Cancer is the second leading cause of death overall in the United States yet accounts for most cases of pre-mature mortality in those younger than 85 years of age. Chemotherapy acts as one of the major treatment options. Unfortunately, the toxic properties of chemotherapy are not limited solely to neoplastic tissue and the quest for cancer reduction or elimination often leads to serious side effects. However, preliminary research has demonstrated that cycles of short-term fasting (STF) promote selective toxicity of cancer cells while protecting normal, healthy cells from chemotoxic damage, suggesting the practice may be a promising adjunct to human chemotherapy. Yet, is fasting safe, efficacious and tolerable? In order to explore the potential of fasting as an adjunct to cancer treatment, we must first ask: can periodic fasting alter toxicity profiles in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy?
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