1. Nutrient increases survival time in breast cancer patients

    As a nutritionist, my focus is on prevention. I rarely talk about ways to treat a disease like cancer. But if you had to guess, you probably know what I think of chemotherapy. Without a doubt, it's one of the most brutal treatments in the so- called modern era.

    But there are things you can do to counteract its effects. In fact, a new study shows that one nutrient given alongside chemo can actually increase survival time in women with advanced breast cancer.

    Nutrient supercharges chemo

    French scientists recruited 25 women with breast cancer to take part in their study. Almost 70 percent of the women had advanced stages of cancer, with metastases to the liver and other sites.

    Each of the women received chemotherapy to treat their cancer. They also received 1.8 grams per day of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA.

    Why DHA, you wonder? Well, scientists believe that DHA makes cancer tumours more "sensitive" to chemotherapy. In other words, it helps the chemo to kill more cancer cells.

    Women with most DHA double survival rates

    The women followed this regimen for two to six months. Then, they went on living their lives as best they could. Scientists checked back in on the women after 31 months. They found that--on average--most of the women survived 22 months. But the women with the most DHA in their blood survived for 34 months.

    Now, I know these statistics are tough to read. But for anyone with cancer, it's critically important. Especially when you consider that the average survival rate for a woman with stage IV breast cancer is normally just 14 months with chemo alone.

    But in this study, the women with the most DHA in their blood added 20 months to their life. In other words, they more than doubled their prognosis just by adding an omega-3 supplement to their regimen.

    Drugs versus Nutrients

    In this study, the omega-3 fatty acid DHA added up to 20 months to a woman's life with advanced breast cancer. Now, let's compare that to the blockbuster drug Avastin.

    Avastin is not a chemotherapy drug. It doesn't kill cancer cells directly. Instead, it cuts off the blood supply to the malignant tumors. In theory, it should boost the effects of chemotherapy (much like DHA, you could argue). But Avastin can cost up to $9,000 per month. Plus, side effects include GI perforation, stroke, and heart attack. And here's the real kicker...

    A recent study on colon cancer showed that Avastin--despite the hefty price tag – only extends a patient's life by an average of four months.

    But what really makes me sick is that the company that makes Avastin wants to see the drug used to treat other types of cancer. Just last month the company wrapped up a clinical trial involving Avastin and advanced stomach cancer patients.

    In this trial, scientists divided patients into two groups. One group received Avastin plus another chemo drug called Xeloda. The other group received a placebo plus Xeloda. Turns out the Avastin group didn't live any longer than the placebo group did.

    However, despite these shameful results, Avastin is still the go-to drug for most oncologists. It pulled in roughly $6 billion in 2009 alone.

    Support without side effects

    If you're diagnosed with cancer, make sure to weigh your options carefully. And if you decide to include chemotherapy in your treatment, you should definitely consider adding a fish oil supplement.

    The women in the study took 1.8 grams of DHA per day. To get that amount of DHA, you'll have to take nine of the large fish oil capsules. (There are usually about 200 mg of DHA in each fish oil capsule.)

    And just in case you're wondering, fish oil--even at these high levels--is completely non-toxic. You'll just have to contend with the fishy aftertaste. To avoid this, take the fish oil with meals. Also, make sure to take at least 1,200 IU of all-natural mixed tocopherol vitamin E to wipe out free radicals generated by the fish oil.

    Additional support beyond fish oil

    Without a doubt, cancer takes an enormous toll on your body. So, it's critically important to give your body all the nutritional support it needs in order for it to have the strength it needs to fight the cancer.

    First, to support your immune system, be sure to take a good multivitamin every day along with 2,000 mg ascorbic acid or ascorbate vitamin C three times a day. In addition, you may want to consider taking alpha lipoic acid, an antioxidant that's both fat- and water-soluble. Third, I'd also recommend milk thistle to help support your liver as it flushes away toxins from your body. And lastly, for anyone taking chemo, ginger tablets can really help ease nausea during treatment.

  2. Land of the Free…as long as you take chemo?

    Like many of you, last week I read about the plight of Daniel Hauser. He's the 13-year-old boy from Sleepy Eye, Minnesota who has Hodgkins lymphoma. Six months ago, a family doctor diagnosed young Daniel with the disease. It must have been a shocking blow to his family, who lives on a farm in rural Minnesota.

    Daniel's doctors ordered six rounds of chemo to treat his tumors. So in February of this year, Daniel underwent his first round. But he got so sick, he and his family refused to continue treatment.

    Daniel's parents sought the advice of several other oncologists. Not surprisingly, they all recommended Daniel continue with the chemo. But Daniel and his parents belong to a religious group that believes in the tenet, "first do no harm." So the family began to investigate and use natural methods to fight Daniel's disease.

    Well, that wasn't enough according to one Minnesota judge. Last week, judge John R. Rodenberg found that by discontinuing chemo, Daniel had been "medically neglected" by his parents. He ruled that the State had a right to intervene in the interests of Daniel's health and welfare.

    On May 19th, Rodenberg ordered the Hausers to start seeing their oncologist again. In addition, he ordered Daniel to get another chest x-ray to reassess the size of the tumors. The judge said if the x-rays showed Daniel would still benefit from chemo, and the family still refused, that the boy would be placed with child protective services.

    So last week, Daniel and his mom fled Minnesota, presumably to avoid forced medical treatment. As a consequence, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Daniel's mom. After a week on the run, Daniel and his mom turned themselves into authorities in California on Monday and returned home. I'm sure the decision was difficult and heart-wrenching. They've agreed to continue with Daniel's court-ordered chemo treatments.

    Will chemo work for Daniel?

    Yes, according to much mainstream research out there, Daniel's cancer will likely respond to chemotherapy. But do I believe the Hauser's "medically neglected" their child by attempting to treat his disease differently?

    Of course not!

    It may not be the choice you or I would have made for young Daniel, but it's the Hauser's choice. And the last I checked, parents have a constitutionally-protected right to make choices about the welfare of their children.

    Of course, even parental rights have their limits according to the laws of our free republic. And the line has to be drawn somewhere. Neglecting or abusing children should not be tolerated. I'm not questioning that.

    But mandating chemo? It's a scary place we live in, folks, when anything other than chemotherapy is considered "medical neglect"! What's next? Requiring the Gardasil vaccine for all 12-year-old girls? State-mandated Ritalin for any kid who's got ADHD? How about required genetic testing for pregnant mothers? In fact, why don't we limit the number of children you have in the first place? That will really save lives!

    You think I'm kidding, but in a government-controlled health care system, this very easily could become a reality. All that state-mandated chemo will get really expensive, really quickly.

    Daniel's not alone

    Daniel's case is not an isolated one. Big Brother has often stepped in, forcing chemo upon families seeking "alternative" treatments. In fact, many years ago in Florida, I experienced a similar case.

    A father came in to see me with his 12 year-old son who had osteosarcoma of the knee. He had been told it was child abuse to refuse chemotherapy for his son even AFTER being told that the treatment was admittedly experimental!

    His entire family had to leave in the middle of the night to Canada before agents got there the next day to take the child away. They snuck him up there for Essiac herbal treatment.

    They had also been told that the treatment probably wouldn't work, and that they should prepare for above-the-knee amputation (the worst type). At the time, the boy had a large asymmetry of one knee, with a large, firm lump.

    But unlike Daniel, my patient and his family got out. The got away from Big Brother and the State-mandated chemotherapy. And guess what?

    Two or three years later, a lanky teenager I failed to recognize walked into my office (on both legs, no limp and no lump) looking totally healthy. His father walked in after him. They stopped by just to show me what the outcome had been with his now-normal son. They couldn't stay long though because they were still under an arrest warrant and had snuck into the state for some business.

    Beating cancer without chemo

    Interestingly, according to one report I read on, Daniel and his mom in their travels last week may have met up with a "man named Billy Best, who as a teenager in 1994 ran away from home to escape chemotherapy for cancer similar to Daniel's." Apparently, Billy was also "medically-neglected" by his parents. They sought "alternative" treatment. And now, as a grown adult, he's cured. (Imagine that! He too beat cancer without chemo!)

    As a final note, in the same MSNBC article I read that Daniel's mom got a lot of information about treating lymphoma off the Internet. I have to admit, that worried me. What did she do, Google "curing lymphoma naturally"? Maybe the reporter glossed over the finer details. I'd like to think she looked into it more than that. (Let's just chalk that one up to a biased reporter with an ax to grind.)

    Daniel and his mom need to find a good naturopath to help with this fight, even if it's now in collaboration with their oncologist. That's what we mean when we talk about "complementary" medicine. It's supposed to complement or accompany traditional treatments.

    The American College for the Advancement in Medicine is a great place to start when looking for an established naturopath or an MD who specializes in "complementary" medicine. Also, I recommend taking a look at my book Tomorrow's Cancer Cures TODAY. In it, you'll find 25 of the best and most cutting-edge cancer cures from around the world. Here's the link to learn more:

2 Item(s)