In very basic terms, being on a Ketogenic Diet involves eating low amounts of carbohydrates, moderate amounts of protein and high amounts of fat. There are numerous studies which suggest that the diet can control tumour growth. One paper in particular suggests a link between the diet and William’s tumour type, ependymoma.
The diet is very difficult to follow since it means cutting out things like sugar, pasta, potatoes, many processed foots etc. By doing this the body is forced to stop using carbohydrates for energy and to start using fats so that it produces ketones, putting it into what is called ketosis – the condition you need to be in for tumour growth to theoretically be controlled.
There is support available (e.g. Matthews Friends in the UK). Professional help from a Dietician should be sought before starting on the diet, not only to assess individual suitability but to give advice on recipes/ meal plans etc. There are also clinical indicators which can determine suitability based on tumour profile.
Matthews Friends were really helpful in getting William into ketosis and maintaining his ketones – they have a specific area of their website on Ketogenic Therapy and Brain Tumours. There’s also some interesting information on the Astro Fund website – a charity which raises money to support low-grade glioma research projects including research into the Ketogienic Diet as a potential adjunct treatment for brain tumours.
These two charities came together to produce the very informative video below: