Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Fray: Vegetarian diet good for preventing cancer, not treating it

Published:Wednesday | October 21, 2020 | 12:15 AM
Dr Delroy Fray
Dr Delroy Fray


As Jamaicans observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, renowned medical practitioner Dr Delroy Fray has warned that while a vegetarian, low-fat diet is good for cancer prevention, it should not be relied on as a cancer treatment by itself.

“A lot of things are spoken about diet and how diet relates to illness, and, of course, to cancer,” Fray, the clinical coordinator at the Montego Bay-based Cornwall Regional Hospital, said while addressing a cancer-awareness forum at the Farm Heights United Church in the parish on Sunday. “Diet is important to prevent cancer, but please note that diet alone by itself cannot treat the cancer.”

He said many persons harboured the belief that herbal diets by themselves could fight cancer.

Diet not a treatment for Cancer

“I see a lot of cancer patients – including colon cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer – and you offer them treatment, and they say, ‘Look here, Doctor, I am going to follow a herbal type of diet, and that will cure my disease.’ There are no studies at all that can say that diet can treat a cancer,” said Fray. “Diet can prevent cancer, but once you get it, you have to treat it in the conventional fashion.”

Speaking further on diet as a preventive measure against cancer, Fray said that a person’s meals should ideally include plant-based fats to take the place of animal fats.

“Fat is important for the body, but what type of fat? You can get fat from plants as well, so you see our local avocado pear, for instance, it is a good source of good fat for the body. The high-protein diet is not good for us, so you want to go to a more vegetarian diet,” said Fray, who operates the Living Waters Medical Centre in St James.

“If you love meat, you are going to try and de-fat that meat as best as you can, and if you consider animal fat in your body as a toxin, you will be better off. So if you are eating chicken and you see the chicken skin, you should take it off,” Fray added.

Andrene Smith-Benjamin, health promotions and education officer for the Hanover Health Department, told Sunday’s forum that a healthy diet must have a balance of fruits and vegetables and a reduction of fats and oils.

“Reduce the intake of sugary foods and drinks and try to drink more water. Remember portion sizes, and try to eat less junk food,” she urged the gathering.