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Entries in Treatments (4)

Saturday
Mar032012

The Future of Cancer Treatment

There's a revolution underway in the treatment of cancer. Like most successful revolutions (as this one will surely be), it started quietly, and it's still mostly going unnoticed. Unless, that is, you're fortunate enough to have a cancer doc who's part of the movement. This revolution represents the future of cancer treatment. It's smarter, safer medicine and diagnostics. It's complete cancer care. Instead of a narrow focus on killing cancer, this approach is truly curative. It treats the "soil" of cancer, rather than just trying to eradicate the "seed" (which mostly doesn't work, is unnecessarily toxic and harmful, and in any case isn't fully curative and health-promoting). It orchestrates the "symphony of bio-mechanisms" that lead to the development of cancer, replacing the biochemical cacophony of cancer with the harmony of wellness.

As Dr. Mark Hyman has said:

CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE HAS LOST THE BATTLE WITH CANCER

In short, the future of cancer treatment entails declaring peace on cancer. And if you're (or your cancer doc is) interested in learning more, one of the best gatherings anywhere to be found is the Advances in Cancer Strategies Symposium. We spoke there ourselves last year, with Hollie sharing her story of how she embraced this integrative, "healthy medicine" approach for her Stage 2/Grade 3 breast cancer in 2002. The conference is a who's-who of leading practitioners and researchers of health-promoting and holistic cancer treatments. As a sign of the increasing attention that this unconventional medicine is attracting, best-selling author Dr. Bernie Siegel is the keynote speaker this time around. This year's conference is in Stamford, CT (links below).

Also, on Saturday evening of the conference, there's a fundraiser for the Mederi Centre for Natural Healing, the non-profit cancer clinic and foundation that treated Hollie in 2002. Comedian David Brenner is the emcee, and we'll be in attendance along with a host of friends of Mederi. 

Advances in Cancer Strategies Symposium, April 20-22, 2012
(Main conference website, including a list of speakers, and registration information.)

Complete Conference Guide - Advances in Cancer Strategies Symposium 2012
(PDF file)

21ST CENTURY HEALING: A BENEFIT FOR THE MEDERI FOUNDATION
(Mederi Foundation site, with a link to register for the fundraiser on Saturday night of the conference, and also with a personal invitation video from Donnie Yance, the founder of the clinic. Note: You don't have to attend the conference in order to attend the benefit. You can come to either one, or both.)

Please help us spread the word about the future of cancer treatment. We hope to see you there! 

Monday
Oct312011

Which Breast Cancer Group Are You In?

We're in the midst of an epidemic of over-treatment and mis-treatment of breast cancer. That's the good news. The bad news is that this information is almost entirely hidden from view, lost in the fog of war. They say that truth is the first casualty of war, and basic truths about cancer treatment, and especially breast cancer treatment, are missing in action, or dead.

The most startling truth that we uncovered was this: If you receive standard-of-care conventional-only treatments for breast cancer, you're in one of the following groups:

  1. You don't need the treatments, but get them anyway.
  2. The treatments aren't going to work, only making you sicker while your cancer gets worse.
  3. You benefited or were "cured" by the treatments. (We'll explain a bit later why we put the word cured in quotes.)

It's our belief that the typical patient doesn't understand things this way, because the typical doctor doesn't explain things this way. But if you piece together the information that's available from honest doctors who aren't caught up in polarizing war-think, these simple truths will shine through the fog.

Speaking of conventional cancer treatments in general, here is what one cancer expert had to say recently:

"People have known for years that we give treatment and it is only going to work for 20% of people..."

—Harpal Kumar, Scientist, CEO, Cancer Research UK, August 22, 2011

Looking at how this applies to breast cancer more specifically, Dr. Susan Love is one of the world's foremost experts (perhaps the leading expert) on conventional breast cancer science and treatments. In 2002, when Hollie was diagnosed with her Stage 2/Grade 3 breast cancer, Dr. Love's Breast Book was one of the many books we read. Here's what she had to say back then:

"Unfortunately, we are left guessing on the basis of probabilities that are not individualized. This usually means that we overtreat, fearing that we might miss someone who could benefit."1 

Our conventional oncologist in Los Angeles confirmed this, and she actually drew a diagram (similar to one shown in Dr. Love's book) showing that for perhaps as many as 90% of women who received standard-of-care treatments, those women either didn't need those treatments, or, their cancer was going to come back anyway, meaning they only got sicker while their cancers got worse. She explained that perhaps as few as 10% of all women who received conventional treatments were "cured" by them (which she defined as "the cancer was likely to come back, but was prevented from doing so by the treatments themselves).

And this bad news from conventional oncology has remained consistent. More recently, in 2010, in a long and excellent article at lifescript.com, Dr. Love confirmed that this terrible problem still exists:

"At the moment, we do not know how to figure out which ones are which. So we treat them all. Then we congratulate ourselves at how well all the patients have done—when many of them would have done just as well if we had done nothing."

So what we discovered in 2002 is still true today—most women are guinea pigs in a grand experiment whose goal is the glorification of the conventional cancer establishment. Too harsh? Here are some more comments from Dr. Love:

"In a recent study looking at screening programs internationally, the authors were able to estimate that 30% of breast cancers found on mammography screening overtreated and would go away by themselves if left alone and therefore could be considered overtreated."

And:

"The consequences of this overtreatment with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can be significant, from heart failure to second cancers caused by the therapy."

But this 30% over-treatment statistic is only from one study, and only for breast cancers found via mammograms. Many are not, and most of those are over-treated as well. In fact, Dr. Love's own overall summary of aggressive screening, and the over-treatment that results, is really nothing short of shocking:

"...for every 2,000 women screened for 10 years, one will have her life prolonged [by conventional treatments]. At the same time, 10 healthy women, who would have not have been diagnosed if there had not been screening, will be diagnosed as breast cancer patients and treated unnecessarily."

In short, for every 1 woman helped by conventional breast cancer treatment, 10 times as many are given toxic treatments that are unnecessary. If this were a crime-prevention program, it would be the equivalent of arresting everyone in a certain neighborhood, on the logic that you'd end up arresting at least some criminals along with all the innocents. We can do so much better than this.

Dr. Joseph Mercola reports a very similar statistic in his review of related research:

"Among the 2,500 screened at least 1,000 will have a false alarm, 500 would undergo an unnecessary biopsy, and 5 or more would become treated for abnormal finds that would never become fatal, i.e. their lives will be shortened due to medication/surgical/stress-induced adverse effects."

And while it's bad enough that tens or hundreds of thousands of women every year are given devastatingly toxic treatments they didn't need (group 1), the second group identified above is actually much worse off. These are the women who get once-size-fits-all treatments that were never going to work on their cancers in the first place. This is the worst possible double-whammy with cancer--your body gets sicker and weaker, while your cancer gets worse. Group 2 women have serious cancers, and they can't afford to waste time with ineffective and toxic treatments. Most of these women will die, when they might otherwise have lived if treated with customized, health-promoting integrative medicine. And then there's the all-too-often-overlooked discussion about quality of life. Even assuming these patients in group 2 could not have been saved by "healthy medicine," they nonetheless could have foregone the standard-of-care, conventional-only treatments that were never going to work for them, and lived the rest of their days with a higher quality of life. These are the sacrificial lambs of the war on breast cancer.

As for the third group, we ask--were there other, less-toxic, less-costly treatments that would have "cured" those women? Remember, Hollie was told strenuously that she needed chemotherapy, radiation, hormone treatment (Tamoxifen) and, according to some surgeons, extensive additional surgery beyond her lumpectomy and sentinel node removal/biopsy. She didn't. Aggressive but safe herbal and nutritional medicines have been enough to keep her healthy for nearly a decade, and have delivered numerous other health benefits as well. She got healthier during treatment, and healthier still afterwards. How many other women might have this option?

Another reason we put the word cure in quotes above is that conventional treatments eradicate cancer, they don't cure it. Does eradication work sometimes? Sure. Is it necessary sometimes? Yes. But calling it a cure is dishonest, and we believe that's intended to distract from truly curative treatments. A cure is something that reverses the processes that led to cancer in the first place, and eliminates it from the body, and/or prevents its return. And in our opinion it should be as natural and non-toxic as possible. This is what Hollie did. People do it all the time. But the treatment options you're given in a conventional cancer treatment setting don't even acknowledge it. We ask: Is this right?

When you put all of this together with the fact that conventional oncology practices make the vast majority of their money from the profits from re-selling chemotherapy drugs, it's clear that we have a very broken system. The conventional breast cancer treatment industry is: 

  1. Treating large numbers of women who don't need it, and taking credit for "curing" them. 
  2. Giving ineffective treatments  to women with serious cancers, such that their cancers only get worse, thereby robbing them of a chance at life.
  3. Continuing to pass off "eradication" as "cure," and in the process hiding smarter, safer medicine from legions of patients.

It's time for change. We've seen this smarter, safer medicine of which we speak, and it's the future of treatment for cancers of the breast and others, and it's a future that doesn't look anything like the grim, wartime present. It's a future where we make peace with cancer, and reverse its course through the best combination of old and new medicines available. Most importantly, it's a future that's here, now. We encourage you to embrace it.

References

1 Susan M. Love, M.D., Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book, Third Edition, Fully Revised (Cambridge: Perseus Publishing, 2000), 388.

Tuesday
May242011

Is Your Breast Cancer Tamoxifen Resistant?

I've received a lot of criticism for rejecting chemo, radiation, and five years of hormone therapy (Tamoxifen, specifically). (See our Criticism category.)  I've been told that I was "just lucky" and that I was (paraphrasing here) a complete idiot for turning them down. I want to give some specific information about how solely rejecting hormone therapy helped to save my life. Read on if you don't believe me. 

Studies published in 1990, 1995, and 2000 (all well before my diagnosis in 2002) provide critical information for patients with tumors that have certain characteristics. The studies all confirm that ER+/PR- breast cancers are less sensitive to Tamoxifen, and that Tamoxifen is less effective on HER2+ tumors. They further confirm the finding that the HER2 pathway interacts with the ER pathway, rendering them Tamoxifen resistant. More recently (in 2005; see the Arpino study referenced below), a meta-analysis of seven studies concluded that metastatic breast cancer over-expressing HER2 was resistant to Tamoxifen.

But here's the kicker: Women treated with Tamoxifen that had ER+/PR-/HER2+ tumors (which is what I had) had a higher likelihood of recurrence

Let me repeat: Numerous studies show that this specific conventional treatment would have increased the likelihood that my cancer would have recurred. A big part of the message that we're trying to share is that there's a subgroup of women with breast cancer who will only get sicker from one-size-fits-all, conventional-only treatments. These cancers come back with a vengeance, and the body is substantially damaged as well from the toxic treatments that didn't work. I was in that group. 

Unsettling, to say the least. 

I know there are many critics out there, and the truly sinister ones will somehow find a way to dismiss these studies. I'm hoping that the more open-minded critics will at least acknowledge that we can do better. The unavoidable truth is that my conventional doctors simply missed this research. It was presented to us by our integrative treatment team. 

The first question I understandably receive when sharing this part of my story in particular is, "Why? Why would your doctors recommend a treatment that is known to increase your chance of the cancer recurring?"

Based on the title of our book, I think that many people incorrectly assume that I'll give an answer such as, "Because doctors are evil!" This couldn't be farther from the truth. The majority of conventional doctors are well-intentioned people who truly want their patients to live well. 

The problem is multi-faceted. First, I believe that the system in which they operate is fundamentally broken. I'm specifically referring here to the "standard of care." You see, under the standard of care in 2002 (and still today, in many cases), if a patient presents with a tumor with my pathology, he/she is told to do chemotherapy, radiation, and five years of Tamoxifen. No questions asked. No customization of treatment. No individualization of treatment, except perhaps some debate on the specific chemo cocktail. (Shockingly, chemotherapy sensitivity testing remains largely ignored as a valuable tool in preparing smarter, safer cancer treatments.) I believe that either the doctors never saw these studies that I reference, or dismissed them because the standard of care is the final arbiter of treatment decisions, even when there is evidence to the contrary. At the very least, the standard of care takes much too long to incorporate important emerging information. At worst, it leads to potentially deadly medical mistakes for those who are in the blind spots of conventional science. 

Interestingly enough, I also believe that there are liability concerns for physicians who attempt to deviate from the standard of care. 

The second part of the answer to the question "Why?" is that the culture of the cancer industry is also severely broken. There is a frightening closed-mindedness to anything non-conventional, to any non-conventional ways of looking at cancer, or heaven forbid, of treating cancer. As we've said many times before, it's time to stop talking past one another. Both "sides" (conventional and non-conventional) have incredible things to offer, and we need to create a system that is interested in devising the smartest, safest individualized treatment protocols for patients. Luckily, there are practitioners out there that are already doing this, such as the ones that treated me. 

This inevitably means moving away from the vast amount of over-treatment that's currently being performed, and specifically the over-treating of cancer patients with highly toxic drugs that either aren't necessary, or that will only make patients sicker. Certain pharmaceuticals have their time and their place, and they can be part of an overall life-saving protocol, but not when they're used as they are currently, with no tailoring to actual patient needs, and with no cost-benefit analysis. There are better ways! 

In summary, if my doctors failed (for whatever reasons) to acknowledge and incorporate these studies about Tamoxifen, what other scientific data was ignored (for whatever reasons) regarding my recommended chemotherapy and radiation? We'll be tackling these related topics in future blog posts. In the meantime, some references about Tamoxifen resistance are listed below. We encourage you to talk to your practitioners about this to make sure you're not being subjected to a medical mistake.

References

L.D. Read et al., "Hormonal Modulation of HER-2/neu Proto-Oncogene Messenger Ribonucleic Acid and P185 Protein Expression in Human Breast Cancer Cell Line," Cancer Research, 50 no. 13 (1990): 3947-51.

R.J. Pietras et al., "HER-2 Tyrosine Kinase Pathway Targets Estrogen Receptor and Promotes Hormone-Dependent Growth in Human Breast Cancer Cell," Oncogene 10 (1995):2435-46

M. De Laurentiis et al., "Meta-Analysis of the Interaction Between HER-2 and the Response to Endocrine Therapy (ET) in Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC)," Proc ASCO 19 Abstract 301 (2000).

G. Arpino et al., "EstrogenReceptor–Positive, Progesterone Receptor–Negative Breast Cancer: Association With Growth Factor Receptor Expression and Tamoxifen Resistance," Journal of the National Cancer Institute 97 no. 17 (2005):1254-1261.

 

Thursday
Sep232010

Did You Hear? They Cured Cancer

Experts will tell you there is no cure for advanced cancer. True, there is no one cure. There are dozens of cures. Hundreds, even. One of the most mystifying aspects of conventional medicine is the manner in which most of its practitioners are unwilling to acknowledge the most obvious of realities. Namely, that people cure advanced cancer all the time.

What conventional cancer docs mean, of course, is that they don't know how to cure advanced cancers. And this isn't at all surprising, given the limited tools they have at their disposal, and their very limited knowledge of immune function, nutritional science, and all the other healing wisdom that goes into ridding the body of cancer smartly and safely.

Or, they mean to say that there isn't a one-size-fits-all cure, as required by their conventional laboratory science. But we're not lab rats, nor is cancer a single disease in need of a single cure. Breast cancer, for example, is more like 100 different diseases in terms of all the variations it can have. So the narrow-minded laboratory mindset is by nature inappropriate for cancer in the real world, in real bodies. Indeed, the reason the past 30 years of massive funding of conventional cancer research have been such a disappointment is for this very reason—all of that energy is spent looking for a general solution to a problem that is specific in every case. It will never work.  

So what conventional doctors mean to say is that their tools and methods—their treatments and the science behind them—cannot cure most advanced cancers. But that's not what they say, really. They say it can't be cured, period. And that's just plain dishonest. And poor sportsmanship, too. Shame on them for convincing patients that their narrow-minded expertise represents all there is to be known about healing cancer. Our advice is simply this—don't believe it. Numbers lie, trust the eye, as the saying goes. There is so much good news about cancer, and it doesn't have anything to do with toxic, largely ineffective treatments. It has to do with getting well again, and it's time we started acknowledging it more, and embracing it more. 

And to let your eyes behold the myriad stories of healing cancer, we wanted to share some resources:

The Incurables

Veria.com series documenting a host of illnesses, including many cancers, healed via nutritional and herbal science, along with lots of other traditional/natural medicine approaches.

Naturalnews.tv (cancer category)

This site shows one video after another documenting the healing wisdom of the body, applied to cancer (mostly advanced cases). 

Eventually, we'll add a section to our web site with stories from patients that cured their incurable cancers. In the meantime, feel free to drop us an email at authors@youdidwhatbook.com. We'd love to hear from you.