Oncology Society)
President, Society for Integrative Oncology


Board of Trustees Announcements

SIO 2023 Board of Trustees Election

Please join us in congratulating the three members elected to serve a second three-year term (Dr. Eran Ben-Arye, Betsy Glosik, and Leigh Leibel) and the five newly elected members of the SIO Board of Trustees Dr. Julie Deleemans, Dr. Moshe Frenkel, Smitha Mallaiah, Dr. Santhosshi Narayanan, and Susan Veleber. We look forward to working closely with you to advance the Society’s mission and goals. 


Herb of the Month


Ginkgo is one of the oldest living trees. Its leaf extracts are used to enhance memory and to treat mild dementia, peripheral vascular disease, tinnitus, and sexual dysfunction.

Clinical studies generally show that supplementation with ginkgo does not improve cognitive performance or prevent Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Also, current data do not support use of ginkgo for lowering the risk of cancer and studies on whether it can help tinnitus are mixed. More research is needed. Because ginkgo increases the risk of bleeding, it is generally advised to discontinue use at least 36 hours before surgery … link to our monograph.

The last two decades have seen a significant increase in dietary supplement use by cancer patients. Despite the proliferation of websites that contain information about dietary supplements, finding a reliable source can be overwhelming. 

The Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering developed and maintains a free website “About Herbs” ( that provides objective and unbiased information about herbs, vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements, and unproven anticancer treatments.  Each of the 290 and growing number of entries has healthcare professional and patient versions that are regularly updated with the latest research findings.

Join over 1,000 colleagues and patients who downloaded the Android version of the About Herbs app. For iOS devices, download at App Store.Download at the App StoreDownload at Google Play 

SIO 20th International Conference
September 14-16, 2023
Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity
Banff, Alberta Canada

View the schedule at a glance on our page here!

Your Support Benefits Integrative Medicine Everywhere!

SIO welcomes your support of our Society, which helps us develop projects and educational programs to realize our mission of advancing evidence-based, comprehensive, integrative healthcare to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.


SIO/ASCO releases guidelines on Integrative Oncology Care of Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression in Adults with Cancer

CONTACT: Tiana Ware
August 15, 2023  tware@thereisgroup

Cancer organizations recommend mindfulness-based interventions to treat anxiety and depression in patients

New practice guideline highlights evidence-base for integrative therapies in cancer treatment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 15, 2023)— The Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) formally recommend mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) and other integrative therapies to manage anxiety and depression symptoms in adults living with cancer. The guideline, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, reviews the effectiveness of integrative therapies such as yoga, relaxation, hypnosis, acupuncture, and music therapy in treating anxiety and depression symptoms during and after cancer treatment.

“Anxiety and depression symptoms have long been associated with lower quality of life in people with cancer,” said Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD, co-chair of the SIO Clinical Practice Guideline Committee. “Treating these symptoms using evidence-based integrative therapies will not only improve a patient’s quality of life, but it can help them better manage their care too. Now we know which therapies could have the biggest impact.”

The strongest recommendations in the guideline are for the use of mindfulness-based interventions, which include mindfulness-based stress reduction, meditation, and mindful movement. These interventions were recommended across the board to treat both anxiety and depression symptoms in patients in active treatment and those post-treatment due to the strong evidence to show their benefits to patients.

“For many people, cancer is the most difficult and frightening experience they have ever encountered,” said Past Chair of the ASCO Evidence-Based Medicine Committee, Scott T. Tagawa, MD, MS, FASCO, FACP. “Mindfulness-based interventions and other mind-body therapies not only provide tools to manage patients’ anxiety and depression symptoms, but they can also offer patients a sense of control over their illness, which we know can be helpful for patients who have to navigate a complex treatment journey.”

The SIO-ASCO guideline is a companion to the clinically based Management of Anxiety and Depression in Adult Survivors of Cancer: ASCO Guideline Update. It was created by an expert panel of integrative oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, palliative oncology, behavioral medicine, mind-body medicine, nursing, methodology, and patient advocacy representatives. The panel reviewed existing published literature on integrative therapies used to treat anxiety and depression symptoms in cancer patients from randomized controlled trials. Once consensus was reached, recommendations were made based on the strength of the evidence available. The panel was co-chaired by Linda E. Carlson, PhD, President of SIO, and Julia Rowland, PhD, of Smith Center for Healing and the Arts representing ASCO.

“We have seen a steady increase in interest in these therapies among cancer patients over the years, but certain roadblocks have prevented patients from accessing them,” said Julia Rowland, PhD, co-chair of the SIO-ASCO guideline. “We hope that comprehensive cancer centers and governing administrative bodies consider prioritizing MBIs in patient care

Integrative oncology is a patient-centered, evidence-informed field of cancer care that utilizes mind and body practices, natural products, and/or lifestyle modifications from different traditions alongside conventional cancer treatments. Integrative oncology aims to optimize health, quality of life, and clinical outcomes across the cancer care continuum and to empower people to prevent cancer and become active participants before, during, and beyond cancer treatment.

“This is the second of a series of evidence-based guidelines addressing integrative therapies in cancer care that SIO and ASCO are developing together,” added Linda E. Carlson, PhD, President of SIO, Professor of Oncology at the University of Calgary, and co-chair of the guideline. “The goal of these guidelines is to inform as many clinicians and people living with cancer as possible about where the evidence lies to support the best clinical outcomes possible for all people with cancer. We believe this latest guideline accomplishes that for those suffering from anxiety and depression symptoms.”

Other interventions recommended in the guideline that had a lower level of evidence for their benefits included the use of relaxation, music therapy, and reflexology for treatment of both anxiety and depression symptoms during conventional treatment. Yoga was recommended for patients with breast cancer to treat both anxiety and depression symptoms, although the strength of the evidence was moderate. “We want to clarify that this does not mean yoga can only benefit women with breast cancer,” explained Dr. Carlson. “There is research that shows yoga can benefit people with various cancer types and we need to continue building the evidence base.”

To ensure people living with cancer can play a role in the treatment decision-making process and to inform their discussions about integrative therapies with their oncologists, ASCO and SIO have posted clinical tools, resources, and patient information related to this guideline on their respective websites.

Because the expert panel was conservative in making their recommendations, the guideline also includes areas identified as potentially relevant to cancer care but needing more research. This distinction is important because the lack of endorsement for a given therapy is not an indication that the therapy is necessarily ineffective or unsafe. “Rather, it indicates that the evidence was insufficient to support its recommendation,” said Dr. Rowland. “For instance, more studies are needed to assess the safety and effectiveness of natural health products.”

SIO received an unrestricted grant to fund guideline development from the Samueli Foundation.


About The Society for Integrative Oncology:
Founded in 2003, SIO is the premier multi-disciplinary international professional organization for integrative oncology. The mission of the SIO is to advance evidence-based, comprehensive, integrative healthcare to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. SIO enables communication, education, and research to occur by bringing together practitioners and researchers across professions focused on the care of cancer patients and survivors. Members share the common goals of excellent comprehensive patient care, enhancement of anti-cancer therapy, supportive care, and prevention of cancer. SIO members are part of a unique multidisciplinary community of oncologists, nurses, psychologists, social workers, nutritionists, complementary therapy practitioners, naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, epidemiologists, researchers, and many other health care practitioners. Learn more at, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

 About the American Society of Clinical Oncology:
Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) is committed to the principle that knowledge conquers cancer. Together with the Association for Clinical Oncology, ASCO represents more than 45,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Through research, education, and promotion of high quality, equitable patient care, ASCO works to conquer cancer and create a world where cancer is prevented or cured, and every survivor is healthy. Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, supports ASCO by funding groundbreaking research and education across cancer’s full continuum. Learn more at, explore patient education resources at www.Cancer.Net, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.


Does Sugar Feed Cancer?

Does Sugar Feed Cancer?

The SIO Research Committee is pleased to offer this first installment in a new blog series known as “Myths of Cancer”. In this series we will address some of the most common myths and misperceptions that arise around cancer risk and treatment related to diet and natural health products, as well as other complementary therapies such as yoga, acupuncture and meditation. If you have a question you’d like us to address or comments about this post, please send your suggestions to:

We hope you enjoy the series!
Linda Carlson and Eugene Ahn, Research Co-Chairs.

Co-written by Eugene Ahn, MD and Kristen Trukova, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, CSO
© 2016 Rising Tide

Eugene Ahn, MD is the medical director of clinical research and medical oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern), and Kristen Trukova, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, CSO is a clinical oncology dietitian at CTCA® at Midwestern. They are both SIO members and have a passion for education and keeping their communities up to speed on the latest in scientific research. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the authors’ own, and not necessarily those of the Society of Integrative Oncology or Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The SIO and CTCA supports open dialogue between health care practitioners and patients to make sure patients can make informed decisions. As always, your comments and feedback are welcome.

There are so many questions we get from patients in our clinics that are provocative but lack simple answers, and today we tackle one of the most common questions: “Does sugar feed cancer?” To condense the topic into a blog entry, we will not address specifically a ketogenic diet (low carbohydrate and protein, high fat, caloric restriction and fasting diet), but will save that for another blog, so stay tuned!

Quick Answer Box

It’s complicated. But one should feel comfortable taking in sugars through fruits and vegetables due to their higher nutritional value and content that goes with the sugars. Some cancers might become more resistant to treatment with high sugar intake, but the science of predicting which cancers would benefit from a low sugar diet is too early in its infancy to make any general recommendations.

Let’s take a closer look at the science behind this question with the goal of determining a reasonable dietary change to impact both cancer risk and potentially cancer outcomes. One of the best principles in discerning the truth of information available on the internet is being mindful of our desire to over-simplify the complex. Answers given on the internet on this topic tend to make two erroneous assumptions 1) all cancers have the same biology and sensitivity to manipulation of sugar intake, and 2) because diet or excessive sugar consumption may increase risk of cancer, sugar cessation is an adequate treatment for cancer alone.

First, the answer to the question “does sugar feed cancer?” is yes, but it’s important to recognize that all of the cells in our bodies use glucose (blood sugar) for energy. In fact, the brain can only use glucose for energy. Even in a diet that contains absolutely no sugars or carbohydrates, our bodies have processes to convert some of the calories we consume from protein and fat into blood sugar so your brain and other tissues can function (thank goodness).

However, there is scientific evidence that high sugar intake is at least indirectly responsible for increased cancer risk. For example, research has shown that diets excessive in sugary beverages increase the risk of many cancer types ( These studies point to excessive caloric intake from sugar that promotes weight gain and obesity (a known risk factor for several cancers) and secondarily increases insulin and other growth hormones in the body (which as we will learn later, is one of the proposed mechanisms by which high sugar intake could worsen cancer outcomes). What we know sugar does not do is directly damage DNA or cause cancer, but the secondary effects of excessive sugar intake – obesity and increased insulin and insulin-like growth factors – might create an environment where cancer evolution is more likely to occur.

Given that several cancers express the insulin growth factor family of receptors on its surface, it is biochemically plausible that reducing sugar intake and thereby reducing insulin and insulin growth factor levels could help improve cancer outcomes in cancers that gain survival/growth benefits through that signaling pathway. However, this has not been proven yet in rigorous, well-designed randomized clinical trials. The best evidence we have to support this concept comes from animal models. To highlight one study among several, mice implanted with prostate cancer cells that became palpable were randomized to high carbohydrate, high fat meals or low carbohydrate, high fat meals. The investigators found that the mice fed high carbohydrate meals had statistically significant higher insulin and IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor-1) levels and body weight as well as nearly two times greater prostate cancer cell growth (Venkateswaran V, 2007).

Evidence is less strong for human studies, but in a retrospective study, investigators found that consumption of sugary beverages correlated to shorter survival with cancers of the upper aero

-digestive tract (Miles FL, 2016). Also, individuals with Laron syndrome (mutations in the growth hormone receptor that lead to severe congenital IGF-1 deficiency, with decreased insulin/IGF-1 signaling) have reduced cancer risk.

The next question you might be asking is, why are these studies focusing on insulin levels and IGF-1 levels and not blood glucose? First, the blood glucose of these mice would likely have been normal. Our bodies have an intricate biochemical system to make sure blood glucose levels stay within a tight range (when out of balance, diabetes ensues) and insulin is a key regulator of this. But the current paradigm of understanding the harmful effects of high glucose intake is rooted in the concept of secondary hyper-insulinemia required to cope with such a lifestyle and the effects insulin, IGF-1 can have on both cancer growth and resistance to conventional treatment such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

For the most current understanding of how insulin, IGF1 affect cellular function, see Figure 1.

Sugar figure 1

Djiogue et al 2013 “Insulin resistance and cancer: the role of insulin and IGFs” Endocr Relat Cancer Feb 1 2013 R1-R17

The main point of showing this figure is to demonstrate the futility of making general statements like “sugar feeds cancer”, “insulin feeds cancer” or even “IGF1 feeds cancer”. The figure shows that there are several receptors that can bind insulin or IGF1. How a cancer cell reacts to insulin or IGF1 depends on the context of which, if any, of those receptors lies on its surface. For example, insulin could just simply mediate sugar metabolism (through Insulin Receptor B), or it could deliver proliferation signals through an Insulin Receptor A, IGFR-1 or a hybrid of these two receptors, and speed up cancer growth or make the cancer cells more resistant to conventional cancer treatment. Lastly, if the cell does not have Insulin Receptor A or IGFR-1 on its surface, no effects might be seen.

A closer look at the clinical relevance of the IGF signaling pathways

To avoid confusion, sugar does not specifically drive increased IGF-1 production, but the secondarily increased insulin does suppress production of insulin growth factor binding proteins, which makes IGF-1 more available to both normal and cancer cells (M, 2012). Also, drugs that have been studied in human clinical trials that target and block the IGF1R receptor have been disappointing and benefit has mainly been seen in the subset of patients who have high circulating IGF1 levels. One of the common explanations given for the disappointing results is the degree of “cross-talk” and “redundancy” between the different receptors and signaling pathways, where blocking IGF1R only inhibits one route of several by which cells are given growth stimuli. Additionally, the recent published preclinical study has demonstrated that sucrose and fructose overconsumption in mice greatly accelerates the onset and progression of breast tumors in three different mouse or human breast tumor models through modulation of inflammatory pathways, independent of weight change or blood sugar (Jiang Y, Cancer Research, 2016).

So what should I do about sugars?

Although not reviewed here, there are many long-term benefits of reducing sugar intake such as weight control. Several studies have shown women who gain weight after breast cancer diagnosis trend towards worse cancer specific outcomes and clear improvement in all-cause mortality (Playdon MC, 2015). The best anyone can say with the current science is that limiting sugar intake for someone dealing with cancer diagnosis will improve overall health and weight, and reduce side effects of cancer treatment (sugar intake can worsen hot flashes from anti-hormonal treatment). It might also enhance the benefits of conventional treatment (surgery, chemotherapy and radiation) and reduce risk of future cancer diagnoses. And for a subset of the cancers diagnosed, there might be a benefit in reducing sugar intake and secondary insulin and IGF1 availability as well as reducing inflammation on actual cancer outcomes, but the data is limited to animal studies and specific cancer cell lines.

So if one were inclined, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage a limit of only 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars. For the average person, this means only 200 calories (50gm) from added sugars out of 2000 calories total should be consumed. This is a tough order. For example, a 12oz. can of soda or a single serving size of your favorite sweetened yogurt likely contains up to 40 gm of added sugars. One teaspoon of sugar is equal to four grams of sugar. Thus, sugary beverages which include soda, fruit juices, sports drinks, energy drinks and specialty sweetened coffees should be consumed only occasionally. Are these guidelines effective enough to harness a potential anti-cancer effect? We do not know. But, if your baseline sugar intake is greater than 50gm/day currently, chances are your overall health will eventually be compromised.

But thinking further, what does this mean for brown sugar, raw sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup and jam? Beyond sweeteners, what about foods that contain natural sugars, as in fruits and plain yogurt, as well as added sugars, which include just about everything you can think of from ketchup to bread? What about carbohydrates, like starches, fruits and milks, which are broken down into sugars? What is left to eat?

Keep in mind that a plant-based diet has been found to be cancer protective. Choosing whole grains, vegetables, beans and fruits in the right portion provides important phytochemicals, antioxidants, electrolytes and fiber in addition to the carbohydrates. One key to success is to avoid “empty calories” such as soda, refined grains and highly processed foods, where very little nutritional value is being provided outside of the calories. And take the time to read the sugar content on the food labels. Find the cereals and yogurts with the least sugar possible. Eat your fruit to get more fiber/pulp in lieu of juices. And be aware that too much portions of a healthy food can still make it unhealthy from a caloric standpoint.

Finally, malnutrition and severe weight loss, especially muscle weight, is very common during cancer treatment. Adequate nutrition is critical. It has been shown that weight loss and malnutrition during cancer treatment decreases tolerability of cancer therapy and is associated with worse outcomes (Barret M, 2011). Any dietary change that results in a lower caloric intake should be reviewed by your health care provider, and other foods might be required to meet nutritional needs. Making weight loss the only end point for your dietary and lifestyle choices could lead to harmful outcomes, so please seek guidance from an available dietitian.v

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