Arizona Advanced Medicine Clinic

Cancer Overview

Cancer Overview

Every one of us has cancer inside. Every single one of us. Our bodies, as part of the normal metabolic process, produce anywhere from a few hundred to perhaps 10,000 cancerous cells each day. The immune system has the ability to recognize every one of those aberrant cells and remove them – if it is functioning properly. There is universal agreement that cancer is a failure of the immune system. Cancer is also very similar to pregnancy – we should make antibodies to the fetus because it is a foreign body inside us, but we don’t make antibodies to our own infants. Why not?

Cancer rates per countryCancer has been around for thousands of years, but it has gone from being rare to being commonplace. Its growth parallels the growth of industrialized economies which introduced heavy metals and unnatural chemicals into the environment, and began to industrialize and process food. Our immune systems were not designed to handle the bombardment of modern toxins combined with lack of nutrient-dense food.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon announced a “war on cancer” with the goal that cancer would be cured by 1976. Since then, the National Cancer Institute, the federal government’s main cancer research entity, has spent more than $105 billion. And other government agencies, universities, drug companies and philanthropies have spent billions more. Yet the death rate for cancer, adjusted for the size and age of the population, dropped only 5 percent from 1950 to 2005.[1]

Today, according to the National Cancer Institute, cancer will affect 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in the United States. Cancer is now the number one cause of death in children between the ages of 1 and 14.

For well over half a century mainstream medicine has promised that a cure or major breakthrough for cancer was just around the corner. It has not happened because to look for “the cure” for this epidemic in laboratories is to look in the wrong place.

Cancer is an Environmental Disease

Pink M&M'sIn 2007, information that cancer is largely an environmentally-caused disease, and thus can be prevented, almost made it to the mainstream news. Almost.

In 2007, one of SGK’s million dollar sponsors was M&M candies. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize in the 1930s by demonstrating that cancer cells use much more sugar than normal cells. Hence the phrase: sugar feeds cancer.

The Susan G. Komen (SGK) organization and the Silent Spring Institute published “Environmental Factors in Breast Cancer,” described as the most comprehensive review to date of scientific research on environmental factors and breast cancer risk. As the Los Angeles Times reported, researchers concluded that environmental pollutants contribute by “damaging DNA, promoting tumor growth, or increasing susceptibility by altering mammary gland development.” Because breast cancer is so common and the chemicals so widespread, they said, “if even a small percentage is due to preventable environmental factors, modifying these factors would spare thousands of women. Regulators have not paid much attention to potential mammary carcinogens.” The study concluded that cancer is an environmental disease.[2]

This conclusion, however, conflicts with many of SGK’s sponsors. The organization virtually buried the report. A public education campaign to prevent cancer was never launched.

In 2010, the panel that advises the president on cancer released a watershed report. It said that Americans are facing “grievous harm” from chemicals in the air, food and water that have largely gone unregulated and ignored. The report said:

“U.S. regulation of environmental contaminants is rendered ineffective by five major problems: (1) inadequate funding and insufficient staffing, (2) fragmented and overlapping authorities coupled with uneven and decentralized enforcement, (3) excessive regulatory complexity, (4) weak laws and regulations, and (5) undue industry influence. Too often, these factors, either singly or in combination, result in agency dysfunction and a lack of will to identify and remove hazards.”

Records from the 19th and 20th centuries show people in traditional societies, such as the Hunza and Eskimo, living to great ages and in good health, free of cancer. Researcher Dr. Weston Price found in the 1930s that cancer was unknown to the Eskimos until traders came and set up stores with jams, and sacks of sugar and refined flour.

Many researchers and experts have shed light over the years on the environmental impact:

  • “Probably between two-thirds and three-quarters of all cancers are preventable… We have discussed all the usual suspects and it is clear that the avoidance of carcinogens is one of the main issues in balancing choice with legislation … Although the link between poor diet, obesity and lack of exercise and cancer had not been confirmed in 2003, there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to suggest that strong associations would be found.”[3] — Cancer Care 2025; the Future of Cancer Care
  • “Synthetic chemicals are particularly dangerous to us because being based on carbon, the chemistry of all life, they readily enter human tissues and seriously disrupt the body’s complex processes and complex chemical reactions.”[4] — John Harte, author, Toxics A-Z
  • “Many of the 70,000 synthetic chemicals in regular commercial use are persistent and accumulate in body fat, including the breast. Some 400 have been detected in human body tissues and secretions, including breast milk. Of the fraction that has been tested, several thousand are listed as known or suspected carcinogens, and several hundred as damaging to the developing foetus. A chemical may not, by itself, instigate cancer but it may work with other factors to contribute towards the risk of developing the disease.”[5] — Dr. Vyvyan Howard
  • “Much cancer today reflects events and exposures in the 1950s and 1960s…There is every reason to expect that even today’s high cancer rates will be exceeded in the next few decades.”[6] — Dr. Sam Epstein
  • “A firm alliance between the established cancer institutions and the chemical, pharmaceutical and nuclear industries has formed the medical-industrial complex … What is stopping us [from getting serious about prevention] is the almost suffocating hold the medical industrial complex retains over cancer policy, and the hugely powerful chemical industry’s interest in protecting its products.”[7] — Prof. Ross Hume Hall

The average person now has hundreds of groups of novel compounds in their bodies that weren’t there 70 years ago. We have even changed the chemical environment of the womb. According to tests of umbilical cord blood done by Environment Working Group, babies marinate in a toxic strew and are born with more than 200 synthetic chemicals in their blood including BPA, pesticides, mercury, and fire retardants. Through medical tests and electronic networks, we are exposed to cancer-causing radiation more than ever before. And as the epidemic of obesity will attest, processed food sends all the wrong signals to our body and fails to deliver the basic nutrients needed for healthy metabolism.

Environment or Genetics?

Cancer is what doctors call a multi-factorial disease – something resulting from the interaction of genetic factors with environmental factors. There are more than 200 different cancers. What they have in common is that they all start in the same way – with a change in the normal make-up of a cell.

Damage to the genetic machinery of individual cells can trigger a series of miscalculations, altering a cell’s normal function. When a gene is damaged by radiation or chemicals, or receives misinformation from a chemical messenger, and the mistaken signal is not corrected, the result is inappropriate or uncontrolled growth. This is the basis of cancer.

By decoding nearly 40,000 genes in the human body, the Human Genome Project opened up an entirely new spectrum of knowledge. In two decades, for example, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations were identified. BRCA1 appears to be responsible for the majority of familial early age of onset of breast and ovarian cancer. Original estimates suggested those breast cancer families with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account for about 50% of the hereditary component of breast cancer. However, more recent studies suggest that BRCA1 mutations account for about 5% of inherited breast cancers, and that BRCA2 mutations account for half this fraction of families. Environment is, by far, the bigger factor.

Genetics loads the gun; environment pulls the triggerSo why does one woman with the BRCA1 gene get breast cancer and another does not? Because we influence how our genes express themselves. This is the science of epigenetics. We cannot change the fact we have the BRCA1 gene (or any of the other genes we have). Only about 5% of us carry the BRCA1 gene – but those who carry it tend to express it in today’s world. In other words, if you have the gene, you are much more likely than the rest of us to develop breast cancer. Nevertheless, how we eat, the environmental pollution to which we are exposed, our stress level, and our mindset, can determine whether we get the best or the worst case scenario from various genes.

We can undergo genetic testing to find out which genes we have, and how we might modify how we live to reduce the chance that we will be a cancer statistic.

Primary Prevention

Primary prevention means eliminating the causes of a disease before it can affect people. A primary prevention approach to a multi-factorial disease such as cancer would aim to reduce and eliminate, as far as possible, human exposures to all substances or agents that are known to be, or suspected of being, implicated in the disease process. For cancer, here are a few of the most common considerations:

Sugar

Spoonful of sugarIf you search the Internet using the words “cancer” and “sugar,” one person’s name repeatedly comes up: Otto Warburg, Ph.D. More than 70 years ago, Dr. Warburg won the Nobel Prize in medicine when he discovered that although all cells requirement for glucose (sugar) for energy, cancer cells need a lot more of it. Cancer cells run on sugar.

When you eat sugar, your body releases insulin which escorts the sugar into the heart of the cell where it acts as fuel. Normalizing insulin levels is one of the most powerful physical actions you can take to lower your risk of cancer. Eating refined sugar also drains the body of minerals and enzymes to keep the machinery working optimally.

Some suspect that cancer rates in children have risen because the consumption of sugary soda has risen. Soda is the number one source of calories in the U.S.

Vitamin D

Sun drawingFrom the first days that man walked upon the earth, sunshine has been key to health and survival. Mankind has a synergistic relationship with health and regular exposure to sunshine which creates that powerhouse hormone/vitamin we call D. Vitamin D upregulates some 300 genes, prompting them to express themselves in ways that keep us healthy and kill cancer cells.

If people would increase their vitamin D3 levels, 60% or more of all cancers could be eliminated. A landmark study reported in 2007 by the Creighton University School of Medicine gave compelling evidence that vitamin D is the single most effective medicine against cancer, far outpacing the benefits of any cancer drug known.[8]

Minerals

Our body is designed to use at least 60 or more trace minerals every day to utilize vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. But it is almost impossible to get enough trace minerals now without using a plant-based supplement. Two hundred years ago, the soil contained 80 or more different minerals. Today, over-farming and the chemical destruction of soil micro-organisms has stripped soils world-wide.

The head of the National Cancer Research Foundation, Fred Eichorn, asserts that mineral deficiencies lead to changes in instructions to the DNA to make adjustments for alternate ways to produce hormones and amino acids – and that these changes lead to cancer.

Oils

Thanks to a researcher named Ancel Keys in the late 1950’s, we all heard that saturated fat and cholesterol will give you aheart attack and that we should trade in Nature’s butter for man-made margarine. Keys’ studies have been proven to be clearly wrong, but that mis-information still sells a lot of partially hydrogenated vegetable, corn, canola, and soybean oils – trans fats. These processed oils quickly turn rancid and produce large amounts of harmful free radicals that increase the risk of cancer, accelerate aging, cause clotting, and promote inflammation and weight gain. Unprocessed coconut oil and olive oil are good choices. It is tough to find mayonnaise that isn’t made with soy oil – some 90 percent of the soy grown in the U.S. now is genetically modified – but you can find mayo made with safflower oil in health food stores and safflower is a better choice.

Spoonful of fish oil capsulesFish oil is also a good choice; find a brand of fermented fish oil without mercury in it. Omega-3 fatty acids, most notably DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), have been linked to a wide-range of health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers, reducedinflammation, and improved behaviour and mood. Low omega-3 intake plays a role in about 84,000 deaths annually, according to Harvard University research supported by the CDC.[9] Contrast that with the estimate of 40,610 who will die from breast cancer in 2009.

Fats

Anyone who has eaten his way across France has observed that the French diet is loaded with saturated fats in the form of butter, eggs, cheese, cream, liver, meats and rich pâtés. Yet the French have a lower rate of heart disease and cancer than many other western countries. Meanwhile, Americans were told erroneously that saturated fat is bad.

ButterSaturated fatty acids are workhorses within the body. Saturated fats protect the liver from toxins. Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for the heart, which is why the fat around the heart muscle is highly saturated – the heart draws on this reserve in times of stress.

Good fats are the building blocks for a variety of hormones including serotonin which keeps us happy instead of depressed. Also, fats act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. If you go to the trouble of juicing vegetables and do not add cream, you won’t absorb a lot of the nutrients you wanted to get. If you want that all important vitamin D you just got from the sun or a pill to get to work, you must have good fats to transport it to the worksite.

Organic and Grass Fed

The red meat and dairy products you typically find at the grocery store and fast food places have come from a large commercial feedlot. The animals were fed hormones (often cattle are given estradiol 100 days prior to slaughter), steroids, antibiotics, perhaps a genetically modified growth hormone, and they were fed an unnatural diet which turned their bodies acid. You ingest all that when you eat meat, milk, and other products from such animals. These are very important risk factors for reproductive cancers – testicular cancers in men, breast cancers in women, and leukemia in children.

Grass fed beefThose who sell organic and grass fed beef have a saying: Pay the farmer now or pay the doctor later. Organic foods, for the most part, are free of hormones, steroids, antibiotics, and genetically modified feed. The meat from grass fed animals is much less acid, more lean, has more omega-3s, and more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which naturally promotes weight loss. In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet had a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels.[10] An important vitamin, B12, can only be found in animals foods. Historically, mankind has always consumed animal foods, but after WWII mankind radically altered the makeup of that food.

Household Exposures

Toxic BeautyWomen absorb an estimated five pounds of chemicals from cosmetics every year from cancer-causing compounds in face cream to arsenic in eye shadow. A can of hairspray might contain 23 different chemicals. Cosmetics and toiletries are a witches’ brew of undisclosed chemicals. Some are carcinogenic themselves, some break down to release carcinogens like formaldehyde, and others interact to form carcinogens.

Household cleaning products contain carcinogenic substances, reproductive and developmental poisons, and neurotoxins. Toxic chemicals are found in such ubiquitous products as glass cleaners, all purpose cleaners, and toilet bowl cleaners. An EPA study found concentrations of 20 common toxic compounds to be as much as 200 times higher indoors than outdoors.

Dental Toxicity

The Roots of DiseaseThe book “The Roots of Disease” is a collaborative effort of a dental surgeon, Dr. Robert Kulacz, and a cardiologist, Dr. Thomas Levy. They explain how root canals, cavitations, and metal fillings can have a significant role in so many illnesses. More than 40 million root canal fillings are performed in the U.S. every year.

Education is Prevention

There is a lot more to talk about – depleted thyroid and iodine, low levels of B vitamins, a deficiency of vitamin K, hormone mimicking chemicals, oral contraceptives, obesity, pesticides, radon, heavy metals, mold, airport screening and medical x-rays, how EMFs from wireless technology interfere with the body’s normal chemical signaling…

Entire books are written on these various considerations. Knowledge is power, and prevention is the best medicine.

When we treat cancer, we spend a lot of time with our patients educating them about environmental factors that can precipitate cancer, and how we can make lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of cancer in the future. We have prepared materials for our patients to take home with them and share with their family and friends.

Cancer Testing

We generally use tests to detect cancer or pathology suggestive of cancer:

  • RGCC test for circulating tumor cell count, chemosensitivity and sensitivity to alternative treatments – it is now possible to detect circulating tumor cells (CTC) in the blood stream. A blood sample is sent to a genetic laboratory in Greece. If CTCs are found, they can be grown in tissue culture, and tested against a multitude of chemotherapeutic agents as well as “alternatives” and botanicals, to see which substances have the highest kill rate in tissue culture. This is not a 100% guarantee that it will work on the original tumor, but it’s a pretty good indication – and far better than anything we have available in the United States.
  • Thermography is a non-invasive and non-harmful way of detecting whether there is reason to be concerned about inflammation in the breasts – one of the markers for cancer. No test is 100% accurate, and thermography does not detect lesions which are not metabolically active, like cysts, or very slow growing masses. However, it does reliably detect inflammation, one of the earliest signs of developing pathology in the breast. Thermography can detect inflammation-driven cancers as much as 10 years earlier than mammography and it does not use radiation or compression.

We can also order lab tests such as CT scans, PET scans, MRIs. These use radiation, but when we strongly suspect cancer, one shot of radiation is the least of our worries.

Advanced Cancer Treatment

With recent advances in our understanding of the inner workings of cancer cells, it is now possible to avoid many of the side effects of conventional chemotherapy, while at the same time increasing the effectiveness and specificity of these agents in killing cancer cells. The key to this is an innovative strategy for drug delivery called Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT). It uses about one-tenth the amount of drugs used in conventional chemotherapy. This is truly advanced medicine, the next step in cancer treatment.

With IPT, we use insulin to magnify the powerful cell-killing effects of ordinary chemotherapy drugs, and that gives us the ability to use them in very low doses. We know that cancer cells run on sugar; they use a lot more glucose (sugar) than healthy cells. Cancer cells also have perhaps ten times more insulin receptors than normal cells to make sure they get the glucose they need. Insulin escorts the glucose through the cell membrane into the cancer cell. With IPT, we combine insulin with a low dose of chemotherapy drugs to reach the inside of cancer cells. It is a targeted approach.

IPT targets the chemo drugs to the cancer cells, bypassing healthy cells for the most part. Thus IPT can avoid most of the dose-related side effects of conventional chemotherapy. Our patients typically do not go bald, or have extensive bouts of nausea, or develop mouth and intestinal ulcers. IPT is a much kinder, gentler form of treatment. And when combined with complementary therapies and education about avoiding environmental factors that can cause genes to express, we see that IPT is much more effective.

We use all forms of testing available to us because we are interested in cleaning out all possible toxins from the body that led up to the cancer and might encourage its return. We look at foods, nutrition, heavy metals, other chemical toxicities, chronic infections, and nutritional deficiencies. All these things can play a part in the development of cancer.

Furthermore, we recognize that illness develops because the body is sending us a message. The message may be as simple as chemical toxins too numerous to handle (lung cancer in a smoker) or as complex as emotional toxins too hard to handle (childhood sexual abuse or rejection by the mother). Some stress has caused some of the cells in our body to stop responding to the normal traffic control. We express the illness in whatever organ is the most vulnerable either because of genetics or because of the message which needs to be delivered.

Conventional Cancer Treatment

Standard cancer treatment first uses surgery as a “curative” modality – the idea being that if you cut out the tumor, and the margins are clean and the lymph nodes are not visibly infiltrated by the tumor, then all the cancerous tissue has been eliminated from the body. Unfortunately the literature is full of papers which demonstrate that there are circulating tumor cells shed from the tumor from the very earliest discovery of the tumor. We know that metastatic disease arises from tumor cells in the blood stream which decide to settle in to a given organ – different organs, depending on the origin of the tumor. So why would we think that surgery could be curative of any cancer? It does occasionally happen, but more often than not we see recurrence of the tumor, either locally or in a distant area, within 2-3 years of the original surgery.

Radiation may be used in an attempt to kill any remaining tumor cells (especially for breast or head and neck tumors). Side effects are less than they used to be, but radiation can still induce dry mouth (because the salivary glands are destroyed) or inflammation of normal organs in the path of the X-rays (bladder, bowel, lungs). It can also induce eventual development of secondary cancers because the immune system has been damaged or destroyed. Radiation is the one thing the American Cancer Society says causes cancer.

Chemotherapy is prescribed in doses high enough to (hopefully) kill a major fraction of the tumor cells. Two big disadvantages: One, the studies that created the chemo protocols are based on general population studies, not on specific tumor cell genetics. Two, the amount of chemo necessary to kill tumor cells also kills any other rapidly dividing cell in the body – hair, mucus membranes, intestinal tract, bone marrow, organ tissue – and so we see the almost universal side effects of hair loss, diarrhea, mouth ulceration and drop in blood cell count with the related risk of life-threatening infection.

Bone marrow transplantation is sometimes done, if the cancer is a leukemia, multiple myeloma, or other blood cancer. This necessitates killing all the bone marrow with a combination of very high dose chemotherapy and radiation, then transplanting bone marrow from another person. There are significant risks to this procedure. The transplanted bone marrow may attack the tissues of the recipient and so immunosuppressants must be given, just like for kidney or other organ transplants. Remember that in its simplest sense, cancer is a failure of the immune system. Putting a cancer patient on immunosuppressant drugs is akin to walking on a wire 18 feet above the ground.

Complementary Therapies

At the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, we take an integrative approach. We not only go after the cancer, we also work to restore your immune system, and teach you how to keep the cancer from coming back.

We use a wide variety of methods and preparations – some specifically defeat cancer cells, some go after viruses and fungi, some support the liver and detoxification process.

We custom tailor the approach for every person. We have the capability to test which chemo agents and which natural agents will work most effectively for you. The one-size-fits-all approach to cancer has been proven to not be particularly effective.

Cancer is also an emotional illness. Often during treatment, people feel ready to resolve long-standing traumatic issues. We have the ability to use guided imagery and hypnosis to help you shed emotional baggage, if you so desire.

History of IPT

A young Canadian, Dr. Frederick Banting, discovered insulin in 1921. Diabetes had suddenly become a curable disease; Banting was awarded the Nobel prize. A few doctors explored other possibilities of this new discovery, including Donato Perez Garcia, MD, a military doctor. He first used insulin to correct his own case of malnutrition. It worked, gloriously. Dr. Perez Garcia considered that the insulin helped the tissues assimilate the food he had eaten.

He reasoned that perhaps insulin would have a similar effect to help tissues assimilate medications. He turned his attention to syphilis, the AIDS of that era.

Syphilis had been treated with almost lethal doses of mercury and arsenic. By 1928, Dr. Perez Garcia was successfully able treat even late-stage syphilis, a typically incurable situation. In the late 1930s, at the Austin (Texas) State Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., he demonstrated rapid and complete return to health of patients with syphilitic paralysis and dementia. IPT was first used for cancer in 1945.

The practice of IPT is not taught in American medical schools, unfortunately. IPT does not win favor with the pharmaceutical industry which no doubt prefers conventional chemotherapy because it sells a much larger quantity of expensive drugs; the industry does appear to influence the education of medical doctors.

Dr. Perez Garcia was ahead of his time. He saw that the hypoglycemic pulse that occurs with the administration of insulin somehow helped detoxify the body, and somehow transformed the biochemistry to generally improve health. But it would not be until the biochemical and molecular biological understandings of the 1970s and 1980s that some of the mechanisms of insulin potentiation would be understood.

To read more specifically about IPT, click here. Then give us a call to schedule a time to come talk to us, see the facility, ask lots of questions, and make an informed decision.


[1] Gina Kolata; Forty Years War-Advances Elusive in the Drive to Cure Cancer, New York Times, April 23, 2009[2] http://articles.latimes.com/2007/may/14/nation/na-cancer14[3] Angus Dalgleish, Mike Richards, Karol Sikora, Prevention, Chapter 3, pp19-21; Karol Sikora, Cancer 2025: the future of cancer care, Future Drugs Ltd, June 2004[4] John Harte et al; Toxics A-Z, California University Press, p30, 1991[5] Dr. Vyvyan Howard, Synergistic Effects of Chemical Mixtures, The Ecologist, Vol 27, no5, 1997[6] Dr. Sam Epstein, Losing the War Against Cancer: Who’s to Blame and What to Do About It, International Journal of Health Services, Vol 20, no1, p56, 1990[7] Professor Ross Hume Hall, The Medical-Industrial Complex, The Ecologist, pp62-68, Vol 28 no2 1998[8] http://www.creighton.edu/…vitamind_cancer_nr060807/index.php[9] G Danaei, EL Ding, et al; The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors. PLoS Medicine, 2009 Apr 28;6(4):e1000058.[10] Ip, C, J.A. Scimeca, et al. (1994) “Conjugated linoleic acid. A powerful anti-carcinogen from animal fat sources.” p. 1053. Cancer 74(3 suppl):1050-4.
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