To what extent does the ketogenic diet stunt the growth of gbm? Essay

To what extent does the Ketogenic Diet stunt the growth of GBM?


The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects the Ketogenic Diet has on a specific type of cancer and whether it truly has an effect on the growth and reoccurrence of a glioblastoma. I will discuss personal experience and case studies, looking at treatments used alongside the diet. I will also look at the nature of cancer and how it is adapted to use sugar for growth.


In the 1920’s the Ketogenic Diet became known for its ground breaking alternative therapy for epilepsy. Scientists discovered how it was the most beneficial alternative to fasting to control seizures. Today, the diet is plastered all over the news with promising effects of extreme weight loss in just a few weeks. I however, will not be exploring either of these aspects of the Ketogenic Diet but the relation between the Ketogenic Diet and Glioblastoma Multiforme.

Five years ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme. He was given a prognosis of 3 months with a 50% survival rate. This means that he has a 50% chance of surviving for the full 3 months. My grandfather decided to have a craniotomy to remove the tumour. It went successfully and he begun radiation and chemotherapy almost immediately. Unfortunately, the tumour came back again spreading over his occipital lobe and growing at a very fast rate reaching the size of a baseball. Once again, the tumour was removed and he continued with radiation and chemotherapy. A large amount of brain tissue was removed, this resulted in poor motor skills, partial blindness, memory loss and confusion. The cancer was relentless and returned once again. The oncologist gave him his final prognosis of only a few weeks. End of life care was put into place and my grandfather went home. Five years later however, he is still alive after implementing the Ketogenic diet into his life, he now lives cancer free with only the permanent brain damage from surgery and radio necrosis.

What is Glioblastoma Multiforme?

Glioblastoma Multiforme is a widely used name for a grade 4 astrocytoma. The brain and spinal cord are made up of nerve cells surrounded by neurons. The cells around are neurons are called glial cells. Our neurons need to be provided with oxygen and nutrients. Glial cells also support and protect our neurons, removed dead cells and insulate one neuron to another. The three different main types of glial cells are astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and ependymal cells. A grade 4 astrocytoma develops from an astrocyte. The reason for this is that when a cell divides it can make a mistake when copying genes known as a mutation. Astrocytoma’s can be divided into 4 different grades. A grade 1 astrocytoma is known as a pilocytic astrocytoma. A grade 2 is known as diffuse or low grade astrocytoma. The two grades of astrocytoma are slow growing and less likely to spread to other parts of the brain. If these tumours are completely removed the chance of them returning is less than that of a grade 3 or 4 astrocytoma. Grade 1 and 2 astrocytoma’s are benign yet can still cause harm by causing a build-up of fluid between the skull and brain. Grade 3 astrocytoma’s are known as anaplastic astrocytoma. This leaves a grade 4 astrocytoma known as glioblastoma. Grade 3 and 4 grow very quickly and are much more likely to spread to other parts of the brain. Unlike Grade 1 and 2 they are much more likely to reoccur even if they have been intensively treated. Grade 3 and 4 are referred to as malignant or cancerous.


Ananya Mandal – Medical Doctor and Writer – Last Updated Aug 23, 2018 –“History of the Ketogenic Diet”-

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