Cancer represents a healer's greatest challenge. It operates like
an alien inside your body. Its biochemical laws are different from
yours. It's able to completely disarm your immune system - in effect,
creating an immunological shield to protect itself - all the while it
fires out substances that weaken the integrity of your cells and
reproduces out of all control.
Although many of the most
promising alternative cancer therapies have been around for most of
this century, there is a peculiar lack of scientific study assessing
This situation is more a comment on the orthodox camp's
paranoia about employing any new treatment against cancer (and thus
admitting defeat or letting go of a multibillion-dollar industry) than
a statement about the efficacy of the treatments in question. Despite
this climate of suppression, a number of alternative treatments have
been the subject of some properly designed laboratory and clinical
research. Although all would benefit from further study, they certainly
appear more promising than most of the tools of orthodox medicine.
many treatments have wide anecdotal reports of success (such as the
Essiac herbs), we have concentrated on those therapies with the
greatest scientific evidence. Some - like Govallo's vaccine, derived
from human placenta, or Coley's toxins, from bacteria - stretch our
definition of alternative medicine to the limit. Nevertheless, we
include them because they offer very good results and expand our
understanding of this complex condition.
years ago, Scottish surgeon Dr Ewan Cameron postulated that any
substance which strengthened the intercellular cement binding cells
together would probably help to resist invasion by malignant tumour
cells. Vitamin C prompts cells to produce higher levels of
hyaluronidase inhibitor, which prevents the hyaluronidase produced by
cancer cells from breaking down this cement between cells. Vitamin C
also helps strengthen the cement itself by helping to synthesise
collagen (Pelton R, Overholder L, Alternatives in Cancer Therapy,
Fireside, 1994). We also know that vitamin C stimulates natural-killer
(NK) cell activity.
After teaming up with twice Nobel
Prize-winner Linus Pauling, Dr Cameron gave vitamin C to 100 Scottish
cancer patients, who'd been considered beyond treatment. The vitamin C
patients survived four times as long (210 days) as 1000 similar
patients not given the vitamin (Proc Natl Acad Sci, 1976; 73: 3685-9).
Another study also showed that the vitamin C group lived nearly a year
more than those not receiving it, and many lived on for years, while
all of those not receiving the supplement eventually died (Proc Natl
Acad Sci, 1978; 75: 4538-42). A later study with lung cancer patients
had similar results (J Int Acad Prev Med, 1979; 6: 21-7).
in 1990, Pauling and Canadian biochemist and psychiatrist Dr Abram
Hoffer published a study examining the survival of cancer patients on a
nutritional programme. Those who did not use vitamins survived for an
average of only 5.7 months. Of those taking daily supplements, which
included beta-carotene and 10 grams of vitamin C, 80 per cent lived 16
times as long as the control patients, and many were still alive at the
time the paper was written. The best responders were women with breast,
ovarian and fallopian-tube cancers (J Ortho Med, 1990; 5: 143-54).
Dr Max Gerson's programme is a low-fat, salt-free, meat-free diet
including organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables, and 13 glasses
of freshly squeezed juices daily, at hourly intervals. Gerson famously
realised more than 50 years ago that the high sodium-potassium ratio of
the modern Western diet was riotously out of kilter. He also introduced
detoxifying with coffee enemas, which stimulate the liver and large
intestine into excreting toxic elements from the body.
Lancet evaluation of seven Gerson patients with extensive metastasised
cancer at Maudsley and Hammersmith Hospitals revealed that three
patients (or 43 per cent) were in complete remission. Patients also
reported a high degree of control over the treatment, low pain scores
and little requirement for drugs (Lancet, 1990; 336: 667-8).
evidence about the success of Gerson therapy is decidedly mixed. In one
1995 study of patients with melanoma, every one of the stage I and II,
and 82 per cent of stage III, patients survived for five years. Among
those undergoing conventional treatment, only 39 per cent with stage
III disease survived for the same length of time (Altern Ther, 1995; 1
However, in a 1994 study of 22 patients, most with
advanced disease unsuccessfully treated with chemotherapy, radiation
and surgery, all died within an average of seven months; and in another
study of 18 patients, all but one died within nine months, even though
less than half had had advanced cancer when they arrived at the clinic
and six hadn't undergone any conventional treatment (J Nat Med, 1994; 5
The notion that human urine has anticancer
properties has been around at least since the Second World War.
However, the idea has undergone a revival since the late 1950s, with
the work of Dr Evangelos D. Danopoulos, professor of Medicine at the
Medical School of Athens University, a specialist in optic oncology.
The active ingredient is urea, which appears to disrupt the water
system on the surface of cancer cells, which treat water differently
from normal cells, thus interfering with some of the metabolism
necessary for uncontained metastasis or cancer spread..
of his many studies, Dr Danopoulos discovered that, of 46 patients with
cancer in or around the eye who were treated with surgery and local
urea injections, the treatment was successful in 100 per cent of cases.
Ordinarily, conventional medicine almost never achieves a cure or
remission (Ophthalmology, 1979; 179: 52-61). In another study of nine
people with cancer of the mucous membrane inside the eyelid, eight out
of the nine given local applications of urea were cured (Ophthalmology,
Eighteen patients with liver cancer given
urea survived 26.5 months, five times longer than expected (Clin Oncol,
1981; 7: 281-9), as did 28 liver-cancer patients, 17 with cancer that
had spread (Clin Oncol, 1975; 11: 341-50).
Most recently, Dr
Danopoulos has replaced his injected urea with a powdered variety,
covered by an airtight dressing and applied after scraping the
cancerous tumour. He has achieved a cure rate as high as 96 per cent
(Lancet, 1974; i: 132).
Dr Danopoulos discovered that creatine
monohydrate has similar anticancer properties to urea, but is broken
down more slowly into creatinine. By using urea and creatine, Dr
Danopoulos found that he could keep blood levels of urea nitrogen
(which fights the cancer) more consistent than with urea alone.
Stanislaw Burzynski, on a grant from the National Cancer Institute,
discovered a series of peptides (the building blocks of amino acids)
occurring naturally in our normal blood and urine which inhibit cancer
cells. Specifically, as Harris Coulter remarked, this is tantamount to
discovering a 'second immune system', or what Burzynski calls the
'biochemical defence system'. Unlike our ordinary immune system, which
protects us against foreign 'invaders', this second internal system
appears to guard against defective cells like cancer by 'reprogramming'
them to develop normally again. In Burzynski's view, this means that
cancer is a disease of incorrect information processing, where the cell
reproduction goes haywire. The antineoplastons (anticancer compounds)
which correct this bad programming appear to be deficient in cancer
patients. Burzynski began to extract these substances from blood,
tissue and urine and developed a method of reintroducing them into the
blood of people with cancer.
Unlike many cancer pioneers,
Burzynski has published many of his findings, which have been confirmed
by independent laboratories. He also has a five-foot stack of records
and studies which he has submitted to the US Food and Drug
Administration to attempt to get a 'new drug' licence, and he's passed
the first phase of the FDA's clinical trials. In the supporting study,
the antineoplastons showed good results in patients with prostate
cancer, bladder cancer and brain tumours; many had complete or partial
remissions and one-fifth survived at least five years. Many of his
original patients, he claims, are healthy 13 years later (paper
presented at the Fifteenth International Congress of Chemotherapy,
Turkey, 1988). In another study for the FDA's second phase of trials,
Dr Burzynski gave his antineoplastons to 20 patients with advanced
astrocytoma (brain cancer). Four patients achieved a complete remission
and two others, a partial remission. Since the study began in 1990, two
more patients have achieved partial and complete remission (Recent
Advances in Chemotherapy, Adam D, ed. Munich: Futuramed Publishers,
The FDA has licensed Burzynski to administer his
treatment at his own clinic in Texas. Nevertheless, Burzynski has been
the constant target of the cancer establishment, and presently, he is
in the midst of defending himself against a criminal action lawsuit by
the American government.
At the end of the
last century, Dr William Coley, a young surgeon, discovered that one
patient with bone cancer had survived the cancer because he'd
contracted an infection by Streptococcus pyogenes, which causes a
life-threatening skin disease. Coley spent the next 40 years refining
what came to be known as Coley's toxins - using byproducts of S.
pyogenes plus Serratia marcescens, which helps to intensify the
activity of the other bugs. What appeared to happen was that the
patient's temperature and pulse rapidly rose, sometimes by as much as
six degrees. In the view of author and journalist Ralph Moss, the
toxins work as a kind of heat therapy -'pushing the immune function to
the limit of excitability'. Scientists at the National Cancer Institute
have discovered that a lipopolysaccharide is contained in these toxins,
which appears to stimulate the immune system to produce tumour necrosis
factor or TNF - which kills cancer.
Coley's daughter, who has
spent many years tabulating and publishing her father's results of
nearly 1000 cases, shows that 45 per cent of patients with inoperable
tumours, and 50 per cent of those with tumours that were operable, were
considered cured (that is, survived for at least five years). The best
results were with giant-cell bone tumours and breast cancer; 79 of
inoperable bone-cancer patients and 87 per cent of the operable
patients were cured, and, among those with breast cancer, 65 per cent
of inoperable patients and all of the operable patients were considered
cured (Cancer Surv, 1989; 8: 713-23; Prog Clin Biol Res, 1983; 107:
Iscador is the proprietary name (by Weleda) of
an extract containing European mistletoe, a semiparasitic plant which
was favoured as a cancer treatment by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. It's
often used to shrink a tumour before and after surgery and
radiotherapy, although it has been used on its own, by injection, to
treat patients with cervical, ovarian, breast, stomach, lung and colon
Mistletoe contains several chemicals which seem to
effectively fight cancer while boosting the immune system; an enzyme
appears to inhibit the reproduction of cells. But unlike chemotherapy,
which kills cells wholesale, good and bad, mistletoe stimulates killer
white blood cells, which selectively terminate cancer cells alone.
one trial at the Lucas Clinic Laboratory of Immunology in Arlesheim,
Switzerland, a single injection of Iscador given to 20 breast cancer
patients were found to produce significant increases in both
killer-cell immune responses and cell-inhibiting effects (Oncology,
1986: 43 (suppl 1): 51-6).
Of 25 women with primary cancer of
the ovary given Iscador after surgery, all the women with stage I and
II disease, and a quarter of those with stage III (none in stage IV),
were alive after five years. These were compared with similar ovarian
cancer patients treated with Cytoval, another cancer treatment. Even
though the Iscador patients had a worse prognosis (20 of the women were
in the advanced stages of III and IV), those given mistletoe lived an
average of three times as long (16.2 months) as those given Cytoval
(Onkologie, 1979; 2 (1): 28-36). It should be noted that Iscador is
potentially toxic with serious side-effects when too much is taken.
Never attempt to make your own kitchen extract, since both leaves and
berries can be poisonous.
Besides Iscador, Echinacea has
evidence of indirect cancer-fighting activity because of its
long-recognised ability to boost the immune system.
(Z)-1,8-pentadecadiene, a fat-soluble component of Echinacea
angustifolia and E. pallida, has been shown in the laboratory to have
significant cancer-cell killing ability (J Med Chem, 1972; 15: 619-23).
root has been shown to have antimutation factors and other anticancer
effects (Acta Phys Chem, 1964; 10: 91-3; Tumori, 1966; 52: 173).
(Burdock is one of the main ingredients in two well-known herbal
anticancer remedies: Hoxsey's herbs and Essiac. Other herbs in Essiac
are Indian rhubarb, sheep sorrell and slippery elm; Hoxsey's mix also
includes barberry bark, buckthorn, prickly ash, poke root and
stillingia. Barberry root, prickly ash and stillingia have shown
antitumour activities, but only in animal tests (Pelton R, Overholser
L, Cancer Therapy).
In Chinese medicine, the herb Epimediia
glycoside icariine (ICA) has been shown to increase NK- cell
lymphokine-activated killer-cell (LAK) activity, and stimulate the
production of TNF in both tumour patients and healthy donors (Arzneim
Forsch, 1995; 45 (8): 910-3). Another herb, Sho-saiko-to (TJ-9), has
been shown in the laboratory to have antitumour effects and to prevent
liver cancer in patients with cirrhosis (Cancer, 1995; 76 (5): 743-9).
Ninfin yoh eito extract granules have been demonstrated to improve
quality of life in lung-cancer patients after chemotherapy (Ther Res,
1994; 15 (3): 487-500).
Other Chinese herbs with some clinical
success are Actinidia, Baohuoside-1, Mylabris, Liu Wei Di Huang or Jin
Gui Shen Qi and Buzhong Yiqi (Moss, Cancer Therapy, Equinox Press,
In homoeopathy, practitioners generally
have found success with individual therapies for controlling symptoms
or the response to more aggressive treatments (Br Homeop J, 1993; 82:
179-85), and with leukaemia (Br Homeop J, 1986; 75 (2): 96-101).
Furthermore, in some experimental trials, it was discovered that in
cancer cells, the ionic balance, which regulates cell differentiation,
is disturbed. Homoeopaths have sought to reestablish the ionic
equilibrium by adminstering biochemical salts in small quantities. In
laboratory experiments, Kali phos (30x), Calc phos (30x) and Ferrum
phos (30x) have all shown antitumour effects. In 20 women with cervical
cancer, treated with Kali mur, Ferrum phos, Calc phos and Silicea,
three had a remarkable regression of their cancer and seven, a slight
regression (Br Homeop J,1983; 72: 99-103). Other studies have shown
that the proprietary homoeopathic extract Ukrain (derived from
Chelidonium) has a marked destructive effect on tumour cell lines in
the laboratory (J Chemother, 1996; 8 (2):144-6).
Hydrogen peroxide therapy
the sixties, we've known that, unlike regular cells which use oxygen in
their chemical reactions, the chemical reaction of cancer cells is more
primitive, employing fermentation in their metabolic processes without
oxygen. What this means is that cancer grows best in an environment
Although we've all heard about the dangers of
free radicals in the body, the story is more complicated than that. A
free radical is simply an atom or molecule that has one or more
unpaired ('free') electrons, which makes it more unstable than an
Although these chemical reactions differ
widely, some free radical-containing molecules are highly reactive,
attempting to pair with whatever cells they are next to, thus setting
off a chain reaction of free radicals. This has the effect of damaging
the protein of cell membranes, making them leaky, and eventually
causing complete cell breakdown and producing a number of diseases.
our bodies also make positive use of free radicals to combat disease.
For instance, we produce free radicals in the form of hydrogen peroxide
to surround and destroy invading organisms. Hydrogen peroxide also
appears to stimulate NK cells of the immune system (J Interferon Res,
1983; 3 (2): 143-51).
Although there are something like 2500
scientific references on the role of hydrogen peroxide in preventing
disease, research on its role in treating cancer is still being carried
out by the International Bio-Oxidative Medicine Foundation in Dallas,
founded by Dr Charles H. Farr, a leading proponent of hydrogen peroxide
Studies in the 1950s on rats reportedly demonstrated a
complete disappearance of the tumours within two months (Twenty-second
Congress of the EDTA - European Renal Association, 1985: 22:
1233-7). Nevertheless, Farr himself admits that, in humans, when used
alone on lymphomas and colon cancer, 'it has an antitumour effect ...
but response is slow and changes are subtle'.
peroxide has worked very well with radiation, enhancing its effect and
sparing the tissue from its adverse effects. Studies have shown that
the higher the level of oxygen in tumour cells, the more effective the
radiotherapy treatment. In one study, 190 patients were selected with
such advanced cancer that they were considered beyond conventional
treatment. In fact, less than a tenth of them were expected to survive
for more than a year. After employing the hydrogen peroxide with
radiation, 77 per cent were alive after a year, two-thirds after two
years, nearly half after three years and one-quarter after five years.
The best responders had cancer of the cervix, bladder, head or neck (Am
J Surg, 1964; 108: 621-9).
Farr finds that the most successful
treatment combines hydrogen peroxide therapy and high doses of vitamin
C with chelation treatment, which removes the toxins of cancer from the
For many years, Russian immunologist Dr Valentin Govallo and his
colleagues at the Immunology Laboratory in Moscow attempted to fight
cancer by boosting the patient's immune system until they realised that
it wasn't enough. In the 1970s, Govallo discovered substances in the
human placenta which protect the fetus from attack and rejection by the
mother's immune system - an 'immunological shield'. This was similar to
the immunological shield of tumours, Govallo realised, which has
figured out a way to turn off the host immune system - as he puts it,
like a 'burglar who first turns off the burglar alarm before he goes
about stealing things'. Govallo and his colleagues developed a means of
suppressing the immune system of the tumour through a 'vaccine' called
VG-1000, using tissue from placentas taken after live, healthy human
births. According to Govallo, if you can suppress the tumour's
immunity, 'even a dying patient can overcome the tumour'. Dr Govallo
discovered that an extract of human chorionic villi, when added to a
test tube of white blood cells'effectively blocks all reactions of cell
immunity' (Cancer Chron, 1994; 5 (2): 3).
Since 1974, Govallo
has treated approximately 100 patients and has documented evidence that
the 10-year survival in advanced cancer is about 60 per cent (Govallo,
The Immunology of Pregnancy and Cancer). Of 45 patients with advanced
cancer treated in 1974, 29 are still alive - a survival rate of 64.4
per cent. He says that VG-1000 is most effective against breast, lung,
colon and kidney cancers, malignant melanoma and brain tumours.
Currently, Dr John Clement, of the Immunology Researching Center in
Freeport, The Bahamas, and medical historian Harris Coulter have
developed a protocol for the scientific evaluation of VG-1000 in a
clinical trial which began in September 1996. Coulter emphasises that
VG-1000, like other immune therapies, works best in patients who have
not been extensively treated with radiation or chemotherapy and in
those who have undergone surgery. Patients with metastastic liver
cancer should not undergo this treatment; in one instance, a patient
with this disease developed reactive hepatitis.
Diet and supplements
Those patients who most successfully fight cancer combine a
dietary and supplement programme with the use of cancer-fighting
substances - rather than simply seeking out a 'magic bullet' which is
going to kill their cancer.
In one study of patients with
pancreatic cancer, which usually has a survival time of about four
months, patients receiving a mix of treatments - vitamins A and E,
enzyme therapy, hyperthermia, tamoxifen, mistletoe, thymus extract and
other substances to boost the immune system - trebled the usual
survival rate, and reported improved quality of life, with a gain of
appetite and weight, and pain relief (Erfahrungsheilkunde, 1996; 45
- Follow a high-fibre, low-fat, low-protein diet,
rich in dark-green leafy and yellow vegetables. (Risk of cancer appears
to increase with the more protein you eat; Int J Cancer, 1990; 45:
899-901.) Lowering fat may enhance the function of your immune system
and increase NK cell activity (Am J Clin Nutr, 1989; 50: 861-7).
- Don't fry foods and do limit eggs as well as hydrogenated fats, smoked,
salt-cured or pickled foods, sugar and too much salt. Vegetarian diets
appear to be protective, as do soy products. The Kelley dietary
programme, which has 10 types of individually tailored diets, also has
some evidence of success (see WDDTY vol 7 no 3).
with at least 10 grams of vitamin C per day, folic acid, B6 and the
other B vitamins, antioxidant vitamins A and E, and digestive enzymes,
if faulty. Some therapists recommend thymus extract to boost the immune
system. Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids have been shown to kill cancer. As
for minerals, too much calcium has been related to cancer (Br Med J,
1989; 298: 1468-9) as have too high levels of iron (N Engl J Med, 1988;
319: 1047-52), although at appropriate levels, both are protective.
Selenium, magnesium, iodine and zinc all fight cancer. Germanium,
another mineral, appears to enhance the production of our body's own
interferon (Tohoku J Exp Med, 1985; 146: 97-104).
- Drink hard,
rather than soft, water (J Orthomol Med, 1989; 4 (2): 59-69), and avoid
chlorine and fluoride, which have both been implicated in cancer.
- Investigate one of the major cancer fighters listed in the main article.
Consider a number of other substances which act as cancer inhibitors,
even if on their own they don't actually cure. These can help in
conjunction with more potent anticancer agents. These include:
melatonin, which can amplify the antitumour effect of a variety of
substances. In one study of patients with spreading tumours untreatable
by conventional means, nearly half the patients given melatonin and
interleukin-2 - which helps the immune system fight cancer - were alive
a year later, compared to only eight out of 48 of those given support
alone (Supp Care Cancer, May 1995). Similar results have been achieved
in patients with brain tumours given melatonin alone (Cancer, 1994; 73:
699-701), as well as those with gastric (Tumori, December 31, 1993) and
lung cancer (Oncology, 1992; 49 (5): 336-9).
which appears to be superior to shark cartilage (which also provides
excessive amounts of calcium). In one study of 31 terminal cancer
patients, 35 per cent showed a complete response with probable or
possible cures (J Biol Resp Modif, 1985; 4: 583).
amygdalin or vitamin B17, is a nitriloside present in hundreds of
plants, particularly the seeds of apricots and peaches. The cyanide
contained in it is selectively poisonous to cancer. Several studies
have shown that amygdalin can inhibit lung, breast and bone cancer
(Moss, Cancer Therapy).
mind-body therapies, such as deep relaxation, meditation, visualisation and regular exercise as well as support groups