Hide this
 

Are Vitamin Supplements a Bad Idea for Cancer Patients?

March 01, 2008 | 150,372 views
Share This Article Share

cancer, supplements, conventional cancer treatment, chemotherapy, radiology, antioxidantsMillions of U.S. cancer survivors take vitamin supplements. However, there is little evidence that supplements help, and worries that some may actually fuel the disease.

A review of 32 studies conducted between 1999 and 2006 found that 64 percent to 81 percent of cancer survivors take extra vitamins or minerals (excluding multivitamins). But little is known about how megadoses of vitamins affect cancer.

A 1995 report showed that cancer cells in a petri dish thrive in the presence of vitamin C, and subsequent studies have suggested that vitamin C supplements may lower survival rates. A study of vitamin E showed patients with cancers of the head and neck who took supplements increased their risk for developing a second cancer.

The American Cancer Society says use of vitamins and supplements during cancer treatments should be avoided.

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Cancer treatments are not what I typically focus on, for a variety of reasons. I also do not focus on recommendations for specific supplements, for the simple fact that the vast majority of supplements on the market are synthetic versions that can do more harm than good.

It’s important to keep in mind that there is a major difference between natural whole-food supplements and pharmaceutical grade, synthetic vitamins and minerals.

That said, there’s little doubt in my mind that most studies trying to scare you into thinking that taking vitamins and mineral supplements will kill you faster than any drug will, is based on the use of synthetic supplements, in combination with strong financial interests. Conventional cancer treatment represents a multi-billion dollar a year industry. These vast profits are fiercely protected by the industry giants, and it’s already been proven, over and over again, that financial ties can radically color the outcome of any study.

But conventional cancer treatments in no way address the underlying causes of cancer.

Cancer is a nutritional/toxic/environmental/emotional condition, which, in a great number of instances, can be successfully reversed through the application of a sound nutritional approach and common-sense lifestyle changes.

Chemotherapy -- the LEAST Successful Cancer Treatment? 

According to the National Cancer Institute (a component of the National Institutes of Health, and funded by the U.S. Congress), about 500,000 people will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year.  Many people are also unaware that cancer -- NOT heart disease -- is the number one risk of death for most everyone reading this article.  

Chemotherapy, which has been one of the principal treatment methods for the past 50 years, works by killing all cells -- throughout your body -- that multiply and divide rapidly. This would include cancer cells, but also other rapidly multiplying and dividing cells, such as: 

  • Bone marrow, which produces blood
  • Digestive system
  • Reproductive system
  • Hair follicles 

This overkill approach is the cause of the astounding overall failure of chemotherapy.  

In 2004, the Journal of Clinical Oncology published a revealing study about chemotherapy’s success rates when looking at how many cancer patients were still alive after 5 years. It states:  

RESULTS: The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.

CONCLUSION
: As the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required.
 

I think you’d be hard pressed to find anything still being touted as your best shot at a cure with an average success rate of just over 2 percent, if it wasn’t for the fact that big profits were driving the recommendation. 

The heartbreaking reality is that chemotherapy and other conventional cancer therapies rarely work, and some drug treatments also promote the spread of cancer. But somehow the rationale to “avoid these agents because they might promote the disease” does not apply when it comes to drugs.  

This is a pervasive and hard to change double standard, visible again in the CA – A Cancer Journal for the Clinician listed above, which concludes by stating:  

“Pending the publication of suitable trials, clinicians must be guided by existing data in the context of a fundamental principle of medicine, "Primum non nocere." (First do no harm) 

And yet, conventional cancer treatments can in no way, shape or form ever be considered harmless.

"...as a chemist trained to interpret data, it is incomprehensible to me that physicians can ignore the clear evidence that chemotherapy does much, much more harm than good."
Alan C Nixon, PhD, former president of the American Chemical Society

Taking a Look at Definitions and Exceptions 

Dr. Ralph Moss, author of the book, Questioning Chemotherapy, has documented the ineffectiveness of chemotherapy in treating most cancers. There are a few, rare exceptions, however, where the treatment can be of value, including: 

  • Acute Iymphocytic leukemia
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Nonseminomatous testicular cancer
  • Choriocarcinoma
  • Retinoblastoma 

These types of cancer account for 2 to 4 percent of all cancers occurring in the United States. This leaves some 96 to 98 percent of other cancers, such as breast, colon, and lung cancer, which are barely touched by chemotherapy. In many cases “life extension” equates to just another 6 to 18 months of life.

Effective cancer treatment is also a matter of definition. The FDA defines an "effective" drug as one that achieves a 50 percent or more reduction in tumor size for 28 days. In the vast majority of cases there is absolutely no correlation between shrinking tumors for 28 days and the cure of the cancer or extension of life.

However, when the cancer patient hears the doctor say "effective," he or she thinks, and logically so, that "effective" means it has a good possibility of curing them.

But all it means is temporary tumor shrinkage.

What Else Do We Know About Supplements For Cancer?

Needless to say, there are a variety of supplements that have received favorable press, based on positive study results. Most, however -- and this may be key -- are found to be preventative, more so than curative in nature.

Black cohosh and CoQ10 are two supplements that have been found to have potential in the treatment of cancer.  Other supplements have been shown to be helpful in reducing your risk of contracting a variety of different cancers, including:

The one supplement that appears to have the most overwhelming support for both reducing your risk, and aiding in your treatment of cancer, however, is vitamin D from sunlight.

How to Virtually Eliminate Your Risk of Cancer

I believe these relatively simple risk reduction strategies can help you to VIRTUALLY ELIMINATE your cancer risk, and radically improve your chances of recovering from cancer if you currently have it.

You won’t read or hear much about these elsewhere because they have not been formally "proven" yet by conservative researchers. However, most people don’t know that 85 percent of therapies currently recommended by conventional medicine have never been formally proven either. And, as discussed above, conventional cancer treatments are clearly not in the best interest of most patients suffering from the disease.

  • Reduce your processed food, sugar and grain carbohydrate intake  Yes, this is even true for whole unprocessed organic grains as they tend to rapidly break down and drive your insulin and leptin levels up, which is the last thing you need to have happening if you are seeking to resolve a cancer.
  • Control your fasting insulin and leptin levels: This is the end result, and can be easily monitored with the use of simple and relatively inexpensive blood tests.
  • Normalize your ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats by taking a high-quality krill oil or fish oil and reducing your intake of most processed vegetable oils
  • Get regular exercise. One of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down. Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks.
  • Normalize your vitamin D levels and vitamin A levels by getting plenty of sunlight exposure  and consider careful supplementation when this is not possible. If you take oral vitamin D and have a cancer it would be very prudent to monitor your vitamin D blood levels regularly.
  • Eat according to your nutritional type. The potent anti-cancer effects of this principle are very much underappreciated. When we treat cancer patients in our clinic this is one of the most powerful anti-cancer strategies we have
  • Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution
  • Limit your exposure and provide protection for yourself from information carrying radio waves produced by cell phone towers, base stations, phones and WiFi stations
  • Avoid frying or charbroiling your food. Boil, poach or steam your foods instead
  • Have a tool to permanently reprogram  the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. Energy psychology seems to be one of the best approaches and my particular favorite tool, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique. German New Medicine is another powerful tool.

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
Alliance for Natural Health USA
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico