Breast Cancer - Pembro

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My daughter, just over 30 years old, has had triple negative breast cancer and is now recovering from a second bout with a course of pembro and will shortly restart radiotherapy. She is exhausted from it all and has terrible stomach pains and bloating which may or may not be a side effect of the pembro. She has listenned to various advisors saying she must eat specific items and follow a keto diet. I do worry that the various diet items may be benefiical with regard to cancer reappearing but also adding to the problem. She is steadily losing the will to carry on and I am at a total loss on how to help her, can anyone advise please?

  • Hi Charlesbrook

    Welcome to our online community.

    My name is Joanne and I’m one of the Cancer Information Nurse Specialists here at Macmillan. I hope that you will find lots of support and advice here. I am sorry to hear about your daughter’s diagnosis.

    It is very difficult to see your loved one experiencing the side effects of treatment. Supporting someone with cancer at this time can be really challenging and it’s important for you to have support yourself.

    You may be interested in having a look at some of our online groups including the Family and friends forum and your daughter may also benefit from support from our Breast cancer for the under 50’s forum.

    Breast Cancer Now may also be useful for both of you.

    Pembrolizumab is a type of Immunotherapy and as you’ve mentioned, may be the cause of the side effects your daughter is experiencing. You should encourage her to let her oncology team know that she is still experiencing ongoing symptoms while she is waiting for her radiotherapy to start.

    It is not uncommon for people to look at Alternative cancer diets when they are diagnosed and through out treatment. As you have said, its very difficult to find safe and accurate information about diets and many alternative approaches to diet and nutrition have not been researched and tested.

    There is currently no strong scientific evidence to support the benefits of a ketogenic diet in humans with cancer.

    These Diet and cancer videos from the Royal Surrey NHS and information about Eating well with cancer  from Penny Brohn give information about a balanced approach to nutrition. The Cancer and Nutrition Helpline may also be useful.

    The physical impact of treatments can have a huge impact on mental health and wellbeing. Understanding Cancer and your emotions. can help you to support her with all of the overwhelming emotions she may be experiencing at this time.

    You may want to let her know about our Macmillan and Bupa free counselling service – waiting times are generally very short for this counselling support.

    She may prefer something like our Big Health and Macmillan mental health support

    The  Macmillan support Line is also available from 8am-8pm every day so either of you can contact our nurses and advisors on the line to talk through how you are feeling. Sometimes it can be useful to chat things through in person.

    I hope this information is useful Charlesbrook. Please do keep in touch and let us know if there is anything else we can support you with at this time.

    Ref JH/SMc

    Joanne H - Cancer Information Nurse Specialist

    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.