Finding Your Best Cancer Solution

Consultation is Key in Complementary Cancer Care

To the cancer patient, Martin Milner, N.D., of Portland, Oregon, makes the following recommendations:
  • Contact your conventional physician and inform him about your decision to augment your conventional treatment with natural therapies.
  • No patient should self-prescribe and no patient should use all of the therapies available.
  • Certain therapies are contraindicated and cannot be used in combination with other therapies; further, some absolutely require supervision and close monitoring by the physician.
  • No one should assume that these therapies offer definitive treatment or a cure for cancer. The increased incidence of cancer requires both physicians and the public to carefully scrutinize natural cancer treatment options. Practitioners and patients alike have the opportunity to share information and resources in the challenge to find mixtures of natural therapies that reverse disease when possible and optimize each patient's quality of life

Will Your Chemotherapy Work? A Test Can Tell You

In the event you decide to include chemotherapy in your cancer treatment program, a new lab test can help you determine the most effective chemotherapy drug for your particular cancerous tissues. In addition, the test, called the Ex Vivo Apoptotic Assay, can identify the smallest dosage that will be sufficient to kill your specific cancer. Lower dosages can reduce the severity of chemotherapy's notoriously awful side effects. Without this test, chemotherapy prescription is a process of trial and error as doctors try to determine what kind and dosage of chemotherapy will work best.

The test, developed by Robert A. Nagourney, M.D., involves placing a biopsied piece of your own cancer tissue in a test tube with a concentration of one of more than 70 drugs available in chemotherapy regimens. The mixture sits for 72 to 96 hours to allow the cancer to "grow," after which time the physician can determine which drugs caused the most cell death. The test tube simulation provides a reasonable picture of the likely effect of the drug on the body of that individual. Generally, the assay's ability to predict outcomes was scored at 19 out of 21 in a test published in the Journal of Hematology Blood Transfusion in 1990.

The process, because it is tailored for each individual, is said to improve the outcome of chemotherapy by about two to three times. Also, the patient doesn't have to endure a battery of different drugs—and their side effects—in the hopes that one will work. Let's say your physician tells you that the use of Adriamycin (a chemotherapy drug) induces remissions in 38% of women with breast cancer. How can you tell in advance if you're part of the 38% for whom it works or the 62% for whom it has no effect? "We can now painlessly determine things in a test tube for a patient that they would only be able to find out if they went through the treatments," Dr. Nagourney says. "This is crucial since I've never seen a correctly administered chemotherapy for an 'average' patient."

Based on their cumulative results, Dr. Nagoumey's team has compiled a bell-shaped data curve that shows the range of sensitivity and resistance to different drugs among individuals with the same kinds of cancer. From this he now knows that out of 100 women with breast cancer, perhaps 35 will have cancer cell death taking 0.15 mcg/ml of doxorubicin, while 25 will require only 0.05 mcg/ml, and still others will need 1.0 mcg/ml.

His test can determine the likely effect on human cancer tissue from any of about 70 chemotherapy drugs, given singly or in combination. It can also test botanical substances such as betulinic acid (from white birch bark), Alvium (a 12-herb formula), antlneoplastons, interferons, or theoretically any substance capable of killing cancer cells. All that is required is a living tissue sample of cancer cells obtained from the patient by biopsy or a blood sample in the case of leukemias.

Don’t Settle for Conventional "Strategies of Containment"

About the best that spokespersons for the conventional cancer establishment can say in summarizing more than 25 years of cancer research is: "we're making headway." As Scientific American editors John Rennie and Ricki Rusting state, "There is no way to skirt the fact that the combined death rate for all cancers has yet to come down." Short of finding a "single cure" that would "kill the tumor"—which, Scientific American admits, seems unlikely—the article concludes that the current option is to settle for "strategies of containment."

The message of alternative medicine is altogether different: you don't have to settle for strategies of containment while you wait for scientists to discover that single magical cure for cancer. Alternative medicine looks at multiple treatments and substances working together—synergistically—to effect major changes in the cancer process, from containment to remission to a life that is cancer free. "Synergy" in alternative medicine treatments means many substances work cooperatively in such a way as to enhance the overall effect, making it stronger than single substances could ever produce alone. More important, even though there are dismaying cancer statistics—you do not have to become a statistic.

Cancer reversal is quite possible, but it requires some effort, commitment, and trust on the part of the person involved, and a comprehensive knowledge by the physician of the modalities available and their effectiveness as proven in clinical practice. Skilled alternative practitioners take the time needed to find the root causes of cancer and the patient also becomes actively involved in their treatment. Mortality from certain cancers may seem statistically likely, but that is an illusion compounded by fear and ignorance. It's not only patients who fear cancer outcomes; probably most oncologists are equally in fear of this disease and shield themselves against the disturbing scenarios, statistics, and probabilities they know too well. Yet men and women can and do survive cancer, and go on to live long, productive, healthy lives— cancer free.

What Alternative Medicine Offers—Cancer Healing

With cancer claiming so many lives each year and bringing sickness and disability to so many more, the search for a cure has become a global industry. Yet, as enticing as the idea of a "magic bullet" for cancer may seem, because of the multiple factors related to the cause of the disease, conventional medicine will never find it. The concept of a single magic bullet is a conceptual, physiological, and medical mistake. A far more useful clinical model is that presented by alternative medicine: multiple interacting and interdependent factors contribute to the emergence of cancer and multiple modalities, substances, and practitioners contribute to its reversal.

Alternative therapies offer the advantage of bolstering the patient's own self-healing capacities while avoiding the toxic side effects that accompany conventional medical treatment for cancer. For most alternative medical doctors, the practical starting point is a change in a patient's diet, exercise, and attitudes. By helping to rejuvenate the whole person, these strategies also offer an improved quality of life and a sense of control in the healing process.

Unlike conventional therapies, which actually weaken the body, alternative therapies work to support the body's anticancer defenses and detoxification capacities as much as possible. This may explain why the phenomenon of "spontaneous remission"—the sudden, unexplained recovery from cancer, without any recognized (i.e., conventional) treatment—is so rare in the typical hospital setting. One study found that 88% of the spontaneous remission cancer cases involved a significant dietary change, mainly toward vegetarianism. Many cases also entailed some form of alternative therapy, such as nutritional supplementation and botanical medicine.

A paradoxical situation exists in the language used to describe cancer outcomes. Conventional medicine speaks freely of "cures" when they discuss the fabled magic bullet, but they prohibit (and often punish) alternative practitioners from using the word; yet conventional oncology rarely cures cancer. There is a crucial distinction here, one that has special relevance to the problem of cancer.

Curing typically refers to a medical treatment that relieves the patient of the disease. Healing, by contrast, refers to an internal process of "becoming whole," a feeling of harmonious relationship with one's social and familial sphere—indeed, with one's entire environment. Thus healing pertains to all levels of a person's being, and the most powerful alternative cancer therapies are those aimed at strengthening all these levels at the same time—at reducing the body's toxic burden while also enhancing its multifaceted self-healing capacities and bringing the true character of the individual into focus and healthy expression.

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