Cancer and Your Immune System
Recently a new cancer drug called Provenge was hailed as a breakthrough in the treatment of advanced cases of prostate cancer. So impressed were the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid with the drug that last month Medicare officials announced that it would pay for full coverage for its use.
The price tag?
A whopping $93,000 per treatment!
This decision ensures that US males with advanced cases of prostate cancer will be able to afford treatment with Provenge because it will be paid for by taxpayer dollars. Additionally, since private health insurance companies typically follow Medicare’s lead with regard to what they will pay for cancer treatments, it’s likely that they too will cover the full cost of Provenge treatments. Following Medicare’s decision, financial analysts predicted that Dendreon Corp, the drug’s manufacturer, will earn $1 billion from sales of the drug within a year.
Medicare officials, along with prostate cancer advocates and, of course, Dendreon Corp itself, all say the high cost of the drug is justified because the average survival time of patients who are treated with Provenge is twice as long as that of prostate patients who receive chemotherapy.
At first blush, such increased survival rates seem impressive, but in actuality patients who receive Provenge on average only live an extra two months (four months in total following treatment) compared to advanced prostate cancer patients who receive chemotherapy (an average of only two months following treatment). And regardless of which treatment they receive, they still die. (Provenge is not a cure for prostate cancer.)
So why is Provenge being hailed as a breakthrough treatment for advanced prostate cancer? Because, according to Dendreon Corp, it is “a first-of-a-kind treatment in that each dose is customized to work with a patient's immune system.” While this approach certainly makes more sense than subjecting prostate cancer patients with highly toxic chemotherapy drugs that ravage the immune system, it is a far cry from being a breakthrough.
Alternative Cancer Doctors Have Long Known About the Importance of the Immune System
The claims being made about Provenge are typical of the conventional cancer establishment. Once again a new and incredibly expensive cancer drug is being touted as a significant advance in the treatment of cancer without any regard to the fact that its long-term efficacy isn’t proven (it’s too early to know what, if any, side effects Provenge may cause) and the fact that the drug does nothing to actually reverse, let alone cure, prostate cancer. While extending cancer patients lives even by a few months is certainly an admirable goal, shouldn’t we be looking for approaches for treating cancer that do much more than that, and which are far more affordable?
Fortunately, such approaches already do exist within the field of alternative cancer care, and they already do what Provenge claims to do—support and improve optimal immune function. And they do so far more effectively and affordably.
This approach to cancer treatment is known as immunotherapy. Alternative cancer doctors have long recognized that any serious discussion of cancer, both in terms of its cause and its effective reversal, must include the body’s immune system as a primary factor.
Immunotherapy works because the therapeutic approaches that comprise it are specifically designed to aid the immune system to effectively subdue and reverse cancer. And it does so without any of the harmful side effects that are so common with conventional cancer treatments.
A strong immune system is absolutely essential for preventing cancer. When your immune system is functioning properly it can stop cancer in its tracks by identifying and eliminating cancer cells before they can spread and form tumors. Everybody develops cancer cells each and every day, but in healthy people they are eliminated by the immune system the way nature intended. The primary “soldiers” that comprise your immune system are natural killer cells, macrophages and cancer cell-killing T cells, all of which are actively involved in targeting and eliminating cancer cells.
Should cancer strike, these same immune system components can mount an effective attack against tumors and any cancer cells that have spread from the original or primary tumor, especially in the early stages of cancer. That’s why ensuring proper immune function is so essential if cancer is to effectively be treated and reversed.
Unfortunately, the way that conventional cancer doctors treat cancer not only ignores this fact, it actually makes matters much worse. That’s because the mainstays of conventional cancer care—surgery, chemotherapy and radiation—all strongly suppress and weaken the immune system, often producing irreversible damage.
Given the impact the immune-suppressing effects of these invasive and toxic treatments have on the immune system of cancer patients, which is already weakened by factors that allow cancer to develop in the first place, such as chronic stress, poor nutrition, and environmental pollutants, it is easy to understand why the vast majority of cancer patients ultimately do not survive conventional cancer treatments. Such treatments literally destroy the very immune system that is so important for long-term remission.
By contrast, alternative and integrative physicians who treat cancer know how to use chemotherapy is ways that dramatically increase its effectiveness while simultaneously significantly reducing its side effects. They, like me, are not opposed to the use of chemotherapy as a cancer treatment, but, recognizing its highly toxic nature, use a variety of approaches to ensure the best possible outcomes with the least likelihood of harm. This includes the use of chemotherapy in combination with whole body hyperthermia (heat therapy), which allows doctors to use as little as 10% of the normal conventional dose of chemo while achieving far superior results. Another approach, known as insulin potentiated therapy, or IPT, combines insulin with low dose chemotherapy to also achieve remarkable results. In addition, since 2001 and the discoveries made possible from the Human Genome Project, a growing number of alternative cancer specialists now make use of genetic tests that allow them to choose chemotherapy drugs that are specifically matched to cancer patients’ unique biochemistry and genetics.
In recent years, the cancer establishment has come around to using immunotherapies in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments. However, their methodology for doing so is extremely flawed. That’s because oncologists typically only administer immunotherapy after surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, after the damage caused by these approaches is done. Additionally, little or no effort is made by oncologists to reduce the toxic effects produced by these treatments when they are administered.
Getting back to Provenge, its manufacturer pointed out that one of its advantages is that it does not cause the side effects that are so common with other conventional treatments for prostate cancer. However, so far the drug is used only after such treatments have already failed. In other words, when there is nothing else that chemotherapy or radiation can do. But by then the patient is already at death’s door! Which in part explains why Provenge, at best, is only capable of extending life for an average of only two additional months.
But the real reason why Provenge, regardless of how its being hailed as a new cancer breakthrough, fails to actually reverse prostate cancer is the same reason why all conventional cancer therapies fail to do so in the vast majority of cases:
Because none of them truly take into account or address the multiple factors that cause cancer in the first place!
Until this travesty changes, it would be foolhardy to expect conventional cancer care to be of much benefit for most people with cancer. But one thing you can expect is that the profits generated by conventional cancer drugs will continue to soar as millions of cancer patients continue to pin their hopes on them, almost always in vain.
I’ll have more to share with you about cancer and the immune system, including therapies that actually do work to boost immunity, in future articles here on my blog. In future articles I will also be sharing more information about the use of IPT, low-dose chemotherapy with whole body hyperthermia, and genetic tests that can be used to determine which chemotherapy drugs, as well as other nontoxic cancer treatments, are best suited for each cancer patient’s specific needs.
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