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From the Townsend Letter
August / September 2011
Integrative Oncology for Clinicians and Cancer Patients: Part 1
by Michael B. Schachter, MD, CNS
Director and Owner, Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine

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Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 are online.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in the International Journal of Integrative Medicine 2(1), July 2010, and is republished in parts in a slightly modified form with permission.

Worldwide medical literature supports the notion that environmental and nutritional factors play a role in the development of cancer. Nutritional recommendations to the public to help prevent cancer are available from the USA's National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and other organizations. However, when it comes to treating patients who have been diagnosed with cancer, the vast majority of oncologists fail to deal with nutritional and lifestyle factors to help their patients manage their cancers. Evidence continues to mount that some of the same recommendations designed to prevent cancer should also be applied to patients who already have cancer. Implementing such a program of lifestyle modifications, improvement in diet, exercise, stress management, optimal exposure to sunlight, improving energy flow and nutritional supplements should improve cancer patients' survival statistics and the quality of life of these patients, including significantly reducing the side effects of conventional treatments.

This article focuses on dietary changes and nutritional supplements to help clinicians educate cancer patients, so that they may better deal with their illness. Highlighted are: principles involving an optimal diet, avoidance of harmful chemicals and use of nutritional supplements. Some of the controversies surrounding nutritional supplements are reviewed. Specific topics covered include: a broad range supplement program, vitamin C, amygdalin, iodine, fermented wheat germ extract, mushroom extracts, supplements developed by the late Mirko Beljanski, PhD, and the antineoplastons of Stanislaw Burzynski, MD, PhD.

Finally, there is a discussion about paradigms in health care and the effects of politics and economics on how health care is practiced today.

Conventional Cancer Treatment Alone is Not Working
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the age-adjusted mortality rate in the US for cardiovascular disease and cerebrovascular diseases dropped dramatically between 1950 and 2005, while that for cancer dropped only slightly (See Figure 1). This implies that the treatment methods for cancer have not been very effective during this time. Worldwide, conventional cancer treatment methods include: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal manipulation for certain cancers and the newer monoclonal antibody targeted therapies. The goal of cancer treatment appears to be to destroy cancer cells at all costs without much attention being paid to the health of the host, the patient. There is little emphasis on helping patients make lifestyle changes or to improve their nutrition. Regarding nutritional supplements, oncologists often tell patients to avoid them, as they might interfere with conventional treatment, since radiation and chemotherapy are largely pro-oxidant treatments and many nutritional supplements have antioxidant properties. Oncologists often tell patients that it doesn't matter what you eat, as long as you consume enough calories to keep your weight up while you are undergoing conventional treatments that often cause a loss of appetite.

However, the adjusted mortality rates in Figure 1 show that this approach is not really working very well. The purpose of this article is to give a different perspective for treating cancer patients. Rather than just focusing on killing cancer cells, the treating physician should be able to considerably improve survival and the quality of life of cancer patients by taking a much broader view of the healing process. By utilizing a more integrative approach to cancer patients, therapeutic results should be improved, including a better quality of life, prevention of cancer recurrences and a longer survival time for advanced cases. I'll discuss various integrative approaches in subsequent sections of this article.

Figure 1

Evidence for the Role of Diet in Helping to Prevent Cancer
A number of studies suggest that dietary factors can either prevent or encourage the development of cancer. In his book The China Study, T. Colin Campbell, PhD, outlines the findings of the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted.1 Dr. Dean Ornish says of Campbell that, "Everyone in the field of nutrition science stands on the shoulders of Dr. Campbell, who is one of the giants in the field." With numerous references, Campbell asserts that a whole food, plant-based diet helps to prevent and treat cancer and other degenerative conditions.2-5 The elimination or marked reduction in animal-based foods will drastically cut cancer rates and improve results of cancer treatment. The elimination of refined plant-based foods containing sugar, white flour and various additives is also important. He further presents evidence that an optimal diet drastically reduces the negative effects of carcinogens and inhibits cancer promotion. In this book, Campbell is critical of the notion of "reductionism" research in nutrition (e.g., focus on fats or proteins or carbohydrates), rather than looking at the effects of a whole-foods, plant-based diet. He claims that with reductionism research, you don't see the forest through the trees. He is also critical of the fact that health-care education to the public and to professionals is largely controlled by dairy, meat, and processed-food and drug companies. A diet that is based largely on whole plant-based food with a variety of colors is healthful and protective against cancer. Various organizations, such as the American Institute for Cancer Research, the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute, support the notion that cancer is largely preventable with an optimal, largely plant-based diet.

Expanding on the idea of a whole-food, plant-based diet, Gabriel Cousens, MD, in his book There is a Cure for Diabetes, suggests that when such a diet is mostly raw, the therapeutic benefits for preventing and reversing degenerative diseases, such as cancer, are enhanced.6 He points out that the therapeutic benefits of phytonutrients that are not damaged by heat are considerable because they may combine with transcription factors in the cell to upregulate anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antidiabetic genes, while downregulating transcription factors that have the opposite effect. Phytonutrients can function as a master switch to turn many genes on or off. The tiny amounts of phytonutrients in food can have a large effect on phenotypic gene expression.

A highly refined processed-food diet that emphasizes animal based foods has the opposite effect. There is no question that anyone adopting a healthful whole food, plant-based diet will drastically reduce his or her risk of developing cancer. We see that the Japanese people, when following a traditional Japanese diet, have a relatively low incidence of some of the most common cancers such as breast, prostate and colon cancer. However, when they migrate to the US and adopt the standard American diet, the incidence of these cancers goes up dramatically.

Another excellent book written by nutritionally oriented oncologist and radiotherapist Charles B. Simone MD, titled Cancer & Nutrition, outlines an extensive program to help prevent cancer.7 This program involves a largely whole-foods, plant-based diet, exercise program, dietary supplements, and tips for stress management. It contains hundreds of references to the scientific literature that support his program.

Not everyone agrees that a completely plant-based diet is best for everyone. Famed dentist and researcher Weston A. Price spent many years in the 1930s researching the relationship between diet and the development of degenerative disease by interviewing and examining people in many cultures throughout the world. He noted the health of the people, including careful examinations of their teeth and mouths while they ate their traditional diets and then again after Western, so-called civilized diets of refined processed foods were introduced. His observations were striking. People who ate a wide variety of whole-food diets, both animal- and plant-based, were extremely healthy but, once refined foods were introduced, health deteriorated and all kinds of chronic degenerative diseases including cancer evolved.8 Like T. Colin Campbell and Gabriel Cousens, the Price-Pottenger Foundation advocates eating whole foods and avoiding processed food. However, it does advocate the use of certain types of animal foods. It advocates the use of raw dairy products and beef from grass-fed animals. It emphasizes using organic foods and foods that do not contain chemicals. See for more information about this approach.

Another extremely valuable book titled Beating Cancer with Nutrition by nutritionist Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD, CNS, offers very practical information to prevent cancer with nutrition, including nutritional supplements.9 Quillin is also not an advocate of extreme vegan diets. This book should be read and its ideas implemented by any physician who is treating cancer patients.

Nutritional Recommendations and Other Suggestions for Patients Diagnosed with Cancer
Although many physicians would acknowledge that nutritional factors are important in preventing cancer, when it comes to treating patients who have been diagnosed with cancer, the vast majority of oncologists fail to discuss nutritional and lifestyle factors to help their patients manage their cancers. Oncologists attempt to rid the body of cancer cells with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, antihormonal therapies, and/or the new monoclonal medications. Little attention is paid to lifestyle factors, nutritional recommendations, or nutritional supplements. Oncologists often give patients dietary advice that is exactly opposite to the advice contained in cancer-preventive diets. Patients are frequently told to eat high-calorie, high-fat, high-protein diets that also contain lots of sugar and other refined processed foods. They are sometimes told that it doesn't matter what you eat as long as you eat enough calories to sustain your weight during your conventional treatment.

There is considerable direct and indirect evidence that some of the same recommendations designed to prevent cancer should also be applied to patients who already have cancer. Implementing such a program should improve cancer patient survival statistics and the quality of life of these patients, including significantly reducing the side effects of conventional treatments. Both Simone and Quillin in their books cited previously have chapters showing the benefits of excellent nutrition for patients undergoing conventional cancer treatment with references to support their recommendations.

Common sense tells us that a patient's clinical outcome will be related to his nutritional intake. Food supplies the building blocks for all cellular structures in the body (cell membranes, DNA, proteins, etc.). It supplies the calories or fuel that, when combined with oxygen in the body, supplies energy for all biochemical reactions. Finally, food supplies information to the genes of the body to help regulate all biological processes. This epigenetic information can help the genes to repair and heal the body or cause a deterioration of the healing process, depending upon what information from food is supplied.

One important area of concern for cancer patients and people in general has to do with exposure to toxins and how well the body is able to rid itself of these toxins. Toxins may be carcinogenic or toxic in other ways. We are what we eat, drink, breathe, touch, absorb and can't eliminate. We have many systems in our bodies to help protect us from toxins and eliminate them. First, we have the barrier function of our skin and our mucus membranes. We eliminate many toxins through bowel movements, and it is important for all of us to move our bowels at least once daily. One of the main functions of the liver is to eliminate toxins. This is generally done in two steps, with toxic organic molecules being converted to a more water-soluble form in phase 1 and conjugated to another organic molecule in phase 2 for easier elimination either through urine or feces via the bile. Many phytonutrients in fruits, vegetables, and herbs can influence various detoxification pathways to help the body eliminate toxins. For example, sulforaphane, derived from broccoli sprouts, upregulates phase 2 of liver detoxification and shows many anticancer properties.10,11

It is difficult to find controlled studies comparing a group of cancer patients receiving only conventional treatment with another group that receives conventional treatment along with a dietary program that includes many of the principles of nutrition that I discuss in this article. One such study recorded the survival time from diagnosis of pancreatic cancer patients who ingested a macrobiotic diet, which consists primarily of whole, plant-based foods. In the first major scientific study of the macrobiotic approach to cancer, researchers at Tulane University reported that the 1-year survival rate among patients with pancreatic cancer was significantly higher among those who modified their diet than among those who did not (17 months versus 6 months). The one-year survival rate was 54.2% in the macrobiotic patients versus 10.0% in the controls. All comparisons were statistically significant.12

Also, reported in this paper was a study in which prostate cancer patients were prescribed a macrobiotic diet. For patients with metastatic prostate cancer, a case control study demonstrated that those who ate macrobiotically lived longer (177 months compared with 91 months) and enjoyed an improved quality of life. The researchers concluded that the macrobiotic approach may be an effective adjunctive treatment to conventional treatment or in primary management of cancers with a nutritional association. "This exploratory analysis suggests that a strict macrobiotic diet is more likely to be effective in the long-term management of cancer than are diets that provide a variety of other foods," the study concluded.

In spite of the limited number of published studies on this subject, many nutritionally oriented clinicians are convinced that an optimal nutritional program is essential for improving the results of cancer treatment and that such a program should be recommended for cancer patients and not reserved only for those without cancer who are looking to prevent it. It should also be used by patients who have undergone successful conventional treatment and are searching for ways to help prevent a recurrence.

Here is a list of recommendations that I give to my cancer patients concerning dietary recommendations. I suggest they avoid: sugar and white flour products; alcohol, caffeine, and fluoridated and chlorinated water; foods containing bromine, hydrogenated fats, and all trans fatty acids; artificial chemicals added to foods (e.g., sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose [Splenda], colors and flavors, preservatives); fish contaminated with mercury; and genetically modified food. Many people are sensitive to gluten (protein found in wheat, rye, and barley) and should avoid these foods. Other food allergens should also be avoided.

Nondietary items to be avoided include: tobacco, recreational drugs like marijuana and cocaine, mercury amalgam dental fillings; exposures to toxic chemicals; synthetic hair dyes; aluminum-containing antiperspirants; harmful electromagnetic frequencies (e.g., cell phones as much as possible, microwave ovens); exposure to nuclear plants; and tight-fitting clothing such as wired bras, which cut off lymphatic circulation from the breasts. A more complete list of items to avoid can be found at my website: (click on "Literature & Articles" and look for "Avoid List").

My suggestions as to what people should eat include some of the points that have been made previously. I suggest that patients eat primarily whole foods, mostly plant-based, largely raw, and preferably organic. I tell them to shop in the outer aisles of the supermarket, where most whole foods are kept, and to avoid the inner aisles, which largely have packaged processed foods. A wide variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes should be eaten, and attempts should be made for the foods in the diet to be of many colors (a rainbow array), as this helps to ensure that a wide variety of phytonutrients are obtained. Fresh, raw, vegetable juices with a smaller amount of fruit are excellent. Animal foods, though somewhat limited, should generally be unprocessed, without chemical additives. Meat should be from grass-fed animals and organic when possible. Dairy should be certified raw if it is available. Eggs should be from free-range chickens and organic when possible. For most people, I do not recommend total elimination of animal products, as advocated by Campbell and Cousens. Food should not be overcooked or burned.

Additional suggestions that I give to my patients include: (1) eat slowly and chew your food well to improve digestion and prevent gastric upset; (2) don't skip breakfast because studies have shown that people who eat breakfast generally have a lower intake of total calories for the day and have a better insulin sensitivity; (3) meals should not be skipped, as doing so causes an increase in insulin resistance; (4) cooking method matters, as harsh methods produce carcinogenic heterocyclic amines, oxidized cholesterol, lipid peroxides and advanced glycation end products (AGES), all of which are carcinogenic; (5) it is best to boil, poach, or stew foods and avoid frying, broiling, and roasting; and (6) avoid the microwave, which tends to destroy nutrients and change blood chemistries.13

If physicians caring for cancer patients helped them to improve their diets, several positive effects could be expected. These include: (1) avoidance of malnutrition (many patients die from malnutrition, rather than the cancer process itself); (2) minimization of adverse effects from conventional treatment; (3) optimization of cytotoxic effects on cancer cells; (4) protection of healthy tissue; (5) healthy cell proliferation; (6) immune enhancement, helping to protect the patient against infections; (6) beneficial hormone changes.

The Role of Hope, Attitude and Stress Management; Breathing and Energy Flow; Exercise, Sunlight and Vitamin D; Importance of Sleep and the Need for Healthful Social Relationships

The Role of Hope, Attitude and Stress Management for Cancer
Although this article will not stress other aspects of lifestyle that are important for cancer patients, these need to be addressed. First and foremost, a patient needs to be given hope that the disease can be overcome or at least controlled. Unfortunately, under the guise of not giving patients false hope, oncologists frequently predict how long a patient will live. So a patient may be told: "You have 6 months to live." Many people are extremely suggestible, and when given this dictum, they somehow fulfill the prophecy. It is absolutely reasonable for a physician to tell a patient that he doesn't know how long the patient will live. The physician should emphasize that each person is an individual and that there is no way of telling how he will respond to many of the nonconventional treatments that are being implemented. The attitude of the patient is important in this equation, and helping the patient believe that he can respond to treatment will be important for his prognosis. One can give a general prognosis for those with a similar situation who have received similar conventional treatments, but emphasize that this patient's response, especially with some of the integrative treatments, might be much better. Numerous books have been written about psychological aspects of dealing with cancer. Bernie Siegel's book Love, Medicine and Miracles: Lessons Learned about Self- Healing from a Surgeon's Experience with Exceptional Patients, written many years ago, is still quite applicable.14 Lawrence LeShan's book Cancer as a Turning Point: A Handbook for People with Cancer, Their Families, and Health Professionals is also worthwhile.15 Other inspirational books by people who have overcome cancer using various nutritional and other lifestyle changes are highly recommended.16,17

Learning to Breathe Deeply and Energy Flow
The importance of learning how to breathe deeply (deep abdominal, yoga-type breaths) and improving oxygenation is key to cancer patients, and it should be emphasized that cancer cells generally are anaerobic and don't like oxygen. So, improving oxygenation should help the patient's own defenses overcome inflammation and slow down the cancer process. Improving energy flow is compatible with this notion, and helping patients learn yoga, tai chi, qi gong, or other energy disciplines is almost always helpful. Acupuncture, acupressure, and massage can also be quite useful.

Patients should be encouraged to move and to exercise as tolerated. They must learn to listen to their bodies. If a person vigorously exercises and is out of commission for the next few days, he has done too much. But it is extremely important to begin to exercise, walking outside or on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike. This tones up the body, improves circulation, and improves the defenses of the body. Stretching and limited strength training are also helpful.

Sunlight and Vitamin D
Another important factor that has been totally underestimated as important for healing is exposure to sunlight. John Ott introduced the concept in the 1970s, but like many other important insights, it has been ignored largely because of lack of financial incentives. In his book Health and Light, Ott describes a study involving cancer patients at New York University, in which very ill cancer patients were exposed to sunlight a few hours a day. This resulted in a marked improvement in their prognoses.18 Jacob Liberman, OD, PhD, wrote a book in 1990 emphasizing the role of light in health and predicting its importance in the future, but the concept has not trickled down to conventional oncology.19

The importance of light has become somewhat more fashionable lately with the recent tremendous emphasis on the role of vitamin D in health and disease. Michael Holick has helped to fuel interest with his book The UV Advantage.20 In it, he attempts to counter the nonsense promulgated by the dermatology industry that the sun is bad for you and you should avoid it at all costs; when exposed to it, you must cover yourself with sunscreen to avoid the damage. This advice, according to dermatologists, prevents damage to the skin and prevents skin cancer. But, Holick points out that the risk of the most dangerous skin cancer, malignant melanoma, is increased with severely restricted sun exposure and vitamin D deficiency. The best way to get vitamin D is to have some exposure to the sun on bare skin not covered with sunscreen. It is important to avoid burning the skin, but some limited exposure to sun is generally good for you. According to Ott, it is not just vitamin D but other aspects of exposure to full-spectrum sunlight that is therapeutic. I recommend that my patients try to expose themselves to some sunlight as much as possible without allowing sunburn to occur.

Quality Sleep
Another important factor that must be addressed relates to sleep. Good-quality sleep is essential for any type of healing program. Unfortunately, conventional medicine usually addresses sleep problems with prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines (Clonazepam, Valium, Dalmane, and others), SSRIs (e.g., Paxil), atypical antipsychotic agents (e.g., Seroquel or Zyprexa), or various sleep medications (e.g., Ambien). These usually wind up making the patient dependent upon the medication, but do not really offer sustained deep sleep that encourages the repair process of the body. Frequently, as a result of stress of all sorts, the patient has a hyperactive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and elevated cortisol levels, and/or epinephrine surges contribute to problems falling or staying asleep. Often, conventional medications prescribed for various conditions and exposures to chemicals contribute to the dysregulation of the hypothalamus and other areas of the brain associated with sleep. The process of detoxification, removing exposure to toxic substances, stress management techniques (such as deep breathing), regular exercise, the tapering of various psychotropic medications, and the supply of herbs and nutrients (like amino acid precursors to serotonin, herbs that enhance the GABA receptors) and other strategies discussed in this article can be extremely beneficial in helping a patient to regain healthful sleep patterns. An excellent recent book by James Harper, How to Get Off Psychiatric Drugs Safely,and the website are excellent resources to help patients taper off psychiatric drugs safely.21 Sleep must be addressed very early in any treatment program, and the treatment must be tailored to the patient.

Improving Relationships
Finally, it is important for cancer patients to enjoy healthful relationships. A person's prognosis is affected by the quality of relationships and his desire to live. Frequently, brief or intermittent psychotherapy that works on the person's strengths, rather than dwelling on weaknesses or problems, can do wonders. Proper group and/or family support can be key. A practitioner needs to evaluate the social support system of the patient and attempt to build on positive relationships. An active support group may be helpful in this situation. However, many cancer support groups are in hospitals and are dominated by pure conventional oncology concepts, including ridiculing or criticizing any integrative cancer approaches. It is important for cancer patients to avoid such groups and to find groups that will generally support what they are doing.

Use of Nutritional Supplements for Cancer Patients

Comparing and Contrasting Nutritional Supplements with Chemotherapeutic Cancer Agents
One of the most controversial areas surrounding the care of cancer patient relates to whether they should receive nutritional supplements while undergoing radiation and/or chemotherapy. Many oncologists advise cancer patients not to take any nutritional supplements because they contain antioxidants and, since radiation and chemotherapy are pro-oxidant, the nutritional supplements will interfere with the activity of these pro-oxidant treatments. So, the important question is whether taking nutritional supplements while undergoing these treatments will help the treatment results, interfere with treatment results, or have no effect on the treatment. Also, might the answer to this question be affected by the nature of the conventional treatment, the kind and dosage of the supplements, the genetics and other factors within the patient, and other environmental factors, such as the patient's diet?

Before trying to answer the question as to the value of nutritional supplements while undergoing conventional cancer treatment, it might be helpful to discuss the similarities and differences between conventional treatment and nutritional supplements. An ideal chemo­therapeutic agent would be one that is highly selective in its action by promoting the destruction of cancer cells while not harming or even nurturing normal cells. Unfortunately, conventional therapy does not do this. Radiation, chemotherapy, antihormonal treatments, and even the targeted monoclonal antibody treatments generally are harmful to normal cells; hence the adverse side effects observed during their administration.

How Nutritional Supplements May Affect Cancer Processes: John Boik's Work
Nutritional supplements, on the other hand, may be harmful overall to cancer cells while nurturing normal cells. In other words, nutritional supplements generally have different effects on cancer cells than they have on normal cells. In his excellent, extremely well-documented book Natural Compounds in Cancer Therapy: Promising Nontoxic Antitumor Agents from Plants & Other Natural Sources, John Boik outlines a series of procancer events that occur during the development of cancer and shows how natural substances can interfere with these processes without harming normal cells.22 These events are: (1) gene mutations and genetic instability; (2) gene expression (switching on and off); (3) abnormal signal transduction; (4) abnormal cell to cell communication; (5) new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis); (6) invasion into tissues; (7) metastasis to other organs; and (8) immune suppression and other forms of immune evasion.

With multiple references, Boik explains how various natural substances that can be found in nutritional supplements can affect these processes. Many of these substances can affect several steps of the process. For example, curcumin (derived from turmeric) inhibits PTK, PKC, NFkB, and PGE2 synthesis (all of which play a role in inflammation and cancer); inhibits invasive enzymes; and stimulates or supports the immune system. EPA (from fish oil) inhibits PKC and PGE2 synthesis, stimulates or supports the immune system, and inhibits invasive enzymes. Vitamin D3 (1,25 dihydroxy D) is involved with 9 possible anticancer effects, melatonin with 15, vitamin A with 13, and boswellic acid with 15.

Boik suggests that natural compounds are mild relatives to chemotherapy drugs, being about 30 times less potent in vitro, but about 21 times less toxic than most chemotherapy drugs. Each substance acts at several steps of the cancer process. They act synergistically and are used most effectively in combination. Boik's book contains hundreds of pages reviewing the studies showing these relationships and is a very valuable resource for any clinician adding nutritional supplements to his cancer patient regimes.

Patrick Quillin's Work with Nutrition and Nutritional Supplements for Cancer Patients
Another book that summarizes many of the studies that have been done on the effects of nutritional supplements on the management of cancer patients is the previously mentioned book by Patrick Quillin (Beating Cancer with Nutrition).8 This is a good place to start for clinicians who wish to incorporate nutritional recommendations, nutritional supplements, and other integrative methods while working with cancer patients. They act synergistically and are used most effectively in combination.

Recent Reviews on Nutritional Supplements during Conventional Cancer Treatment: Keith Block MD and Charles Simone MD
Two recent review papers have looked at the question of whether nutritional supplements are beneficial for cancer patients. Keith Block, MD, and others reviewed 845 peer-reviewed articles that discussed the use of nutritional supplements for patients undergoing conventional treatment. They identified 19 clinical trials, which met strict inclusion criteria. Most of the study participants had advanced or recurrent disease and received various supplements. The conclusion was: "None of the trials reported evidence of significant decreases in efficacy from antioxidant supplementation during chemotherapy." Many studies showed that antioxidant supplementation was associated with "increased survival times, increased tumor responses, or both, as well as fewer toxicities than controls."23

Charles Simone, MD (oncologist and radiotherapist who authored a book previously mentioned), reviewed 280 peer-reviewed in vitro and in vivo studies that had been published since 1970.7 He said that 50 of these studies were human studies involving 8521 patients, 5081 of whom were given nutrients. These studies consistently showed that nonprescription antioxidants and other nutrients do not interfere with therapeutic modalities for cancer and actually enhance the killing of conventional cancer therapies and decreased their side effects, protecting normal tissue. In 15 human studies, 3738 patients who took nonprescription antioxidants and other nutrients actually had increased survival.24

Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 are online.

Michael B. Schachter, MD, CNS
Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine
2 Executive Boulevard, Suite 202
Suffern, New York 10901
845-368-4700; fax: 845-368-4727

Michael B. SchachterMichael B Schachter, MD, CNS, directs the Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine in Suffern, New York, a suburb of New York City ( This center evaluates and treats patients with all kinds of medical problems, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, hormone imbalances, and psychiatric conditions, using an integrative approach. A board-certified psychiatrist and certified nutrition specialist, Dr. Schachter has been involved in integrative health care since the mid 1970s. He is a past president of the American College for the Advancement in Medicine (ACAM) and frequently lectures at its conferences and workshops. He was the recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the Cancer Control Society in 2010.


This article is an expanded version of a lecture presented at the International Society of Integrative Medicine meeting in Tokyo Japan on July 19, 2009. The lecture was partially supported by Maitake Mushrooms Inc. (In the USA, the company is now called Mushroom Wisdom Inc.)

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