Issue 1 - 2006

Cancer Watch eye





Latest World Cancer News

Breast Cancer - Tamoxifen Education Lowers Appeal

After being told about potential side effects, as well as the benefits, US research shows that less than one in five women want to take Tamoxifen as a preventative agent (Cancer 2005: 103: 1996-2005). The main reasons given against usage were the possible side effects of pulmonary embolism, sexual dysfunction and cataracts.

Meanwhile in a side by side analysis from Honolulu (Int. of Radiation Oncology Bio. Phys. 2005; 62; 193-7), Japanese women have been shown to have a much lower recurrence of breast cancer than there Western equals. Diet and lifestyle, not drugs, were suspected as the reason.

Avoid Oestrogen For Women On Breast Cancer Drugs

A London based team has published its findings on the impact of vaginal oestrogen in women receiving aromatase inhibitors (AI’s). Senior author Professor Ian Smith, head of the Breast Unit at the Royal Marsden said, "Using this vaginal form of oestrogen, which we found increases systemic oestradiol levels, will counteract AI treatment. With long term use women, we found women with their cancers returning, although this is probably not an issue if oestrogen rises for only one to two months".

Breast Cancer Radiotherapy Side Effects

The Lancet Oncology reports on research studies by Darby and colleagues and Giordano and coworkers, on the side effects of radiotherapy in women being treated for breast cancer - notably on lung tissue and on the heart.

Women treated during the 1970’s had a significantly higher rate of cardiac mortality where the left breast had been treated. This level has improved with time but researchers concluded that ’local control is important, but the risk of cardiac death after radiotherapy to the left breast needs to be taken into account.

DCIS On The Rise; Breast Cancer Concerns

In 1997 2,910 women were diagnosed with what are presumed to be precancerous cells (DCIS); and by 2002 this had grown to 3,800 women. Professor Tony Howell says that this rise is down to the success of the National Breast Screening Programmes and that now we need to find the most effective treatment programme.

A Cancer Research UK’s press release states that DCIS is a pre-cancerous state that often turns into an invasive cancer if not treated. However, in 2004 at the US Conference on Breast Cancer, (covered in icon ), UCLA’s top professor on the subject stated that 80 per cent of DCIS never turned into cancer, and suggested that it was not a pre-cancerous state but actually calcium deposits in the ducts.

Cancer Of Womb Rising - Tamoxifen One Possible Cause

Cancer of the womb (or uterine cancer) affects about 6000 women a year in the UK. That’s twice as many as develop cervical cancer. Its incidence amongst women aged 60-79 has risen by 30 per cent in less than a decade.

Ninety per cent of all cases occur in women over 50 years of age, and 75 per cent in women who have been through the menopause. Vaginal bleeding after menopause is a key symptom.

Early diagnosis is crucial, as advanced state yields only 25 per cent 5-year survival rates. Overall the figure is 77 per cent, considerably better but a mere 16 per cent improvement in just 30 years.

Cancer Research UK has stated that overweight and obese women are twice as likely to develop the womb cancer as women of a healthy weight. They suggested this is due to oestrogen.

Other factors apparently include not having had children, late menopause and the drug Tamoxifen. The implication of oestrogen in the risk factors suggests the pill and HRT might also play a part although CRUK did not mention this.

Prostate Cancer - Aggressive Therapy ’Unnecessary’

Aggressive therapy appears to be unnecessary in low-grade prostate cancer, according to over 20 years of analysed data, in the Connecticut Tumor Registry, USA.

Researchers found that men with low-grade prostate cancer (Gleason score 2-4) had just a small risk of prostate cancer progression, even after 20 years. At this point their risk of dying from prostate cancer was less than 6 per 1000 person-deaths.

(Ed: Our message has been consistent: Don’t panic and rush into aggressive treatment, if diagnosed).

Ultrasound Now ’Safe’ For Lung Cancers

Radiofrequency ablation (the technical term for ultrasound action on cancer cells at high temperature - covered in recent copies of icon) could be a "safe and feasible" alternative for those patients with non-small cell lung cancer. So says S. Batra of UCLA, San Francisco (Lancet Oncology).

Lung Cancer Must Be Diagnosed Earlier

Recent research states that lung cancer sufferers have significantly greater survival rates when the disease is diagnosed early. For 80 per cent of patients surgery is not an option because the cancer has been diagnosed so late. So below are some early indications of lung cancer.

The main symptoms of lung cancer are:

Chest infections that won’t go away, even with antibiotics.

A cough for more than 3 weeks.

Coughing up blood.

Feeling more tired than usual.

Feeling very out of breath.

Losing your voice, but no sore throat.

Chest pains.

osing weight but not sure why.

Child Leukaemia - Cell Transplantation More Effective

The Lancet (Aug. 4 2005) reports that children with very high-risk lymphoblastic leukaemia benefit more from cell transplantation (from a related donor) than they do from chemotherapy.

Five-year survival rates increased from 40.6 per cent to 56.7 per cent.

Supportive Care ’As Good As Gefitinib’ For Lung Cancer

Phase III trial reports that patients who had one or two doses of chemotherapy, and then went on to have gefitinib, may as well just have had the best supportive care for NSCLC. Little difference in survival was noted (Lancet Oncology).

Oral Cancer - Saliva Difference

The saliva of patients with oral cancer contains very high levels of bacteria. Researchers have suggested that tests for such bacteria would provide a predictive tool for the disease as 80 per cent accuracy was found (J Transl Med July 7, 2005).

Pancreatic Cancer Could Be Linked To Late-Onset Diabetes

New research (Gastroenterology 2005; 129; 504-11) shows that elderly, late-onset diabetes patients, have an increased risk of pancreatic cancer within three years. Suresh Chari (Mayo Clinic) has suggested using late-onset diabetes as a marker to obtain an earlier diagnosis for pancreatic cancer.

Photodynamic Therapy For Bladder Cancer

From the University of Cardiff Hospital, Wales comes news that photodynamic therapy using mitomycin and ALA is safe, well tolerated and reduces recurrence rates in superficial bladder cancer. Rob Skyrme had used porphyrin mixtures previously but these had side effects like skin hypersensitity.

(Ed: PDT is well covered on our website.)

Multiple Myeloma Treatment

Bortezornib has been shown in tests to be more effective than high dose dexamethasone for treatment of patients with relapsed multiple Myeloma. (APEX trial, New England Journal Med. 2005, 352: 2487-98).

Parasite Infection And Colon Cancer

Science (2005, 308) reports on the role played by parasites in the colon. Apparently increased colon cell turnover is used to displace the parasites, and this causes increased production of certain cytokines, interleukin and interferon, all of which was associated with higher levels of cancer.

(Ed: We have long suggested that readers should partake in an annual parasite purge. Tel: 01280 815166 for details).

Smear Tests - Women Don’t Know Their Benefits

Two thirds of Bristol women do not know the cervical smear test is designed to prevent cancer; and while 90 per cent of women know about breast screening less than 56 per cent know of the National Cervical Screen Programme. Between 1967 and 1987 cervical cancer death rates in Britain trebled.

Latest Nutrition Findings

Sense And Sensibility

Thank goodness the MP’s in the House of Commons have shown some good judgement and corrected the non-sense Tony Blair and Patricia Hewitt had concocted as an anti-smoking law for public places. From mid-2007, smoking will now be banned in England in all confined public spaces. Scotland and Ireland already have their laws.

When the EU tried to pass an ’all over the EU ban’, one leader objected - Tony Blair.

Indole 3 Carbinol And Genistein Are Praised Again

Researchers at Georgetown University in Washington DC have just confirmed what we at icon have been telling you for three years.

They have found that I3C (from vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) and a chemical called genistein found in soy, red clover and some other pulses both increase ’repair proteins’ in the cell and help prevent damaged genetic information being passed on.

These repair proteins are regulated by BRCA genes, and people with faulty BRCA genes have a higher risk of developing cancers like prostate, breast and ovarian cancers. Only low levels of ’repair proteins’ are found in cancer cells. (British Journal of Cancer).

(Ed: It is also one of our messages that I3C can help convert dangerous oestradiol to safer oestrone, while genistein can play a role in blocking cellular receptor sites from the harmful effects of the more aggressive oestrogens like oestradiol).

Mercury Levels In Fish

From the latest Journal of Midwifery in the USA comes the following:

Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish.

Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. Patient recommendations should highlight two meals of fish and shellfish per week. It is safe to eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.

Pregnant women should not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.

(Ed: We are always being asked about this, so we hope this helps a little. Both selenium and chlorella can help detox the body of mercury).

Kellogg’s Next In The Firing Line

Last issue we reported on the case against McDonalds over transfats. Now its Kellogg’s turn over sugary foods. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has threatened to sue Kellogg’s and the media giant Viacom, if they don’t stop marketing ’junk-food’, within 30 days, to an audience where 15 per cent or more is under 8 years of age. The CSPI is including TV commercials, promotions, contests and other marketing aimed at children.

Apparently out of over 50 commercials for Kellogg’s products, 98 per cent of them were for products where ingredients included, by weight, more than 35 per cent of extra sugars.

The CSPI in 2005 demanded that the FDA put cigarette style warnings on all non-diet soft drinks (Yahoo News, Jan 2006, Dr Mercola).

Organic Foods Hold Significant Benefits For Young Children

Switching to organic foods provides children with ’dramatic and immediate protection’ from widely used pesticides, according to a US study. Scientists from the University of Washington and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and funded by the US Government, tested the urine of school children in the Seattle area. During the first three and last seven days of a 15-day period, the children ate their normal diets. But for five days in the middle organic food was substituted.

Concentrations of two organophosphate pesticides - malathion and chloryrifos, in their urine - declined to almost zero during the organic period, although previously levels were up to 263 parts per billion.

In 2000 the Consumers Union reported that peaches, apples, pears, grapes, green beans, spinach, strawberries and watermelon had the highest levels of pesticide residues.

Fluoridated Water And Cancer

In the USA, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which funded a Harvard professor (Chester Douglass) to the tune of $13 million, is now investigating why he told federal officials that he found no link between fluoridated water and osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. In fact the report from his department concluded there was a much higher risk in boys of a young age.

The report, by Douglass’ doctoral student Elise Bassin, concluded that amongst males, exposure to fluoride was associated with an increased risk (amongst the ages of 5-10), and especially those of 6-8 years of age. This supports New Jersey Department of Health Survey, 1990, that found that young males in fluoridated communities had a higher rate of osteosarcoma than those in non-fluoridated communities.

Douglass also serves as editor for the industry-funded Colgate Oral Care Report. (Washington Post).

(Ed: Are you reading this Mr Blair?)

Chemical World

EU Backs Landmark Toxic Chemicals Law - Sort Of!

European ministers have approved a new law on chemicals after two years of lobbying and discussion. The law requires all firms to register all chemicals they produce or import, and to obtain authorisation for the most dangerous ones. Over 30,000 chemicals are involved.

Unfortunately this was not how the MEP’s saw it - in the text passed by the MEP’s in November in the European Parliament, companies had to actually replace the most dangerous chemicals with safe ones. The ministers have merely now said they should be encouraged to do so. So work begins to reconcile the two differing views. Oh dear!

This latest conclusion - the ’bill’ often referred to as the REACH project - has been dubbed a ’reasonable compromise’ between industrial and environmental concerns by ministers, but bodies such as WWF and Greenpeace feel the ministers missed the opportunity and encouraged MEP’s to stick to their original position when the bill comes up for its second reading in 2006.

Statins Do Not Protect Against Cancer

Sometimes we really want to say, ’I told you so’, at icon. And this time it’s true. Statins, the wonder drug for heart disease and high cholesterol, was claimed a year ago to be a cancer fighter. We questioned that view then, and now fortunately the scientific world has seen through the hype in two new studies - one on colon cancer, one on overall cancer risk. (Journal of the American Medical Association Jan 4, 2006).

Our view a year ago was that even in cases of heart problems and high cholesterol (although it is not our specialist field) there were a host of natural things you could do - like take garlic, fish oils (for omega 3 and vitamin D), lots of green vegetables and whole organic oats. Cutting dairy to a minimum also helps, as does adequate exercise and avoiding fried food and animal fats.

But for cancer there would be little or no benefit and now that has been shown to be true.

Household Insecticides May Double Child Leukaemia Risk

A study by French doctors at Inserm published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine supports previous questions about toxic insecticides used in homes and gardens. These include houseplant sprays, medicated shampoo, mosquito repellents, insecticides used on plants and lawns, head lice treatment and flea collars.

In a study using a matched sample of over 550 children the risk of developing acute leukaemia more than doubled in the homes where the insecticides were used. This exposure risk could even occur before birth. The offending ingredients appear to be carbamates, three of which - carbaryl, carbofuran and carbosuflan - are regular used in the UK.

Leukaemia accounts for about a third of all cancer in children and the incidence has doubled over the last 25 years.

Insecticides Reduced Male Hormones

Several non-persistent insecticide metabolites have been found in a high percentage of men in the general population. The insecticide, chlorpyrifos was one of the most common in home insecticides in the USA. In 2000 the US Environmental Protection Agency restricted its residential use after research showed it could affect the nervous system. Somehow though 19 million pounds of it were made and used the following year.

Now it is shown to affect testosterone levels. (Epidemiology 17(1): 61-68 January 2006).

Environmental Factors Cause Breast Cancer

The State of Evidence Report 2006 summarises the findings of more than 350 experimental, epidemiology and ecological studies. The report recommends new directions for future research and includes a 10-point plan.

What’s it all about? Well, it looks at all the growing and vast amounts of research on the effects of chemicals and EMF’s on the risks of developing breastcancer. Frankly a quick perusal of the top line findings is more than enough to convince any open-minded individual that EMF’s and chemicals play a big part in cancer - particularly breast cancer.

Suntan Oil Can Change The Sex Of Fish

Whatever next! Scientists have found that male hornyhead turbot and English sole feeding near sewage outlets off the California coast are being feminised. And the chemical culprit that seems most likely (oxybenzone) is an ingredient of sunscreens. Meanwhile, Swiss researchers have found other suspected gender-bender chemicals from suncreams are building up in fish in rivers. Don’t the fish know that some sunscreens contain carcinogens? They should read icon more often!

Eczema Creams To Have Cancer Risk Warnings

In the USA, two prescription eczema creams - Elidel and Protopic - will have to have ’black box’ warnings from now on. Almost 80 cases of cancer were reported by users of these two drugs. The human risk was also confirmed in animal studies (Los Angeles Times, 20 Jan 2006: Dr Mercola). Dr Mercola recommends using gamma linolenic acid and fish oils while avoiding all wheat products and pasteurised milk.

Cosmetics Hardly Tested

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has taken out a full-page newspaper advertisement to highlight concerns about the safety of cosmetic products. The advertisement, which ran in US Today, depicts a man and a woman in "an intimate" situation with the man saying, "Don’t worry, I’m 11 per cent tested". It continues, "Don’t trust these odds? You should know that only 11 per cent of the 10,500 chemicals in your cosmetics have been screened for safety".


Killing Cancer With Ultrasound

As readers know, we have been providing a lot of information on hypothermia and the ability of ultrasound to kill cancer cells. We see this as quite possibly one of the treatments of the future for cancer. By and large it is non-invasive, takes only a couple of days (for prostate cancer it has an 87 per cent plus 5-year survival rate compared with the norm of 56 per cent in the UK) and it can be used to treat a variety of cancers.

We have presented articles on Dr John Holt in Australia, on Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, UK (where Consultant Urologist - Stephen Brown is undertaking the UK’s first controlled test with prostate cancer), on its use with kidney cancer and on the 61 centres around Europe using High Intensity Ultrasound (HIFU). Many of our readers have expressed an interest in the treatment.

Now in our postbag comes a leaflet and DVD on Haifu. So what’s the difference? Well, for your information I will quote directly from the literature received. (In other words don’t hold me accountable for the answers!

Can the process kill cancer cells?
The cancer cells in the area treated are killed.

How long does the treatment take?
It can take several hours depending on the size and position of the tumour. With very large tumours it may take more than one session.

What are the side effects?
Following treatment there may be some minor skin blisters, some swelling over the treatment site and at least half the patients describe some pain. Like any treatment conducted under a general anaesthetic there is always some risk.

Does the process hurt?
During the treatment the patient is asleep under anaesthetic and will feel no pain.

How long do I have to stay in hospital?
Every patient so far has been able to go home the following day.

Can HIFU be used to treat any other forms of tumour?
HIFU has been used to treat a variety of tumours including liver, kidneys, soft tissue tumours, breast, pancreas, uterine fibroids and, using other kinds of machines prostate tumours.

Does it stop me having any other kinds of treatment?
No. Currently, due to the nature of ’our’ (sic) clinical trials most patients have had other treatments prior to HIFU.

How long has this technology been available?
It’s been used in China since 1977 and the Oxford Churchill Hospital has had the only unit in the Western Hemisphere since 2001.

What’s the difference between HIFU and Haifu?
HIFU is an acronym of High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound. Haifu is a registered brand name owned by the Changqing Haifu Technology Company, China.

The literature sent to me supplied the following contact details Ultrasound Therapeutics Ltd, Suite 2, 1st Floor, New Mansion House, 173/191 Wellington Road South, Stockport, Cheshire, SK1 3UA, England. (Tel 0161 477 6111).

Gerson Therapy Availability

A number of people contact us about how to get information on Gerson Therapy in the UK.

The answer - and before anyone rings up complaining, I did go to California and interview Charlotte and her marketing team, and I know exactly what they said - there are a number of options.

The main contact for the UK and specialist, approved practitioners is:

The Gerson Support Group
PO Box 406
KT10 9UL

Tel: 01372 464557

Other sources of support for people undergoing Gerson Therapy include:

The excellent College of Naturopathic Medicine (Principal Hermann Keppler) on 01342 410505 (England) or + 353 1627 4730 (Ireland)

Wirral Holistic Care Services, Wirral - 0151 652 9313.

Breast Cancer Haven - 020 7384 0000

Cancer Options - 0845 009 2041

Issue 4 - 2006
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