By Dr. Mercola
A loving, motivational message from a son to his mother – carved out in snow on the top deck of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center parking lot -- went viral earlier this month.
The snow message read "HI MOM" and was intended for Sharon Hart, a 48-year-old woman undergoing chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia. After thinking about the rest of the patients in the hospital, the 14-year-old son and his father went back and added "GOD BLESS U" to the message, which was visible to nearly the entire east side of the hospital.
When nurses, doctors, and patients began sharing photos of the heartwarming message on social media, the message soon went viral, touching many around the world, especially the millions who have been personally impacted by a cancer diagnosis (themselves or a loved one).
Cancer Rates Continue to Rise, Bankrupting Patients with Questionable Treatments
Nearly two million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year, and one in three will face a cancer diagnosis at some time in their lives.
Yet despite massive technological advances over the past half-century, Western medicine is still at a loss for how to rein in its prevalence. Cancer has grown into a worldwide epidemic of staggering proportions. The statistics speak for themselves:
- In the early 1900s, one in 20 people developed cancer
- In the 1940s, one in 16 people developed cancer
- In the 1970s, it was one in 10
- Today, it's one in three!
The 40-year "war on cancer" has clearly failed, and the cancer industry is spending virtually nothing of its multi-billion dollar resources on effective prevention strategies, such as dietary guidelines, exercise, and obesity education. Instead, it pours its money into treating cancer, not preventing or curing it.
The typical cancer patient spends $50,000 fighting the disease. Chemotherapy drugs are among the most expensive of all treatments, many ranging from $3,000 to $7,000 for a one-month supply.
As a result of astronomical costs like these, more than half, or approximately 60 percent, of all personal bankruptcies in the US are related to medical bills. It might be worth it… if the treatment worked. Sadly, however, many cancer patients die not from cancer but from the toxic effects of chemotherapy treatment.
Cancer Can Kill But So Can Chemotherapy
The cancer industry has spun chemotherapy into the holy grail of cancer treatment. And this is a sad testament to just how far we still have to come to really begin to fight this disease. Chemotherapy drugs are, by their very nature, extremely toxic and typically do not work with your body to modulate and normalize its response to allow the cancer to resolve normally.
Despite its reputation as the gold standard in cancer treatment, chemotherapy improves the five-year survival success rate on average by just over two percent for all cancers, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Oncology.1
One of the biggest drawbacks to chemotherapy is the fact that it destroys healthy cells throughout your body right along with cancer cells, a "side effect" that often leads to accelerated death, not healing. It also increases the highly malignant cancer stem cell population in the tumor.
So although it does shrink the overall size of the tumor, it may actually enhance its malignancy by increases the number of cells capable of spinning off into new tumors. Effectiveness is a shot in the dark, in many cases, and sometimes the drug causes far more harm than good.
The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) study found that more than four in 10 patients who received chemotherapy toward the end of life experienced potentially fatal effects. And after reviewing data from over 600 cancer patients who died within 30 days of receiving treatment, it was found that chemotherapy hastened or caused death in 27 percent of those cases.
It can not be overemphasized that chemotherapy can invigorate the more chemo-resistant and malignant cell subpopulations within tumors (e.g. cancer stem cells, or multi-drug resistant cancer cells), killing the more benign cells and/or senescent cells within the tumor that keep it slow growing or even harmless. As a result, this may unleash a more aggressive, treatment-resistant type of cancer to wreak havoc on your body.
Are There Natural Cancer Treatments?
Yes, there are. Over the last 100 years, a number of natural cancer treatments have been developed and used successfully to treat patients in the US and other countries.
All have been vehemently discounted, silenced, and pushed under the rug by the medical monopoly, with physicians and researchers attacked, smeared, sent to prison, and professionally ruined for daring to defy the medical establishment. Some natural cancer treatments you may not have heard of include:
- Integrating a ketogenic diet with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which is deadly to cancer cells by starving them of their fuel source. This would be the strategy I would recommend to my family if they were diagnosed with cancer.
- Gerson Therapy
- Medical marijuana
- Gene-targeted therapies by Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski
In order to protect the medical monopoly, however, any viable natural treatment is met with massive opposition by the pharmaceutical and medical industries. Drug companies have no interest in natural agents that they cannot patent, because they threaten their revenue streams. They will go—and have gone—to extreme measures to prevent the truth about effective natural treatments (competitive threats) from reaching the public.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is primarily funded by the drug companies, is complicit in this process. They restrict competition in the guise of protecting the public, when the reality is they are focused on protecting the profits of the drug companies.
Half of Cancer Cases Are Preventable: Take Control of Your Health Today
Cancer has devastated many families and claimed far too many lives before their time. It is my hope that someone reading this today – and hopefully many of you – will be spurred to action to make lifestyle changes and prevent themselves from becoming one more cancer statistic. There is so much you can do to lower your risk for cancer. But please don't wait until you get the diagnosis—you have to take preventative steps NOW.
The latest World Cancer Report,2 issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), predicts worldwide cancer rates to rise by 57 percent in the next two decades. Rightfully, the report refers to such predictions as "an imminent human disaster," noting countries around the world need to renew their focus on prevention rather than treatment only. The report noted that about half of all cancers could be avoided by promoting preventive lifestyle strategies such as:
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing alcohol consumption
I believe controlling your blood-glucose and insulin levels—through diet, along with a comprehensive exercise program—are the most crucial components for disease prevention on the whole, but particularly for the prevention of cancer. Diet is often a confusing element for many, but you can find the steps to eating a healthful diet in my nutrition plan. First and foremost, you need to address insulin and leptin resistance, which is the result of eating a diet too high in sugars and grains. To safely and effectively reverse insulin and leptin resistance, or prevent it from occurring, thereby significantly reducing your risk of cancer (and heart disease and other chronic diseases) you need to:
- Avoid sugar/fructose, grains, and processed foods
- Eat a healthful diet of whole foods, ideally organic, and replace the grain carbs with:
- Large amounts of vegetables
- Low-to-moderate amount of high-quality protein (think organically raised, pastured animals)
- As much high-quality healthful fat as you want (saturated and monounsaturated from animal and tropical oil sources). Most people actually need upwards of 50-85 percent fats in their diet for optimal health—a far cry from the 10 percent currently recommended. Avoid all processed omega-6 vegetable oils though, like corn, soy, and canola oil.
A 19-Step Plan for Cancer Prevention
I believe you can virtually eliminate your risk of cancer, and radically improve your chances of recovering from cancer if you currently have it, by following these relatively simple strategies.
- Improve your insulin receptor sensitivity. The best way to do this is by avoiding sugar (especially fructose) and grains and making sure you are exercising, especially with Peak Fitness.
- Address your food preparation. Eat at least one-third of your food raw. Avoid frying or charbroiling -- boil, poach, or steam your foods instead. Consider adding cancer-fighting whole foods, herbs, spices, and supplements to your diet, such as broccoli, curcumin, and resveratrol. To learn more about how these anti-angiogenetic foods fight cancer, please see our previous article "Dramatically Effective New Natural Way to Starve Cancer and Obesity."
- Avoid carbohydrates and sugar. Reduce or eliminate processed foods, sugar/fructose and grain-based foods from your diet until your insulin/leptin resistance resolves. This applies to whole unprocessed organic grains as well, as they tend to rapidly break down and drive up your insulin level. The evidence is quite clear that if you want to avoid cancer, or you currently have cancer, you absolutely MUST avoid all forms of sugar, especially fructose, which feeds cancer cells and promotes their growth.
- Reduce protein and increase healthy fats. Consider reducing your protein levels to one gram per kilogram of lean body weight. It would be unusual for most adults to need more than 100 grams of protein and most likely need close to half that amount. Replace excess protein with high-quality fats, such as organic eggs from pastured hens, high-quality meats, avocados, and coconut oil.
- Drink a half to whole quart of organic green vegetable juice daily. Please review my juicing instructions for more detailed information.
- Avoid GMOs. Avoid genetically engineered foods as they are typically treated with herbicides such as Roundup (glyphosate). A French research team that has extensively studied Roundup concluded it's toxic to human cells, and likely carcinogenic to humans. Choose fresh, organic, preferably locally growth foods.
- Avoid unfermented soy products. Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones. In some studies, soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen to increase breast cell proliferation, which increases the chances for mutations and cancerous cells.
- Normalize your omega-3 to omega-6 fats ratio. Normalize your ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats by taking a high-quality krill oil and reducing your intake of processed vegetable oils.
- Optimize your gut flora. Optimizing your gut flora will reduce inflammation and strengthen your immune response. Researchers have found a microbe-dependent mechanism through which some cancers mount an inflammatory response that fuels their development and growth. They suggest that inhibiting inflammatory cytokines might slow cancer progression and improve the response to chemotherapy. Adding naturally fermented food to your daily diet is an easy way to prevent cancer or speed recovery. You can always add a high-quality probiotic supplement as well, but naturally fermented foods are the best.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise lowers insulin levels, which creates a low-sugar environment that discourages the growth and spread of cancer cells. In a three-month study, exercise was found to alter immune cells into a more potent disease-fighting form in cancer survivors who had just completed chemotherapy.3 Researchers and cancer organizations increasingly recommend making regular exercise a priority in order to reduce your risk of cancer and help improve cancer outcomes. Research has also found evidence suggesting exercise can help trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells. Ideally, your exercise program should include balance, strength, flexibility, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and frequent non-exercise activity as well.
- Optimize your vitamin D level. There is scientific evidence you can decrease your risk of cancer by more than half simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with appropriate sun exposure. Your serum level should hold steady at 50-70 ng/ml, but if you are being treated for cancer, it should be closer to 80-90 ng/ml for optimal benefit. If you take oral vitamin D and have cancer, it would be very prudent to monitor your vitamin D blood levels regularly, as well as supplementing your vitamin K2, as K2 deficiency is actually what produces the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity. To learn more, please see my previous article: "What You Need to Know About Vitamin K2, D and Calcium."
- Get plenty of natural vitamin A. There is evidence that vitamin A also plays a role in helping prevent breast cancer.4 It's best to obtain it from vitamin A-rich foods, rather than a supplement. Your best sources are organic egg yolks, raw butter, raw whole milk, and beef or chicken liver.
- Consider curcumin. This is the primarily active ingredient in turmeric and in high concentrations can be very useful adjunct in the treatment of breast cancer. It shows immense therapeutic potential in preventing cancer metastasis.5 It's important to know that curcumin is generally not absorbed that well, so I've provided several absorption tips here.
- Optimize your sleep. Make sure you are getting enough restorative sleep. Poor sleep can interfere with your melatonin production, which is associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance and weight gain, both of which contribute to cancer's malignancy.
- Limit your exposure to toxins. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, herbicides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners, and toxic cosmetics. Avoid BPA, phthalates and other xenoestrogens. These are estrogen-like compounds that have been linked to increased breast cancer risk.
- Limit your exposure to radiation. Limit your exposure and protect yourself from radiation produced by cell phones, towers, base stations, and Wi-Fi stations, as well as minimizing your exposure from radiation-based medical scans, including dental x-rays, CT scans, and mammograms.
- Avoid synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Breast cancer is linked to excessive estrogen levels or activity, and according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer rates for women dropped in tandem with decreased use of hormone replacement therapy. (There are similar risks for younger women who use oral contraceptives. Birth control pills, which are also comprised of synthetic hormones, have been linked to cervical and breast cancers.)
- Make sure you're not iodine deficient, as there's compelling evidence linking iodine deficiency with breast cancer. Dr. David Brownstein, author of the book Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It, is a proponent of iodine for breast cancer. It actually has potent anticancer properties and has been shown to cause cell death in breast and thyroid cancer cells. For more information, I recommend reading Dr. Brownstein's book. I have been researching iodine for some time ever since I interviewed Dr. Brownstein, as I do believe that the bulk of what he states is spot on. However, I am not convinced that his dosage recommendations are correct. I believe they are too high.
- Stress management. Stress from all causes is a major contributor to disease. My favorite tool for resolving emotional challenges is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).