Cancer Prevention and Treatment
One hundred years ago, cancer was the #5 cause of premature death. When we began our conventional “WAR on cancer” in 1971 (almost 50 years ago) it was #3. Today it is #2 (unless you count the total of medication side effects, medical mistakes, hospital acquired infections, etc. which would push cancer back to #3). Some of that rise is due to some diseases moving down the list. Yes, what they call “survival”, still alive at 5 years, has improved. That is due mostly to folks giving up cigarettes and excessive sun exposure, plus earlier detection of cancers. However, a shocking number of people still must be treated for cancer and because conventional treatment so damages the immune system, the rates that cancer returns after 5 years are alarming. And, there has been a 250% increase in breast cancer since 1980.
If we were looking at the situation objectively from another planet, we’d have to conclude that Americans must be doing something(s) to generate more cancer and that the current treatment approach is not all that effective…in spite of the near $100 billion spent on research and a like amount spent every year on treatment! The “war” strategy has been mainly chasing some silver bullet (translate that as “drug”) to kill cancer after it has become established—i.e. we’ve been fighting the forest fire. We should be telling people how to blow out the match before it starts the fire—i.e. prevention. Science continues to discover genes linked to certain cancers and big pharma invents sophisticated (and horrendously expensive) drugs to tell the immune system what to do regarding a single gene that affects a particular cancer. Side effects abound.
However, I think the really exciting research is into how nutrients and other natural substances can change how many genes behave to avoid and even cure cancer. Although there are many kinds of cancer, the basic causes and nutritional support for them are very similar. So, don’t be afraid to read about “pancreatic cancer” or “breast cancer” even if that is not what you are worried about. Also, what is good for prevention should also be considered during treatment.
Cancers develop when something in the original plan has gone wrong—the body isn’t getting everything it needs for optimum function and/or is being sabotaged with excesses it can’t handle. By now, we all know that smoking causes cancer. But, some other causes may surprise you. For example, don’t underestimate the impact of teeth on immune function. (Many experts believe that root canals can contribute to cancer because of the bacteria and toxins that leak out of the miles of tiny tubules that are not sterilized in the dead tooth.)
Avoiding smoking and other causes as much as possible makes sense. Here are a few:
- BPA, BPS and other plasticizers in plastic bottles, packaging, cans, cash register receipts and medical tubing all mimic hormones and cause trouble.
- Household and consumer products contain toxicants such as fire retardants.
- Some chemical ingredients (such as parabens) in skin care products also act like estrogens that can promote some cancers.
- Fungus like black mold (but internal yeast which create poisonous mycotoxins. See diet section below how to starve them out.)
- Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and antibiotics in food are issues. Eat organic as much as you can. Follow the Environmental Working Group for updates on the best and worst produce.
Keep in mind that mammography detects only breast cancer; catches it pretty late in the game; and the radiation it uses is a cause of cancer. Consider thermography. Even the photographic type of Infrared Thermography is a better choice. Read some of the studies on this approach. For an even better type that offers a stats report on all body parts and systems, look for “regulation” or “whole body thermogaphy”. One of the best is The Thermography Center of Dallas.
Natural Supportive Steps:
The following steps are not in order of importance because all are important and any one of them might be the key item for a particular person. Also see the Related Pages and Resources linked at the bottom of this page.
1. Optimize your diet. Of course, we should eat lots of nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables (see item in the list below), clean proteins (e.g. wild fish, pasture-raised beef, pasture-raised eggs) and healthful fats like fish oil and the monounsaturated fats (macadamia nut oil and olive oil). Also avoid Trans fats which are usually present when the label lists “partially hydrogenated” oils. For quick review, watch a TED Talk by William W. Li, MD ““Eat to Starve Cancer”. A critical factor is to be fussy about carbohydrates:
- Avoid sugar. Research shows that a substantial dose of sugar disables important immune cells for several hours. Refined starch (e.g. flour) turns quickly to sugar in the system. These refined carbs feed yeasts that produce poisons called mycotoxins and dump them into blood circulation.There they can cause joint pain, boggy brain, and cancer.
- A study showed that a diet high in starches and sugars was shown to increase breast density which is a risk factor for breast cancer.
- In one study, restricting carbs even two days a week was more helpful than a low calorie Mediterranean diet for reducing the risk of breast cancer (as well as diabetes and obesity which are risk factors for other cancers).
- In another study or two, excess carbohydrate, especially starch, was shown to increase the risk of breast cancer re-occurrence.
- Fruits and vegetables are in the carbohydrate category but, with much different effects than starches and sugars. Diets higher in plant foods have been shown to be protective. It is possible however, that some of the positive effect in studies may really have been from the elimination of and bad fats (e.g. Trans fats and other damaged fats) and meat that is processed, smoked, or cooked at high heat. Green vegetables and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli have an especially good reputation. It appears that part of their magic comes from what our good, probiotic bacteria make from them. See next item.
2. Support the team in your gut. Roughly 70-80% of our immune system is in the intestinal track, so it is crucial to support the beneficial bacteria it contains.
- If there are not sufficient good bacteria (as noted above under sugar) yeasts can overgrow and crowd out the good guys.
- Avoid killing the good guys with chlorine in tap water, unnecessary antibiotics (both as pills and 2nd hand antibiotics in animal products that are not organically produced).
- Support your good guys (probiotics) with fermented foods and a supplement that contains live bacteria and the helpful postbiotic substances created by of those bacteria. (Dr. Ohhira’s)
3. Supplement and use remedies wisely.
(I do not sell any supplements—I just recommend what I believe in. Be sure to read the page “Basic Program” and in it information about a multivitamin which is a good place to start.):
- Make sure you have sufficient vitamin D. The evidence is mounting that a low blood level of vitamin D is a significant risk factor for many cancers. Conversely, a recent STUDY shows that women with Vitamin D blood levels of 60 ng/ml have nearly 80% lowered risk of breast cancer than those at only 20ng/ml! Higher blood levels = even lower risk. Folks with higher vitamin D levels have more neutrophils (a type of immune cell) and less cancer. Approximately 70% of Americans and even higher rates of African Americans, are deficient in D and therefore at greater risk. Vitamin D does not interfere with conventional medical treatments for cancer! Given the wide range of other benefits from vitamin D and its safety, it seems foolhardy to wait decades until the scientists stop studying the relationship and so they can call it “proven”. Also, lean more about life-saving vitamin D in general.
- Selenium. A large randomized trial showed that the mineral selenium (from yeast—methylselenocysteine) dramatically cut the incidence of various cancers (e.g. prostate reduced by 63%, colon by 58%, etc.). Overall deaths from cancer were cut by 50%!
- (Sadly, when the National Cancer Institute tried to “replicate” the original research, but used the wrong kind and gave up.) Current research affirms this form of selenium’s anti-cancer effects and that it helps chemotherapy work more effectively. Other selenium supplements (e.g. selenomethionine and sodium selenite), while perhaps useful, have not been shown to have this dramatic effect. A typical dose is 200 mcg / day. The right form of selenium plus some broccoli seed extract are in Selenium Synergy by Jarrow Formulas
- Vitamin C — Read about vitamin C and cancer on this site. Antioxidants (such as vitamin C) are very important for prevention of cancer, but oncologists often mistakenly caution against their use during chemo. Please read this article and learn what the science actually says. The only supplement I know of that helps the blood levels of C stay high around the clock and appears to even boost the level when we need more–like when the body is under stress either physical or emotional–is Formula 216.
- Resveratrol blocks cancer at all three stages of development (initiation, growth and spread/metastasis). If you enter the search term “resveratrol cancer” in the government science database, PubMed, as of this writing it lists over 3,400 studies and articles. Resveratrol boosts production of natural killer cells (a type of immune cell). Longevinex capsules are the best way to get resveratrol and synergistic compounds.
- Lily of the Desert brand Aloe vera has research to prove that it boosts immune function, increases antioxidants and helps with detoxification. It is a nice bonus that if you take your daily supplements with Lily juice, you absorb much more of them–e.g. 20 times more vitamin C.
- Consider the benefits of Flax. This study indicates that “Lignans [a component of flax seed] reduce breast cancer and all-cause mortality by 33%-70% and 40%-53%, respectively, without reducing tamoxifen effectiveness.”
- Green tea and its components have been widely studied for cancer. There is more information about green tea on this linked library page.
- Zinc is crucial for immune function. For one thing, Zinc helps thymus gland keep from shrinking and so the gland can better make immune T cells. A superior amount and form of zinc is one reason that I recommend Molecular Multi.
- Thymus extract may help boost immune function. (See Sardi article)
- Magnesium is magnificent.
- Enzymes. The correct type of enzymes (between meals) digest the outer coating of cancer cells so that the immune system can recognize them. Read Wellness Against All Odds by Sherry Rogers, MD and her 2013 newsletters. She knows people who have survived decades after stage 4 cancer, so be encouraged.
- Glutathione. Read an article about a supplement that reduces breast cancer aggressiveness by up to 80%. LINK The supplement it discusses (NAC) gives the body the raw material it needs to make the master antioxidant, glutathione. One of my favorite products, Reg’Activ, contains a friendly bacteria that implants in the gut and becomes a little glutathione factory.
There are many more natural substances with encouraging records of helping with cancer and even some science. Research DHEA, Poly-MVA (example study), Gc-MAF, Avé (Avemar, a fermented wheat germ extract), Haelan, and Essiac. Bill Sardi discussed a interesting alternative, fenbendazole. Conventional oncologists often pooh-pooh anything other than what supports the oncology practice: surgery, chemo and radiation. As mentioned above in regard to vitamin C, they may even spread fear of interference with treatment. If you have a good feeling about supplemental approaches, demand proof of those negative claims—it may be their dogma and livelihood, but it is your LIFE at stake.
These substances work by different mechanisms. Although none of them is dangerous and it probably wouldn’t hurt to take all of them, I don’t think a person would need to. Nutrients listed in bullets at the beginning of the section are likely the most important foundation. Or for a conservative start, Bill Sardi has outline a basic cancer supplement plan. Most importantly, remember that supplements and remedies are no substitute for taking care of the other basics listed on these cancer pages, especially diet, stress and anger.
4. Achieve normal weight.
- Fat cells produce inflammation, which is a risk factor for most chronic diseases including cancer and has a negative effect on survival.
- Especially breast and prostate cancers are affected by hormones. Fat cells make estrogen.
- A huge analysis of studies found that adding about 4 inches to the waist measurement would increase risk of obesity related cancers (like “postmenopausal female breast, colorectum, lower oesophagus, cardia stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, endometrium, ovary, and kidney”) by 13%. Adding 3″ to hips raised risk of colorectal cancer by 15%.
5. Reduce toxic burden. Cut down on the incoming toxins listed above under “Causes” while working to get rid of those you’ve already accumulated.
- Our lymphatic system is an important way the body removes toxins. So, avoid antiperspirants. The aluminum they contain is under suspicion because it shows up in breast tissue (and in Alzheimer brains), but antiperspirants also keep toxins trapped in the chest by blocking their natural flow out of lymph glands under the arm. (Deodorants don’t do that.) Avoid tight clothing in general because it stops lymph flow. Listen to an interview with Sydney Ross Singer, author of Dressed to Kill—The Link Between Breast Cancer and Bras. Apparently some types block lymph drainage. Website he recommends: BrasAndBreastCancer.org, or BraFreeStudy.org. Dry brush massage helps.
- The Far Infrared Sauna is a great way to get rid of accumulated toxins. Read my article and please avoid the cheap imitations.
- Read the item in the supplement list above about glutathione which is a great detoxifier. So is resveratrol. Read an article on that.
- My DVD series on Digestive Wellness covers all aspects of gut health and detoxification.
6. Limit alcohol
- The latest 2017 research says that any level of alcohol consumption can increase the risk of many types of cancer. Read more.
- How does that square with the advice you’ve heard that red wine is good for your heart? The benefit seems to come from the plant antioxidants (polyphenols), not the alcohol. In fact, those plant compounds may be more effective without the alcohol. See “resveratrol” in the supplement list above.
7. Exercise. Of course! Movement seems preventive for virtually every disease. Don’t forget strength training. For one thing, muscle burns calories. It also adds to resilience. The latest research shows that exercising during cancer treatment is very helpful.
8. Reduce stress and anger.
- We may not be able to easily control the source of stress, but we can change the way we react to it for example with prayer and meditation. This page has some ideas for de-stressing.
- Integrative cancer specialists like Gus Kotsanis, MD point to anger and resentment as controllable risk factors for cancer. Actress Carrie Fisher made this great observation: “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
9. Use hormone replacement therapy safely.
- If you need to supplement hormones, be sure that your doctor bases dosage on your test results and monitors periodically to make sure you stay in a normal healthy range.
- Use only hormones that are identical to the ones that your body makes. For example, use progesterone, not synthetic progestin. Use estrogen that is identical to humans, not those like Premarin® which is derived from pregnant horses.
10. Sleep well and avoid the night shift and blue light.
- Shift work and exposure at night to blue light like that from cell phones, computers and TV’s not adjusted to suppress that color emission. A large human study showed a link with breast and prostate cancer.
- Working late (even if it is at home updating your Facebook page) interferes with restorative sleep but also reduces the body’s ability to make the hormone melatonin. Melatonin helps with our body clock, but is also a powerful antioxidant and immune booster that is associated with lower rates of breast cancer for example.
- It isn’t the same as getting to bed early, but it is certainly possible to supplement melatonin. As a bonus, this supplement is being extensively researched as a help in fighting cancer. Check out this study.
11. Stem Cells. Current research is looking into positive indications for umbilical cord stem cell therapy for gastrointestinal, lung and ovarian cancer. Journal article. Healthy by Nature Show archived interview with patient recovery from stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Also, read my article.
Parting thought. True prevention is obviously ideal. Although a cancer diagnosis can be scary, survival is actually excellent with early detection, calm action and optimism. I’m quite annoyed with doctors that patients what amounts to a “death sentence”! There is no such thing as “false hope”. Our brains and emotions exert tremendous control over our bodies. Having both a positive outlook and determination absolutely do help achieve health even under the most extreme circumstances. It is easy to find stories of folks who have had “miraculous” recoveries even when the medical profession had only given them just weeks to live. (It is a very sad commentary that in those cases the oncologists typically do not learn from what the patients did to facilitate those “spontaneous remissions”.)
For breast cancer patients it may be little comfort, but a lot more women die from heart disease than from breast cancer. Happily, the points above reduce the risk of both diseases. I would “throw the book” at the problem immediately. But, certainly when the doctors give up, what does a person have to lose by trying the natural approach?
- Library page on building immune function
- This page on Pancreatic Cancer has lessons for other types as well.
- An Inspiring Survivor’s Story
- Ten steps recommended by Gus Kotsanis, MD
- Kotsanis Institute
- It seems a very good idea to get tested for which treatment (and even alternative ones) work best for you as a one-of-a-kind person. Dr. Ray Hammon in Rowlett, Texas is associated with an excellent service that does such tests and I believe even tests for cancer seeds (cancer’s own stem cells) to make sure it is not coming back.
- Cancer Treatment Centers of America
- One professional’s interesting use of sodium bicarbonate
- Bill Sardi’s Knowledge of Health website has excellent articles on cancer.
- Jenny Hrbacek’s video course, Cancer Free University, contains interviews with top experts around the world and invaluable information. Use the code HBN20 for a 20% discount.
- GreenMedInfo has a database with many thousands of abstracts covering hundreds of natural substances with research-backed therapeutic potential.
- Cancer and Fungus
- Risk factors for breast cancer
- Pictures of skin conditions that may or may not be cancerous
- Study on tamoxifen use and reduced brain function
- A recent study (and others) showed that Bitter Melon Extract significantly reduced the number of human breast cancer cells by apparently interfering with their communications and encouraging them to self-destruct. The research is preliminary, but because of its known safety and usefulness for blood sugar management, researchers suggest it might be used for prevention. I found 2 respected companies that sell the herb by itself: Nature’s Herbs and Solaray. Jarrow Formulas uses Bitter Melon in a combination called Glucose Optimizer
This information is provided for general educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. For best results seek healthcare advice from a professional who knows nutrition and mind/body medicine as well as oncology.
Copyright 2014-2020 by Martie Whittekin, CCN