Do We Need a New Approach to Cancer?
In 1971 Richard Nixon announced the War on Cancer and promised a cure by the 1977 bicentennial.
In each year of the 27 years since, more Americans have died of cancer than the year before.
The failure of chemotherapy to control cancer
has become apparent even to the oncology establishment
Scientific American featured a recent cover story entitled:
“The War on Cancer — It’s Being Lost.”
In this article, eminent epidemiologist John C. Bailar III, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University, cited the relentless increase in cancer deaths in the face of growing use of toxic chemotherapy. He concluded that scientists must look in new directions if they are ever to make progress against this unremitting killer.
Adding its voice, the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, decrying the failure of conventional therapy to stop the rise in breast cancer deaths, noted the discrepancy between public perception and reality.
“If one were to believe all the media hype, the triumphalism of the [medical] profession in published research, and the almost weekly miracle breakthroughs trumpeted by the cancer charities, one might be surprised that women are dying at all from this cancer” it observed.
Noting that conventional therapies — chemotherapy, radiation and surgery — have been pushed to their limits with dismal results, the editorial called on researchers to “challenge dogma and redirect research efforts along more fruitful lines.”
John Cairns, professor of microbiology at Harvard University, published a devastating 1985 critique in Scientific American.
“Aside from certain rare cancers, it is not possible to detect any sudden changes in the death rates for any of the major cancers that could be credited to chemotherapy. Whether any of the common cancers can be cured by chemotherapy has yet to be established.”
In fact, chemotherapy is curative in very few cancers:
- Childhood leukemia
In the following most common solid tumors, chemo is not curative:
In an article titled “Chemotherapy: Snake-Oil Remedy?” that appeared in the Los Angeles Times of 1/9/87…Dr. Martin F. Shapiro explained that while “some oncologists inform their patients of the lack of evidence that treatments work…others may well be misled by scientific papers that express unwarranted optimism about chemotherapy. Still others respond to an economic incentive. Physicians can earn much more money running active chemotherapy practices than they can providing solace and relief…to dying patients and their families.”
Dr. Shapiro is hardly alone. Alan C. Nixon, PhD, past president of the American Chemical Society wrote that “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.”
In 1986, McGill Cancer Center scientists sent a questionnaire to 118 doctors who treated non-small-cell lung cancer. More than 3/4 of them recruited patients and carried out trials of toxic drugs for lung cancer. They were asked to imagine that they themselves had cancer, and were asked which of six current trials they themselves would choose. Sixty-four of the 79 respondents would not consent to be in a trial containing cisplatin, a common chemotherapy drug. Fifty-eight found all the trials unacceptable.
Their reason was the ineffectiveness of chemotherapy and its unacceptable degree of toxicity.
Famed German biostatistician Ulrich Abel, PhD, also found in a similar 1989 study that “the personal views of many oncologists seem to be in striking contrast to communications intended for the public.”
Breast cancer activist Rose Kushner wrote that by 1981 “indiscriminate, automatic adjuvant chemotherapy was replacing the Halsted radical mastectomy as therapeutic overkill in the United States.”
Thomas Nealon MD, Professor of Surgery at NYU School of Medicine, concluded in 1990 that “the treatment of this tumor now has slipped from too much surgery to too much adjuvant therapy.”
Why so much use of chemotherapy if it does so little good?
Well for one thing, drug companies provide huge economic incentives. In 1990, $3.53 billion was spent on chemotherapy. (See our report: Cancer & Politics.) By 1994 that figure had more than doubled to $7.51 billion. This relentless increase in chemo use was accompanied by a relentless increase in cancer deaths.
Oncologist Albert Braverman MD wrote in 1991 that “no disseminated neoplasm (cancer) incurable in 1975 is curable today. Many medical oncologists recommend chemotherapy for virtually any tumor, with a hopefulness undiscouraged by almost invariable failure.”
Why the growth of chemotherapy in the face of such failure?
A look at the financial inter-relationships between a large cancer center such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the companies that make billions selling chemo drugs is revealing. James Robinson III, Chairman of the MSKCC Board of Overseers and Managers, is a director of Bristol-Myers Squibb, the world’s largest producer of chemotherapy drugs.
Richard Gelb, Vice-Chairman of the MSKCC board is Bristol-Myers Chairman of the Board. Richard Furlaud, another MSKCC board member, recently retired as Bristol Myers’ president. Paul Marks MD, MSKCC’s President and CEO, is a director of Pfizer.
But…the tide is turning on cancer.
More people than ever in Australia will be turning to natural, non-toxic treatments for cancer in the next twelve months, a British health researcher, soon to tour Australia, predicts. Phillip Day, author of the controversial Cancer: Why We’re Still Dying to Know the Truth, believes a paradigm shift in thinking about the deadly disease is now underway, and he is coming to Australia to tell people about it.
“People are sick of the ever-increasing statistics on cancer and the medical establishment blithely responding with more demands for research money. Since the release of my book, which catalogues the story of the highly successful natural anti-cancer therapy including Vitamin B17, our telephones have been ringing off the hook. Many sufferers I have spoken to have come to their own conclusion that mainstream medicine, with its toxic chemotherapy/radiotherapy procedures, really does not have the answer to cancer.”
“Decades ago, scientists discovered that cancer was a chronic metabolic deficiency disease, like scurvy and pellagra. It was being exacerbated by environmental toxins (carcinogens), but was primarily being caused not by something, but by the absence of a key element in the diet of modern man. Biochemist Ernst Krebs surmised that cancer was, in effect, a healing process that simply was not terminated by pancreatic enzymes upon completion of its task due to poor nutrition. The missing component, named Vitamin B17 (laetrile) by Krebs, was heralded as the answer to cancer by some of the world’s leading biochemists. They showed conclusively that by reintroducing this missing nutrient into the diet of cancer sufferers, along with other nutritional factors, the disease could, in most cases, be immediately regressed or extinguished altogether.”
- What common foods contain large amounts of this cancer-killing substance?
- Why do we always throw away this key ingredient and thus become prone to cancer?
- What are the four simple steps some patients have taken to become cancer-free in a matter of months?
- What do doctors really think of orthodox cancer therapies?
Their honest opinions will shock you.
“Cancer can end today based entirely on existing scientific knowledge,” Phillip Day contends. “But the war on cancer is being fought by corporate interests who are profiting tremendously from that war through the drug and radiation treatments they have patented. This fully explains the shameful backlash the public routinely experiences when government attempts to regulate and denies its people their rightful access to simple, unpatentable vitamins and natural treatments that threaten the drug establishment’s income. Cancer can end today, but only if we want it to.”
How Exactly Does Chemotherapy Work?
According to the National Cancer Institute, normal cells grow and die in a controlled way through a process called apoptosis. Cancer cells keep dividing and forming more cells without a control mechanism. Anticancer drugs destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing or multiplying at one or more points in their growth cycle. Chemotherapy may consist of one or several cytotoxic drugs, depending on the type of cancer being treated.
In addition to chemotherapy, other methods are sometimes used to treat cancer. For example, your doctor may recommend that you have surgery to remove a tumor or to relieve certain symptoms that may be caused by your cancer. You also may receive radiation therapy to treat your cancer or its symptoms. Sometimes your doctor may suggest a combination of chemotherapy, surgery, and/or radiation therapy.
The goal of chemotherapy is to shrink primary tumors, slow the tumor growth, and to kill cancer cells that may have spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body from the original tumor. Chemotherapy kills both cancer and healthy cells. The goal is to minimize damage to normal cells and to enhance the cytotoxic effect to cancer cells.
The following natural products have been shown to be synergistic with conventional and metronomic chemotherapy, exhibiting signal transduction inhibitory effects.
A natural alternative to Iressa is soy. Genistein, an isoflavone from soy, is known to inhibit the EGF receptor via an interference with the transforming growth factor alpha (TGF alpha) pathway (Bhatia et al. 2001). Genistein is also known to block the induction of the basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), a potent mitogen (growth factor) and angiogenic factor in cancers such as renal cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma (Hurley et al. 1996).
Further, genistein is known to block induction of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) considered essential for angiogenesis and endothelial cell survival (Mukhopadhyay et al. 1995). The blockade of the overexpression of the EGF receptor, and the inhibition of the signaling pathways, bFGF and VEGF, is a dose-dependent response, i.e., more is better and is a powerful adjuvant to conventional or metronomic chemotherapy.
The primary action of green tea is through its catechin, EGCG, which blocks the induction of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) considered essential in angiogenesis and endothelial cell survival (Jung et al. 2001).
In vivo studies have shown the following actions on cancer cells:
- Inhibition of tumor growth by 58%
- Inhibition of microvessel density by 30%
- Inhibition of tumor cell proliferation by 27%
- Increased tumor cell apoptosis by 1.9-fold
- Increased endothelial cell apoptosis by 3-fold