Some “Cancer Cures” May Do More Harm Than Good
That is the alarming conclusion reached by a group of researchers based at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre and Harvard Medical School. Their latest study is published in the January 17 (2012) issue of the journal Cancer Cell.
If you have started reading this article it probably means that you either have cancer or have a close friend or relative who suffers. You will already know that cancer can appear in lots of different shapes and sizes and that there are also lots of claims around of miracle cures. You don’t need us to tell you how complex (and contradictory) this whole subject has become.
What follows is a very simplified account of what can happen inside our body together with our interpretation of the latest research and how we can all benefit from this information. There are links to the actual research centres at the end of this article if you really want all the fine technical detail.
There are literally trillions of cells that make up each and every one of us. They all have specific jobs to do and they are also constantly renewing themselves – some faster than others. As these cells reproduce, occasionally something goes wrong and the new cell has a deformation or incorrect programming. Some of these become “bad guys” and try to destroy other cells around them. They also reproduce and create more bad guys. This is commonly known as cancer. All the various forms of cancer are created by mutations from different original cells and also develop in different ways in different parts of the body. This is why there are so many different forms of cancer.
Fortunately, the body has an in built defence mechanism and has a great array of special cells whose job is to hunt down and destroy the bad guys before they get chance to create any harm. These are the good guys. These “battles” are taking place continuously inside all of us. In very simplified terms healthy people are ones where the “good guys” are in control. People with disease are ones where the “bad guys” (not just cancer) are in control.
The “balance” between the good guys and bad guys is changing all the time. Research has shown that there are lots of factors that can influence this balance – stress, poor diet, physical injury, energy waves (including x-rays, gamma rays, mobile phones and wi-fi) and so on. Very occasionally, these factors can combine to weaken the effect of the good guys. If this happens for a sustained period then the bad guys can get a firm footing and the illness develops. Once this point is reached it is very difficult for the good guys to regain their dominant position without help.
Traditionally, there have been 2 distinct approaches to Cancer Treatment: –
1) Kill the bad guys – favoured by modern Western doctors.
2) Reinforce the good guys – favoured by therapists and Eastern medical practices.
Historically, this difference in approach has often been regarded as confrontational and counter productive. You may still find articles insisting that one approach is bad whilst the other is good. This isn’t the place for that debate. In our opinion, both approaches have plus and minus points. The final outcome depends on hundreds of different factors, and since everyone is different, and with different circumstances, there are virtually no absolute rights and wrongs in cancer treatment.
No doubt you have also heard about several “miracle” cures. We are convinced that these are mainly genuine cures that have happened and will continue to happen. But we don’t need to sensationalise them with the term “miracle”. If you stand back and calmly look at each of these cases you will see that they all have one thing in common – the balance between the good guys and bad guys shifted back so that the good guys could start winning the battle again. It is as simple as that.
Chemotherapy might kill the cancer cells but it doesn’t cure the patient. Its aim is to reduce the number of bad guys so that the remaining good guys can win the battle. On the other hand, most therapies concentrate on strengthening the good guys so that they can overpower the bad guys. Some therapies also claim to kill certain cancer cells but it is very difficult for them to be subjective.
In the Western World we like formal proof backed up by scientific data. Governments, Insurance Companies, Doctors and Universities all like scientific “proof”. It means they can make a recommendation without taking the personal responsibility for making that decision. They rely on somebody else’s “proof” and they are then in the clear if something goes wrong.
It is relatively straightforward to formally prove that a certain chemotherapy drug or radiation treatment will kill a specific cancer cell. So that is why most Western medical people will recommend this approach – because it works and can be proved to work. What is less clear is the effect of such treatments on the rest of the body i.e. what else is killed and what are the side effects? Such research is very costly and a drug company is most unlikely to invest hundreds of millions of dollars/pounds trying to prove their new wonder drug has nasty side effects.
The Therapies come out even worse when you consider the scientific proof. These treatments rely on methods used for hundreds of years by thousands of practitioners. They have the experience of seeing many of their patients cured but they don’t have the financial resources to provide rigorous proof. It is a similar situation with the nutritional supplements being developed. Many of them are a real help to their patients but providing the proof is beyond the company’s capability.
Cancer sufferers are faced with a terrible dilemma. Do they follow the Western medical advice and try to kill the cancer cells and accept the consequences of any possible side effects? Or do they follow the advice of their therapist and trust an unproven method that seemed to work for some people? The latest research papers may just give some additional information that can make the choices a bit easier.
The Role of Pericytes
We are trying to avoid technical and scientific terms but pericytes are something you need to know about. Pericyte cells cover blood vessels and support their growth – they help stop the vessels leaking. They are good guys and also help contain cancer cells within specific areas. It is well known that popular chemotherapy drugs such as Imatinib and Sunitinib also kill pericyte cells along with the cancer cells. It was considered to be an unfortunate consequence – until……….
What They Discovered
Killing the tumour cells along with the pericyte cells increased metastasis up to threefold. This means that reducing the pericyte cells around a cancer cell dramatically increases the chances of the cancer “escaping” and developing as a fresh tumour in another part of the body. Measurements on animals show that a 70% reduction of pericytes leads to a 3 x increase in the cancer moving and developing elsewhere.
Subsequent research is now being carried out with humans and initial results on patients with breast cancer are showing similar proportions.
According to a press release by Ronald A. DePinho, President of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center – “These results are quite provocative and will influence clinical programmes designed to target tumor angiogenesis. These impressive studies will inform and refine potential therapeutic approaches for many cancers.”
What Does All This Mean?
Firstly you must appreciate that this research is not the end of the cancer treatment story. That is still very much “work in progress” and will continue to be for many years to come. What it does show is that cancer treatment can be likened to a war. Some treatments (such as chemotherapy) can win certain battles but might create many other dangerous flash points and battlegrounds. In other words, the initial cancer tumour might be killed or destroyed but that process might also increase the chances of another cancer flaring up elsewhere.
What Do We Recommend?
Think back to the good guy/bad guy analogy. Winning the war with cancer involves as many different approaches as you can manage.
Whatever treatment(s) you decide on (or have already started) then you need to find out whether it is based on killing the bad guys or strengthening the good guys. If it merely involves killing the bad guys then you must also take specific supplements to boost the good guys and compensate for the possible reduction in pericyte cells.
If your chosen treatment revolves around strengthening the good guys then you need to do EVERYTHING possible to help this cause. Diet, lifestyle, exercise, frame of mind and nutrition are all powerful contributors – you need to get all of them working for you.
This sort of article normally ends with a “big sell”. Not this one. We know of a great nutritional combination that is getting some remarkable results with cancer. HERE is the link.
But there are lots of clever products on the internet (plus a few scams). What works well for one person might not be so successful for another – but then a different product can have the reverse result.
The important thing is to choose an all round booster – this will help whatever main treatment you decide on. Good luck.
Ethos & Phytoplankton Combo Pack – Click Here
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC) – http://www.bidmc.org