Before I discuss cancer and its treatment from a holistic point of view, I would like to discuss exactly what it is and some of the salient facts. Cancer cells have three characteristics:
They are cells in the body that have lost their growth regulatory system. Each cell of the body contains chromosomes, which divide to form other cells. Part of these chromosomes are known as telomeres. Each time a cell divides, some of these telomeres are cleaved off and once their number falls below a certain level the cell can no longer multiply. In cancer cells these telomeres are not cleaved.
Cancer cells infiltrate adjacent tissue and this differentiates them from benign tumours.
Cancer cells can spread through the lymphatic or blood system. These are known as metastases.
The causes of cancer
The orthodox world has few treatable causes of cancer but does accept that the following are relevant:
Poor nutrition and excess calorific intake in childhood.
Infections – probably by viruses. Those known to cause problems are the human papilloma virus, hepatitis B virus, certain herpes viruses and HIV.
Chemical compounds – such as asbestos, metals, hydrocarbons, chemicals known as olefins in solvents, N-nitroso compounds in tobacco smoke, certain natural substances such as afla-toxins (mould that grows on foods, especially stale grains).
Deficiencies – specifically vitamins A, C and E, the mineral selenium and dietary fibre.
Radiation – ultraviolet, gamma and X-ray.
Defects in the immune system.
Age – due to a natural failing of cell division.
Psychological causes. It is known, for example, that women are more likely to develop breast cancer if they have had a serious shock, such as a bereavement or divorce within the previous two years.
The Holistic world accepts all of the above causes but also considers the possibility of parasitic infection, persistent food allergy/intolerance, the possible carcinogenic affects of food preservatives, additives and organophosphates used as crop sprays, and certain amino acid deficiencies, in particular methionine and cysteine. Whilst psychological shocks have been established, the complementary medical world looks at longstanding suppression of emotion or stress to be potentially capable of causing cancer.
Staging of cancer
The medical world has tried to simplify passing information from one physician to another by creating a clinical classification of tumours. The most commonly used classification is the TNM system.
T (stands for tumour size)
T – primary tumour
Tis – carcinoma in situ (confined to an area)
TO – no evidence of a primary tumour
Tl-4 – an arbitrary description of the local size Tx – location and size unknown
N stands for lymph node involvement
N – regional lymph nodes involved
NO – no evidence of regional lymph node involvement Nl-4 – arbitrary differentiation of the number of lymph nodes involved Nx- cannot be assessed
M stands for metastases
M – distant metastases
MO – no evidence of distant metastases
Ml – distant metastases present
Mx – cannot be assessed
Certain tumours have their own terminology, such as stage or grade, that generally can be thought to substitute for T and N as described above.
One of the big questions that anybody is faced with when dealing with a cancer is the chance of cure or surviving the disease. It is difficult nowadays to assess the outcome of patients who are not treated because anybody with a cancer is generally subject to orthodox treatment. What is more, the orthodox world does not seem to differentiate for the lay-person the difference between ‘cure’ and five-year survival rate. Site of malignancy 5-year survival rate
Bronchi (lung tubes) 13%
Leukaemia (all sorts) 34%
Ear, nose and throat 52%
Colon and rectum 52%
Urinary bladder 75%
The orthodox world does not ask why certain people do less well than others but I am convinced that it is to do with the individual and their immune system rather than the cancer itself.
Cancer is a chronic condition that arises because of a multitude of factors ranging, as I have mentioned above, from genetic to environmental. Orthodox treatment against cancer takes strides forward every day but the majority of cases still end up with poorer results than they should because complementary treatments are not considered.
There are thousands of reports of spontaneous regression and alternative cures for cancer. Many of these have scientific validation and are not in common or orthodox use simply, but sadly, because trials are not completed due to financial and political considerations. Also, the necessity to stand up to double-blind placebo-controlled studies is not, and will never be, an acceptable method of testing for alternative treatments. This does not mean that they are not effective or in common use – as the art of surgery shows. No surgical technique has ever been proven double-blind in a study.
Working against cancer requires the consideration of six different areas:
Establishing and removing the cause
The use of orthodox treatment
The activation of the immune system
Psychological and spiritual aspects
Dietetics and nutrition
Alternative anticancer treatments
Establishing and removing the cause
Some cancers have a clear cause. Lung cancer and smoking, bowel cancer and low-fibre diets and skin cancers with excessive exposure to the sun are examples. Many cancers are being shown to have a genetic predisposition and I am sure that over the next decade genetic reasons and answers will be found to fight cancer. At the moment a hereditary trait puts most cancers beyond our control.
The use of complementary diagnostic techniques in association with orthodox screening techniques should be used to clarify an individual’s health on a regular basis, and also to establish the origin of the tumour. The cause of cancer can range from psychological and stress-related causes to food intolerance and environmental pollutants. The need to look at an individual holistically and consider their mind, body and soul is clearly as relevant in this disease as in all chronic illnesses. The orthodox world is advancing at an enormous speed as far as diagnostic capabilities go. The advent of computers with X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other visualizing techniques can pinpoint down to a millilitre the location of a tumour buried deep in the body. Unfortunately, none of the billions of dollars that is spent on diagnostic research appears to go towards predicting or forecasting the development of cancer. The smallest of masses may be isolated once formed, but we seem unable to predict where or when this might happen. However, there is hope.
Over the last 50 years research has gone into proving that the body contains energy channels that can be measured using sensitive electromagnetic transmitters and receivers. These basic machines have now been developed into sophisticated computers known as bioresonance computers. These machines are capable of measuring the normal flow of energy through an individual and can differentiate any irregularity in the system. Cancer cells have a particular resonance that will differ from normal tissue and this can be measured.
A simple blood test, known currently as the Humoral Pathological Laboratory Test, examines a dried drop under a high-powered microscope and compares what is seen with samples of known conditions or samples taken from people who have gone on to develop certain conditions. Blood changes rapidly and is extremely sensitive to deficiencies and toxins and can therefore, theoretically, predict the presence of a cancerous tendency. For example, red and white blood cells behave in a particular way in the presence of free radicals: negative ions that can trigger cancerous changes in the nuclei (the brain centre) of cells.
It is becoming clear that chemicals within our food chain, often placed there through crop spraying or actively injecting livestock, can cause cancer within our system. A recent study showed over 12 cancer-causing compounds in a basic three-course – prawn cocktail, meat and two veg and pudding – meal provided in a popular chain restaurant. Removing these chemicals from the body may not be easy but homeopathic principles may work alongside detoxification diets.
There is some evidence that food allergy may be relevant to certain tumours and possibly, by inference, all cancer. Establishing food allergy response is essential in all chronic conditions but especially in cancer because correct dietetics may be curative .
The use of orthodox techniques
Orthodox medicine has come a long way in the treatment of cancer and should rarely be discounted in a holistic treatment course. The surgeon’s knife is curative and chemotherapy and radiation treatments are improving constantly. The side effects of these treatments continue to be a problem and orthodox treatments are often toxic to the system. Full and frank discussions in consultation with medically qualified orthodox practitioners and thereafter alternative practitioners with experience or specialization in the treatment of cancer are essential. Very often an attempted cure may be pointless or even worse than the disease. It is arguable that a slow-growing tumour in someone elderly should be left alone because the body will wear out before the cancer can affect it. Complementary treatments to prepare the body for these procedures, treatments to speed healing after surgical and radiation damage and the correct alternative therapies to protect the body from the toxic effects are all essential.
The orthodox world is experimenting to find a vaccine for cancer and whilst the possibility is not close at hand, I believe this to be a very important area of research.
Activation of the immune system
Cancer may be created and certainly proliferates due to a failure of the individual immune system. The body has specific anticancer cells named ‘killer’ cells and produces chemicals that act as antioxidants to remove the free radicals that cause or promote cancer cell growth. Cancer is the proliferation of a particular type of cell. This means that the normal multiplication rate has been lost and the cell is replicating too fast. There are certain genes called telomeres that are cleaved off each time a cell multiplies. When all these have been removed the cell can no longer multiply and eventually dies. In cancer this cleavage does not occur. The reasons for this, I am sure, will soon be illuminated by science. Whatever the cause, the fundamental energy that keeps these cells healthy is absent and part of the body’s defence mechanism has gone wrong. This too needs to be corrected and working on this energy plane is as important a part of supporting the immune system as promoting the effects of the killer cells.
Psychological and spiritual aspects
The field of psychoneuroimmunology has recentiy come to prominence. The ability of the psyche to affect the neurones (the nerve cells), which in turn send out chemicals to the entire central nervous system, is well established. This affects all parts of the body, including the immune system, and stimulates other areas that are essential for dealing with illness or maintaining health. Breast cancer has now been correlated with sudden emotional shocks and the holistic consensus of opinion is that tension, stress and anxiety over a long term can also create cancer.
There are many examples of prayer curing cancer and whether a religious or purely a spiritual attitude is concentrated upon, this is an area that must not be overlooked in dealing with the fight. The use of antistress techniques, counselling, hypnotherapy, visualization and meditation techniques must all have a place in the treatment of cancer.
Dietetics and nutrition
There is much evidence to support the use of strict dietetics in both preventing and hampering the growth of tumours. Some researchers have shown, although not to double-blind scientific levels, that diet may cure cancer. I believe that dietetics have an important role to play alongside most other forms of treatment. The best known anticancer regimes are based on the works of the physician Max Gerson in the early part of this century and the philosophy of the macrobiotic diet. A review of individual nutrition is mandatory in the treatment of cancer.
Alternative anticancer treatments
There are a myriad of claims and much anecdotal evidence supporting alternative medical treatments. There are many potential cures out there presently being destroyed by the advance of humankind into tropical rainforests with the associated destruction of dozens of curative plants each day. Of treatments that are available and discussed, the following should be reviewed by the individual with a complementary specialist and should not be taken without a full understanding of their ‘unproven’ effects. They are, however, not toxic if taken as recommended, which cannot be said for orthodox regimes.
High-dose antioxidant therapy (AOT) There is much high-level scientific research and study done on the effects of antioxidants on cancer. Antioxidants are vitamin-based molecules that neutralize negatively charged particles found in the bloodstream known as free radicals. These free radicals cause changes in normal cells to allow cancer to develop. There is scientific proof that antioxidants can prevent the development of cancer and research is ongoing to confirm studies that suggest that AOT is potentially curative.
In advanced cases, those patients undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, those patients due for or recovering from surgery and any patients who are found to have high levels of free radicals will possibly be recommended to have initial treatment by intravenous administration of antioxidants.
Native legend tea (Essiac) Essiac is a combination of herbs used as a basic ‘tea’ by the Ojibway Indians in North America. Doctors noted that the number of cancer cases in the tribe were far below those expected and did some basic studies on the Essiac tea. No acceptable scientific studies have been performed on Essiac and the evidence is purely anecdotal at this time. It is worth noting, however, that a highly esteemed and established physician who looked after the Kennedy family has written a letter endorsing this product based on the evidence to date.
A doctor discovered the effectiveness of a yeast extract on cancer cells through some basic research. He took his findings to Aston University where a first-level trial supported Yeastone’s efficacy against cancer cells. Trials were performed on rodents with impressive results. Yeastone has been used on patients with some good results. It comes as a strong yeast-flavoured drink that needs to be taken three times a day. Yeastone is not pleasant to take, but this is only a minor disadvantage.
Iscador is a mistletoe extract and this has had a lot of research performed on it, with some considerable success, via the Cancer Research Society in Switzerland. It is administered by injection, sometimes as frequently as daily, depending on each individual case. Iscador may be taken orally but this is not as effective.
Ukrain is an extract from the celandine plant. It has been shown over the last 15 years to have an anticancer effect. Attempts to organize trials have been ongoing for 15 years under a medical professor in Vienna, Austria. Scientific evidence is strong and case histories have been very promising.
Ukrain is administered intravenously (it can be given intramuscularly but is painful) at least twice a week. This may be inconvenient, although your GP or a local physician could be asked to administer the compound but very often orthodox practitioners are resistant to unlicensed therapy even though they are entitled to administer it. The cost of Ukrain is also prohibitive.
This is an extract from rocket fuel that was initially found (goodness knows how!) to be beneficial for patients who were cachectic (losing weight). Cachexia is a prominent feature in many cancer cases and through experimentation on cachectic-cancer cases there has been a suggestion that hydrazine sulphate may have an anticancer effect. The compound comes in easy-to-take capsules and is considered in any case where weight loss is relevant.
There are at least three proteins found in shark cartilage, all of which have weak anticancer effects due to the inhibition of the development of new blood capillaries needed to feed a fast-growing tumour. When put together, the effects seem to be enhanced and multi-centre trials are currently under way. The Federal Drugs Administration (FDA) have approved shark cartilage for second-level trials, which is a considerable achievement for any naturopathic compound. Early trials have been very encouraging. On average, a patient needs to take around lg of this powdery, fish-tasting compound per kg of their own body weight. Treatment is divided into three doses per day. This is not easy to take, which is a slight disadvantage.
Chelation, hydrogen peroxide, ozone and chelox therapy
There is some evidence to support the use of a compound called ethylene diaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and the use of hydrogen peroxide or ozone in treating cancer.
Chelox is a combination of EDTA, oxygen therapy and high-dose vitamin/antioxidant therapy administered intravenously.
Forty years of practitioner experience has shown that passing small electromagnetic waves transmitted by healthy cells into cancerous tissue can prevent cancer growth and even act in breaking the cancer cells down. There is poorly documented scientific evidence but impressive amounts of anecdotal evidence. This treatment requires a visit to a bioresonance practitioner on a weekly basis and is non-invasive and easy to apply.
There are several other potential treatments, the most well-known being an extract from almond called Laetrile, which showed remarkable results in the hands of the alternative practitioners who initially used it over 40 years ago. The governments and pharmaceutical industries removed this as well as other potential products from the market. The reason was not the poor efficacy or the dangers of the compound, but the lack of substantial evidence through scientific trials. These were only unavailable because governments and the pharmaceutical industry would not pour the necessary millions of dollars into the research as the compounds are natural and therefore cannot be patented. The finding of a simple, naturopathic cure for cancer or, for that matter, any disease process would cost the pharmaceutical industry billions of dollars. These billions, that are received and circulated through universities, laboratories, government departments and pharmaceutical employees make it largely undesirable for a cure to be found. When confronted by: a pharmaceutical^ backed clinical laboratory asking for funds for research; a trial on a manufactured compound that has much evidence to support its efficacy; or a single physician who has worked on a compound in his garden shed; where would you distribute the millions of dollars collected from the well-caring public? We are, at this point, at an impasse when dealing with the funding of cancer research.
Cancer is cured by the individual with help from external measures. Decide to be cured.
Discuss with a medically qualified complementary practitioner the various investigations that might be recommended. Biopsies and X-ray investigations may be more harmful than they are beneficial .
When confronted with a treatment programme, get a second opinion from a physician who will not be associated with your treatment. If there is no profit motive or conditions laid down by hospital ethics committees, you may find that a less aggressive but equally effective treatment is suggested.
Always consult a complementary practitioner. The orthodox world will pay no heed to helping the body deal with the tumour.
Establish a preparatory programme before therapy and a detoxifying programme during and after chemotherapy.
If radiotherapy is offered, see Radiotherapy for techniques to reduce the side effects.
Do not underestimate the effect of positive attitude and counselling and relaxation techniques; they are mandatory.
Diet has been shown to be curative in itself. A full dietetic programme should be set up through work with a nutritionist.
Use all alternative diagnostic techniques to understand where the disease has it origin. Treatment is pointless if the cause is not clear.