Almost all the cells in our bodies must be replaced on a regular basis. Some cells, like those that make up the intestinal lining, die out quickly and are replaced every few days. In other parts of the body, the cells live for years before they divide and form new ones. Under special circumstances, such as an injury or an illness, healthy new cells may grow more quickly than usual to replace those that are damaged. When the area is healed, cell growth slows back down to its normal rate.
Normally, the genes that control the growth of cells automatically know when to start and stop the replication process. But when genes are mutated-perhaps because of an inherited flaw, or more commonly, because of dietary and environmental factors-cells may begin to multiply and divide at an unusually fast rate. Eventually, these cells form a lump. Sometimes lumps are benign (meaning that they are noncancerous and relatively harmless), as in the case of warts or uterine fibroids. Other growths, however, are malignant. They pull nutrients away from healthy tissues that surround them, and they interfere with the body's normal functions, to a potentially life-threating extent. If a tumor continues to grow, its cells may spread via the blood vessels or the lymphatic system to other parts of the body, where they form new tumors. Once this process, called metastasis, is underway, there is a risk of dying from complications that can occur. Although many cancers can be treated successfully when caught early, the sad fact remains that they are the second-leading cause of death in the United States. Every minute, another person dies of some form of the disease.
The word cancer refers to the process of uncontrolled cell division, but, technically, it is not, in itself, the name of a specific disorder. Instead, cancer is an umbrella term that refers to more than one hundred different kinds of diseases, which are generally named according to the area where the tumor first appears. In men, prostate cancer is most common; in women, breast cancer is most frequent. But both of these cancers can be highly treatable when caught early. Lung cancer is common and one of the deadliest. Cancer also tends to strike the skin, the urinary tract, the colorectal region and the female reproductive organs, although it can attack anywhere. It's beyond the scope of this article to discuss each individual type of cancer, but suggestions here apply to anyone who is fighting off a tumor, wants to keep a cancer in remission, or hopes to avoid developing cancer in the first place. We also have recommendations on what to take if you are undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation, to reduce side effects and optimize immune functions, as well as outcome.
Scientists break cancers down into four very broad categories, and if you're trying to communicate with your doctor or keep up with medical literature, it's helpful to understand the difference among them. Carcinomas affect soft tissue in organs and glands, like the skin, the breasts, the lungs, and the pancreas. Sarcomas, which are quite rare, occur in solid tissues, especially bone, muscle, and cartilage. Lymphomas appear in the lymphatic system. Leukemia's are cancers of the tissues that form blood; these cancers are unusual, in that they don't form hard tumors.
As with so many other chronic and deadly diseases, researchers have not been able to pinpoint the cause of uncontrolled, cancerous cell growth, despite decades of hard work and billions of dollars in funding. It's likely that there isn't just one cause. We know, for example, that faulty genes play a role in some cancers-but most people with genetic flaws aren't doomed to develop cancer; they simply have a greater chance of doing so. Although a family history of cancers carries with it increased risk, most cancer researchers agree that as a sole cause, genetics is relatively insignificant, accounting for only 5 to 15 percent of cancers. It appears that most cancers are caused by largely controllable factors, such as nutrition, lifestyle, and environmental factors. One of the criticisms of conventional medicine in preventing and treating cancer is that diet, lifestyle, stress and the ability to rid the body of environmental toxins rarely are addressed in a comprehensive fashion. Yet these factors are both most influential and most controllable in the prevention of cancer, and they play important roles in the recovery of cancer. To reduce the risk of developing cancer, we all need to reduce free-radical formation in the body, limit exposure to dietary and environmental sources of free radicals, and increase out intake of antioxidant nutrients.
We also know that environmental carcinogens like cigarette smoke, man-made food, and pollution can have a devastating effect on the body. These toxins encourage the formation of free radicals, and many experts now believe that these unbalanced molecules contribute to uncontrolled call growth. People the strong immune systems and high levels of antioxidants-the substances that neutralize free radicals-are in a much better position to starve off tumor growth. But again, not everyone exposed to high levels of carcinogens or with a weakened immune system will necessarily suffer from cancer. An increasing amount of research is demonstrating how the effects of stress may be the root cause for some people. In all probability, a combination of several factors leads to this group of disease.
Since we can't control the genes we inherit (not yet, anyway), it's wise for people who are battling cancer or who want to prevent it to turn their attention to things we can control. First things first: Early detection is the key to successful treatment, so have regular check ups and cancer screenings, as are appropriate for you age, sex and medical history. Learn the warning signs of cancer, and contact a doctor immediately if one shows up on your body. Aside from these common-sense strategies, you must do everything you can to support your immune system and increase you intake of antioxidants, while minimizing your exposure to environmental toxins. You should also cleanse your body by drinking lots of clean water and eating plenty of fiber. Periodic fasts will further detoxify your system. Your liver is one of the most crucial organs for cancer defense; under normal conditions, it filters out toxins and helps them pass out of the body. But when unhealthful food, pollution, or other carcinogens overtax it, some of those toxins are reabsorbed into the body, where they may encourage cancerous growths. Good nutrition and a detoxification plan will support your liver, but you'll also want to give it a boost with cleansing herbs. And because stress can produce free radicals and lower immunity, it's also important to find measures that release tension and get your stress levels under control.
As most of us know, the conventional measures for treating cancer-chemotherapy, radiation, and surgical removal of the tumor or the effected organ-are extremely harsh and sometimes life-threatening. There are also highly promising reports of dietary and supplementation therapies that have caused cancer remission in some people, but as yet, we have few studies that can actually prove their effectiveness. Talk to you doctor, do some research, and weigh the pro's and con's of different chemotherapy or other conventional treatments, try to find a doctor who is sympathetic to your desire to incorporate natural strategies into your healing process. Dietary changes, herbs, and other natural treatments can significantly reduce your discomfort and boost your ability to fight the disease.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
Prescription for Natural Cures by James F. Balch and Mark Stengler
Super Prescription #1 Green Tea (Camella sinensis) - LifeSource Product
Drink three cups of organic green tea daily. Note: If you are sensitive to caffeine, there are many brands that have removed the caffeine. Or, take 1,500 mg daily of the capsule form standardized to contain at least 80 to 90 percent polyphenols and 30 to 55 percent epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG)
Super Prescription # 2 Phyto Greens - Super Greens - LifeSource Products - See All of our Phyto Green Products
Use a formula that contains a bend of super green foods, such as chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass, and other green foods. They contain an array of phytonutrients and antioxidants that promote healthy cells in the body. Take as directed on the container.
Super Prescription #3 Multivitamin – High Potency – LifeSource Products - See All of our Multivitamin Products. Take a high-potency multivitamin and mineral formula, as directed on the container. It provides a base of nutrients and antioxidants for immune health.
Super Prescription #4 Probiotic - Dophilus Plus - LifeSource Product
Take a product containing at least 4 billion organisms of the friendly bacteria per daily dose. These good bacteria support immune function, digestion, and detoxification of carcinogenic matter.
Super Prescription #5 Indole-3-carbinol
Take 400 mg daily to support detoxification, particularly of cancerous hormone metabolites.
Super Prescription #6 Vitamin D3 - LifeSource Products - See All of our Vitamin D Products. Take 1,000 mg daily to support detoxification of carcinogens and cancerous hormone metabolites.
Super Prescription #7 Omega 3 - LifeSource Products - See All of our Omega 3 – Fish Oil Products. Take a daily dosage of combined DHA and EPA daily (Omega 3). These essential fatty acids support healthy cell structure. Take as directed.
Cancers often grow for years, even decades, before they manifest in symptoms. Nevertheless, there are some early warning signs you should watch for. If you experience any of the following symptoms, don't panic. Most likely, you don't have cancer: the symptoms of cancerous growth are similar or identical to the symptoms of many other illnesses, often ones that are much less frightening. Nevertheless, you should see your doctor right away for an accurate diagnosis. If you o have a cancerous growth, the sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of sending the disease into permanent remission.
- A mole, a wart, or a blemish that changes in diameter, shape, color or thickness
- A sore that doesn't hear within three weeks
- A lump or a swelling under the skin
- Chronic indigestion or difficulty swallowing
- A change in bowel or bladder habits
- Blood in the urine or the stool
- Rectal bleeding
- An unexplained vaginal discharge or bleeding between periods
- Recurring headaches
- An unexplained weight loss or appetite
- An unexplained pain, especially in the bones
- A persistent low-grade fever
- Recurrent infections
- Hoarseness that lingers for more than a week
- A persistent cough or a cough that brings up blood
- Persistent fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
Dietary therapies for cancer seek to return your body to its natural state of balance and health. Focus on a diet of whole foods, which optimize immune function and detoxification.
Whenever possible, eat clean, live foods. Look for food that's organically grown. If you're eating poultry, check the label to be sure the animal was not raise on antibiotics or other unnatural substances. When buying fish, ask whether the product comes from a clean water source.
When the liver processes toxins, cancer-promoting free radicals are produced in high quantities. Of all the antioxidants, glutathione is the best at counteracting the free radicals created during this process. Asparagus, avocados, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and walnuts are all excellent sources of glutathione. Make it a priority to put one or more of these foods on your menu every day.
Eat as many raw vegetables and fruits as possible, especially those that have deep, rich colors. These foods are high in fiber, which helps flush toxins from your system, and they're potent sources of antioxidants. When you eat them raw, you will also retain their natural enzymes, which help you digest food and absorb the maximum amount of nutrients into your bloodstream.
For even more fiber, eat plenty f whole grains, including oats and brown rice.
Eat wheat germ, nuts and seeds for their vitamin E content. Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant.
Garlic, onions, and legumes will help keep your liver functioning at optimum capacity.
Fermented soy products, such as tofu, tempeh, and miso, appear to have anticancer properties, based on population studies. Consume these products three to four times weekly, unless you are sensitive to soy products. (But don't take isoflavone extracts. Their effects on the body are still unknown.)
If you're battling cancer, you don't need to be told how important it is to keep up your strength and energy. Eat lean protein from beans, eggs, tofu, poultry, or fish. People undergoing conventional cancer therapy require increased protein intake to prevent tissue wasting.
Studies in Japan show that in areas where people drink green tea, there are significantly lower rates of stomach, esophageal, and liver cancer. It also acts as a mild stimulant of the immune system.
Tomatoes are high in Lycopene, a substance that's shown to prevent and even counteract prostate cancer. Cooked tomatoes are higher in Lycopene than raw ones are.
Make sure to drink plenty of clean water to promote healthy detoxification. Fresh juicing with vegetable and fruit juices is highly advised. Try to consume 8 to 10 ounces a day of a variety of juices.
For extra fiber and cancer-fighting phytonutrients known as lignans, take 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds daily with 10 ounces of water.
Foods to Avoid
Do not eat foods that don't come from nature. Processed food, junk food, and anything containing chemicals, additives, or dyes should be banished from your menu.
Make every effort to avoid foods that have been sprayed, waxed, or otherwise treated. If you absolutely cannot avoid eating these foods, be sure to remove their peels, skins, or outer layers and to wash the food thoroughly in clean water before eating
While there's no evidence that refined sugar directly causes cancer, we do know that too much of it significantly depresses your immune system. A weak immune system may leave you vulnerable to cancer, and it can also sap your ability to handle aggressive cancer treatment. Do not eat products containing refined sugar. This includes sodas, candy, cakes, and cookies, as well as many store-bought juices and many processed foods. You should also restrict your intake of natural sugars. Go easy on homemade fruit juices and baked goods sweetened with molasses or honey.
Saturated, hydrogenated, and partially hydrogenated fats are linked to most degenerative disorders, and cancer is no exception. High consumption of these "bad" fats (as opposed to the "good" essential fatty acids found in cold-pressed oils and some fish) has been strongly linked to several types of cancer, including breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. Avoid red meat, butter, margarine, shortening, and products made with these foods. Especially carcinogenic are meats that have been grilled, charcoal-broiled, cured, or smoked. If you're trying to prevent cancer and want to enjoy red meat as an occasional treat, it would be wise to stay away from meats prepared in any of these manners, including hot dogs, cold cuts, and luncheon meats, as well as most types of bacon, ham and sausage.
Be wary of alcohol. Heavy use is linked to mouth and throat cancers and possibly to cancer of the stomach, the colon, and the rectum. If you're a healthy person trying to avoid cancer, limit yourself to a glass or to of wine per week. If you have cancer, it's best to avoid alcohol entirely, as it depletes much-needed nutrients from your body.
LifeSource's Super Prescriptions - Cancer
Super Prescription #1 Coriolus versicolor (Trametes versicolor)
Take 1,000 mg three times daily of the PSP or PSK standardized extracts on an empty stomach. Coriolus contains polysaccharides that have been shown to enhance immune function. It is manly used for esophageal, lung, stomach, and colon cancer. Note: It can be safely used in conjunction with conventional treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation)
Super Prescription # 2 Maitake - Mushroom Complex - LifeSource Product
Take 0.5 to 1 mg of the standardized MD or D fraction per kg of body weight per day in divided doses on an empty stomach. Maitake enhances immune cells that fight cancer. It is most effective for breast, prostate, liver and lung cancers. Note: It can be safely used in conjunction with conventional treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation)
Super Prescription #3 Proteolytic enzymes
Take a complex of proteolytic enzymes (dependent on the dose of the formula, take as directed on the container) three times daily between meals. Proteolytic enzymes have been shown to have numerous anticancer effects. Note: It can be safely used in conjunction with conventional treatment (surgery-except not three days before or after surgery--chemotherapy, and radiation)
Super Prescription #4 Astragalus - LifeSource Product
Take 1,000 mg or 4 ml of the tincture three times daily. Astragalus enhances natural killer and other immune cells that fight cancer. Note: It can be safely used in conjunction with conventional treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation)
Super Prescription #5 Vitamin C - LifeSource Products - See All of our Vitamin C Products. Take 5,000 to 10,000 mg or higher in divided doses. One technique is to build up to as high a dose as you can tolerate. When diarrhea occurs, cut back on the dosage. Note: Vitamin C can be administered in very therapeutic levels by a doctor who was trained in intravenous therapy.
Super Prescription #6 Curcumin – Turmeric - LifeSource Product Take 400 mg of curcumin extract three times daily on an empty stomach. This extract from turmeric has many different anticancer effects. Note: It can be safely used in conjunction with conventional treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation)
Super Prescription #7 Essiac
Essiac is a combination of detoxifying herbs derived from an ancient Indian healing formula, and it has attained a reputation for great success in treating cancers of all kinds. When buying Essiac, many brands use the name, but look for the following set of herbs: sheep sorrel, burdock root (Articum lappa). Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva), rhubarb root, watercress, blessed thistle (Cnicus benedictus), red clover (Trifolium pretense), and kelp (Ascophyllum nodosm). Essiac is most potent as a tincture or a tea; take as directed on the package label.
Modified citrus pectin (MCP), studies suggest, reduces the risk of prostate cancer metastasis. Take 10 mg of the powder form 3 times daily.
IP6 (inositol hexaphosphate) has been shown in studies to be an effective immune booster. Take 4 to 8 grams of IP6. Note: It can be safely used in conjunction with conventional treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Quercitin is a type of flavonoid that has been shown to inhibit tumor formation in test tube studies. Take 400 mg three times daily on an empty stomach. Fish oil is an important supplement, especially in preventing cachexia (tissue wasting). Take a product that contains a daily combined total dosage of 1,500 to 2,000 of DHA and EPA.
Whey Protein provides valuable protein to support the immune system. It also increases the levels of the important antioxidant glutathione. Take 25 grams twice daily as part of a protein shake or a smoothie.
A greens drink containing super green foods, such as chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass, and others, support detoxification. Take daily, as directed on the container.
Probiotic supplements are important for optimal immune function and for digestion and detoxification. Take a product containing a daily total of at least 4 billion active organisms.
Colostrum is a good supplement to support the immune system. Take 500 mg three times daily.
Melatonin has been shown in several studies to be helpful as an adjunctive therapy for certain types of cancers. It activates immune cells and improves the action of chemotherapy drugs and radiation. Take 20 mg or more under the direction and the guidance of a doctor.
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) will protect your liver during chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Find a product standardized for 60 to 80 percent silymarin content, and take 150 to 200 mg twice a day.
A high potency multivitamin and mineral formula (Multivitamin – High Potency) provides a base of nutrients for immune support. Take as directed on the container.
A substance called carnosol, which is found in rosemary, has been found to inhibit cancer in laboratory animals. Take 2 to 3 grams twice a day, or use 2 to 3 cc of a tincture three times daily.
If you are undergoing radiation treatment or chemotherapy, drink fennel tea to reduce the side effects.
Garlic strengthens the immune system. Take 300 to 450 mg twice a day.
Cat’s Claw (Una de bato) stimulates the activity of white blood cells. Take 500 mg or 1 to 2 cc twice a day.
Pau d'arco (Tabebuia avellanedae) is another potent immune-system enhancer. Take 100 mg or 0.5 to 1.0 ml three times daily.
Take 300 mg of Echinacea three times a day for its immune boosting properties.
If cancer treatment is making you nauseated, drink peppermint or ginger tea to soothe your stomach.
General Stress-Reduction Therapies
Stress is a carcinogen, just like radiation and pesticides. Reducing stress has an inhibiting effect on tumor growth; it will also improve the quality of you life during treatment. Support groups are an excellent way to handle stress and reduce tension. One famous study of breast-cancer patients showed that women who discussed their problem in support groups lived a full two years longer than women who did not. It's a good idea to supplement weekly sessions with a daily stress-reducing exercise, like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
Cancer also causes stress. In order to keep yourself in peak fighting condition, do everything you can to avoid tense situations, even those that you usually accept as a normal part of a full life. This is the time to unload a demanding project at work or to avoid your personal stress triggers, like crowded roads or difficult relatives.