Several papers have been published on Essiac in the last few years and are worth noting.. One in particular is important because it suggests that using Essiac may be dangerous for patients with breast cancer.
Two papers are about Essiac and prostate cancer and are positive. In August 2004, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a test tube study that showed that Essiac might inhibit prostate tumor cell growth. [ii] The Canadian Journal of Urology published, in October 2005, an anecdotal report about a 64-year-old man with prostate cancer who did well while taking Essiac. [iii]
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
- Promoting apoptosis (cell death)
- Inhibiting the known pathways that cancers use to develop ie... VEG-F or NF kappa B, MMPs (and that many new cancer drugs work on)
- Decreasing the side effects of toxic cancer drugs.
Inhibitory effect of a mixture containing ascorbic acid, lysine, proline and green tea extract on critical parameters in angiogenesis.This research is based on off the shelf nutrients available in probably any health food store.
silibinin is an extracted component of Milk Thistle.Baicalein is the exracted component of the chinese herb scutellaria huang qin. I use this herb frequently for many conditions.
If you click through to the links in the pubmed you will see numerous studies for each of the herbs and nutrients I have listed. The point is that there are many natural ways to prevent and treat cancer. This kind of stuff abounds. The use of these substances in the preventitive approach is relatively simple because everything listed here is non-toxic. How they may interact with on-going conventional therapy is another matter entirely that needs examination on a case by case basis.
Norepinephrine up-regulates the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, and MMP-9 in nasopharyngeal carcinoma tumor cells.
When the animals were tightly confined in plastic chambers for several hours at a time — causing a surge in their stress hormones — the tumours multiplied in size and number and were far more likely to metastasize. But blocking the stress hormones stalled the spread of the cancer. Moreover, the cancer grew more slowly in mice restrained in groups.Cancer is way more than aberrant cells and perhaps can be significantly impacted by stress reduction practices and things like acupuncture that modulate the sympathetic nervous system (flight or fight neurotransmitter/hormonal response) to stress. However the scientific research controversies about this play out the public is not waiting for a scientific consensus. Studies show that two thirds of cancer patients are pursuing complimentary and alternative practice and mostly not telling their Doctors!.
All this to me is like the debate over energy efficiency and fossil fules. Until recently fuel economy was not given a lot of credence by American automakers and energy policy designers due to the erroneous assumption that energy efficiency does not have that big an impact (see link to Amory Lovins talking about energy policy). Meanwhile the Japanese automakers kept their eye on fuel efficiency (and quality) and are now the most successful car manufacturers. The same is true for therapies and practices that reduce the stress response in cancer. They may not cure cancer (although they might) but they sure can improve the quality of life while a person is alive and sustain the length of time that it takes for aggressive metastasis to develop.
A little history is in order here:
This comes from a very well written feature story, Cancer in the Mind's Eye for the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper. The author is struggling with cancer herself. She also explains her journey into healing with Alastair Cunningham a scientist who has integrated spirituality into group therapy. He has also written a book, The Healing Journey: Overcoming the Crisis of Cancer. It looks fascinating. If anyone has read this book let me know.
The controversy (over mind-body medicine) started 15 years ago when a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University's medical school found — quite to their astonishment — that in a decade-long assessment, women with metastatic breast cancer assigned to support groups had survived an average of 18 months longer than those receiving no psychological support. Scientists have been bickering ever since.
A study by researchers at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital a few years back, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, was touted as the nail in the coffin of the theory that the mind can influence disease. An attempt to replicate the Stanford study, it divided 235 women with metastatic breast cancer at random between those attending support groups where they could share their thoughts and fears with other patients and those left to their own devices. It found no difference in survival. What the research did show, however, is a huge improvement in the women's moods and perceptions of their pain.
“We were also able to achieve significant improvement with depression, anxiety, psychosocial adaptation,” says Molyn Leszcz, head of psychiatry at Mount Sinai and the study's principal co-investigator. “We didn't hit a home run. A home run would have been to show a survival effect. But we had evidence we were doing something right.”
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Rosen's team used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRIs, on about 20 healthy volunteers before, during and after acupuncture. This type of brain scan shows changes in blood flow and the amount of oxygen in blood.
Researchers applied acupuncture needles to points on the hand linked to pain relief in traditional Chinese medicine. Blood flow decreased in certain areas of the brain within seconds of volunteers reporting a heaviness in their hands, a sign the acupuncture is working correctly, Rosen says. The needle technique is not supposed to hurt if done correctly. When a few subjects reported pain, their scans showed an increase of blood to the same brain areas.
''When there's less blood, the brain isn't working as hard, '' Rosen says. ''In effect, acupuncture is quieting down key regions of the brain.''
The specific brain areas affected are involved in mood, pain and cravings, Rosen says. This could help explain why some studies have found acupuncture helpful in treating depression, eating problems, addictions and pain.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Study 1: Ganoderma lucidum (link to wikipedia) could be used as a suitable herb for chemoprevention and chemotherapy of breast cancer via down-regulation of estrogen receptor and NF-kappa B signaling...
The researchers concluded, "Collectively, these results suggest that G. lucidum inhibits proliferation of human breast cancer cells and contain biologically active compounds with specificity against estrogen receptor and NF-kappa B signaling, and implicate G. lucidum as a suitable herb for chemoprevention and chemotherapy of breast cancer."
Jiang and colleagues published their study in International Journal of Oncology (Ganoderma lucidum inhibits proliferation of human breast cancer cells by down-regulation of estrogen receptor and NF-kappa B signaling. Int J Oncol, 2006;29(3):695-703).
Friday, December 15, 2006
Flavonoids and Vitamin E Reduce the Release of the Angiogenic Peptide Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor from Human Tumor Cells
Neoangiogenesis is required for tumor development and progression. Many solid tumors induce vascular proliferation by production of angiogenic factors, prominently vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Because nutrition is a causative factor for tumor prevention and promotion, we determined whether secondary plant constituents, i.e., flavonoids, tocopherols, curcumin, and other substances regulate VEGF in human tumor cells in vitro. VEGF release (concurrent with synthesis) from MDA human breast cancer cells and, for comparison, U-343 and U-118 glioma cells was measured by ELISA. Of 21 compounds tested, 9 showed significant inhibitory activity at 0.1 µmol/L in MDA human breast cancer cells. The rank order of inhibitory potency was naringin > rutin > -tocopheryl succinate (-TOS) > lovastatin > apigenin > genistein > -tocopherol kaempferol > -tocopherol; chrysin and curcumin were inactive except at a concentration of 100 µmol/L. Glioma cells were similarly sensitive, with U343 more than U118, especially for -TOS and tocopherols. Among the tocopherol derivatives, -TOS (0.1 µmol/L) was the most effective in reducing VEGF release.
Overall, the glycosylated flavonoids (i.e., naringin, a constituent of citrus fruits, and rutin, a constituent of cranberries) induced the greatest response to treatment at the lowest concentration in MDA human breast cancer cells. Inhibition of VEGF release by flavonoids,%2
Thursday, December 14, 2006
CONCLUSION.: The deoxoartemisinin trimer was found to have greater antitumor effect on tumor cells than other commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs, such as 5-FU, cisplatin, and paclitaxel. Furthermore, the ability of artemisinin and its derivatives to induce apoptosis highlights their potential as chemotherapeutic agents, for many anticancer drugs achieve their antitumor effects by inducing apoptosis in tumor cells.
In the early 90s, public concern over the possible dangers of electromagnetic energy increased based on reports of a possible link between power lines and a type of blood cancer called leukemia. In the past few years, exhaustive scientific research has proven this association to be false, but at that time, the answer was still unclear, which heightened public suspicion. The possible link between cell phones and brain tumors then got a media boost when David Raynard appeared on Larry King Live to discuss his lawsuit against the cell phone industry for the death of his wife, a frequent cell phone user, from a brain tumor.
Despite public concern, most of the evidence against cell phones can be classified as either "guilt by association" or confusing "correlation" with "causation". In other words, just because two events happen at the same time, it does not mean that one caused the other.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
The anticancer drug doxorubicin (Dox) has been shown to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells. However, higher doses can damage healthy cells. In a study published in the British Journal of Cancer, the effect of the PL mushroom on Dox-induced apoptosis was investigated in prostate cancer cells.3 Researchers showed that PL or Dox, at relatively low doses, could not kill these cells. However, combination treatment at low doses of PL and Dox results in a synergistic effect and brought about death in prostate cells.
These findings indicate that PL has a synergistic effect with Dox to activate a beneficial decline in prostate cancer cells.3 Not only did these researchers find that the combination was just as effective in killing cancerous cells as larger doses of the drug alone, it did so without harming healthy cells.3
There is a lifetime maximum number of doses of this drug due to its cardiotoxicity. There is also research on antioxidants used in combination with this drug to prevent cardiotoxicity (future post). So this study may be poignant if it can be followed up by larger studies and eventually a human trial. But this is a big if...
This issue of improving the efficacy of chemotherapy or reducing the side-effects appears to be mostly disregarded as unsubstantiated or at least outside of the standard of care by oncologists. Given the way that profit is organized in the medical business an insight like this study implies will have a lot of trouble making it into animal studies or a human trial because it is about using less Doxirubicin. Read - less profitable. The makers of this drug are probably not going to be in favor of pursuing alternatives that may lead to them selling less drug. This is an example where the "invisible hand of capitalism" does not do what is best for the consumer.
What would happen if something really simple, common and relatively cheap was found to be as effective or more effective than Doxirubicin at a fraction of the cost? I don't have one yet, but there are all kinds of treatments out their for cancer that need to be critically evaluated. The main person I know that does this is Ralph Moss. I have posted his writings on this blog many times. It appears that it is the patients will to pursue their health that can drive the alternatives and complimentary strategies for cancer.
The life and death issues around cancer make standard of care issues potential legal issues as well. (This can be overcome by proper informed consent.) Oncologists, it appears to me, tend not to be the most alternative of health care practitioners and granted patients are scared and looking to experts with experience to guide them.
I am looking for some who are interested in integrating with acupuncture with cancer treatment and at least consider the use of natural medicine in conjunction with the normal standard of care. If anyone knows an onco. or group in the Los Angeles area that takes this approach please contact me.
Dr. Abramson became aware that patient care was increasingly being compromised by the growing waste and commercialism in American medicine. By "researching the research," he found that the clinical studies presented in even the most respected medical journals were often biased by drug and medical device company sponsorship, and that the medical information available to even the most dedicated doctors often differed from what the scientific evidence really showed about the best way to take care of their patients.He has the number of the medical industrial complex. It is up to everyone else, especially our politicians to listen. Even though he does not talk about cancer care his arguments are equally applicable to cancer research. Simply put: alternatives are not near as seriously considered because they do not have the same corporate sponsorship and profit behind them to create new standards of care.
To read excerpts from his book and see video of him speaking click here.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
This comes from WebMD:
Pesticides. Plastics. Cosmetics. Deodorants. Cookware. Stain-resistant furniture. Computers.
What do all these seemingly unrelated items have in common?
At one time or another, all have been suspected of increasing the risk of breast cancer.
The important point to recognize is that most researchers agree that there are no solidly proven links between these -- or other similar environmental factors -- and the risk of breast cancer.
The troubling aspect of this, however, is that many believe it's just a matter of time before we connect the scientific dots and see a picture of increased risk.
Amen brother! while it may be hard to make a causal link, this is important stuff. check out the findings of the Environmental Working Group mentioned in this article.
This comes from an article on WebMD:
"The easiest, least-expensive way to reduce your risk for cancer is just by eating a healthy diet," says Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon, PhD, MPH, RD, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute.
That seemingly simple advice could mean a drastic change in diet for many people.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Good article, except it does not mention acupuncture. Some of the best research in all of acupuncture is on its powerful effect on nausea, not only of chemotherapy but pregnancy related nausea as well.
Friday, December 01, 2006
The last paragraph talks about stimulant drugs such as dexmethylphenidate (Focalin) used to treat ADD that can be helpful.
There are also products that I would recommend in my office that contains phospholipids: phosphatydl choline, phosphatidyl serine and GPC
link to story
Thursday, November 30, 2006
The disenheartening situation of the world (sectarian wars, mullim vs. liberalism, global warming, wars for oil etc..) all have a solution through the market driven fuel economy according to Amory Lovins. It is a real solution to a real problem and there ain't nothing better than that.
click on the title which will link you to watch the video.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Your treatment is over, but your risk of side effects goes on. You might be surprised to know that side effects can continue after your cancer treatment or even develop several years later. Some cancer survivors wonder why they weren't told about the possibility of lingering side effects before they began treatment.
The fact is that not much is known about late effects. While the lack of information can be frustrating for cancer survivors, don't feel completely helpless. Find out all you can about late effects of cancer treatment and use this information to take control of your health.link to article
Sunday, November 26, 2006
This comment was originally posted at cancerblog.com.
Artificial sweetners are a profitable and large and highly politicized business. I don't trust this research by the NCI on this one. Or maybe it doesn't exactly cause cancer, but Aspartame is not something that I recommend ingesting. There are at least two great sugar substitutes. There are many respected authorities in nutrition and integrated medicine that can detail why Nutrasweet (Aspartame) is a problem. I think the science is pretty clear.
For a different perspective, I have written about this on my own blog.
This comes from a syndicated column that I found from the People's Pharmacy. I have seen their Q and A column in the LA Times Health Secotion every Monday.
A woman writes in:
Now the folks at the People's Pharmacy know and so do you.
I have had such success with an alternative therapy that I wanted to get the word out.
I was a premenopausal breast-cancer patient two years ago. My tumor was estrogen positive, so I have to avoid any sort of estrogen compound, including plant-based estrogen products. (It is still not known if plant-based estrogen could hurt someone with my type of breast cancer.)
I take tamoxifen to prevent a cancer recurrence. This drug acts as an "anti-estrogen" in breast tissue.
I was thrown into chemical menopause after chemotherapy and have experienced symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and bone and joint pain.
I just tried acupuncture (four sessions so far) and have had unbelievable success in curbing hot flashes and night sweats. My daytime hot flashes have virtually disappeared. The night sweats still occur occasionally, but much less often than before. As a result, my sleep is much improved, and I am not waking up in the middle of the night.
Thanks for sharing your experience. Acupuncture has been used for a range of conditions. We were unaware that it might be helpful for hot flashes.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Archived webcasts of the first and third days (April 10 and 12, 2006) of the conference Traditional Chinese Medicine and Cancer Research: Fostering Collaborations; Advancing the Science are available.
April 10, 2006
Total Running Time: 6 hours and 14 minutes
April 12, 2006
Total Running Time: 3 hours and 20 minutes
The purpose of this conference was to enlighten NCI staff about the application of various Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) modalities for cancer prevention, treatment, and symptom management. With increased knowledge about the use and potential of TCM for cancer, this conference was created to engage and facilitate discussion on the role that NCI should play in furthering research in this area.Please Note: In order to view the webcasts, you will require RealPlayer installed on your machine. You can download the latest version of the player from the RealNetworks web site at: http://www.realnetworks.com/info/freeplayer/.
Beyond needling-therapeutic processes in acupuncture care: a qualitative study nested within a low-back pain trial.
Six acupuncturists who treated up to 25 patients each were interviewed after the treatment phase of the trial to obtain an account of their experiences of providing acupuncture care to patients with low back pain referred by their GP. Using semistructured interviews and a topic guide, data were collected and analyzed for both a priori and emergent themes....
Study participants confirmed the importance of three processes that characterized acupuncture care in this trial, each contributing to the goal of a positive long-term outcome; building a therapeutic relationship; individualizing care; and facilitating the active engagement of patients in their own recovery. Acupuncturists described elements of care that characterized these processes including establishing rapport, facilitating communication throughout the period of care, using an interactive diagnostic process, matching treatment to the individual patient, and the use of explanatory models from Chinese medicine to aid the development of a shared understanding of the patient's condition and to motivate lifestyle changes that reinforce the potential for a recovery of health. Acupuncturists did not view these therapeutic goals, processes, and strategies as a departure from their usual practice.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
By Alex Berks L. Ac .
After active treatment is a time when patients often feel at a loss. The frequent treatments, follow ups and consultations have ended, but the fear of recurrence and side-effects of treatment may not have not gone away. The transition away from the aggressive fight to a care that is not as defined leaves many wanting. The physical body may be very different than the one that was there before cancer. Old ailments may flare up like allergies or excema and new problems may compound the picture. Complimentary and natural health strategies in the post-treatment phase help fill the gap not only on the physical level and also provide much needed calm. The importance of nutrition, exercise, and related lifestyle factors take center stage along with acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
In a study of 551 breast cancer survivors. Two-thirds (66%) of the women used at least one CAM (complimentary and Alternative Medicine) therapy during the previous 12 months, and the majority of them perceived that their CAM use was without the recommendation of their doctor. Relaxation/meditation, herbs, spiritual healing, and megavitamins were used most often. Significant predictors of CAM use included younger age, higher education, and private insurance. The majority of the CAM therapies were perceived by their users to be at least "moderately important" in remaining free of cancer. The reasons given for using CAM were to enhance overall quality of life, to feel more in control, to strengthen the immune system, and to reduce stress. Those surveyed stated that CAM use did not reflect negative attitudes towards conventional medical care, but rather an orientation to self-care in the optimization of their health and well being. Altern Ther Health Med. 2004 Jan-Feb;10(1):52-7 .
Often people think of health as the absence of disease and although that is huge especially for a cancer patient, real health is the person functioning at peak and optimal performance physically, mentally and emotionally without limitation by energy, pain, nor dysfunction of body systems. Optimal health may look different depending upon your individual circumstances. Not everyone will return to their pre-diagnosis life the same as they do after treatment, nor should they.
Rachel Naomi Remen, a doctor and author of Kitchen Table wisdom says, "Sometimes what appears to be a catastrophe, over time becomes a strong foundation from which to live a good life. It's possible to live a good life even though it isn't an easy life. And I think that's one of the best kept secrets in America." I see people with cancer and other people who have encountered very difficult experiences in their lives as teachers of wisdom. It's as if the repository of the wisdom to live well is with the sick people in our culture." (For the full interview click here ).
Making choices to live well should include natural medicine. Blood markers may be used to design a recovery program, along with measurements of nutritional or hormonal status. Other times, by looking at the pattern of imbalance within Chinese medicine customized herbal combinations are formulated to address the individuals' presentation. Acupuncture helps to relieve pain, reduce inflammation restore normalcy to every body system and calm the mind.
Perhaps a surgery recovery program will address your needs. Each person is unique in what they may need.
The proverb, "life is suffering, pain is optional", can be understood that life is difficult, there is much suffering, but how we react to this circumstance is what can determine the quality of our life. This and staying healthy with natural medicine may keep you away from reoccurence or retard a cancer's growth.
Alex Berks is a Chinese Medicine Practitioner practicing Acupuncture, herbal and nutritional medicine in West Los Angeles
to find out more about his supportive oncology practice go to www.naturalhealingacupuncture.com
or visit his cancer related blog.
Monday, November 20, 2006
I recently joined the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
I found this post from a Naturopath in Denver, Jacob Schor.
Imagine you have cancer and tomorrow morning some nurse is going to pump you full of Adriamycin. What do you do to get ready?
Believe it or not, you should pop some Viagra. Viagra increases nitric oxide in your blood, which in turn will make the chemotherapy more effective at destroying cancer cells and, at the same time, protect your heart from chemo-caused toxicity.
Adriamycin, the brand name for the drug doxorubicin, is a common chemotherapy drug used to treat a range of different cancers. It comes with a price. The killing action of Adriamycin is nonspecific and injures healthy cells as well as cancer cells. It is worthwhile to look for ways to increase the benefits of using it while looking for ways to lessen the harm. Increasing benefit translates as increasing Adriamycin's cancer cell killing effect. Decreasing harm means decreasing the damage to organs like the heart, liver and kidney.
A 2004 study showed you could increase the effect of Adriamycin by adding nitric oxide to the mix. Breast cancer cells exposed to nitric oxide (NO) 30 minutes before treatment were much more sensitive to Adriamycin. Adriamycin treatment alone killed 60% of the cancer cells, but pre-treating the cells with NO and then treating with Adriamycin killed 95% of the cancer cells in the experiment. [i]
Saturday, November 11, 2006
The study, Effect of Concomitant Naturopathic Therapies on Clinical Tumor Response to External Beam Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer, was conducted by researchers at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and reviewed PSA levels of prostate cancer patients after receiving radiation therapy. Researchers found no difference between patients taking antioxidants and those who did not. Antioxidants used in the study included green tea extract, melatonin, high-potency multivitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Nov 9,2006-The MUHC study is the first to demonstrate directly that diets low in folate cause colorectal cancer, and follows on the heels of earlier research by the same team that revealed how high folate diets can protect against heart disease. For the whole story click here
Find out more about folic acid click here.
Folic acid has to do with DNA replication and thus is a mechanism that is manipulated by the drug Methotrexate, used to treat some cancers and to control some autoimmune diseases. Folic acid is also very important in pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects aka spina abifida. Approximately 10% of the population does not absorb folic acid well and this can be a risk for pregancy related problems and heart disease. For more information on folic acid folic acid absorption problems click here.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Donald R. Yance, Jr, MH
Juravinski Cancer Centre and McMaster University, Department of Medicine, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.orgAn integrative approach for managing a patient with cancer should target the multiple biochemical and physiological pathways that support tumor development while minimizing normal tissue toxicity. Angiogenesis is a key process in the promotion of cancer. Many natural health products that inhibit angiogenesis also manifest other anticancer activities. The authors will focus on natural health products (NHPs) that have a high degree of antiangiogenic activity but also describe some of their many other interactions that can inhibit tumor progression and reduce the risk of metastasis. NHPs target various molecular pathways besides angiogenesis, including epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), the HER-2/neu gene, the cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme, the NF-kB transcription factor, the protein kinases, Bcl-2 protein, and coagulation pathways. The herbalist has access to hundreds of years of observational data on the anticancer activity of many herbs. Laboratory studies are confirming the knowledge that is already documented in traditional texts. The following herbs are traditionally used for anticancer treatment and are antiangiogenic through multiple interdependent processes that include effects on gene expression, signal processing, and enzyme activities: Artemisia annua (Chinese wormwood), Viscum album (European mistletoe), Curcuma longa (turmeric), Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap), resveratrol and proanthocyanidin (grape seed extract), Magnolia officinalis (Chinese magnolia tree), Camellia sinensis (green tea), Ginkgo biloba, quercetin, Poria cocos, Zingiber officinale (ginger), Panax ginseng, Rabdosia rubescens (rabdosia), and Chinese destagnation herbs. Quality assurance of appropriate extracts is essential prior to embarking on clinical trials. More data are required on dose response, appropriate combinations, and potential toxicities. Given the multiple effects of these agents, their future use for cancer therapy probably lies in synergistic combinations. During active cancer therapy, they should generally be evaluated in combination with chemotherapy and radiation. In this role, they act as biological response modifiers and adaptogens, potentially enhancing the efficacy of the so-called conventional therapies. Their effectiveness may be increased when multiple agents are used in optimal combinations. New designs for trials to demonstrate activity in human subjects are required. Although controlled trials might be preferred, smaller studies with appropriate end points and surrogate markers for antiangiogenic response could help prioritize agents for the larger resource-intensive phase 3 trials.
Download the full text of this article for free.
See previous article on Avastin. Many herbs work on the VEGF pathway.
Cancer patients desperate for options
By Dahleen Glanton
GREENWOOD, Miss. - Abraham Cherrix never set out to be an advocate for alternative medicine. He is just a 16-year-old with cancer who refused to undergo a second round of chemotherapy and went to court to fight for his right not to have it.
In a court-ordered compromise, the Virginia teenager landed at the North Central Mississippi Regional Cancer Center, one of a new breed of cancer facilities in the United States that integrate conventional medicine and alternative therapies.
Cherrix's struggle to use herbs and diet supplements to fight Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system - rather than have a series of debilitating rounds of chemotherapy - has brought attention to a growing movement in the U.S. to bring alternative medicine into the mainstream.For the whole story click here.
Alex's comment: Good thing for this young man is that Hodgkins disease is the cancer that is best treated with chemotherapy. Thus it follows that because of this there would be natural treatments that would be effective. This has been my experience with Hodgkins, but I don't advocate going it alone like this guy did either
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
"For decades, we've known that standard chemotherapy can improve survival for lung cancer patients, but we have not made improvements in survival beyond the gains made using that approach," Licthenfeld notes.
"That makes even the modest improvement in survival provided by Avastin important," he says.Fifty-one percent of those receiving Avastin plus chemotherapy survived for at least one year, compared with 44% of those who got chemotherapy without Avastin, according to Genentech.
On average, patients who received Avastin plus chemotherapy lived one year, compared with 10 months for patients treated with chemotherapy alone.
Alex writes: So by taking this drug patients with advanced lung cancer got an additonal two months of life. It is better than nothing but not that great. But wait there is more.
Avastin, which is given intravenously, is not a new drug.
The FDA first approved it in February 2004 for use in combination with chemotherapy to treat metastatic(cancer that has spread beyond the colon or rectum).
Avastin is believed to target a growth factor called VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). By blocking the action of VEGF, Avastin hampers the growth of new blood vessels that bring blood to tumor.
Basically, the strategy is to deprive tumors of their blood supply, thereby starving them. Such drugs are called angiogenesis inhibitors.
What foods and herbs will do this? Stay tuned
Guest blogged by Vanessa Bathfield, Personal Chef
There was always a reason why your mother made you eat broccoli and carrots as a child. Mother always said it was good for you, even though you may have cringed and she may not have specifically known why. Today researchers and scientist are proving her right.
These are some of the now classed “super foods” that aren’t just healthy ingredients; these contain cancer fighting ingredients called phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals are chemicals in plants and vegetables that have disease preventive properties for humans. What nature has developed for plants to protect themselves from viruses and diseases, can help us homosapiens to fight the same things.
Here’s the list of top ten super foods from the The Cancer Lifeline cookbook
1. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and vegetables from the cruciferous family.
These contain indoles which increase liver enzyme activities to detoxify carcinogens from the body. Researchers have found that people who eat more of these types of vegetables reduce their risk of lung, stomach, colon, rectum and prostate cancers.
2. Beans and legumes including soy
Legumes are not only high in protein and an outstanding source of fiber but they are rich in saponines and cancer suppressors such as phytic acid. Saponins help by keeping normal cells from turning into cancer cells and prevent cancer cells from growing.
Soy contains isoflavones which is a class of phytoestrogens. These substances regulate hormone function in women. These have estrogen like effects and thus for breast cancer patients or breast cancer survivors it is best to consult your doctor regarding whether a diet containing soy is right for you. To read more about the soy controversy follow the isoflavone link above. ie... Soy can interact with Tamoxifen, a drug commonly used for prevention of breast cancer.
3. Berries and cherries
The dark blue, red and purple colors in berries are produced by anthocyanins a powerful antioxidant which protect cells from being damaged.
4. Onions, garlic, chives and vegetables from the Allium family
These are high in antioxidants called allyl sulfides that are a compound that acts as a cancer blocking or suppressing agent.
5. Carotenoid vegetables which are the deep orange, yellow, red and green vegetables such as (red peppers, carrots, yams, and spinach)
Carotenoids may protect against rapid cell production which possibly increases the risk of cancer. Again, these are high in antioxidants and studies have reported a relationship between low risk for cancer and high consumption of foods which contain antioxidants.
High in protein and rich is omega 3 fatty acids. Fish protects against cancer because it restricts the production of tumor promoters such as prostaglandins.
High in lycopene a phytochemical that has several effects. As an antioxidant it stops free radicals from harming the DNA in cell membranes and it also restores communication between cells found in tumors and can signal their growth to halt.
8. Mushrooms particularly shiitake and maitake
Contain polysaccharides which stimulate the immune system and protect against cancer by allowing the immune system to destroy cancer cells.
9. Nuts and seeds, including flaxseed
An excellent source of protein and in nut butter formats are easy foods to digest particularly when undergoing cancer treatments. Some research has suggested that nuts help decrease prostate cancer. A caution to patients with estrogen-receptor positive cancers, flaxseeds should be eaten in moderation.
10. Green tea
Polyphenols found in green teas are known to inhibit compounds involved in tumor survival and metastasis. These may interact with medications that you may be taking so please consult with your medical practitioner.
Make it organic
Organic produce is grown without using harmful chemicals and toxins; this not only makes them taste better but is much healthier for the body.
Mix it with a heavy protein diet
It is recommended when working with patients undergoing cancer treatments that they have a high protein diet. Proteins are our natural building blocks. It seems logical then that when the body is undergoing intense stress and the need to repair itself and protect itself from infections, that more building blocks would be required than normal.
It is also optimal to try to get this protein from non-animal sources such as fish, legumes, grains and vegetable proteins. It is recommended that animal sources of protein be a secondary choice but if you must choose this then work with skinless chicken or turkey, eggs and low-fat cheeses. Avoid the processed meat products and red meats.
Adding additional sources of protein such as whey protein powder in almost everything you consume; can help gain the protein needed without having to eat heavy meals throughout the day.
Whilst all of this information is critical for cancer patients to help them be the strongest they can during a difficult time, we should all to heed to these dietary suggestions and benefits. If we didn’t believe our mothers before, we should believe the experts now!
As a personal chef I work with my clients to ensure that each menu plan not only meets their personal dietary preferences, but contain ingredients for optimal health!
Vanessa Bathfield, Personal Chef
Sunday, October 29, 2006
The scientific world has been shaken by a report from Clemson University that a single therapeutic dose of radiation can cause appreciable bone loss. Senior author Ted Bateman, PhD, a professor of bioengineering, and his South Carolina colleagues showed that when mice were given a dose of just two Gy (two gray, a radiation dosage formerly designated as 200 rads), between 29 and 39 percent of their interior bone mass was destroyed.
It did not particularly matter which kind of radiation the mice were exposed to. Gamma rays, protons, high-speed carbon and iron nuclei all had a similar and markedly destructive effect. Dr. Bateman and his colleagues reached these figures by creating 3D computer scans of the spongy interior of the bones and then calculating how much bone mass these irradiated mice had lost compared to a control group.
"We were surprised at how large the difference in bone mass was," Dr. Bateman told the weekly magazine, New Scientist (Barry 2006).
For The whole story click here
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
See the whole story about Honey as a topical antibiotic here.
Friday, October 06, 2006
(CNN) -- Earlier this year, rock singer Sheryl Crow underwent minimally invasive surgery for breast cancer.
Sheryl received an excellent prognosis from doctors and is now trying to raise awareness about the disease and the need for early detection, which she thinks made a big difference in her case.
CNN.com invited readers to send their questions to Sheryl Crow about her battle with breast cancer.
Sheryl Crow supplemented her cancer treatment with acupuncture and herbal teas.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
"Sometimes people with cancer find that the friends and family they thought they could rely on aren't offering them the support they need..."
"A Canadian study published June 14th in the British Journal of Cancer found that almost 38 percent of its 3,095 participants—who included people with breast, prostate, colorectal and lung cancer—met the criteria for distress levels that should be treated. But almost half of these patients had not sought psychosocial support, primarily because they weren't aware of support services or because they didn't think they needed them."
These excerpts comes from the article The Stress of Cancer: Seeking Support
Alex's comment: This is a good article except that it does not mention acupuncture. Maybe that is why it is referred to as "alternative medicine". If feeling better physically and emotionally is "alternative" than so be it. Stress of all kinds is an important area for people to get great value out of acupuncture, massage and herbal medicine. While acupuncture is generally researched for its results for a particular condition. Perhaps, what is more telling is the patient satisfaction with their acupuncturist and how they feel after an acupuncture session. This is very high. All the therapies of Chinese Medicine improve quality of life. This is also referred to as helping to "balance" the system. Balancing what? Organ imbalances, emotions, stresses, lifestyle factors - all of it.
The individual can be overlooked in the efforts to treat and cure a disease. Why? Because part of the philosophical basis of Chinese Medicine is treating people not diseases. This, at least in my practice creates communications with my patients that encompass all the factors that can influence a problem. This I refer to as treating the root of the problem. This is not always possible but when it happens it is a beautiful thing because the patient is seen in his/her totality and complexity as a feeling human being.
Colo-Rectal cancer is the 4th most prevalent cancer in the United States.
"The 5-year survival rate for somebody with a stage I cancer, a cancer just affecting the inner layer of the colon, is 95 percent. The likelihood that somebody with a stage II cancer that's affecting the muscle layer of the colon but not the lymph nodes is about 80 percent. This again underscores the reasons for trying to detect colon cancer early. It can make a big difference in terms of odds of cure."
Watch the short unbiased video here on Colo-Rectal Cancer screening.
There are also 2 additional short videos about Crohn's and Irritable Bowel Disease as precursors to colon cancer on the same link.
Alex's comment: The message of these videos is early detection particularly if there is a family history of colon cancer or Crohn's/Colitis. This is key to a long and healthy life with cancer. Where I would come in as an herbalist is to help someone with Crohn's/Colitis control inflammation prior to a cancer diagnosis. Once a person has this type of cancer, if possible get it removed ASAP. This is clear. However, if a person has disease that requires chemotherapy, radiation, I can support the body to heal and recover.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
It is often assumed that before they can be made available to patients, drugs and medical treatments must first be proven unequivocally effective through rigorous clinical trials. Surprisingly though, this is by no means always the case. For example, a paper written by three Australian oncologists and published last year in the journal Clinical Oncology, showed that the contribution of chemotherapy to the five-year survival of adult cancer patients was extremely small - averaging between 2 and 5 percent (Morgan 2004). Most patients - and probably many oncologists too - generally assume, almost as a matter of faith, that the benefit is much greater.
Ralph Moss critiques the benefits of Nexavar and other targeted cancer therapies in his weekly email. For the rest of the story click here.
Click here to find out what the American Cancer Society (ACS) says about acupuncture.
Look up info. about many cancers at the ACS website.
Dr. Samuels stated further that acupuncture can act against carcinogens (factors attributable to cancer development) through its ability to reduce stress and enhance immune function.(2) Indeed, several cancer centres have begun incorporating acupuncture for treating cancer-related symptoms such as pain(3) and many patients have had significant results in the reduction of their symptoms.(4)
For the rest of the article click here.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Laughter Yoga is a new revolution in body-mind medicine that combines simple laughter exercises and gentle yoga breathing to enhance health and happiness. Anyone can laugh in a group for 15-20 minutes without depending upon a great sense of humor, jokes or comedy. For more info. Click here.
Good video at laughter yoga.org
Los Angeles Laughter Yoga Club can be found here. Meetings are held in Pasadena and Westwood.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
"Selenium as a potential chemosensitizer for cancer therapy has attracted some attention lately"
See article The selenium gold mine
September 2006 Function Foods and Nutraceuticals Magazine Q&A with leading experts in the field of selenium There are links at the end of this article to the literature of the use of selenium with cancer.
Although it is toxic in large doses, selenium is an essential micronutrient in all known forms of life. It is a component of the unusual amino acids selenocysteine and selenomethionine. In humans, selenium is a trace element nutrient which functions as cofactor for reduction of antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidases and thioredoxin reductase. It also plays a role in the functioning of the thyroid gland by participating as a cofactor for thyroid hormone deiodinases . Dietary selenium comes from cereals, meat, fish, and eggs. The recommended dietary allowance for adults is 55 micrograms per day. Liver and Brazil nuts are particularly rich sources of selenium. A list of selenium rich foods can be found on The Office of Dietary Supplements Selenium Fact Sheet.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Stevia is 250-300 times sweeter than table sugar and has a slight licorice-like after taste. Stevia does not raise blood sugar levels or effect diabetics. The story of stevia's use in America is political
because it is a challenge to the very profitable artifiical sugar industry. In other countries Stevia and xylitol are used in food products, due to the politics of big business controlling artificial sweetners (and everything else) what is best for the consumer is not always what is available. Mercola has numerous aritcles about the politics of artificial sweetners, Why Nutrasweet was so Successful and Will Likely Never be Replaced by Splenda.
For information about Stevia see the Stevia entry on Wikipedia
History and politics of stevia can be found here.
Leave Splenda and Nutrasweet alone. The two best sweet tasting, healthy sugar substitutes are xylitol and stevia
Xylitol has an interesting history that is worth noting. It originally was discovered in Finland as a sugar substitute during WW II. It is isolated from the birch tree (something they have a lot of in Finland)
Xylitol has 40% less calories than sucrose, but no effect on blood sugar but tastes like normal table sugar. Xylitol has tremendous health benefits besides a sugar substitute. It is antimicrobial so when used as a sweetner (ie.. in chewing gum) it can help prevent dental caries. Trident gum has a formulation with xylitol. Xylitol is also sold in formulations as a nasal spray and for ear infections. Xylitol is not a Johnny come lately. It was approved by the FDA in 1963 and has no known toxic levels.
For more information about xylitol click on the article Xylitol: Our sweet salvation.
Xylitol can be purchased from my clinic. 310-473-7474.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
With a cancer diagnosis or those who are trying to prevent cancer or its reoccurence. Or those who want to maintain good health and lose wieght (Have I covered everybody yet?) it is important for health to not ingest artificial sweetners. This includes diabetics who will be very sensitive to sugars. This includes not drinking diet sodas. Why? Because Asparatame (Nutrasweet) is a neurotoxin.
Larry Frieders is a Pharmacist and a writer. This is what his newsletter says;
For the whole story click on Larry's newsletter, called The CompounderI've recently been made aware of a new use for this neurotoxin (A substance that is poisonous
to nerve tissue.) If you've got ants, sprinkle aspartame and they'll
And the latest and best seller of the artificial sweetner Splenda is no better. Read the whole story here. The Lethal Science Of Splenda - A Poisonous Chlorocarbon. Mercola.com, a trusted website in complimentary and alternative health has written numerous articles on the subject of the horrors of artificial sweetners. See his article called, The Not So Sweet Reality Behind Atrificial Sweetners.
Next: What are the best 0 calorie sweetners to use.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
"You know, sometimes what appears to be a catastrophe, over time becomes a strong foundation from which to live a good life. It's possible to live a good life even though it isn't an easy life. And I think that's one of the best kept secrets in America."Rachel Naomi Remen is a Physician, author, healer and founder of the Commonweal Cancer Support Foundation. I first saw her speak in about 1987 at the Noetic Sciences confernce in San Jose, CA. Check out an interview with her on Speaking of Faith, a weekly radio show about all matters spiritual. This is great stuff.
"...And this is why I see people with cancer and other people who have encountered very difficult experiences in their lives as teachers, teachers of wisdom. It's as if the wisdom to live well is — at the moment, the repository of this wisdom are the sick people in our culture, the ill people in our culture."
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Causes of cancer-related fatigue
This is an area that I, as a complimentary practitioner can be of great value. This comes from a Mayo Clinic newsletter.
Fatigue may be caused by many factors, and the factors that contribute to your fatigue may be completely different from those of someone you know. However, possible contributing factors include:
- Your cancer. Your cancer itself can cause changes to your body that can lead to fatigue. For instance, some cancers release proteins called cytokines, which are thought to cause fatigue. Other cancers can increase your body's need for energy, weaken your muscles or alter your body's hormones, all of which may contribute to fatigue.
- Good basic nutrition can help mitigate some of this - I usually recommend whey protein if not sensitive to whey patients in active treatment because it is easy to digest, high in branch chain amino acids and has immune enhancing substances. I also recommend a good quality fish oil supplement. Depending on the type of cancer other supplements will vary.
- Cancer treatment. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, bone marrow transplantation and biological therapy may all cause fatigue. You may experience fatigue when chemotherapy or radiation therapy destroys healthy cells in addition to the targeted cancer cells. Fatigue may occur as your body tries to repair the damage to healthy cells and tissue. Some treatment side effects — such as anemia, nausea, vomiting, pain, insomnia and changes in mood — also may cause fatigue.
- Many side-effects and symptoms can be helped with acupuncture due to its regulatory effect on all the body's systems. Some chemotherapy regimens can be aided by specific nutritional supplementation.
- Anemia. You might develop anemia if your treatment destroys too many healthy red blood cells. You can also develop anemia as a result of the cancer itself if the cancer has spread to your bone marrow and interferes with blood cell production or causes you to lose blood. Anemia may also result from unrelated medical conditions, such as thyroid problems.
- Using herbs to treat anemias is possible. But certain steps need to be taken. Be clear on the type of anemia and if treatment of the anemia will influence the cancer itself.
- Pain. If you experience chronic pain, you may be less active, eat less, sleep less and become depressed, all of which may add to your fatigue.
- Acupuuncture far and away.
- Emotions. Anxiety, stress or sadness after your cancer diagnosis also may lead to fatigue.
- Acupuuncture far and away.
- Lack of sleep. If you're sleeping less at night or your sleep is frequently interrupted, you may experience fatigue.
- Acupuuncture far and away.
- Poor nutrition. In order to work efficiently, your body needs the energy that a healthy diet provides. When you have cancer, changes can occur in your body's need for and ability to process nutrients. These changes can lead to poor nutrition, resulting in fatigue. For example, your body may need more nutrients than usual or it may not be able to process nutrients adequately. You may also take in fewer nutrients if your appetite wanes or treatment side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, make it difficult to eat.
- Medications. Certain medications, such as pain relievers, can cause fatigue.
- Lack of exercise. If your body is used to being on the go, slowing down can make you feel fatigued. Though you will have good days and bad days, try to maintain your normal level of activity if you can.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
This is a videocast from the National Cancer Institute (April 26, 2006)
Dr. Bruce Rosen discussed how neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), pharmacological magnetic resonance imaging (phMRI), and positron emission tomography (PET) have brought considerable clarity to the heretofore rather secretive bases of acupuncture's effects on the human mind and body.
You will need RealPlayer or WindowsMediaPlayer to watch this.
This image is from Alex Grey. If you haven't seen his artwork it is amazing.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Press Release of Grape Seed Study
Grape seed has many other applications please see the information from Designs For Health below.
Excellent women's hormonal health herbal formula - FemGuard and Balance
Grape Seed Extract From Designs For Health
If you are interested in these formulas they can be purchased from me at the Natural Medicine Clinic.
Research shows that grape seed/skin extracts may benefit:
skin, blood vessels, joints
•Brain Protection Against:
stroke, neurotoxins, aging
Reduce LDL oxidation and
Reduce platelet aggregation
support vessel elasticity
•protect DNA from mutagens
•reduce AGE induced stress
May have overall longevity
HOW DOES A CAPSULE OF GRAPE SEED SUPREME COMPARE WITH A GLASS OF WINE?
Nutall et al2have found that a 300mg dose of Leucoselect Phytosome has produced a plasma antioxidant capacity increase comparable to that of the consumption of 5-7ml/kg of red wine per Kg body mass 7, which for a typical 70 kg person translates into approx 0.5 l or a half bottle of red wine. Considering the amount of Leucoselect and Biovin per capsule, we may extrapolate to say that one capsule of Grape Seed Supreme could be equivalent to one glass of red wine, without the detrimental effects of alcohol. Also, many red wines vary as much as 40 fold in Resveratrol content.
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29. Finkel T. Ageing: A toast to long life. Nature. 2003 Sep 11;425(6954):132-3.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
This is a fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money to help the American Cancer Society save lives, help those who have been touched by cancer, and empower individuals to fight back against this disease. During the event, teams take turns walking or running laps. Each team keeps at least one team member on the track at all times.
This is much more than a walk around a track. It is a time to remember those lost to cancer and celebrate those who have survived. It is a night for people who have shared the same experience to comfort and console one another.
Relay gives you the power to help accelerate the Society’s advancement toward a future where cancer doesn’t take the lives of our friends and family.
For date time and location details click here
To join the team and participate or make a donation click here.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Reliable gene silencing is vital to the health of an organism. Improperly activated genes can and do lead to cancer, for example. Gene silencing is also thought to protect the genome from viruses and other potentially damaging entities, thus preserving genetic integrity.
For the complete article click here. from medicalnewstoday.com
There is a lot of drug research going on in this area.
Nutrients can also effect gene expressison. The following comes from a talk I heard by Jeane Wallace Phd CNC. There is excellent information on this site. I have added the hot links.
Promoting Gene Stability
GOAL: Control chronic excessive oxidation, which may promote genetic instability and
aggressive tumor behavior.
TESTING: Assessments of Redox balance. Functional Liver Detoxification (Phase I:
Methylation status (homocysteine). For an explanation of the relationship of homcysteine, methylation and cancer click here. For a 45 minute audio powerpoint explanation of of functional testting with Organic acids click here.
DIET: Diet goal target ≥ 5,000-7,500 ORAC/day
• Antioxidant nutrients (carotenoids, tocopherols/tocotrienols)
• Anti-inflammatory agents
• Methylating agents (further explanation of methylation to cancer click here.)
Cutler RG: Genetic stability and oxidative stress: common mechanisms in aging and cancer.
Heine T, Glatt H, Epe B: Human cytochrome P450 reductase can act as a source of endogenous
DNA damage and genetic instability. Free Radic Biol Med, Mar 1, 2006;40(5):801-7.
Louw DF, Bose R, Sima A, Sutherland GR: Evidence for a high free radical state in low-
astrocytomas. Neurosurgery, Nov 1997;41(5):1146-51.
Maley CC, Galipeau PC, Li X, et al: The combination of genetic instability and clonal expansion
progression to esophageal adenocarcinoma. Cancer Res, Oct 15, 2004;64:7629-33.