Last week I talked about cancer prevention in the paper and had an interactive seminar at Selkirk College as well. This week we will focus on what has been shown to be the most effective treatments from studies that have either decreased tumour growth, minimized chemo and/or radiation effects and in some cases increased their efficacy or have been shown to change the body’s pattern to ultimately reverse the cancer process.
The most successful patients “reverse” cancer by combining a dietary, supplement, environmental, mental, emotional and spiritual program with possibly chemo/radiation. Determining “success” depends on the definition- what has been found to be helpful and what for some just “prolongs the agony” (quote from a patient). Therefore, I will focus on studies that show living longer vitally.
As I said last week, foods that have been found to decrease cancer risk and therefore are always part of a cancer treatment program, are brightly coloured organic vegetables and fruit, flax seed and fish. Specifically, the cruciferous family such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, as well as tomatoes for prostate cancer. Soy foods are always encouraged for breast cancer as long as they are a food source, not a concentrated soy isolate extract. Green tea catechins in the form of a supplement protects healthy cells from damage.
Many claims are made for cancer cures, so, I will focus on those that have been documented and have clinical support.
Supplements that are frequently used are the anti-oxidants, since they not only help to protect the healthy cells from damage, but, help enhance the effects of chemo and radiation. These are Vitamins A, E and C, a B complex, zinc, Beta carotene and folic acid, depending on the type of cancer. I often use combinations of these depending on the type of cancer, the chemo drugs or radiation that is being used. Some are more beneficial than others.
Glutathione and N-acetyl cysteine reduces liver and nerve toxicity. This is extremely important, because it is the liver that has to detoxify and metabolize all the breakdown products that enter the system, including the residual products from chemo and radiation, as well as the cells that have been broken down as well. The liver is also responsible to breakdown any improperly formed cell, so, we must keep it as healthy as possible. Nerves often get damaged in cancer treatments, so these also help minimize that damage.
Glutamine helps repair the intestinal damage that can occur. It is the main raw material the intestinal cells need to recover. Co-enzyme Q10 protects the heart from damage. [Note that CoQ 10 is depleted by
most heart medications, so, should always be supplemented for those taking them.]
Fractionated citrus pectin interferes with the ability of cancer cells to attach to healthy cells, so is essential to prevent metastasis (spreading) of cancer. I always try to incorporate this after the mass has been diminished, so, no spreading occurs in the future. It is a powder that is easily mixed into a smoothie.
Reishi and Coriolus mushrooms also increase white blood cell count which can drop too low with blood/lymph cancers. They can be used in a stir-fry or taken as a supplement in a tincture or capsule form.
Iscador (mistletoe) has been shown to selectively kill cancer cells and has been used in Europe for years in the treatment of cancer.
Essiac and Hoxey formulas have much anecdotal support. They are both a combination of herbs that are blood builders, purifiers and support the function of the kidneys and liver. They can be used in a tea form or a tincture.
Conventional cancer care has a high rate of side effects relative to cure rate, therefore the future of oncology(treating cancer) lies in combining the newer, less toxic, more tumour specific treatments, which is starting to unfold, with patient specific, tumour specific and treatment specific naturopathic therapies to improve the effectiveness and reduce the side effects. I hear over and over again how little “other” drugs my patients need to use for the side effects of their treatments and how well they do in comparison to the patients not combining treatment plans.
Cancer is a systemic and cellular problem. If you neglect to address the issues that permitted it to grow over time, it is more difficult to treat and more likely to recur. Therefore, any events during a person’s life that have been especially traumatic, should be addressed through counseling, homeopathics or accupuncture. It is extremely important that those cellular patterns are changed, otherwise, recurrence is a real possibility.
Patients certainly benefit the most when they access all types of care providers that can work together as an integrated team with the patient at the centre.