Cancer Prevention and Treatment
We’ve been waging a conventional “war on cancer” since 1971 and yet death rates have remained relatively the same. The war strategy has been to find some silver bullet (translate that as “drug”) to kill it after it is 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. Cancers develop when something in the original plan has gone wrong—the body isn’t getting everything it needs for optimum function and is being sabotaged with excesses it can’t handle.
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. Although some of the studies noted below mention breast cancer, most also apply to other cancers.
1. Make sure you have sufficient vitamin D. The evidence is mounting that low blood levels of vitamin D is a significant risk factor for many cancers. 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 higher rates of African Americans, are deficient in D and 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 call it “proven”. Learn more about vitamin D and cancer. Also, lean more about life-saving vitamin D in general.
2. Know your carbs. Of course you should eat lots of nutritious foods like clean proteins (e.g. wild fish, grass-fed beef, free-range eggs) and healthful fats like fish oil and the monounsaturated fats (macadamia nut oil and olive oil) while avoiding Trans fats which are usually present any time the label lists “partially hydrogenated” oils. But, a critical factor is to be fussy about carbs.
- Avoid sugar. Research shows that a substantial dose of sugar disables important immune cells for several hours. Starch (e.g. flour) turns quickly to sugar in the system.
- 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. 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.
3. 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, yeasts (a type of fungus) can overgrow and crowd out the good guys. Yeasts produce poisons called mycotoxins and dump them into blood circulation. Mycotoxins are carcinogenic and some (mycoestrogens) can imitate estrogens. Limit foods like the sweet and starchy foods and drinks that feed yeasts.
- 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)
4. Supplement wisely.
- Vitamin D is so important it has its own section above.
- Other vitamins and plant nutrients are important too. For example, folic acid (a B vitamin) has been shown to reduce the incidence of breast cancer even among women who were genetically predisposed. 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 which is powerful against cancer. 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.
- Minerals are critical. 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%! 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. (Sadly, when the National Cancer Institute tried to “replicate” the research, but used the wrong kind and gave up.) A typical dose is 200 mcg / day. Zinc is crucial for immune function.
For one thing, Zinc helps thymus gland keep from shrinking and so it can better make T cells (an immune cell). Thymus extract may also help. (Sardi article) Magnesium is magnificent. The only time you might want to ease up on supplementing it is if you were testing the special nutritional treatment outlined in this Sardi article.
- 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.
- Read an article about an over-the-counter supplement that reduces breast cancer aggressiveness by up to 80%. LINK The supplement it discusses (NAC) gives the body what it needs to make the master antioxidant, glutathione. One of my favorite products, Reg’Activ, contains a friendly bacteria that is a little glutathione factory.
5. Achieve normal weight.
- Fat cells produce inflammation, which is a risk factor for most chronic diseases including cancer. Cancer risk in general is elevated by obesity which also has a negative effect on survival.
- Especially breast and prostate cancers are affected by hormones. Fat cells make estrogen.
6. Avoid toxins.
- BPA. BPS and other plasticizers in plastics, packaging, cans and even register receipts mimic hormones and cause trouble.
- Some pesticides and chemical ingredients (such as parabens) in skin care products also act like estrogens.
- Eat organic as much as you can. Follow the Environmental Working Group for updates.
7. Remove toxins.
- 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.)
- 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.
- My DVD series on Digestive Wellness covers all aspects of gut health and detoxification.
- The Far Infrared Sauna is a great way to get rid of accumulated toxins. Read my article and please avoid the cheap imitations.
8. Limit alcohol, add resveratrol.
- The latest 2017 research says that any level of alcohol consumption can increase the risk of many types of cancer.
- 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. If you enter the search terms “resveratrol cancer” in the government science database, pubmed.com, as of this writing it lists over 3,000 studies and articles. Resveratrol boosts production of natural killer cells (a type of immune cell).
- Longevinex capsules are the best way to get one of the most powerful of these, resveratrol. Read more.
9. Don’t smoke. Well, duh. We know that it increases the risk of many (all?) diseases.
10. 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.
11. 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 with prayer and meditation for example.
- 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.”
12. 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.
13. Sleep well and avoid the night shift.
- Shift work is associated with higher rates of 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.
True prevention is obviously ideal. Although a cancer diagnosis can be scary, survival is actually excellent with early detection. 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 to begin with but, for sure when the doctors give up, what does a person have to lose?
- 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.