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From the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients
June 2004

briefed by Jule Klotter

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The metal cadmium is known to damage kidneys and have carcinogenic effects. Researchers have recently learned that cadmium also causes estrogen-like responses in laboratory animals. The metal's estrogen-mimicking effects may lead to reproductive disorders and contribute to hormone-related cancers. Mary Beth Martin, a molecular biologist at Georgetown University (Washington, DC), and colleagues injected cadmium chloride into female rats whose ovaries had been removed. The animals developed thicker uterine linings and larger mammary glands — signs of estrogenic activity. In addition, the levels of two proteins that are normally activated by estrogen (progesterone receptor protein and C3, an immune system protein) increased. This research originally appeared in the August 2003 issue of Nature Medicine. Earlier cell-culture studies showed that cadmium binds to the same receptor molecules on cells that estrogen does.
Estrogen-mimicking properties are not the only contribution that cadmium can make to the development of cancer. The US Department of Health and Human Services "Tenth Report on Carcinogens" states that cultured animal cell studies have shown that cadmium compounds damage genetic material and disrupt DNA repair. Industrial workers exposed to the metal, for example, display a rise in chromosomal abnormalities in their lymphocytes. Epidemiological studies show a causal relationship between cadmium exposure and cancer in humans, particularly prostate, renal, and bladder cancers.

Cadmium is used in the making of batteries, paint pigments, stabilizers for plastics, electroplating and coating, and alloys. For the general population, cadmium exposure results from breathing cigarette smoke or ingesting contaminated food or water. "ToxFAQsª for Cadmium," published by the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, reports that diet affects how much cadmium is absorbed. Diets low in calcium, protein, or iron, or high in fat result in higher absorption levels of cadmium, according to animal studies. Some studies also indicate that young animals absorb cadmium more easily than adults.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. ToxFAQs for Cadmium.
US Department of Health and Human Services. Cadmium and Cadmium Compounds.
Tenth Report on Carcinogens December 2002
Seppa, N. Metal's Mayhem.
Science News 19 July 2003

Coriolus versicolor & Cancer
Biomass powder from the mycelium and young fruit body of the mushroom Coriolus versicolor encourages cell-mediated TH1 immune response, according to a small observational study performed by Dr. Julian Kenyon of England ( In a report for Mycology Research Laboratories' Mycology News, Dr. Kenyon explains that Coriolus versicolor contains two proteoglycans (PSP and PSK) that boost immune cell production, reduce chemotherapy symptoms, and promote anti-tumor activity. PSP (Polysachharide-peptide) also has pain-relieving properties, protects the liver, and is an anti-viral. Phase II and Phase III Chinese studies found that PSP improved life quality and immune function in 70-97% of patients with stomach, esophageal, lung, ovarian, and cervical cancers

Dr. Kenyon observed 30 patients from his clinical practice who took Coriolus versicolor biomass powder for four months. Most of the patients had stage 3 or 4 colon cancer, prostate cancer, or breast cancer. Before beginning supplementation, interleukin 5, interleukin 12, tumor necrosis factor beta, and telomerase measurements were taken for each participant. Interleukin 5 reflects TH2 humoral immune response activity; the greater the TH2 response, the less the TH1 cell-mediated response, which is the body's primary defense against cancer. Interleukin 12 and Tumor Necrosis Factor Beta are produced by the cell-mediated immune response (TH1). The enzyme telomerase prevents telomeres from shortening. Telomeres are a repetitive stretch of DNA found on the ends of a chromosome. In an article on telomerase, Dr. Jeremy Cherfas explains that telomeres keep the chromosomes from "fraying," much like the plastic tip on the ends of a shoelace. Every time a cell divides, the length of its telomeres shortens, imposing a limit on the number of times a cell can reproduce itself (called the Hayflick Limit). Telomerase extends the telomere, increasing the number of times that a cell can reproduce. It is inactive in most normal cells but very active in most cancers. Dr. Kenyon writes that "patients who have tumours that do not display telomerase activity are likely to eliminate the cancer, quite often spontaneously…the repression of telomerase activity could be one of the mechanisms for cancer regression."

The patients in Kenyon's study took three 500 mg tablets of Coriolus versicolor, three times a day during the first month. The dosage was increased to 6 tablets, three times a day during the second month, then raised to 9 tablets, three times a day for months 3 and 4 of the study. Interleukin 5, interleukin 12, tumor necrosis factor beta, and telomerase levels were measured on day 60 and day 120. The results showed a progressive drop in the measurements for telomerase and interleukin 5 with an average change of -80.1% for interleukin 5 and -75.9% for telomerase. Four patients did not display a drop in telomerase activity. In contrast, interleukin 12 activity rose 111.7% and tumour necrosis factor beta rose 14.2%. Dr. Kenyon concludes that "Coriolus versicolor supplementation as adjuvant nutritional therapy to support the immune system in Stage 3 and 4 cancer patients should be further studied."

Cherfas, Jeremy. Hayflick Licked: Telomerase Lengthens Life of Normal Human Cells. ScienceWatch May/June 2000.
Kenyon, Dr. Julian. Observational Non-Controlled Study of the Use of Coriolus Versicolor Supplementation in 30 Cancer Patients. Mycology News (published by Mycology Research Laboratories Ltd.) March 2003

Underarm Deodorant & Breast Cancer
In 2002, Dana Mirick and colleagues at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle, Washington) published an epidemiological study that included questions on underarm shaving and deodorant use. The study compared 800 women with breast cancer with 800 randomly chosen women of similar age. That study found no link between underarm shaving, deodorant use, and breast cancer. Two new studies publicized on suggest that the question may need further examination.

The first study, originally published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology (vol. 24, p.5), was led by molecular biologist Philippa Darbre at the University of Reading (United Kingdom). She and her colleagues found high concentrations of para-hydroxybenzoic acids (parabens) in 18 out of the 20 breast tumors that they examined. Other researchers have found that parabens bind to estrogen receptors and have estrogenic effects in yeast cells, animals, and in estrogen-sensitive human cells. Parabens are used as preservatives in cosmetics and some foods. The parabens found in the tumors had ester groups, indicating that they had been absorbed through the skin, not eaten and digested. Ester-bearing parabens mimic estrogen more strongly. Darbre asserts that the application of paraben-containing products to the underarm area may help explain why 60% of all breast tumors are located in the upper-outer quadrant, nearest the underarm, instead of being evenly distributed throughout the breast. Skeptics reply that the upper-outer quadrant has the largest amount of breast tissue. This study did not look at paraben concentrations in other areas of the breast or other body tissues.

A second study, published in European Journal of Cancer Prevention (vol. 12, p 479), surveyed 437 US women with breast cancer and divided them into four groups according to how often they shaved and applied deodorant. In this study, Dr. Kris McGrath of Northwestern University (Chicago, Illinois), found that women who shaved at least three times a week and applied deodorant at least twice a week were almost 15 years younger when diagnosed with cancer than women who did neither. Doing one without the other was not linked to diagnosis at a younger age. Unlike Darbre, McGrath believes that aluminum compounds found in deodorants may be contributing to breast cancer. Both of these studies have been criticized for their limitations. The studies' authors, however, believe that their findings show a need for further research.

Byford, JR et al. Oestrogenic activity of parabens in MCF7 human breast cancer. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2002 Jan; 80(1):49-60.
Vince, Gaia. Cosmetic chemicals found in breast tumours. 12 January 04.
Whelan, Jo. Deodorants plus shaving linked to breast cancer. 24 January 04

Enzyme Yeast Cells (Dr. Wolz Zell Oxygen)
In his booklet The Therapy of Enzyme Yeast Cells in Cancer Disease, CFS and Aging Process, Professor Serge Jurasunas of Lisbon, Portugal, discusses enzyme yeast cells (Dr. Wolz Zell Oxygen), a biological product that he has used in his clinical practice for 30 years. Enzyme yeast cells are a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's or budding yeast) that undergoes a 5-day 'cold' fermentation process, using fresh juices from apples, lemons, and grapefruit along with essential fatty acids from wheat germ extract. The resulting yeast cells contain a balanced array of easily-digested nutrients that have helped prevent and treat chronic degenerative diseases for over 40 years.

Professor Jurasunas says that enzyme yeast cells stimulate cellular respiration, activate the body's detoxification mechanisms, and increase ATP production. He has also found that 60 ml of enzyme yeast cells, taken with beet juice and a tablespoon of liquid chlorophyll, improves red cell morphology. Red blood cells display irregular shapes and sizes during oxidative stress and low antioxidant status. Abnormal red blood cells are common in people with chronic fatigue, cancer, and those exposed to toxic chemicals and undergoing chemotherapy. The high levels of L-glutamine and amino acids in enzyme yeast cells also helps protect the digestive tract during chemotherapy, reducing the incidence of nausea, diarrhea, and/or constipation. As circulation and oxygenation to cells and organs improve, the immune system becomes more active and energy levels increase. Impaired respiration promotes cancer, according to the research of German scientist Otto Warburg.

Professor Jurasunas recommends that 1 tablespoon of enzyme yeast cells be mixed in a large glass of fresh organic vegetable or fruit juice between meals as prevention. He writes, "None of the patients I have been treating for a quarter of century have contracted cancer. At the minimum under my advice they do about 3 times per year a one-month cure of enzyme yeast cells. Others just follow the same almost regularly during the whole year."

Bio Nutritional Dr. Wolz Zell Oxygen
Jurasunas, Professor Serge, ND, MD (Hom). The Therapy of Enzyme Yeast Cells in Cancer Disease, CFS and Aging Process. (Natipress, October 2001)
Contact for Prof. Jurasunas in Portugal:

Genomics & Breast Cancer
In a recent Breast Cancer Action Newsletter (February/March 2004), Musa Mayer expresses her doubts about new genetic research presented at the 26th San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. [Abstracts are available at, by clicking on 'Abstract Online 2003' and logging in as a guest.] Mayer says that the hope that genetic analysis of a person's cancer would lead to individualized prognosis and treatment recommendations is not living up to expectations. Researchers are developing new drugs that target specific proteins in a cancer cell, but these targeted therapies only work in specific cancers. For example, Herceptin¨, which received FDA approval five years ago, is a monoclonal antibody that targets cancer cells that make too much HER-2, a protein found on the surface of about 25-30% of breast cancer cells. Genentech, the drug's manufacturer, developed a test to identify which tumors might respond to Herceptin. Without targeting a specific population, the drug would not show a benefit in breast cancer trials. Genentech has developed another drug called Avastin¨ that targets VEGF, a gene responsible for angiogenesis, but has not yet found a way to identify patients who might benefit from it. Like many of these drugs, it does not show any significant effect among the general population in clinical trials.

Genetic researchers are also hoping to develop tests that accurately predict which patients are likely to experience a recurrence. Genomic Health is testing a 21-gene microarray, being marketed as Oncotype DX. The test, which is done on standard diagnostic pathology specimens, looks at genes involved with cell proliferation and hormone regulation in tumor cells. During a study the test was used to divide 668 node-negative breast cancer patients with ER+ (estrogen receptor positive) tumors who were treated with tamoxifen during the 1980s into a 'low-risk' and a 'high risk' group. The 'low-risk' group showed a 6.8% recurrence risk at 10 years. The 'high-risk' group had a recurrence rate of 30.5%. The test was credited with predicting outcome better than any other single prognostic factor except for tumor grade. The test was not 100% accurate. One observer at the San Antonio Symposium noted that 10% of the patients in the low-risk group were misclassified. Dr. Soonmyung Paik, director of pathology, the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, worked with Genomic Health on this study. He admitted that it may never be possible to predict whether cancer will recur in an individual patient. Statistician Donald Berry of the MD Anderson Cancer Center concurred, noting that the complexity of genetic analysis, difficulties with uniform data collection and pathology, and other methodological and statistical issues make interpretation of genetic tests problematic.

Bernoux, Agnès et al. Estrogen receptor negative and progesterone receptor positive primary breast cancer: Pathological characteristics and clinical outcome. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 49 (3) p.219-225 June 1998
Brenner, Barbara A. What you see and What You Get: Media Coverage of the San Antonio Symposium. Breast Cancer Action Newsletter #80 February/March 2004
ChromaVision granted 510K FDA Clearance to Market HER2 Breast Cancer Management Test (press release) December 30, 2003
Mayer, Musa. Impressions From the 26th San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium Breast Cancer Action Newsletter #80 February/March 2004

Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy
Studies presented at the 85th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society (June 2003) indicate that hypopituitary patients who do not receive growth hormone therapy have a higher risk for tumors, particularly brain tumors and colon cancer than the general population. Dr. Johan Svensson and colleagues in Sweden completed two retrospective studies. In the first, they compared the incidence of fatal and non-fatal health problems in 1,411 hypopituitary adults with the normal population. In the second, they compared 289 hypopituitary patients on long-term growth hormone treatment (average treatment length was 60 months) to the general population. They discovered that "hypopituitary patients who were not taking growth hormone had an increased risk of cancer — predominantly colorectal cancer." They also learned that hypopituitary adults — whether or not they received growth hormone therapy — were more likely to have a stroke than the general population.

Dr. Patrick Wilton and colleagues used Pfizer's International Growth Database and the company's International Metabolic Database to track cancer risk among children and adults, respectively, who use growth hormone replacement. These post-marketing surveillance databases receive voluntary information from physicians with patients' and parents' permission. The researchers found that hypopituitary children who received growth hormone had the same likelihood of developing a tumor as normal children. Similarly, cancer rates among hypopituitary adults on growth hormone therapy for 6 months or longer matched the rate among the normal adult population. However, the incidence of intracranial tumors (primarily benign) and skin tumors was higher among hypopituitary patients. Wilton noted that many of the hypopituitary patients had received radiation therapy, which fosters intracranial tumor development.

Because hypopituitary adults lose fat mass and gain lean body mass while on replacement therapy, growth hormone has been tested on obese people. Dr. Stewart Albert led a study in which 39 obese patients (body mass index of 37) with an average age of 36 received nightly low-dose injections of growth hormone or placebo for three months. The GH dose corresponds to the amount of growth hormone found in persons without a weight problem. In previous studies with obese patients, high doses of GH had caused adverse side effects. During Dr. Albert's study, people taking GH lost about five pounds of body fat, mostly from the abdominal area.

Growth hormone replacement therapy has been linked to a deterioration of glucose tolerance. M. Bramnert et al. published a study of 19 GH-deficient adults who received low-dose GH (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2003 Apr;88(4): 1453-4). These Swedish researchers found that "GH replacement therapy with a low-dose GH in GH-deficient adult subjects is associated with a sustained deterioration of glucose metabolism as a consequence of the lipolytic effect of GH, resulting in enhanced oxidation of lipid substrate." They recommend that glucose metabolism be carefully monitored during long-term GH therapy.

Bramnert, M. et al. Growth hormone replacement therapy induces insulin resistance-activating the glucose-fatty acid cycle. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2003 Apr;88(4): 1453-4
New Research Shows Potential Benefit of growth Hormone for Obesity and Heart Disease, without Previously Feared Increased Risk of Cancer. (Press release)

Lung Cancer Vaccine
Cell Genesys' GVAX lung cancer vaccine showed positive results in a small Phase I/II trial led by Dr. John Nemunaitis, US Oncology (Dallas Texas). The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (18 February 2004), involved 43 patients with non-small cell lung cancer — 10 in the early stage and 33 in the advanced. Non-small cell lung cancer has the highest mortality rate of any cancer in the US, approximately 150,000 per year. Chemotherapy only helps about 3% of those with advanced-stage lung cancer, and survival averages about 8-9 months.

In this study, cancer disappeared in 3 of the advanced-stage patients, a response that lasted 6, 18, and 22 months. The disease remained stable without progression in the rest of the advanced-stage patients for periods of almost five months to more than two years. Patients in early-stage lung cancer showed no significant response to the vaccine. This GVAX vaccine consists of cells from the patient's own tumor that are genetically modified with an adenoviral vector to secrete human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). The tumor cells are lethally radiated for safety. Researchers noticed that survival length was greater in patients whose vaccines secreted more GM-CSF. Patients received intradermal injections of their individual vaccine every 2 weeks for a total of three to six vaccinations.

The lung cancer vaccine is just one of a series of cancer vaccines being developed and tested by Cell Genesys. According to the company's web site, vaccines for pancreatic cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, and prostate cancer are ready for clinical-stage testing. The GVAX¨ prostate cancer vaccine is expected to begin a Phase 3 clinical trial in the second quarter of 2004. Although some of these vaccines use cells from a patient's own tumor, others (i.e., the GVAX prostate cancer vaccine and pancreatic cancer vaccine) use tumor cells from non-patient specific cancer cell lines. Cell Genesys received research funding from Japan Tobacco in exchange for marketing rights, according to an article in The Guardian. Japan Tobacco, which makes Camel, Winston, Salem, and Mild Seven cigarettes, is the world's third largest tobacco manufacturer.

Boseley, Sarah. Tobacco firm to profit from cancer genes. The Guardian 12 November 2001
GVAX¨ Cancer Vaccines
Lee, Renee C. Experimental vaccine stops lung cancer. The Herald-Sun 20 February 2004
Nemunaitis, John et al. Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor Gene-Modified Autologous Tumor Vaccines in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Vol. 96, No. 4, 326-331, February 18, 2004)

Maitake Gold 404®
Maitake Gold 404® is a patented mushroom extract developed by immunologist Hiroaki Nanba, PhD, senior professor of microbiochemistry at Kobe Pharmaceutical University (Kobe, Japan). It is used as a therapy for cancer and hepatitis and may also be helpful in treating chronic fatigue syndrome, hypertension, and chronic viral infections including HIV. Dr. Nanba discovered a particularly active component of the maitake mushroom (Grifola frondose), called the D fraction extract, that stimulates cell-mediated immunity. This extract's antitumor and immunopotentiating effects were increased by 30% when Dr. Nanba purified the D fraction further, creating the MD fraction found in Maitake Gold 404®. This extract activates and enhances the actions of macrophages, natural killer cells, and T cells that attack cancer cells, viruses, and other pathogens. Maitake Gold 404® also works as an adaptogen and has detoxifying effects on the liver and lungs.
Dr. Nanba and other researchers have found that Maitake Gold 404® protects healthy cells against cancer, slows or stops tumor growth, and prevents metastasis in those with cancer. It appears to have the most effect on breast, prostate, liver, and lung cancers. In addition to its immune-enhancing effects, Maitake Gold 404¨ also lessens the adverse effects of chemotherapy and reduces pain associated with end-stage cancer. Mark Stengler's booklet Maitake Gold 404® relates one study that looked at the use of MD fraction extract and the chemotherapy drug mitomycin (MMC), on mice with cancer: "The MD fraction inhibited tumor growth more effectively (80%) than MMC alone (45%). However, the most effective tumor inhibition was observed with the combination of these two substances with almost 98% inhibition."

Stengler, Mark, ND. MaitakeGold 404®. Basic Health Publications, Inc. 2002 (ISBN: 1-59120-061-X)

Medical Marijuana Use
Months after California's medical marijuana law, Proposition 215, passed in 1996, the federal government began threatening doctors and patients alike for prescribing or using the botanical. Patients with cancer and AIDS report that smoking marijuana decreases pain, decreases nausea, and improves appetite. In October 2002, a federal appeals court determined that California doctors who recommend but do not provide marijuana to their patients cannot be prosecuted by the federal government. "An integral component of the practice of medicine is the communication between a doctor and a patient," said Chief Judge Mary Schroeder, writing for the 3-judge panel. "Physicians must be able to speak frankly and openly to patients." In addition, the ruling reasserted that states, not the federal government, are the primary regulators of professional conduct.

Although that ruling relieved doctors, federal agents continued to confiscate marijuana used by patients. The Drug Enforcement Administration and Attorney General John Ashcroft maintain that the federal government has jurisdiction because marijuana is sold in interstate commerce. Two women, one with chronic, severe back pain and the other with an inoperable brain tumor, sued Ashcroft. Both had letters from their doctors saying that marijuana alleviates their symptoms, which protects them from state and local prosecution under California law. The women were seeking a court order that protects them from federal prosecution or confiscation of their marijuana. One woman grows her own. The other receives hers from anonymous donors; no money is involved. Because no money is exchanged, the women's lawyers argued that no interstate commerce was involved and that the federal government has no jurisdiction. In December 2003, a 2-1 decision from the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco held that "The intrastate, noncommercial cultivation, possession and use of marijuana for personal medical purposes on the advice of a physician is, in fact, different from drug trafficking." The court said that the federal government has no jurisdiction in the exchange and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes if money is not involved.

Yet another medical marijuana case is scheduled to appear before the appeals court. A medical marijuana buyers co-operative in which members trade the drug among themselves is also seeking protection from federal government prosecution. Like the earlier case, lawyers argue that the co-op members are not involved in interstate commerce.

Egelko, Bob. US court backs use of medical marijuana. San Francisco Chronicle 30 October 2002
Weinstein, Henry. Medical Pot Users Win Key Ruling. Los Angeles Times. 17 December 2003

Cancer Survival
An article in US News & World Report (5 April 2004) looks at the challenges faced by cancer survivors who have undergone conventional treatments. As the cancer survival rate for children treated with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery has increased over the years, doctors have learned that these treatments can create other problems years later. Consequently, follow-up care for children who survive cancer is quite extensive. The medical establishment is just beginning to recognize that adult survivors also need follow-up care. The National Institutes of Health is funding more studies on cancer survivors. Some cancer centers, such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering (New York City, New York) and M.D. Anderson (Houston, Texas), now have 'survivorship' programs. In April 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and the Lance Armstrong Foundation was scheduled to release "a public-health blueprint for addressing the needs of cancer survivors."

The US News article says that radiation therapy is a major source of problems. The brain's white matter, responsible for much of our higher cognitive abilities, is easily damaged by radiation. Children with leukemia often received head irradiation until a 1981 study found that it caused a significant drop in IQ. Mark Keran, director of pediatric neuro-oncology at Dana-Farber (Boston, Massachusetts), remembers a 5-year-old patient treated for pediatric brain cancer in the late 1970s. Treatment, which included radiation, cured the boy of cancer; but at age 20, "[he] was rocking back and forth in a chair, sucking his thumb." Today, doctors have more awareness of radiation's effect on a child's developing brain. But researchers are still learning about radiation's long-term effects. A recent study found that children diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease between 1955 and 1986 and treated with radiation have 18 times the risk of developing another cancer (usually breast or thyroid) as the general population. Adults who receive radiation therapy may develop cardiac arrhythmias, bone weakness, premature aging of organs, sexual dysfunction, and lymphedema. In addition, radiation therapy pushes women into premature menopause.

Like radiation, chemotherapy can cause infertility, but it also has other after-effects. Cisplatin, which is one ingredient in therapy for testicular cancer, damages the kidneys and, possibly, the heart. Some of the chemicals also cross the blood-brain barrier, resulting in memory loss, impaired concentration, and decreased organizational skills. Impaired mental function can last for years after treatment.

Fatigue, depression, and pain can also trouble cancer survivors long after treatment ends. Bone-marrow-transplant patients often suffer severe fatigue, which Pam Massey and colleagues at M.D. Anderson says can be reduced with exercise. Depression is a serious problem in cancer patients and survivors. William Breitbart, the chief of psychiatry at Sloan-Kettering, says about 15 to 25% of cancer patients and survivors suffer clinical depression that can be helped with medication. Depression also contributes to pain. Research shows that people with a history of depression are more likely to develop chronic pain. "You can have symptoms that go on for years, whether from the tumor itself, chemo, radiation, or surgery," says Ada Jacox, professor of nursing at the University of Virginia and director of clinical practice guidelines for the American Pain Society.
Many cancer survivors turn to the web for support and information about the challenges they face. One of the web sites that some find helpful is the one sponsored by the Lance Armstrong Foundation, This site includes personal stories of survivors with different kinds of cancers as well as "straight-forward advice from experts broken into three categories: physical, emotional, and practical."

Silver, Marc. E-Comfort, Online Help. US News & World Report . April 5, 2004.
Szegedy-Maszak, Marianne & Hobson, Katherine. Beating a Killer. US News & World Report. April 5, 2004.

Vitamin Therapy & Cancer
Orthomolecular psychiatrist Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD, began working with cancer patients in 1978, when a family doctor referred a woman with pancreatic cancer to him. The woman had told her doctor that she was taking 10 grams of vitamin C each day, and he suggested that she see Dr. Hoffer, an expert on vitamins. Dr. Hoffer told Peter Barry Chowka in a 1997 interview that he suggested that she take as much vitamin C as her bowel could tolerate without diarrhea (in her case, 40 grams/day) and recommended a few other nutrients. When she returned a month later, she said she felt fine. CAT scans taken after six months revealed that the tumor was gone. She was still alive at the time of this interview. Dr. Hoffer's next cancer patient was a man with prostate cancer that was growing into the pubic bone. Dr. Hoffer put him on a nutritional program that included injectable vitamin C. Six months later the man's doctor called Dr. Hoffer and told him that the tumor was gone, according to X-ray. Dr. Hoffer told him to discontinue the injections but continue oral doses of C. At age 80, the man died of a heart attack, nine years after overcoming cancer.

Gradually, more cancer patients asked their doctors to refer them to Dr. Hoffer. In 1997, he was seeing four or five new patients each week with doctors themselves being the source of referral. After working with several patients, Dr. Hoffer began to notice that the patients who stayed on the nutrition and vitamin program lived longer than those who did not. Encouraged by Linus Pauling to write up his results, Dr. Hoffer followed up on all 134 patients that he had seen between 1978 and 1988. All of the patients had been extremely ill, considered untreatable. The 101 patients who stuck with Dr. Hoffer's program lived 10 to 20 times as long as those who did not. These patients also had less pain. The 33 patients who did not follow the vitamin program lived about 5-6 months. In addition to vitamins, Dr. Hoffer recommends a low-fat, low-sugar diet that is based on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Dr. Hoffer does not view the vitamin program as an alternative to standard treatment; he asks all patients to continue working with their oncologists.
According to an article by Reagan Houston, the nutrients that Hoffer recommends include vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin B-complex, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and vitamin C to bowel tolerance. Research by S. Lieberman indicates that vitamin D is also helpful. Hoffer and other clinical researchers have found that vitamin C is particularly effective. E. Cameron, a Scottish physician who wrote Cancer and Vitamin C with Linus Pauling, gave his patients 10,000 mg of ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate each day. In one case, a truck driver's lymphatic cancer disappeared after two weeks of IV vitamin C. The man continued to take 10,000 mg of vitamin C orally for a few more months when the dose was gradually decreased to zero. A month later, the cancer reappeared. This time he required 20,000 mg/day by IV for 20 days, followed by 12,500 mg/day orally. After three months, the man was "perfectly fit and well with no evidence of active disease" and continued to remain healthy for the next five years. "Vitamin C appears to put cancer into remission rather than cure it," writes Reagan Houston.

Chowka, Peter Barry. Interview with Abram Hoffer MD, PhD (1997)
Houston, Reagan, MS, PE. A New Look at Old Cancer Therapies. The Prostate Cancer Exchange, 22:5-12, 5 June 2002. (available at

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