There is still no certain cure for cancer. However increasing numbers of people have recovered against the odds and many have written about how they’ve done it. Even where cure is not feasible, it may be possible to prolong life and to increase the quality of life.
The basic issue here is that cancer happens for a reason. The reason is that something in our life has had a damaging or toxic effect on the body and overwhelms the body’s capacity to heal. It naturally follows that if we can identify and reduce these negative factors and also increase the body’s healing powers then this gives us the best chance of healing. In other words we need to remove the causes and strengthen the body. This may be obvious in cases such as smoking in lung cancer but often it requires a little digging.
A study of cancer survivors showed that they had one thing in common. This was that they believed that the method of treatment they were using was going to work for them.
There is no question that diet makes a difference. In Foster’s study of 100 cancer survivors, in which the majority (53%) had metastatic cancer, 87% had made major changes to their diet, typically to a vegetarian diet, eliminating tobacco, sugar and meat (79%), alcohol (75%), chocolate, white flour, coffee, milk and tea (50%).
There are several diets with a proven track record in cancer. The earliest was the Gerson diet. It involves living off fruit and vegetable juices and no other food. Supplements were also given. It can be effective (Gerson treated hundreds of terminal cases of cancer with about 50% recovering) but it can be time-consuming and expensive. Note that in Gerson’s time all the fruit and vegetable was organic. This is better as pesticides are carcinogenic and can be concentrated in juices. However there is no doubt that fruit and vegetable juices have tremendous healing powers. An American cancer expert, Dr Livingston suggests 2 pints of carrot juice per day. However many fruit and vegetable juices will help and mixtures of apple, cabbage, celery and beetroot are good starting points. Use organic fruit and vegetables where possible. It is well worth buying a juicer.
The second major cancer healing diet is the macrobiotic diet. Figures produced by Carter showed that survival from pancreatic cancer with standard medical treatment was 9% at one year and 54% with the macrobiotic diet. The macrobiotic diet consists of brown rice, miso soup, beans, cooked vegetables, sea vegetables (grains, greens, beans, seeds, weeds, roots and fruits). This diet is a difficult option without help.
Jan Dries has been successfully using a diet to treat cancer in Holland for many years. This is a diet of organic fruit and vegetables with no grains, meat or dairy products.
Raw food diets have also been successful in cancer. Fresh raw foods are high in enzymes which are thought to be protective against cancer. A 70 – 80% raw diet with very low protein is ideal for combating cancer.
Alkaline diets are healing whereas acidic diets promote disease. The western diet is acidic. Generally speaking the diets above are all naturally alkaline as fruit and vegetables are alkaline foods whereas meat, sugar and grains are acidic. There are products which help the body become alkaline such as Alka Lisa but having one teaspoonful of sodium bicarbonate in a glass of water in the evening may help. The Italian doctor Tullio Simoncini used injections of sodium bicarbonate to treat tumours with considerable success.
The strongest link between food and cancer is sugar. Sugar is essential food for tumours and numerous animal studies have shown that cancer recovery is far superior on low sugar diets compared to high sugar diets.
In animal experiments it is often very difficult to induce cancer as they often cure themselves. If the animal protein in the diet is kept low then even large amounts of cancer-causing agents have no effect. In contrast if the protein is high (equivalent to the western diet) then small amounts of carcinogens will provoke cancer (see China Study). Milk protein, perhaps because it contains a substance IGF-1, which is growth-promoting, seems especially dangerous. There is a strong link between milk and breast and prostate cancer and it is worth completely avoiding milk in these cancers. Note that all the above diets are low animal protein diets. The major sources of protein are meat and dairy products. It is certainly a good idea to avoid meat and milk for the first 4 months and then to keep it low.
Some general dietary measures that will help include getting rid of sugar, hydrogenated fats, white flour, sodas, seed oils, coffee, nicotine and all foods with a long list of chemicals on the packet. American cancer expert, Sherry Rogers refers to this as cutting out the CRAP, C= Cigarettes, coffee, chemicals R= Refined sugar and flour A= Alcohol P= Processed foods.
Increase the number of protective foods. A huge number of vegetables and fruits have now been shown to contain substances that protect against different stages in the cancer pathway (eg green tea, garlic and turmeric inhibit cancer growth, seaweed, spices and onions cause cancer cell death, grapes and berries inhibit blood vessels within tumours and chillies block tumour enzymes). The effect of all these foods combined is additive (note that no drugs work on all stages of the cancer process –this effect is unique to healthy foods).
Roughly in order of importance the foods with the strongest anti-cancer properties are mushrooms (notably oyster and maitake mushrooms), garlic, onions, leeks, cruciferous vegetables, green tea, turmeric, beetroot, Omega 3 fats, ginger, red wine, seaweed, berries, citrus fruit and tomatoes. Remember fruit and vegetable juices.
Brazil nuts and almonds also have anti-cancer properties (however their nutrient content depends on the soil they are grown in and now many almonds are grown intensively). These nuts contain the anti-cancer substance Vitamin B17 (see below). Spouting seeds are another recommended food because of their high content of phytonutrients and enzymes. Choose a diet which seems right for you; a diet which does not cause stress. There are plenty of good foods to choose from but cutting out the harmful ones is often the most difficult step.
Fasting, usually with fruit and vegetable juices, is highly beneficial (and reduces cancer in animal studies by 80%). Fasting switches off inflammation, switches on stem cells, causes sick cells to die and prevents metastasis. People, including hospital specialists and dieticians often worry about the weight loss in cancer but this is a misunderstanding. The key is always to eat healing foods. Start with daily fasts – people are often worse initially as fasts release toxicity – and then increase the length of fasts. Fasting also releases toxic chemicals from the body which itself is healing.
Cancer-survivor Louis Hay had perhaps the simplest strategy. If foods were healing she would eat them, if not, she wouldn’t. Patrick Kingsley who treated thousands of “no-hopers” with cancer with great success would say “there is no way you can heal your body without healing foods”.
There have been over 10,000 papers written on cancer and diet. The most essential finding is that vegetables, especially when raw are a key element in combating cancer.
Food Recommendations – (it takes 4 months to get your defences working properly)
- No meat for 4 months then add organic chicken and turkey.
- No white flour, white bread, white rice (use wholemeal or wholegrain only), vinegar or sugar or products with sugar (cakes, biscuits, pastry) for 4 months.
- Avoid milk for 4 months then use organic only (avoid milk for good if breast, prostate or ovarian cancers).
- Have large quantities of vegetables daily and the less sugary fruits.
- Eat raw nuts, especially almonds, cashews and hazelnuts daily.
- Use fruit and vegetable juices daily (not bought juices which may have added sugars and will have lost much of their nutrient value). Fasting on juices for 3 to 4 days a month will help in the first few months. An alternative is apples only for 3 days. Use organic produce if at all possible.
Review how you are doing after one month and if you are not making progress change strategy. The biggest clue that things are working is usually an increase in energy.
Concentrate on looking after yourself for the first 3 months –make it a priority. Cancer develops over a long time period and it takes time to heal where this is possible.
However sometimes when healing does occur symptoms can get worse and this is called a healing crisis. This is a good sign. For instance a man who healed a tumour in his neck with vitamin C found that after several weeks his glands swelled up like balloons. However he felt surprisingly well during this episode. Healing occurred soon after.
It is possible to vary the rate of tumours in mice from 16 to 88% by varying the amount of exercise. Injecting exercised muscle into mice slowed tumour growth. The Simontons who treated “incurable” cancer patients at the Cancer Counselling and Research Center in Dallas, were best known for their use of visualisation. However they also incorporated exercise (and I believe that if they had used dietary changes they would have obtained even better results). Of 159 patients not expected to live a year, 19% recovered, 22% had tumour regression and the rest doubled their survival time. They found a significant number of their most successful patients kept up vigorous exercise (a man with metastatic cancer ran a marathon). They asked their patients to exercise for 1 hour three times a week (shorter periods had less benefit) and asked bedbound patients to visualise exercising several times a day for 10 minutes. They found regularity of exercise was more important than the type.
One of the most ignored pieces of research in cancer is that on high dose Vitamin C. Dr Cameron discovered that high doses of Vitamin C were extremely helpful in cancer. His study showed those taking high doses survived four times as long as patients on standard treatment.
A study of cancer patients given 10 grams of Vitamin C and other supplements including beta-carotene found 80% lived a staggering sixteen times as long. Typically the dose of Vitamin C is increased from about 2 grams daily, increasing by 2 grams every 3-4 days to 10 – 15 grams a day or until diarrhoea occurs and then to reduce the dose slightly. There are hundreds of case studies of people who have healed their cancers with Vitamin C (either given by mouth or by infusion) and international conferences have been held on its use in cancer.
Of equal importance is the fact that patients who didn’t recover noticed marked reductions in pain and increases in wellbeing. Abraham Hoffer, an American psychiatrist, was approached by a 16 year old patient who was due to have her arm amputated for a Ewing’s sarcoma. He had used vitamins successfully for his psychiatric patients and tried a dose of Vitamin C (3 grams daily) combined with high dose niacinamide 3 grams daily (Vitamin B3). She recovered and never needed an amputation. His reputation grew and he went on to treat over 1000 cancer patients with Vitamin C, usually using between 12 to 40 grams daily often combined with other nutrients. . His survival rates at one year were between 72 – 77% and at five years between 23-46% (standard at the time was 24-28% at one year and 5-11% at 5 years).
However Vitamin C treatment is still not accepted by most oncologists despite numerous positive studies, research evidence that Vitamin C kills cancer cell (from as long ago as 1969), causes cancer regression and enhances immunity, numerous anecdotal reports and a benefit to risk profile which is vastly superior to standard drugs. The fact that this evidence was ignored so frustrated two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling that he stated “the war against cancer is largely a fraud”. Chen working at the University of Kansas in 2014 confirmed intravenous Vitamin C selectively killed cancer cells in mice with cancer. However for Vitamin C to work well needs consistently high doses.
Other supplements have been used and the most useful appear to be Zinc, Vitamin A, Selenium and Co-enzyme Q10.The latter was shown to have impressive results in a Swedish trial of breast cancer.
All anti-oxidants have a cancer preventative effect in animals and humans. These nutrients work together. These include Vitamins A, C and E and Selenium. Of particular interest is the work of the late Dr Donaldson. He was able to reverse cases of cancer which had been labelled terminal by the use of Selenium. He noted that no improvement occurred until the blood selenium went up and the amount of selenium needed for this was quite variable.
Recently further anti-oxidants have been discovered. These include pycnogel and circuminoids (said to be 60 times more potent than Vitamin C).
One of the most exciting supplements is Biobran which is used by oncologists in Japan. It is extracted from mushrooms. In trials on cancer patients, 95% showed increases in natural killer cells, it also inhibits cancer growth, strengthens immunity and acts as an anti-oxidant. There are many case studies of patients recovering after using this product (see booklet by Spencer Bright).
Mushrooms have powerful anti-cancer properties partly derived from a substance called beta-glucan. However most of the active ingredients lie in the mycelia or roots. A compound derived from this called Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) works by boosting the body’s T cells (and hence immunity) to very high levels. It contains not only beta-glucan which is not easily broken down by the body but alpha–glucan which is broken down. A preparation of AHCC called SP-5 is used in 700 hospitals in Japan. It is has been the subject of multiple clinical studies and has no known toxicity. Some of these studies are remarkable. In a study of 195 terminal cancer patients given 6 grams of AHCC daily, 27 cases of cancer stopped progressing within 6 months and 114 had either partial improvement or complete recovery.
The substance Vitamin B17 sometimes called laetrile or amygdalin is one of the most interesting and controversial remedies. This was discovered by a Dr Ernst Krebs in the 1950s. He found it helped cancer in animal studies. A Dr Richardson used it with so much success that he developed one of the busiest cancer clinics in America. A battle developed over this simple substance, (which is found in the kernels of apricots, peach, plums, cherries, and also in sprouted seeds and almonds), which culminated in an official trial of the substance which apparently showed it to be ineffective until one of the official directors, Dr Burke, blew the whistle on the cover up. Further work was done by the world’s greatest cancer researcher, Dr Sugiura. He found it the most effective cancer agent he had ever tested. Dr Ralph Moss, after being asked to give an official statement which was the exact opposite of the scientific findings, spoke out. Unfortunately it was still banned. However it is easy to use.
One of the simplest remedies is apricot seeds which are very high in B17. Use a nutcracker to break open the stone and eat the seed. It should have a bitter taste if it contains B17 (occasional varieties have lower B17) For cancer eat 40 seeds daily, but no more than 6 in an hour. You can also use plum or peach seeds or almonds though these have slightly less B17. They can also be found in some health food shops.
Donald William Kelley developed metastatic pancreatic cancer in his thirties and was told nothing more could be done. However he noted that his cancer nodules grew after he ate meat, sugar or white flour and regressed after he ate fruit, vegetables, nuts and especially after drinking carrot juice (an observation previously noted by Gerson). He changed his diet and started to get better. An avid reader he came across research in the Lancet at the turn of the century that enzymes could help cancer in both humans and animals. He added enzymes to his regime and found the tumours broke down so quickly that he became toxic. He then took coffee enemas to counteract the toxicity (this was a standard treatment for toxicity at the time) and this aided his recovery. He made a full recovery and over the next twenty years went on treat over 450 patients with cancer (often those beyond conventional treatment) with a 50% success rate.
The Kelley treatment, now run by Dr Jack Taylor in Chicago, uses pancreatic enzymes, supplements and diet. Dr Taylor believes that adequate pancreatic enzymes are needed to break down the walls of the cancer cells. Pancreatic enzymes can be prescribed although they are almost never used conventionally for this purpose. A typical dose would be 4 to 8 capsules before bed and the same between 2 and 5 am (a key time for body repair).
We know that every person has hundreds of toxic chemicals within their body, mostly in their fatty tissues. The problem with these chemicals is that can attach to DNA causing DNA adducts which can be a trigger for cancer. These can be measured but this is not done in the NHS. A clue to a toxic exposure can be previous occupation or hobbies. Sometimes people intuitively guess what has harmed them. It is crucial to avoid toxicity as much as possible when treating cancer. It is impossible to avoid all sources but they can be reduced. Eat organic and natural food, unadulterated by chemicals and pesticides, and filter water. Avoid obvious sources of air pollution such as air fresheners, perfumes, paints and sprays which give out a range of chemicals (10% of all chemicals are carcinogenic). Anything you breathe enters your body within seconds. Sometimes a location can be important, especially if previous occupants of a house died from cancer.
The issue of toxicity is complex. Detoxification gets little attention in conventional medicine but the body sees it differently. The major organ of detoxification, the liver, happens to be the largest organ in the body and with good reason. Supporting it with a good diet and appropriate supplements makes perfect sense. Other ways of removing toxicity are fasts and saunas but this is beyond the scope of this leaflet (see toxicity leaflet).
Although not thought of toxic in the same way, some negative emotions, notably resentment and anger are very damaging to the body and may need to be dealt with.
Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have increased exponentially in the last 20 years and have become far more dangerous. Major sources are mobile phones and their masts, DECT phones, wifi and smart meters.
For most people the greatest danger comes from their mobile phones. The smarter the phones and the more information they carry and the greater the risk. For instance there have been 38 cases recorded of breast cancer in women who kept mobile phones in their bras. I suspect a much commoner situation is men keeping mobiles in trouser pockets. The risk here would be testicular and prostate cancer. EMF radiation has been shown to promote all stages of cancer development in testicular cancer. It is well-established that mobile phone use increases the risk of glioma, salivary gland tumours and acoustic neuromas.
For anyone with cancer a mobile phone may represent a risk too far. The main problem is the vast numbers of irregular nanosecond pulses emitted every second by mobile phones on standby. These interfere with basic cellular mechanisms, damage DNA and cause DNA degradation. Over 30 studies have linked EMFs with cancer. Fortunately there are ways to reduce this risk.
One way is to keep EMF exposure at night to as low a level as possible as this is the time when maximum healing occurs. Never charge mobile phones in the bedroom whilst sleeping. Don’t leave them on standby as they are still emitting EMFs at astonishing speeds. Some mobiles even emit on flight mode so just keep them out of the bedroom. Also switch the wifi off at night.
Mobile phones close to the body represent a real danger to anyone with cancer. Keep them away from the body or in protective cases . If this is not possible, switch off the wifi on the phone off (through settings). This stops these continuous harmful emissions and limits emissions to the time of calls. Keep laptops and pads off laps.
Even during calls take care. Keep calls short. Use loudspeaker mode or an air-tube headset. Forward the calls to a landline if possible. EMFs can be a hundred times stronger on connection so wait 5 seconds before answering to avoid a microwave hit to the brain. Exposure is greatly increased when using a phone in a car or train and exposure can increase a thousand-fold in low transmission areas.
Another major risk is phone masts. If 5G is allowed it would take 500 base stations per square kilometre to function. This would be bad news for anyone with cancer. Beams from one of these base stations could trigger cancer or at the very least block it’s healing. Shielding is possible but complex.
The plant Mistletoe has been shown to have anti-cancer properties and to provide essential nutrients. It is an approved treatment for cancer in Germany. It does not get rid of cancer but stops it growing.
An exciting herbal preparation is Essiac. It was originally given to a Canadian nurse by an Ojibwa Indian. She used it to treat her aunt who had terminal cancer who then lived for another 20 years. The nurse Rene Caisse, went on to experiment with the formula and treat hundreds of people. It was very successful and people with terminal cancer flocked to see her. Her remedy was investigated by a commission and found to be the only effective remedy out of eighteen tested. However vested interests worked to get it banned and were largely successful so only recently has it becoming recognised.
It appears that it can be a cure where the cancer has not spread. Even where other organs had been involved with cancer, patients often lived longer and had less pain. All products sold as Essiac are not equal.
Another interesting preparation is Hoxsey’s herbs. Initially used by Harry Hoxsey who used a preparation discovered by his great grandfather who watched a cancerous horse cure itself by grazing on herbs. In 1955 Hoxsey’s Dallas clinic was the world’s largest privately-owned cancer facility treating over 12,000 patients. After frequent arrests for practising without a license, his clinic was eventually banned by the AMA in 1960. Yet two federal courts upheld the value of his herbs and the AMA later admitted it had merit but refused to investigate its value despite Hoxsey pleading for it to be studied. A clinic called Biomed now operates in Mexico using this formula and apparently has an 80% success rate. Six of the nine herbs have anti-cancer properties and burdock breaks down to benzaldehyde. Benzaldehyde is also an active ingredient of Vitamin B17. It may be difficult to get preparations with the original herbs as some have become rare and few are now available in organic form.
Ian Gawler, who cured himself of a particularly aggressive cancer which had spread throughout his body (osteosarcoma); he used many different therapies considered that meditation was the most important. He did 5 hours per day for 3 months and then one hour per day, though others recommend less.
People often think with cancer that it is relentlessly spreading. This is not so. At times the body is winning and it is healing and at other times the tumour is winning. The latter is more likely to happen when a person is stressed or the diet is “feeding” the cancer. Basically I suspect that during meditation or deep relaxation the body goes into healing mode.
This was pioneered by the Simontons in America. They found it doubled the survival time and increased the number of circulating immune hormones in the body. (See Getting Well Again, O. C. Simonton).
Some people have been completely healed by visualization but I have little doubt this is easier for some that others. Although it is often thought of as a New Age technique its origins go back much further including to Buddhist philosophy (see below). There are several different types:
1) Seeing the body heal the Tumour
See animals such as wolves (or immune cells) eating the tumour. See the tumour as weak, confused or grey. One of the best known examples was 10 year old Garrett Porter who imagined seeing spaceships firing at an invading enemy planet (he had a brain tumour). After 5 months he could not find the enemy planet and his scan showed he was clear of tumour.
A clever example used by another patient with a brain tumour: he imagined his brain as a cauliflower and the tumour cells as green fly and the immune cells as ladybirds. He then imagined there was a bright white light which would bring out more of the ladybirds which would eat more and more of the green flies.
Another example is to see the body being cleansed with a powerful liquid and all the disease and rubbish being swept away into a fast-flowing water.
Shivana Goodman has stated that she cured herself of breast cancer after several relapses by a visualization which she called the 5 minute cancer cure. She writes that others have had similar successes with it. It involved experiencing a sensation of love permeating her body and then she breathed in silvery light into her solar plexus and sent it, on expiration, to each part of the body in turn (eg breathing in light, sending to one leg on expiration, breathing in again, sending to other leg etc). Then she saw her cancer as cured and the whole body glowing with health (she has a useful CD and book which gives a much more detailed account of this). Initially she used this method three times a day.
The Buddhist have used a method for thousands of years where they chant a mantra and imagine a powerful healing light coming from a dark blue Buddha, entering the body, removing all illness and the causes of all illness. They consider this less of an appeal to a God than accessing the power we already have within us.
2) Seeing yourself in Good Health
Imagine yourself as vibrantly healthy. Eg running along a beach, feeling wonderfully healthy, far too well for any illness to exist.
What you say to yourself is important because your body is controlled by your subconscious mind. It believes everything you tell it. Tell or command your body to “Be well”. Tell one of your organs to “Behave” or “Be free of cancer” or repeat “I reject cancer”. If you take juices or supplements tell them to “Go to where you will do the most good”. It may sound strange but it can help. Nearly all these ideas have been devised and used by people who have successfully fought cancer.
3) Seeing a specific event after the cancer is cured
An example is a lady with young daughters, diagnosed with leukaemia and given a short-time to live. She imagined herself at her daughter’s wedding and enjoying the occasion. This came to pass. Or a lady with breast cancer who said daily “Thank you for my healing” and fully believed she was healed. She made a full recovery.
A brief simple visualisation for a few seconds (like a flashback of a memory) several times a day is often more effective than a complex one. Adding stirring music or anything that gives the visualisation a strong emotional punch will make it work better. If the emotions are not involved it will lack power.
Studies of successful visualizers showed that they used compelling images. They saw clear, bright, large pictures as if they were there –need to visualize as if there with emotion and intensity. Unsuccessful visualizers used fuzzy pictures, a questioning tone of voice and imagined it as if they were not there.
HOW WOULD I TREAT MYSELF
- I would use a diet of natural food only, high in fruit and vegetable juices with periods on juice only.
- I would use a source of B17 such as apricot seeds, plum and peach seeds, almonds. I would use at least 40 daily (not more than 6 per hour).
- I would use Vitamin C powder at maximum dosage. I would also use Selenium.
- I would use visualisation.
- I would consider a herbal remedy such as Essiac or Hoxsey’s herbs.
- I would consider using pancreatic enzymes.
- I would consider Biobran or SP-5.
- I would do regular exercise
However there are many, many other substances which make as difference in cancer –see Cancer, The Complete Recovery Guide by Jonathon Chamberlain or Everything You Need to Know to Help You Beat Cancer by Chris Woolams. New information is emerging all the time. (ALSO SEE LEAFLET: Useful books on Cancer).
Here are a few more examples: Salvestrols block an enzyme in cancer cells (called CYP1B1) which promotes cancer cell growth and spread and is not present in normal cells. Salvestrols are converted by the CY1B1 enzyme into an anti-cancer metabolite. (A whole book Salvestrol: Nature’s Defence against Cancer by Brian Schaefer gives the whole story). However salvestrols are present in many berries, fruits, herbs and vegetables but levels have dropped alarmingly with modern farming techniques and these substances are inhibited by pesticides and by early ripening techniques. However capsules of salvestrols are available –ideally we need about 12mg daily.
Vitamin E is made up of tocopherols and tocotrienols. The tocotrienols, especially delta and gamma tocotrienols inhibit breast, prostate, colon and lung cancer cell growth and animal studies have found they inhibit pancreatic cancer by 80%. (Note Vitamin E supplements usually only contain synthetic dl alpha tocopherol which is not recommended).
Curcumin (use bioavailable curcumin extract, 1-3 grams daily) is another remedy that has shown potent anti-cancer effects and reversed cancer in some individuals. It has a range of effects against cancer, the most interesting being its ability to trigger apoptosis (cell death) in cancer stem cells (which are typically unaffected by chemotherapy).
Also consider flaxseed or flaxseed oil which contains potent natural anti-carcinogenic properties. They contain lignans, one being Secoisolariciresinol Diglycoside (SNG), which inhibits metastases. Cayenne pepper contains capsaican which is known to cause tumour cell death. Watercress is the richest source of PETTC (phenylethylisothiocyanate) which has powerful anti-cancer effects.
My take on this is to use as many things as possible and to add anything that will be beneficial to the juicer in as natural form as possible.
This is not a therapy where doctors always know best and every person should research the benefits and risks of any proposed treatment carefully before going ahead with it. In a major review in the BMJ in November 2016 Dr Peter Wise found the only tumours where chemotherapy made a significant difference to 5 year survival were testicular, cervical, ovarian cancers, leukaemias and lymphomas. However for all the major cancers (where chemotherapy is used most) such as lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer, the benefits were miniscule.
However the risks were significant: 80% gave adverse side effects and these were severe in 64%. A more worrying fact is that four (animal) studies have now shown an increased risk of metastasis (tumour spread) after chemotherapy. This should be no surprise: after chemotherapy cancer cells become more aggressive and resistant (just like microbes after antibiotics). Chemotherapy does shrink tumours but it is what comes back after it has shrunk that concerns me.
So why is chemotherapy being used so much in tumours known not to respond to it? Oncologists usually say something like “we will give it as insurance so we get all the cancer cells”. This is simply untrue. A tumour the size of a pin head has a million cells and a 2cm tumour (just visible on a scan) has 10 billion cancer cells. There is no way they will all be removed. The only protection is a strong immune system which has the capacity to remove them. Sometimes chemotherapy is given when a cancer returns and I believe oncologists are trying their best to help a patient here in a difficult situation. But again they often give a false impression that this will cure the cancer when this is clearly not the case and they don’t always factor in the adverse effects. In my opinion there are better options.
Questions to ask your oncologist are specifically whether the chemotherapy will usefully extend life (not just shrink the tumour) and whether they would have this treatment themselves (a survey of oncologists found the majority would not have chemotherapy!).
One of the most important qualities you need is a desire to fight back. It’s very easy to become angry, resentful, sorry for yourself or fatalistic, but these won’t help you. Leave “Woe is me” and “Why me” to others; you need your fighting spirit. Start with a decision to get better even if you don’t know how. Then you need a belief that it can happen.
Be smart. Get all the information you need from your doctors and if necessary from other organisations. The website CANCERactive is useful.
Don’t be rushed when researching what to do. Most cancers have taken years to develop. When you have the information you need – take charge and make informed decisions.
CONSIDER SOME OF THESE – SOME WILL MAKE SENSE OTHERS WONT BE FOR YOU
Accept help from others
Join a support group if this seems appropriate
Give yourself a strong reason to live: make a list of all the things you want to do in the future.
Do something you passionately want to do each day.
Remember you are more than your body.
Never give up. There are always ups and down along the path.
Listen to your body (eg. if you have a sudden desire to drink orange juice then do it even if it makes no sense).
Accept the diagnosis but not the prognosis. (For eight million people in the U.S.A, cancer is just a memory).
If you have a lot of worries then write them all down on a piece of paper. Keep coming back to the paper until you’ve written everything down. Then do something symbolic: tear it to pieces, burn it or bury it.
If your friends and relatives don’t want to talk to you then try this. Tell them your diagnosis and tell them you need support. Tell them to look for and read anything that might help and keep it coming.
Look for synchronicity. This means being aware that help can come from unexpected directions. For example a man who had cancer of the pancreas picked up a hitch-hiker who was a macrobiotic chef. He gave him some ideas which eventually led to his cure. Other people have found books have fallen open on the right page.
Consider some sort of healing.
If cure is not possible then make peace of mind your goal.
If thoughts of death keep intruding then it can be useful to think “I’m not going to die in the next 20 minutes”.