Many people with cancer undergoing orthodox treatment dread the litany of severe side effects arising with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. How ever, there are alternative treatments which can minimise the worst effects and boost your body's ability to withstand both the disease and the cure.
Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng) may boost the immune system in patients undergoing chemo or radiotherapy and is not toxic even if taken long term (Vopr Onkol, 1986; 32: 21-6). In studies of animals given a carcinogen, those given Siberian ginseng were 13 times less likely to get cancer of the gut than the controls (Jpn J Surg, 1985; 15: 427-37).
Another way to enhance your immune system is through heat therapy, where normal body temperature is safely raised 2¡C or more by short wave diathermy (deep heating using a high frequency electric current, electromagnetic wave energy or ultrasound), or radio wave or laser heating energy administered directly into the centre of a tumour (Lymphokine Res, 1990; 9: 213-23). This treatment makes the body's defence proteins more efficient (Del Med J, 1990; 62: 1155-6), and significantly increases white blood cell activity (Am J Surg, 1979; 138: 668-71].
While good for your immune system, heat is bad for cancer; many types of cancer cells are known to be selectively damaged at temperatures of 42-43¡C (Lancet, 1979; i: 202-5). Heat also starves the tumour of its blood supply (Can J Surg, 1982; 25: 603-8). Used with radiation therapy, heat therapy increased tumour regression significantly (Invest Radiol, 1990; 25: 824-34).
PSK or Krestin, a polysaccharide extract from the fungus Coriolus versicolor, is a non toxic immune stimulating anticancer treatment that is now the world's best selling cancer drug (and in the world's top 20 best selling drugs overall). Yet, this safe drug has experienced difficulties for 23 years from regulatory authorities in both the US and UK.
In a large, randomised, controlled study conducted in 22 Japanese hospitals, hundreds of stomach and colorectal cancer patients took Krestin and/or orthodox drugs postoperatively during recuperation. Those treated with alternating doses of Krestin and a standard drug had a much greater survival rate than those either on the orthodox drug alone or nothing at all. The difference was even more evident among patients who received more than six courses of treatment (Gan To Kagaku Ryoho, 1986; 13: 308-18). Those who took Krestin together with chemotherapy also had far better seven year survival rates than the others (Gan To Kagaku Ryoho, 1987; 14: 2758-66).
Patients with acute leukaemia underwent a controlled trial to see whether immunotherapy with Krestin could prolong remission times and survival. The study found that cell mediated immunity, crucial in the body's fight against cancer, was significantly enhanced, complete remission rates were clearly higher and survival times were far longer with Krestin than with only mainstream chemotherapy (Tokai J Exp Clin Med, 1981; 6: 141-6).
It is well established that both cancer and the chemotherapy agent cyclophosphamide can lower patients' resistance to infection. The chemotherapy is also associated with a marked increase in the incidence of acute non lymphocytic leukaemia.
Nevertheless, Krestin can counteract the affects of cancer and the drug on the patient's ability to fight infection (Cancer Chemother Pharmacol, 1987; 20: 198-202). In yet another study, conducted in Japan, overall disease free survival was greater with Krestin plus the drug fluorouracil versus chemotherapy alone (Gan To Kagaku Ryoho, 1989; 16: 2563-76).
Harald Gaier is a registered osteopath, naturopath and homoeopath.