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
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
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 (www.doveclinic.com).
In a report for Mycology Research Laboratories' Mycology
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
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. www.sciencewatch.com/may-june2000/sw_may-june2000_page8.htm
Kenyon, Dr. Julian. Observational Non-Controlled Study of the Use of Coriolus
Versicolor Supplementation in 30 Cancer Patients. Mycology
by Mycology Research Laboratories Ltd.) March 2003
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 NewScientist.com suggest that the question may need
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. NewScientist.com 12
Whelan, Jo. Deodorants plus shaving linked to breast cancer. NewScientist.com 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 www.enkueros.net
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: email@example.com
Genomics & Breast
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 www.sabcs.org,
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
GVAX¨ Cancer Vaccines www.cellgenesys.com
Lee, Renee C. Experimental vaccine stops lung cancer. The
Herald-Sun 20 February
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) http://www.jncicancerspectrum.oupjournals.org
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
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
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
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
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, www.livestrong.org. 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,
Szegedy-Maszak, Marianne & Hobson, Katherine. Beating a Killer. US
News & World
Report. April 5, 2004.
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
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
Chowka, Peter Barry. Interview with Abram Hoffer MD, PhD (1997) http://members.aol.com/pbchowka/hoffer.html
Houston, Reagan, MS, PE. A New Look at Old Cancer Therapies. The
Prostate Cancer Exchange, 22:5-12, 5 June 2002. (available at www.cancertherapies.org)