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Cancer

Cancer

Description

Cancer is a general term, characterized by uncontrolled and abnormal cell growth, which encompasses over 250 diseases. Most mature body cells retain the capacity to divide. When stimulated, a cell will divide and grow in an orderly fashion. A different signaling mechanism stimulates the cell to stop dividing. When cells fail to respond to this second group of signals, it can grow uncontrollably and may form a tumor. Some scientists believe tumors arise more than once in a person's life, but are eliminated by the body's immune system long before they become a threat. It is not yet known what causes tumors to become malignant. There are two kinds of tumors: benign and malignant.

Benign tumors remain localized and usually not life threatening; they can be removed by surgery and recurrence is unlikely. Malignant tumors are cancers. They invade and destroy adjacent tissues by breaking down tissue organization. The cells can then break away from the main mass, and spread through the body via the circulatory system or lymphatic system, settling in other organs. These secondary tumors are called metastases. The stage of cancerous growth at the time of diagnosis is important in determining the treatment needed. There are three main types of treatment for cancer: surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Often, a combination of two or all three is deemed necessary to combat a single type of cancer. While the general public tends to associate cancer with a slow, painful death, many types of cancer are curable, especially when detected early. Several preventative measures can be taken by an individual to prevent onset or to facilitate detection of some types of cancer.

Generally, surgery and radiation therapy are the forms of treatment used for cancers confined to a particular area. Radiation therapy has an advantage over surgery in that it avoids disfiguration. However, the use of radiation is dependent on the tumor's sensitivity to electromagnetic waves; moreover, if a tumor requires a large dose of radiation, normal tissue may be destroyed with the tumorous tissue. For a cancer having metastasized, chemotherapy is usually the preferred treatment. With chemotherapy, an anticancer drug is administered which distributes itself throughout the body. Care is taken in the dosage prescribed since these anticancer drugs can be lethal to normal cells as well as cancerous cells. Side effects, ie. nausea and hair loss, accompany this form of treatment.

The following forms of cancer will be discussed in this section: breast, cervical, colon, rectum, lung, prostate gland and skin.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women of the western world. Among cancers, it is the leading cause of death in women 40 to 49 years of age, and the leading cause of death by cancer for women of any age. The American Cancer Society suggests all women routinely examine their breasts about seven days after menstruation. 95% of all cases of breast cancer are found by women themselves through self-examination. For postmenopausal women, self-examination should be done on the same day of each month. While many of the lumps found by women are benign and can easily be removed by surgery, women should also watch for other unusual changes in the appearance of the breasts. If any abnormalities are found, a physician should be consulted immediately. Mammograms are also recommended for early detection of breast cancer.

Cervical cancer is an abnormal growth in the uterine cervix. It is the third most common type of cancer in women. Since the cervix is located internally, early detection can only be done professionally through a test called the Papanicolaou smear (pap smear). In this test, vaginal mucus and scrapings from the surface of the cervix are studied. In addition to detecting cancer, a pap smear can also be used in recognizing changes in cells which may be precancerous. It is recommended pap smears be done annually after the onset of sexual activity. There is some concern the pap smear itself may be irritating to the cervix, and the test should be done less often.

Cancers of the colon and rectum are abnormal growths in the large intestine and in the last five to six inches after the end of the large intestine. According to 1983 estimates of cancer incidence, it is the third most common type of cancer in men and the second most common type in women. However, lung cancer may be surpassing these types of cancer in women. Colorectal cancer appears to be a slowly progressing disease with a long asymptomatic period. Diagnosis can therefore be done at an early, treatable stage. Self-testing for microscopic blood in stools by means of commercially available test kits is easy.

Lung cancer is a general term for many different cancers of the lung and is usually caused by persistent cigarette smoking. Lung cancer is the most common cancer type in men and is becoming the second most common in women. Mortality rates for this disease are very high in both men and women compared to other types of cancer. The typical lung cancer patient is between his or her late 50's and 60's, has smoked one or more packs of cigarettes per day for the preceding 20 years, and started smoking at an early age (before 20). For this individual, the risk of dying from lung cancer is up to 20 times greater than for a person who has never smoked. However, reducing the risk of lung cancer for those who do smoke is possible. First, the person must stop smoking: after 10 years of abstinence, the risk of lung cancer is near that of a person who never smoked. Lung cancer is a fast-spreading disease. Prognosis is not often good; only 5-10% of individuals are alive and well five years after treatment. However, 80% of all lung cancers are preventable, especially if smoking is discontinued.

Prostate cancer is abnormal growth in the male prostate gland. This cancer has the second highest incidence of any form of male cancer. Risks of developing this cancer increase with aging; the typical individual is 55 years of age or older. Since the prostate gland is located internally, screening for prostate cancer must be done by a physician through digital examination of the gland via the rectum. Most tumors are benign and are called benign prostatic hyperplasia. Commonly, men over age 50 have some degree of prostatic hyperplasia. For those who do contract this cancer, 68% are alive five years after treatment.

Skin cancer is a general term, covering a number of cancers of the skin. The most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Both of these cancers are also the most common of all cancers and the most curable. These cancers are easily detected, easily removed through surgery, and rarely spread to distant organs. A third, less common form of skin cancer is malignant melanoma. This cancer is a malignant tumor of the melanocytes. Malignant melanoma most often starts in moles or birthmarks. Unlike the other two forms of skin cancer, malignant melanocytes tend to break away from the original cancer and spread to other parts of the body. Screening for this disease begins with noting any changes in moles or birthmarks in a simple visual examination.

Causes

Primary Factors
The primary causes of Cancer are unknown.


Predisposing Factors

Breast
Heredity; women whose mothers and/or sisters have had breast cancer are more likely to contract it
Having the first pregnancy after age 30
Infertility
Celibacy
Having menarche occur before age 12
Cystic disease
Cancer found in one breast increases the chances it will be found in the other.

Of great concern is the fact that Breast cancer risk among American women is 5 times higher than in most other parts of the world. Positively, then, the breast cancer rate could be reduced by 80% if the key factors can be isolated and removed. (Hebert, 1996)

Cervix
Possibly related to a virus which infects the vagina or cervix
Sexual intercourse, especially if at an early age or with many partners
Women who marry young
Uterine cervical dysplasia

Colon and rectum
Diets low in fiber and high in animal fats
Familial polyposis of the colon
Chronic ulcerative colitis
Diverticulosis
Villous adenomas

Lung
Cigarette smoking
Adenocarcinomas

Prostate
Aging
Married men contract this cancer more often than unmarried men

Skin
Overexposure to sunlight
Overexposure to any electromagnetic radiation
Moles
Birthmarks

Signs & Symptoms

Breast
Lump in breast
Changes in physical appearance of breast

Cervical
Diagnosis is usually made through a pap smear before any recognizable symptoms occur
For advanced tumors:
Offensive vaginal discharge
Bleeding between periods
Bleeding after sexual intercourse
Lower abdominal pain
Difficulty urinating

Colon and rectum
Blood in stool
Feeling of fullness or pain in rectum
Persistent constipation or diarrhea
Thin, stringy stools
Pain in the lower abdomen

Lung
Cough (may be with blood)
Chest pain or infection which does not improve with antibiotics
Swelling of neck veins
Lump in chest wall or above collar bone

Prostate
Increased urinary frequency, particularly at night
Painful urination
Blood in urine
Inability or difficulty in starting urination
Continuing pain in the lower back, pelvis, or thighs

Nutritional Supplements

---------------------------------
General Supplements
---------------------------------

AdultChild/Adolescent
Beta-carotene10 - 20 mg5 - 10 mg
CoQ10*
DHEA*
EPO*3 - 6 g2 - 3 g
Molybdenum100 - 300 mcg50 - 200 mcg
Proanthocyanidins*
Selenium100 - 300 mcg100 - 200 mcg
Vitamin A10 - 25,000 IU5 - 10,000 IU
Vitamin C6 - 10 g3 - 5 g
Vitamin E400 - 800 IU200 - 400 IU
Indole 3 Carbinol*
Luteolin*



* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.


Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.


Notes: There is a growing body of literature in support of the cancer-preventive effects of nutritional supplementation with antioxidants.

Some nutrients are recommended in certain forms of cancer, not just a particular organ but a specific type of cancer affecting that organ. For example, some breast cancers are hormone related.

Other nutrients may be found to help the patient with the radical treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, which are often part of the medical process.

Bee pollen falls within this second category. Another bee product, propolis, has been used generally as well as specifically in cases of both cervical and skin cancer. Propolis tincture may be the easiest to administer.

Another concentrated form of natural nutrient is brewer’s yeast.

Cancer is often associated with candida, or yeast infections (in a rather complex way, such that it is difficult to know if one precedes the other or they are part of the same disease process). This involves organs with mucosal membrane surfaces, particularly the digestive tract (e.g. stomach or colon). In such cases Caprylic acid may help to remove the yeast infection while L-acidophilus will help to restore the beneficial microflora.

Other cleansing nutrients commonly used include: chlorella, chlorophyll, digestive enzymes, garlic, green barley, milk thistle, oat bran, spirulina and wheat grass juice.

Antioxidants remove free radicals and besides the ones included in the protocol given above (after Watson and Leonard), recent additions include: melatonin, pycnogenol, quercetin plus rutin and superoxide dismutase. [Melatonin is also hormonal in action.]

The new product, DHEA, is another supplement which can impact hormonally based cancers, such as the breast, or prostate.

Body fat and blood fats seem to be linked to cancer, at least in part through hormones (notably estrogen) so fatty acids are another important consideration: both Evening Primrose Oil and Fish oils are popular.

More exotic nutrients which are recommended in some instances include: CoQ10 and Germanium. N-A Glucosamine has been recommended in cases of cervical and colon cancer.

Brain function, generally, seems to be enhanced with phosphatidylserine. It is difficult to determine whether cancer cells are directly affected but there may be a temporal shift of several contributing factors of the general aging process: memory loss...dementia...etc. which can also include cancer.

Dietary Considerations

Low Fat Diet (Pritikin)
Vegetarian Diet

Many theories and speculation abound concerning the prevention of tumors through
diet. A brief review will be provided for the reader.

Obesity has been statistically linked to greater incidence and prevalence of intestinal, breast, gallbladder, kidney, liver, and genital cancer. Mortality from cancer was greater in those people who were 25% heavier than their ideal body weight.

Nutritional deprivation, through underfeeding or restriction of carbohydrates, might inhibit the formation, growth, and metastasis of tumors. The cancer is thus deprived of essential nutrients, such as glucose, needed for cell division and energy.

Diets high in fats are associated with an increased incidence of certain cancers: cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, such as those of the stomach, large intestine, pancreas and gallbladder; and hormonal cancers, such as those of the breast, ovary, endometrium and prostate. High fat diets are also high in calories, making it difficult to determine if the higher incidence in certain populations is due to excessive fat or calorie consumption. There is no consensus as to which types of fat are potentially carcinogenic. Research implicates the increased intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in promoting tumor growth. This is disconcerting because PUFA-rich diets are being advocated for the prevention of atherosclerosis. Until conclusive evidence is attained for substantiating a policy, dieticians should refrain from making blanket prescriptions to individuals about increasing polyunsaturated fats in the diet.

High Fiber Diet

Populations consuming a diet rich in fiber have a low incidence of colon cancer. There are several possible reasons why a High Fiber Diet might be conducive to colon cancer. Dense stools with little fiber and water content will have a greater concentration of carcinogens than bulkier dilute stools. A less bulky stool also remains in the colon longer, allowing more time for bacteria to produce carcinogenic metabolites and longer contact between these by-products and intestinal epithelial cells.

Preformed vitamin A and beta-carotene maintain the integrity of epithelial cells, and prevent cell damage by inactivating free radicals. Low serum levels of retinol have been associated with an increased incidence of cancer of the oral and naso-pharyngeal cavities, lung and gastrointestinal tract in some studies, but not in others. Beta-carotene consumption may have a preventive effect against cervical dysplasia and cancers of the cervix and lung. Even in old age, a higher intake of green and yellow vegetables is associated with lower death rates due to cancer.

Vitamin E, being an antioxidant, may work synergistically with selenium to protect against some cancers. Selenium deficient geographic regions have increased incidences of colorectal and breast cancer. In some organs, dietary excesses of selenium are effective against contracting cancer and inhibit the growth of existent tumors.

There is speculation vitamin C might be effective against cancer in specific instances. Vitamin C has been administered to bladder cancer patients as a possible preventative measure against recurrence of tumors. It has been administered to laboratory animals in conjunction with potentially carcinogenic nitroso compounds, with protective results.

Other vitamins and minerals have been examined for their anticancer properties with inconclusive results.

Lactobacillus acidophilus administered in milk was found to reduce colonic levels of bacterial enzymes associated with the conversion of dietary pre-carcinogenic compounds to carcinogens. It has been speculated increased consumption of Lactobacillus cultured dairy products, such as yogurt, may lower the concentrations of cancer-producing bacterial enzymes in the gut, and in turn decrease the risk of colon cancer.

Despite the controversy surrounding cancer-producing and cancer-inhibiting nutrients, one general statement can be made: until more conclusive evidence is in, the individual should practice moderation, and follow a Dietary Goals Diet rich in vegetables, fruits and fibers and low in fats and calories.

The following are examples of foods which naturally contain anticarcinogenic compounds and should be emphasized in the diet:

Foods containing aromatic isothiocyanates and indoles
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower

Foods containing ascorbic acid
Citrus fruits
Green leafy vegetables

Foods containing beta-carotene
Carrot
Yam

Foods containing coumarins and lactones
Citrus fruits
Vegetables

Foods containing fiber
Cereal
Fruits
Vegetables

Foods containing bioflavonoids
Most fruits, vegetables and grains

Foods containing selenium
Grains from selenium-rich soils
Brazil nuts
Clams
Mushrooms

Foods containing vitamin E
Oils
Nuts
Asparagus

Many deaths, due to cancer, result from cachexia, the development of progressive weakening, weight loss and body wasting. This weakened state decreases the immune response and increases susceptibility to life-threatening secondary infections, such as pneumonia. Weight loss and wasting are indicative of a negative nutritional balance. That is, not enough nutrients are taken in to meet the metabolic requirements of the tumor and the host. The tumor is frequently more efficient at utilizing available carbohydrates and amino acids than the host. The individual concomitantly decreases his or her intake of nutrients due to anorexia, nausea, alteration of taste sensation, and depression associated with the diagnosis of cancer.

Chemotherapy and surgery are often factors in malnutrition. Radiation therapy above 5,000 rads can induce nausea, diarrhea and malabsorption 10 to 20 days after treatment, although steroids may often alleviate the latter two symptoms.

The following measures may help the individual increase his or her food intake:

Food should be prepared in bulk amounts on the days the individual feels well. This food can then be frozen, and subsequently reheated during times of fatigue or sickness due to therapy.

The individual should consume nutrient-dense foods. Foods should be rich in calories and nutrients. Protein supplements should be mixed into the food, and also eaten as between-meals snacks.

Eating should take place in pleasant environments to stimulate the appetite. Music and friends are often welcome at meals.

Meals should be planned around radiation therapy appointments. The usual large meals should give way to light meals during the 10 to 20 days after radiation when the individual is most ill.

Homeopathic Remedy

General

1.* Hoang nan3X
2. Arsenicum bromatum30X



Specific

Liver        Cholesterinum                15 to 30C
                
Breast        Gossypium herbaceum tinct.        6X
                
Pyloric        Graphites                        15C
                        
Uterus        Fuligo ligni                6X
                
Glandular        Fuligo ligni                6X
                
Stomach        Ammonium muriaticum        30C


Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.

Legend

X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.

References

Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Herbal Approaches

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Herbs
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Astragalus
Chaparral
Echinacea
Ginseng
Goldenseal
Pau D'Arco
Red clover
Shitake (Similar mushrooms e.g. Maitake, Reiki)

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.

Discussion:

Ginger appears to have conflicting properties i.e. both mutagenic and antimutagenic!

Mistletoe is a major phytopharmaceutical prescription on the German market, with sales exceeding $18 million p.a. It is noted as a palliative treatment in malignant tumors. Its other use is for joint inflammation. It is injected as a solution.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Nagabhushan, M et al., Mutagenicity of gingerol and shogaol and antimutagenicity of zingerone in Salmonella/microsome assay. Cancer Letters, 1987, 36:221-223.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Preventative oils include:

Clove Essence,Cypress Essence,
Garlic Essence,Geranium Essence,
Hyssop Essence,Onion Essence,
Sage Essence,Tarragon Essence.



Specifically for uterine cancer:

Geranium Essence,Juniper Essence.




Related Health Conditions

BleedingConstipation
DiarrheaDiverticulosis
MenstruationNausea
PainTumor
Ulcerative colitisUterine cervical dysplasia



Abstracts
References

 


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