April 8, 2006
Q: What is cancer and are there any natural treatments? - Layperson
A: Cancer is the general name for over 100 medical conditions involving uncontrolled and dangerous cell growth. Scientists suggest that some cancer is caused by genetic factors, while other forms are caused by environmental conditions. In other words, one patient may already have a family history of breast cancer while another was exposed to a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemical in a factory. Both suffer from cancer--the only difference is the root mechanism which triggered the abnormal cell growth.
Because cancer begins at the microscopic cellular level, the first signs of a malignant (actively cancerous) growth are nearly impossible to detect without special tests and training. In the case of pancreatic cancer, for example, there is little to no pain involved as the first malignant cells form around the organ. As the tumor becomes more organized, new blood vessels may form to feed it directly or older vessels may be diverted. Meanwhile, the host body may only experience a few symptoms which resemble many other conditions besides cancer. Only after a sample of suspicious tissue has been removed and tested (biopsied) can many cancer forms be diagnosed.
One of the most insidious aspects of cancer is the way it grows. As the tumor outgrows the original organ, pieces of malignant tissue often break off (metastasize)and enter the bloodstream or lymph system. The cancer cells can then attach themselves to other vulnerable organs and form new tumors. Thus a patient with pancreatic cancer may eventually suffer from lung, brain, kidney, breast or colon cancer as well. This is why cancer specialists (oncologists) place so much emphasis on containing malignant tumors to their place of origin.
Treatment for cancer ranges from rounds of powerful chemicals to focused burst of radiation to complete surgical removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue. Each treatment type brings a certain level of risk and pain to the patient, but cancerous cells left untreated will almost inevitably choke off vital organs and circulation. Chemotherapy introduces strong medicines which target fast-growing cells, but this also includes normal events such as hair growth and digestion. Radiation treatments use heat energy to literally burn off malignant cells, but healthy tissue is also damaged. Surgical removal can lead to a permanent recovery, but undetected malignant cells may have already metastasized to other organs or be jarred loose by the surgery itself.
Cancer cells are not foreign to the body, but arise from cells already present in the body. Some experts believe cancer cells are frank trophoblastic (primitive embryonic) cells from which all other cells arise, that have been transformed in some way from external and/or internal triggers. Trophoblast cells have at least 55 characteristics in common with cancer cells that no other somatic cell has. Choriocarcinoma is often called an uncontrolled pregnancy because it resembles an embryo's method of burying it self in the uterus, but does not stop. Cancer cells use the Cori Cycle (anaerobic (without oxygen) fermentation) metabolic pathway which normal cells do not use. This is the same pathway that some microscopic organisms such as yeasts use. A simplified diagram is shown of the Cori Cycle is shown below.
The Cori cycle involves the utilization of lactate, produced by glycolysis in non-hepatic tissues, (such as muscle and erythrocytes) as a carbon source for hepatic gluconeogenesis. In this way the liver can convert the anaerobic byproduct of glycolysis, lactate, back into more glucose for reuse by non-hepatic tissues. Note that the gluconeogenic leg of the cycle (on its own) is a net consumer of energy, costing the body 4 moles of ATP more than are produced during glycolysis. Therefore, the cycle cannot be sustained indefinitely. In cancer patients, this leads to cahexia, a wasting away of the body, weight loss, and nausea.
Many natural forms of cancer therapy include nutritional changes by diet and supplementation. Some of the following therapies show promise.
A Danish doctor by the name of Kristine Nolf, cured her own cancer with a hundred percent organic and vegetarian raw-food diet, and then continued to cure cancer patients in the same way on her health farm. She lost her medical license for using 'dangerous' and unapproved methods but her fame nevertheless spread throughout Scandinavia. In New Zealand Dr Eva Hill did much the same thing to cure her own cancer, and to help many of her patients.
Ann Wigmore pioneered and promoted wheat-grass juice after curing her own cancer with it, in combination with an organic vegetarian diet. Together with Victoras Kulvinskas she formed the Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston, and branches and health farms using wheat-grass juice quickly sprang up in many countries. It is more effective if a non-centrifugal juicer is used for making juices, or possibly just a mincer with the juice pressed by hand.
In South Africa, Johanna Brand, a naturopath, invented the now famous grape cure by curing herself of stomach cancer in the 1920's. For six weeks she ate nothing but grapes, black varieties are the best. Thousands of former cancer victims have testified as to the effectiveness of her method. Because it is now so difficult to obtain unsprayed grapes, commercially sprayed grapes have sometimes been used after thorough washing in warm soapy water and careful rinsing.
The Breuss-Cure, which originated in Germany, also lasts for 6 weeks; a maximum of 500 ml of freshly pressed vegetable juices are used, mainly beetroot with some carrot, celery and radish. In addition herbal teas and onion broth are recommended. It too, is claimed to have cured thousands.
Hans Nieper, a respected German cancer therapist (recently deceased), used in addition to a good diet a wide range of supplements to inhibit tumor growth, activate the immune system, degrade the tumor with large-scale enzyme supplementation, and strengthen the liver and general metabolism. Nieper claimed a 50% survival rate of 'terminal' patients. If patients survive for 18 months on this program, their statistical life expectancy becomes about normal, unlike with chemotherapy where life expectancy continues to drop after 18 months.
Another German cancer therapist, Dr J Kuhl, used a diet high in lactic acid fermented foods with good results. Lactic acid produced by a tumor rotates light to the left and enhances tumor growth. Lactic acid produced by lactic acid bacteria, on the other hand, rotates light to the right and inhibits tumor growth.
Dr Johanna Budwig, also in Germany, found high-quality linseed/flax oil combined with 'quark' and a mainly vegetarian raw-food diet most effective. Quark is the German word for cottage cheese, but made from lactic acid fermented raw skim milk as used by Budwig. This provides not only the beneficial fermentation products, but also a high amount of sulfur-amino acids. These are mainly cysteine and methionine, which together with the polyunsaturated fatty acids in linseed/flax oil can quickly restore the oxidative energy production in and around tumors, and cause them to regress.
The Bristol Cancer Help Center in England, formerly under the direction of Dr Alec Forbes, offers a wide-ranging holistic program similar to the Mexican clinics. This includes a vegetarian diet of largely raw foods, supplemented by specific vitamins, minerals, enzymes, ginseng and liver herbs, in addition to colonic cleansing, visualization, biofeedback, relaxation, meditation and spiritual healing.
Dr Maud Fere, in New Zealand, claimed success with a much more limited program that had helped her to cure her own bowel cancer. She advocated a good vegetarian diet, but her main emphasis, similar to Max Gerson's, was that there must be no salt in it. She also found it beneficial to use diluted hydrochloric acid, diluted phosphoric acid, ammonium chloride, and tincture of iodine.
Earlier Are Waerland became famous for a successful diet that consisted of sour milk and similar products, whole grains raw or only partly cooked, as well as fruits and vegetables. There are still many active Waerland groups in Germany and Scandinavia. Bircher-Benner advocated a similar lacto-vegetarian raw-food diet. He invented the by now famous but greatly deteriorated muesli. The macrobiotic diet based on cooked brown rice and only a minimum of raw food is very different from all the other anti-cancer diets. It has a mild cleansing action and some cancer victims claim to have been cured with a strict macrobiotic diet.
From 1951 Dr A. Ferenczi in Hungary used large amounts of beetroot successfully for tumor regression, up to 1 kg daily have been used. The active ingredient is the purple coloring containing anthocyanin. It is now also available as a freeze-dried powder.
The Gerson Therapy
Best known is probably the Gerson therapy. Born in Germany, Dr Max Gerson immigrated to the US in 1938. His diet consists mainly of fresh, preferably organic, fruit and vegetables. He stressed a high potassium content that is more in the skins or outer part of root vegetables than in the centers. Sodium, on the other hand, was to be severely restricted - the diet was completely without added salt, but with added potassium salts instead.
In addition, Gerson prescribed hydrochloric acid with pepsin, pancreatin, and high doses of Lugol's solution for iodine together with freeze-dried thyroid, niacin, Royal Jelly and injections of vitamin B12 with crude liver. In addition, raw liver juice was used for its high content of enzymes. Later, with increasing chemicalization of agriculture, the liver juice was omitted while linseed/flax oil was belatedly added to the list of supplements.
Liver detoxification with frequent coffee enemas was another cornerstone of the Gerson Therapy; otherwise patients with advanced cancer might die despite disappearing tumors. Gerson treated hundreds of so-called terminal cases of which about 50 % recovered.
Dr Issels used the Gerson therapy successfully in Germany. In addition, he realized the harmful influence of dead or infected teeth and mercury amalgam fillings on the outcome of cancer therapy. Therefore, his patients had to have all unhealthy teeth removed at the beginning of the treatment.
The Kelly approach
Dr W. D. Kelly, an American dentist, was given only one month to live with multiple tumors of the liver, pancreas and other organs. He cured himself with a vegetarian raw-food diet with the addition of various supplements, but especially with high doses of pancreatin. Pancreas enzymes are very effective in destroying tumors and sometimes even too effective. Kelly, like Gerson and other holistic cancer therapists, saw the greatest danger in a too rapid destruction of the tumor that can kill the patient with poisons generated by the disintegrating tumor proteins. He recommended daily Epsom salts purges during the critical period and, if required, also coffee enemas.
After helping thousands of patients by supplying individualized information to the patient's doctor, he believes that cancer can usually be cured if there is at least one month, but preferably three months, of life expectancy when starting the program.
Kelley has an extensive documentation with 10,000 medically verified diagnoses. In one study all his cases of pancreas cancer were investigated. With conventional treatment there were virtually no survivors after 5 years. He had 22 cases on record. Of these, 10 never started the treatment and survived for 67 days. 7 followed it partially and survived an average of 233 days, while the 5 who followed the Kelley treatment completely all recovered completely.
Aajonus Vonderplanitz, in California, claims great success in overcoming advanced cancer with a raw-food diet that includes raw (organic) meat, see his book We Want to Live (1997).
REMEDIES & HERBS
Many clinics in Mexico, give dietary advice and rely mainly on specific remedies, such as laetrile, ozone therapy, herbs and specific immune enhancing measures, but also visualization and meditation.
Many thousands of former cancer victims have attested to the beneficial effects of laetrile in the treatment of their disease. While not a cure in itself, laetrile has been found in clinical trials to reduce or eliminate cancer-related pain, improve the appetite with weight gain in underweight patients, eliminate the typical nauseating cancer odor in terminal wards and induce a sense of well-being and hope. In animal experiments also tumor inhibition was evident. Initially, laetrile commonly is injected, several grams daily, while oral doses of similar amounts may continue for a year or more. Animal experiments showed similar benefits to those from laetrile even when just bitter almonds or apricot kernels were eaten. These are also commonly used in countries where the availability of laetrile is restricted or where its use is illegal.
Garlic is frequently used as a supporting remedy in the treatment of cancer. It has proven anti-cancer properties. Not only does it protect against the formation of tumors, including metastases, it also inhibits the growth of established tumors. In addition, it strengthens the immune system and improves the detoxifying ability of the liver.
Two other remedies used widely in the Mexican and other cancer clinics are Vitamin C, and hydrazine sulfate. Linus Pauling and Ewan Cameron pioneered Vitamin C treatment for cancer, and found greatly increased survival times for terminal cancer patients with 10 g of Vitamin C daily. Now it is sometimes used in even larger amounts, just below the threshold where it causes diarrhea, initially it may also be infused intravenously.
Hydrazine sulfate was discovered by Dr Joseph Gold for use in cancer treatment. It blocks a liver enzyme which converts the lactic acid produced by a tumor back into glucose, a reaction which takes much more energy from the patient than it generates. It was mainly used with 'terminal': patients who reported improved appetite, normalized weight, increased strength and less pain. However, presently it is increasingly used in earlier stages and more and more patients claim that their tumors have disappeared. Diabetics must use caution as hydrazine sulfate affects blood sugar.
Another group of remedies is specifically designed to stimulate the immune system. In the 1950s Krebiozen made headlines in the US, promoted by a respected scientist, Dr Andrew Ivy. Five hundred doctors used it, and 20,000 testimonials of cancer victims stood behind Dr Ivy and his co-workers at their trial. They were acquitted, but the AMA succeeded in blacklisting Krebiozen.
Dr B Coley was an early US cancer pioneer who used Bacillus Calmetti-Guerin (BCG), a special vaccine to induce fever and inflammation in cancer patients. Out of 500 cases half remained free of malignancy during follow-up for 5-54 years.
Virginia Livingston-Wheeler, an US microbiologist, combined a vegetarian diet with a vaccine prepared from the patient's own body fluids. Most widely used, however, especially in Germany, are vaccines related to the tubercle bacillus that were developed by Prof Enderlein.
In Japan, Dr Hasumi claims outstanding success in curing cancer with a vaccine made from the patient's own urine; however it works only if the immune system is still sufficiently strong.
In addition to the successful homeopathic cancer treatment by the US doctor E G Jones before homeopathy was outlawed, Dr W F Koch also gained the support of thousands of patients with his homeopathic oxidation catalyst. Mistletoe, too, is often given in homeopathic form. A 'folk healer' told me that he found Ammon. Carb. 30 excellent for cancers in animals as well as in humans.
Somewhat hard to take for many is urine therapy. J W Armstrong in his book The Water of Life relates many cases of medically diagnosed cancer that appeared to be cured after a urine fast usually lasting for about three weeks, drinking nothing but one's own urine and additional water. With this, Armstrong regarded cancer as rather easy to cure; 'child's play' he called it, except if someone had previously already received medical treatment.
The Greek Professor of Internal Medicine, E.V. Danopoulus, discovered that urea was the most potent anti-cancer factor in urine. At first he treated several liver cancer patients with it who recovered, and then he also used it successfully with many other advanced cancers. However, after the publication of his results in the Lancet in 1974 he experienced increasing harassment and retired from medical practice.
Dr William Lane in the US noticed that sharks do not develop cancer. This prompted him to experiment with good results with shark cartilage that is now commercially available. Liquid bovine cartilage appears now to be preferable to shark cartilage. Also shark oil is useful.
Gaston Naessens in Canada was successful curing cancer by injecting a modified camphor compound into lymph nodes to strengthen the immune system. He claims a long-term remission rate of 75%. His remedy, called 714-X, is now available from Canada and New Zealand.
Thousands of cancer victims, in East European and other poor countries, claim to have been cured by taking refined kerosene. That apparently kills the cancer microbe and possibly cancer cells as well.
Dr Seeger, the German cancer researcher, found Zell Oxygen most helpful to 'normalize' cancer cells by restarting their oxidative energy production. Zell Oxygen is a culture of special young yeast cells very high in oxygenating enzymes. It works best combined with Royal Jelly. Wobe-mugos is imported from Germany and contains proteolytic enzymes from hydrolyzed beef pancreas, thymus and other glands. It is claimed to be very beneficial in so-called terminal conditions.
Essiac (Ojibway Indian Tea) is another famous cancer herb mixture developed about 1922 by the Canadian nurse Rene Caisse. In 1937 the Royal Cancer Commission found that Essiac was effective against cancer and in 1938 Essiac came within three votes of being legalized as a remedy for terminal cancer. After this, Rene received special permission to treat terminal cancer patients but was not allowed to take money for it. At the time of her death in 1978 the Canadian Ministry of Health & Welfare destroyed her huge collection of documents and patient files on the effectiveness of Essiac.
The four ingredients are rhubarb root, burdock root and slippery elm as blood purifiers and the tops of young sheep's sorrel (Rumen acetosella) to destroy cancer cells. The use of Essiac is gradually spreading to other countries but there is also a warning that some distributors have substituted yellow dock or curly dock for the essential sheep's sorrel.
A tea made from leaves and stems or twigs of papaw is another traditional cancer remedy. It was revealed to Stan Sheldon on the Queensland Gold Coast in 1962, who cured his rapidly spreading tumors in both lungs within two months. This remedy is now widely used throughout Queensland. According to an article in New Scientist, a chemical has been discovered in one kind of papaw, which is one billion times more effective against cancer cells than presently used anti-cancer drugs. An Aboriginal cancer remedy is the maroon bush, while the use of mistletoe preparations is based on ancient European folklore and recommendations by Rudolf Steiner.
Jethro Kloss was a well-known early American herbalist of the 'old school'. For cancer treatment he used mainly red clover blossoms, violet leaves and flowers, the roots of burdock and yellow dock, golden seal, echinacea, aloes, agrimony, dandelion root, supposedly with good success.
Even more famous and most widely used in many countries, is the Hoxsey herb mixture. It originated about 1925 in the US with thousands of patients attesting to its usefulness in overcoming their cancer. The internal remedy consists of amarga, berberis root, buckthorn bark, burdock, licorice, pokeroot, prickly ash, red clover, stillingia root and potassium iodide. There were also three external remedies to be painted on any visible tumors to make them dry up and fall out. Presently mainly Herbveil 8 and KC101 (in NZ) and cansema are being used for melanoma and other skin cancers as well as tumors close to the skin, such as breast tumors.
Jason Winters described his own cure from terminal cancer in his book 'Killing Cancer'. In addition to diet, he used red clover, chaparral, gotu kola, selenium and some not well-defined roots and spices in his herb mixture, which is not available in most countries.
Ozone therapy has been pioneered in Germany, and it is used there as well as in the Mexican cancer clinics by thousands of doctors, not only for treating cancer, but also AIDS, and other serious infectious diseases. Generally about 220 ml of the patient's blood is mixed with ozone, often under pressure, and then re-injected into a vein. This kills not only cancer cells and the cancer microbe in the treated blood but in the whole body, while the immune system is strengthened at the same time. Where ozone therapy is not available, patients commonly take diluted hydrogen peroxide.
A similar beneficial effect is achieved with overheating a tumor. Cancer cells are damaged or weakened by temperatures of 42-43ºC, which are still harmless for normal cells. To overheat internal tumors, daily bath temperatures are gradually raised over a period of weeks or months up to 47ºC. Various precautions are required, especially the blood sugar level needs to be kept artificially low during treatment; otherwise tumor growth may be stimulated if temperatures are not quite high enough. As after ozone therapy, the damaged tumor becomes highly responsive to any additional holistic therapy. In addition, the blood circulation is greatly increased.
The south-pointing pole of a magnet inhibits not only microbes but also cancer cells. Tumors could be inhibited or regressed by long exposure to a strong south-pointing pole of 4000 gauss or more. This also appears to reduce pain, inflammation and infections. Presently many cancer patients use electronic zappers and magnetic pulsers with apparently good success. The most commonly used varieties are the Hulda Clark zapper and the Beck zapper or blood purifier, recommended to be used in combination with oxygen therapy and colloidal silver.
Similar results may be achieved by radiating the tumor site with strong blue light. An article in New Scientist revealed that blue light inhibits cell divisions; it is also used in some hospitals as the quickest cure for jaundiced babies.
The Tronado machine is a German invention to shine very high radio frequencies onto a tumor area. It overheats the tumor and causes its destruction but unlike conventional radio-therapy, it does not damage the surrounding healthy tissue.
Dr John Holt, a radio-therapist at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, managed with the help of the then Premier of Western Australia, John Tonkin, to buy a Tronado for the hospital, and in addition, one for his private clinic. Holt treated more than seven thousand cancer patients with the Tronado with remarkable results. At the same time he continued to treat cancer patients at the hospital with normal radiotherapy.
In a published trial with head and neck cancers (for easy verification of results) a 34 % initial success rate was achieved with radiotherapy while after three years 17 % were still in remission. With the Tronado the initial success was 92 % and after three years 68 %. However, such are the mysterious ways of the medical profession that only the Tronado in private practice could be used, until quite recently the one installed at the hospital was never allowed to be operated.
The Roy Ray Rife electronic frequency instrument emitted waves of a frequency that was specific to kill cancer cells. Conventional research institutions confirmed a high success rate before the AMA (US) took court action and destroyed the treatment machines. Now there are replicas appearing, some of which seem to be more effective than others.
The US magazine The Choice (Spring 1990) published an article about Nick van Echteld, who claims to have completely recovered from terminal metastatic cancer in 1989. Echteld attributes his remarkable cure to self-treatment with a Rife instrument, while his orthodox specialists believe instead in 'spontaneous remission' - a cure without cause.
Wilhelm Reich attributed his success with terminal cancer patients to their immersion in a strong field of bio-energy or orgone, as he called it. Orgone accumulators are easy to build with alternating layers of metal and organic material. More recently 'orgonite' is being used, a mixture of a resin with fine metal particles.
Harold S Burr discovered the electric life fields around living organisms. Tumors have an abnormal negative charge as compared to the surrounding healthy tissue. In Sweden Bjorn Nordenstrom used 10-volt needle-like electrodes inserted into a tumor to destroy it. For external tumors, I experimented with a large flat 1.5-volt positive electrode on the tumor and the negative electrode on a healthy tissue nearby.
Finally I may mention that various cancer victims claim to have been cured by psychic surgery, especially in the Philippines. Also radionic instruments are sometimes claimed to be successful with cancer.
Wilhelm Reich discovered the harmful effects of repressed sexual feelings in the development of cancer. His methods for freeing up feelings and energy flows have become standard practice in bio-energy therapy and other holistic treatments.
Another ten-year study published in the Lancet, of women with advanced metastatic breast cancer found that just belonging to a support group and meeting once a week, doubled the life span as compared to a control group that had medically been treated in the same way. In addition to some well-known support groups, such as those run by the Bristol clinic in England, or Ian Gawler's support group in Victoria (Australia), there are now small groups, often in connection with meditation groups, in many cities.
Well known for his meditation work with cancer patients was Dr A Meares of Melbourne. In the US the Simontons have pioneered guided imagery in cancer treatment. They showed that survival times with terminal cancers can be doubled in this way. Characteristics in patients, which they found to be associated with above average results are emotional resilience, flexible beliefs, physical activity, strong self-concept and social autonomy. Many cancer patients have been greatly helped and seem to have recovered mainly because they learned to express their feelings and emotions and they moved towards fulfilling their emotional needs.
Of all the published, properly randomized clinical trials, psychotherapy is by far the most effective cancer therapy. Eysenk and Grossarth-Maticek (Behavior Research and Therapy 1991; 29 (1):17-31) found that 13 years after extended individual therapy none of 50 patients in the treated cancer-prone group had died but 32 percent in the control group. With group therapy, after 7 years, there were18 out of 239 cancer death in the treated group, compared to 111 of the 234 in the control group. With terminal cancer patients the increased survival time was 64% and women with metastasized breast cancer lived about twice as long.
The most powerful setback to recovery, on the other hand, is a medical pronouncement that the condition in incurable and terminal, especially if a time limit is mentioned. This then becomes a self-fulfilling hypnotic suggestion; just like "pointing the bone" in other cultures and it is then difficult for a holistic therapist to change this medically implanted death wish into hope and faith that are the keys for recovery.
The most promising therapy appears to be The New Medicine of the much-persecuted German Dr Hamer. He claims a 95% success rate by discovering and eliminating the emotional shock that triggered the development of cancer, commonly one to two years before its diagnosis.
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this column, is NOT intended to diagnose and/or treat any health related issues and is provided solely for informational purposes only. Consult the appropriate healthcare professional before making any changes to your healthcare regime. Even what may seem like simple changes in the diet for example, can interact with, and alter, the efficiency of medications and/or the body's response to the medications. Many herbs and supplements exert powerful medicinal effects. Neither the author, nor the website designers, assume any responsibility for the reader's use or misuse of this information.