If you have cancer and opt to follow conventional treatments, there are many alternative therapies which can alleviate the worst effects of chemotherapy or radiotherapy and also help your body to fight the cancer.
Coenzyme Q10 can counteract the extremely toxic effects of doxorubicin, which can cause cardiomyopathy or heart muscle disease (Cancer Treat Rep, 1978; 62: 887-91). The food supplement also prevents the malfunction of the liver and kidney caused by mitomycin and fluorouracil (Cancer Res, 1980; 40: 1663-7) without interfering with their anticancer activity.
Hypnosis has been shown to be of genuine value for children with cancer by decreasing their drug related nausea and vomiting (Nurs Clin North Am, 1985; 20: 105-7).
Superoxide dismutase, or SOD, is a non-toxic enzyme that converts free radicals to hydrogen peroxide, which other enzymes then break down to water and oxygen. The more SOD contained by breast cells, the less they are likely to succumb to cancer (Carcinogenesis, 1986; 7: 1197-201). One study concluded that "SOD plays an important role" in the destruction of lung cancer cells (Invas Metast, 1986; 28: 101-11). In another study, a copper containing formulation of SOD reduced tumour size, delayed metastases and significantly increased survival rate (J Natl Cancer Inst, 1981, 66: 1077-81). In one German study, 60 per cent of rats with carcinosarcoma were completely free of cancer after just four intravenous doses of a copper containing SOD (Free Radic Res Commun, 1990, 11: 39-51).
SOD can also help prevent the tough, painful fibrotic tissue formed after radiotherapy. In one study, in tramuscular injections of a French patented liposomal SOD reduced long established fibroses by one third. In 82 per cent of patients, it softened fibrotic tissue after only three weeks (Free Radic Res Commun, 1986; 1: 387-94). In another study, good results were maintained up to two years later (Ann Med Intern [Paris], 1989; 140: 365-7).
One drawback of SOD is the short period it remains effective in the body. However, a long lasting formulation of SOD called Orgotein has been developed. In a double blind, placebo controlled study of patients with bladder tumours, Orgotein injections safely and effectively ameliorated or prevented the side effects due to high energy radiation therapy without interfering with the cancer killing effects (Urol Res, 1978, 6: 255-7).
Diallyl sulphide, the main flavour component of aged garlic, has been shown to inhibit certain cancers of the lungs and stomach. The more aged garlic consumed, the greater the effect (Cancer Lett, 1991, 57: 121-9). Extract of aged garlic has also demonstrated protection against radiation damage, brought about less leakage of intra cellular enzymes into the bloodstream, reduced the death rate, and decreased the loss of white blood cells and platelets (Lin R, presented at the First World Congress on the Health Significance of Garlic and Garlic Constituents, Washington, DC, 1990). When melanoma cells were treated with aged garlic, the shape of these cells began to return to normal (Hoon S et al, presented at the First World Congress on the Health Significance of Garlic and Garlic Constituents, Washington, DC, 1990).
Astragalus is a non toxic botanical medicine that boosts immunity and fights cancer (J Clin Lab Immunol, 1988, 25: 119-23). It protects against the ravages of chemotherapy, particularly liver degeneration, which is often demonstrated by raised liver enzyme values in blood tests. In a study where astragalus was used after chemotherapy, there was no increase in liver enzyme readings. Other side effects were also minimised (J Ethno pharmacol, 1990; 30: 145-9).
Harald Gaier is a registered naturopath, homoeopath and osteopath.