Alternative cancer treatment options
Welcome to the ´home´ page of the UK´s number 1 charity for Alternative Cancer Treatments.
On the left, in a rather shocking shade of pink, you will see more than a dozen headings covering so-called ´Alternative cancer therapies´ in areas like virotherapy, dendritic cell vaccines, hyperthermia, photodynamic therapy, intravenous vitamin C, diet therapies and more.
CANCERactive is a charity with no vested interests - if something has research to support it, we will tell you; if it doesn´t or it is controversial, we will tell you that too. Some of these therapies may well become mainstream in the future; we suspect localised hyperthermia (already used in the UK as an alternative to surgery for kidney cancer and prostate cancer) will become a treatment for prostate, breast, kidney and other confined tumour cancers. Alternative cancer treatments like virotherapy and dendritic cell vaccines are used with claimed success in American hospitals. The former is going in to Clinical Trials at the moment. The latter has little more than anecdotal evidence and case histories.
It is not in your interests to have a charity that ignores or jumps to dismiss these examples of alternative medicine; but what you do need is honesty. You need someone to describe the treatment and what it is supposed to do, and then give you an honest appraisal of whether there is or isn´t research, and whether there is controversy surrounding the treatment or is it really better described as Tomorrow´s cancer treatment today?
Many of the treatments covered are actually being used today in mainstream hospitals and cancer centres around the world - in a March 2012 icon magazine, The Royal Marsden asked for their Clinical Trials on Hyperthermia to be covered, Professor Mike Richards was putting focus in the UK behind Hyperthermia, and Professors Mike Brada of the Royal Marsden and Professor Mike Emberton of UCL were talking about their use of several of these ´alternative treatments´. You can read their expert views on this site. 11,000 people visited us in two days last week to read our articles.
Contrary to the ´naysayers´ who are all to often ignorant or with vested interests yet frequently quoted in the media, some of the dozen or so treatments on the left have been included in Clinical Trials or are about to be. Hyperthermia and the use of Ablatherm (localised hyperthermia) is now available in UK hospitals after two small scale trials as HIFU (High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound) for kidney and prostate cancer patients, yet only a few years ago it was the subject of derision. The Karolinska Institute have recently reported on a two-year, three clinical -trial study on Ablaterm to treat breast cancer. 80 women having a ten minute treatment, and all but one clear two years later. This is the world of real alternative cancer treatments. We will tell you about these - and also some of the common ´alternatives´ cancer patients often consider - we believe you need an objective appraisal, warts and all based on objectivity.
Our aim is simply to bring you objective and detailed information on treatments that may be useful. Nothing more. What you do with the information is your business.
A search for alternatives, borne out of necessity
When my daughter Catherine was diagnosed with her brain tumour and given six months to live, the medical journal, the Lancet, said that the drugs available didn´t work - there was no cure. So we had to find alternatives - alternative cancer treatments or alternative cancer therapies - that just might help her prolong her life. Please be clear. This charity, CANCERactive, did not set out to be ´Alternative´; that was the only viable approach for a young girl with a glioma and a death sentence.
If she were alive today, this section of our web site would, for example, allow me quick and easy access to understand more about denritic cell therapy and/or antineoplastons - two treatments that might be relevant. (I have subsequently found out that Dukes Medical School in the USA were using Dendritic Cell Therapy 10 years ago with brain tumours. The latter, according to a patent proposal made by the US National Cancer Institute, is the only non-toxic treatment proven to ´cure´ cancer. Heady stuff - but is it true?) I really would have liked to have known more about these and others when Catherine was alive.
Many people reading this site don´t want to use toxic therapies and ´modern medicine´ with all the side-effects; or they have been through the mill and none of it worked. We understand.
More Informed Personal Choices
At CANCERactive we aim to present information; information that is already in the public domain; we try not to take sides; we have no vested interests and aim to be totally objective; what you do with that information is entirely your choice.
Most of these ´Therapies´ do have some research behind them; some have Clinical Trials - Localised Hyperthermia or Ablatherm for breast cancer and prostate cancer would be an example. However, in today´s world where a status quo with a heavy moment of inertia dominates the medical profession, Clinical Trials using 16 people with a brain tumour drug will see it rapidly accepted. Clinical Trials involving 80 women using hyperthermia, even by the world famous Karolinska Institute, may not see the treatment ´adopted´ or ´accepted´ by the mainstream, forcing it to remain dubbed an ´Alternative Therapy´ for quite some time.
Then there´s the anecdote - it may seem odd that the anecdote of a couple of people using virotherapy with success at MD Anderson, or Dendritic Cell Therapy at Dukes is ´acceptable´ as clever stuff, worth developing, but a hundred anecdotes of survival using Gerson are not. Only you can decide what is acceptable to you.
Then there are people like Burzynski who has had drugs companies trying to patent his ´worthless´ anteneoplastons. Or people such as New York Doctor, Nicholas Gonzalez, who had to do his own Clinical Trials in the first instance. Then there are therapies which have a Russian, Japanese or Swiss Clinical Trial behind them, which is simply not accepted in another country.
Finally, one shouldn´t forget that roughly 85 per cent of the drugs available in the Western World have never been through a Clinical Trial. Worse, many come from Third World manufacturers with little Western control at source on quality - as admitted by the FDA only recently. The people who criticise ´Alternative´ therapies conveniently forget this little fact! Alas, Double Standards are all too common place in Medicine.
Increasing your personal odds of survival
The ultimate goal of any cancer treatment is, ideally, to cure someone of their cancer. However at CANCERactive we think that goal is too much to ask of any single ´treatment´ - be it a drug like Herceptin or Temozolomide, or Vitamin D or any other development. We do not think, at the moment, that there is any single ´cure´ for all cancers. Fact.
We are not alone in that view. Experts like Dr Henry Friedman of Duke´s Cancer Centre in the USA have said exactly the same, suggesting it is naive to expect any single treatment to cure a cancer.
Perhaps this is why even the drugs companies now talk of ´turning cancer into a manageable, albeit chronic, disease´ like diabetes. The concept of ´cancer cure has given way to cancer management and we have several articles on this web site about this change of direction.
But why settle for a ´one hit´ approach? As we continually state at CANCERactive, we believe cancer is a multi-step process and needs a multi-step treatment programme. Once you start tackling the individual steps of cancer (excesses of oestrogen, inflammation, metastases, blood supply to tumpours, for example) it is easier to see how survival might increase significantly to the point of ´cure´. After all, isn´t this what oncologists do with breast cancer when they give drugs to shrink the tumour, surgery to remove it, drugs to block the oestrogen receptors, drugs to stop oestrogen production in the body, and even drugs to stop bone metastases. We don´t think it is surprising that breast cancer orthodox treatment programmes have 5-year success rates of over 80 per cent.
The fact is that even simple ´Natural Compounds´ like medicinal mushrooms, curcumin, omega 3, vitamin D have now quite extensive research studies behind them and, for example, some American Hospitals have even given these to patients as a PART of a multi-component treatment package. Why? Because they can do a job; not the whole job, but a part.
Of course, there will always be cases where Herceptin or Temozolomide does single-handedly cure a cancer patient, but these drugs are not universal cancer cures and nor are they claimed to be.
Alternative Cancer Treatments
There is no reason why alternative cancer treatments should be judged any differently. However, on the internet you will find claims that, for example, Coral Calcium, B-17, Sharks Cartilage and Essiac ´cure´ cancer. It is true that one may help alkalise the body, while another may boost the immune system. There may be herbs in Essiac that can kill cancer cells, and the logic of B-17 as a cancer biochemistry disrupter may be sound. But that does not make them universal cancer cures any more than Herceptin.
There is also a lot of mis-information out there. And it doesn´t just come from the ´alternative´ practitioners. Cancer is big business; very big business. Someone like Burzynski developing antineoplastons, which have a track record of ´curing´ some cancers, is a major threat to the volume and profit of some Pharmaceutical companies. Ablatherm and HIFU is a major threat to the traditional role of surgeons, and can mean that a prostate patient may simply not require twenty thousand pounds worth of drugs a year. While the FDA in America has moved to reduce the time taken to approve new drugs to three months or so from results, they have yet to ever approve a herb (even though some, like feverfew, have beaten the normally prescribed drug in clinical trials) and the head of the FDA was on record as saying he would never approve a treatment developed by an individual, only by a drugs company. A backdrop like this makes your search on the internet doubly difficult.
What we have tried to do on this web site is to tell you when there is research - and tell you when there is none. We are an Information Charity.
Although you can find everything from vitamin B-17 to Shark Cartilage, our main focus is what we call ´Tomorrow´s Treatments Today´.
This section of our web site seeks simply to pass on information. What you do with it is your business. And here it is worth expressing a note of caution. Where possible on this web site we have mentioned if there is research, evidence or clinical trials on a therapy. But because of financial restrictions, lack of mainstream support, whatever, the very nature of Alternative Cancer Therapy means that it often comes without the rigours of clinical research as a support.
NB. Cancer patients using alternative cancer medicine should check and recheck any proposed course of action and satisfy themselves that the therapy and the proponent really could deliver a benefit. We stress that in all cases, cancer patients should consult with their medical professional before untertaking, or refraining from, any medical action or treatment. We are not liable for the consequences of any action, or lack of action, that is taken by the readers as a result of information contained anywhere in this site.
Since the strict implication of using an alternative is that you will be giving up orthodox treatment, you should not rush into this lightly. It is also extremely likely that your oncologist will be totally against any alternative medicine.
On this web site we simply try to provide information on the options that are available to help people, not just survive longer but to stand a chance of actually curing their cancer. We simply want to help people make more informed choices.
We also rely on accurate feed back from readers. And as we continually state, if you find inaccuracy in what we write and can send us accurate details we will do our best to incorporate those for the benefit of others.
A guide to some Alternative Cancer Treatments
On the left you will see some headings in a rather odd shade of pink. These include the following:
* Diet Therapies: Some therapies base their work on the claim that over half of all cancers seem to be caused by a poor diet. They try to rectify this. Alternative diet therapies - like those of Dr Gonzalez and Professor Ben Pfeiffer - do have limited clinical studies behind them, where others (like the contraversial Gerson Therapy) do not. These alternative cancer therapies sometimes revolve around pancreatic enzymes, or reducing oestrogen (the female sex hormone and driver of some cancers).
* PDT, or Photodynamic Therapy uses forms of energy like light, lasers and ultrasound to energise an ´agent´ (which might be a chemical or an algae) to produce oxygen - and oxygen kills cancer cells. This treatment can be found in private cancer clinics but also in certain UK and American Hospitals.
* We tell you about cancer clinics and treatment centres like the metabolic therapy of Dr Contreras at The Oasis of Hope where he uses ozone therapy (again to kill cancer cells with oxygen) and a combination of pancreatic enzymes, vitamin B 17 (b 17, or B-17) and vitamin C megadoses. We have a section on the latter.
* Other ´Alternative´ therapists include Dr Burzynski who believes that in cancer there is a loss of important peptides, and so they try to help your body replace them. He calls them ´antineoplastins. His work is monitored by the FDA.
* Then there is an alternative cancer treatment, called Hyperthermia, that is based on the idea heat can kill a cancer cell. Hyperthermia treatment is used to kill the cancer; the heating may be by electrodes (as in the Karolinska´s work on Breast cancer) or by a high intensity version of Ultrasound (HIFU). Again, you can find hyperthermia, ablatherm and HIFU at private clinics in the USA and Europe, but increasingly in mainstream hospitals.
* Then there are new cancer treatments which seek to boost your immune system to kick out the cancer. Elsewhere on the site we cover Interferon, Interleukin and herbs such as astragalus. But in this Alternative Cancer Treatments section we look at ´Dendritic Cell Therapy´. Again, you can go to a private clinic, but hospitals (particularly in the USA) are getting more involved. Dendritic Cells are a part of your immune system that recognise rogue cells and help ´present´ them to the attack division of your immune defence. Dendritic Cell Vaccines are made from your own cancer.
* Then there are viruses that can uniquely attack just cancer cells leaving healthy cells unharmed. The use of viruses to kill cancer is call ´Virotherapy´; the modified viruses are call oncolytic viruses. We even have an article from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas on their successes to date.
We could mention more here that seem interesting - like Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, DCA, or even cannabis, where most of the cannabinoids that have powerful actions are not hallucinatory or addictive (there are over 150 PubMed research studies on cannabis!) - you will see more potential treatments on the left of your screen. The controlling principal is that there are a number of expert alternative health practitioners trying to find non-invasive alternative therapies and an alternative ´cure´ for cancer. Usually this quest starts from the essence of the Hippocratic Oath: Thou shall do no harm but sadly, just as with the Pharmaceutical Industry, profit is a factor that does sometimes cloud the issue.
Importantly, many of the above ´Alternative Cancer Treatments´ are now being increasingly used as mainstream cancer treatments. Yesterdays ´alternative´ treatment like Ablatherm or PDT could well be tomorrows ´mainstream´.
Often there is a regional bias. HIFU was used in 60 or more European cancer centres before the UK authorities even felt the urge to test it. Mistletoe therapy was reasonably well accepted in Germany. Now it is gaining acceptance in American as a complementary therapy during chemo and radiotherapy. Sadly, it is all to easy to conclude that, too often, the UK Health Authorities and cancer bodies have a myopic, not-invented-here attitude. We have had cancer patients write to us telling us that their oncologist ´would not even discuss complementary therapies´ - ´He was frightened of being struck off´.
To repeat: Our aim is not to ´promote´ any therapy, merely to inform. Many cancer patients are exploring these alternatives at an earlier stage, thanks to the growth of the internet. We see our role as providing as much of the information as possible, in an objective way, all in one place. Thus you can make more informed choices.
And when the best of orthodox is combined with the best of complementary therapies and alternative treatments, you could well be on your way to building an effective holistic cancer therapy. For more information on how to build your own holistic cancer plan, read the article on our unique information-based ACTIVE8 Programme by clicking here.
At last - the definitive, research-based book on how to build a diet to help beat cancer. Click here to read about it.