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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)



Thesis Committee Chairperson

Diane Ryan, PhD, ANP-BC, FNP-BC, GNP-BC, CNE

Second Reader

Alyson Brown, AGNP-BC


There is profound evidence that the ketogenic diet (KD) could be a potential cancer treatment modality. There have been many animal studies and clinical trials conducted to support its mechanism against tumor progression. The KD alters the metabolic pathways of both cancer and healthy cells, which leads to a poor likelihood of tumor survival and metastasis. Historically, the KD has been effective with the treatment of both obesity and childhood epilepsy. More clinical trials are needed to support its efficacy with cancer treatment before the KD can be a recognized treatment option for those with cancer. This quantitative research study utilized surveys to determine the knowledge-base, perceptions, and attitudes that Nurse Practitioners (NPs) have towards this therapy. A total of 47 responses were collected; descriptive statistics were used. Overall, it was found that NPs have a weak understanding of the diet in regards to its indications, use in childhood epilepsy, contraindications, and side effects of the diet. The majority of NPs had positive altitudes about the diet; most wanted to learn more about this therapy and felt that graduate nursing programs should have more instruction about dietary therapies such as the KD. Most stated that they never had education about the KD, however there were many who have had patients who were using this diet in the past. The most common reasons that patients are using this diet is for weight loss and epilepsy. If NPs were to have continued education about the KD and have an increased awareness of its potential use with cancer patients, they may be more likely to recommend this diet to their patients. If more patients were to try to use the KD there is an increased likelihood that patients could have better outcomes with their cancer diagnoses and increased quality of life.