iOS app Android app More

Elsie Campbell Claims Lettuce Craving Led Her To Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Huffington Post   First Posted: 08/ 3/2011 4:38 pm Updated: 10/ 3/2011 5:12 am

Elsie Campbell

Six years ago, U.K. resident Elsie Campbell started craving lettuce intensely -- eating up to four heads of lettuce a day. Her husband Jim, a research scientist, sensed that something was wrong.

After doing some research, her husband told her about his hunch that her body was craving nutrients in lettuce that are deficient in people with breast cancer. Lettuce, like other leafy greens, contains sulforaphane, an anti-cancer chemical.

Soon after her husband's revelation, Elsie found a dimple on her breast and went to her doctor -- to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, the Daily Mail reported.

"It’s only now that I realise my body was making me eat lettuce to combat the cancer," Elsie, now 59, told the Daily Mail. "It was like my body was trying to cure itself."

Elsie underwent a lumpectomy after her cancer diagnosis in 2005, and since then, hasn't had any lettuce cravings, according to the Daily Mail.

But is this for real? Can your appetite really be a clue to what ails you?

In short, probably not, experts told ABC News.

"I have never heard of cravings as a signal for cancer and cannot think of a reason that they would be, outside of old-fashioned things like iron deficiency from chronic blood loss, most often seen with colorectal cancer," Dr. Lisa Carey, medical director at the University of North Carolina Breast Center, told ABC News.

Sometimes people who have an iron deficiency crave ice cubes or non-food items (signs of a condition called pica), and other times cravings can signal mental illness or malnourishment, ABC News reported. They can also be associated with pregnancy.

However, extreme cravings that are out-of-the-ordinary should be discussed with a medical professional, Dr. David Katz, Yale Prevention Center founder and HuffPost contributor, told ABC News.

According to WebMD, carb cravings are also amped for many people during the winter time, and are especially increased for people with the "winter blues."

Judith Wurtman, author of The Serotonin PowerDiet and a former scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told WebMD that these "carbohydrate cravers" unconsciously look to carbs to boost their mood, and can eat 800 more calories a day than people without winter depression.

FOLLOW HUFFPOST HEALTHY LIVING