Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
Cancer: A Patient's Perspective
As a recovered cancer patient and licensed massage therapist, I was inspired to write this opinion paper on cancer as an overview on the etiology of cancer and as a perspective on cancer treatments.
The term "health" as used herein is defined as an optimum state of balance, where all organs and systems are operating normally as designed and intended. I define disease as an imbalance, the absence of health. Accordingly, a balanced diet, adequat loss of health.( 1)
Having had leukemia in the mid 1980s and my health restored after a bone-marrow transplant in 1988, I have a personal interest in cancer and the methods used to effectively treat it. The etiological model suggested by these treatments and associate d research is that changes occur in the genes, and normal differentiated cells become abnormal, primitive, and undifferentiated, growing without control and deriving energy from a fermentation metabolism.( 2) Normal differentiated cells are specialized an d require an oxygen metabolism to produce sufficient ATP, the fuel that powers the cell to produce products and functions specific to the cell type.
Should the cellular metabolism become significantly impaired, a loss of health is guaranteed because the cells can't maintain normal and specialized structure or function without adequate energy. They must diminish, die, or switch to a metabolism t hat isn't based on oxygen.( 3) The ability to make this conversion is in the genes, and if the genetic changes associated with embryonic differentiation can be reversed, the cell can revert to an embryo-like form growing without control and deriving energ y from a fermentation metabolism.( 4)
If you observe an embryo cell evolving into a specific cell type, and a normal cell of that type devolving into a cancerous cell, they eventually become virtually identical, differing only in the direction they are progressing.( 5) High blood sugar, certain viruses, toxins, improper diet, and free radical activity increase the chances that such conversions will occur and persist.( 6) At the same time, these conditions suppress the immune system from attacking the abnormal cells.( 7) The result is an ongoing process of degeneration and loss of health.( 8)
If there is a general metabolic imbalance associated with cancer, what does this suggest in regards to remission or cure? Is it possible to completely eradicate cancer with chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery if the cellular environment still favor s the anaerobic conversion of all cells? Imagine health on a scale of one to ten, where ten is optimal health. Let's say you develop cancer at a health index of 5.0 when the metabolism becomes insufficient to sustain normal cells. Conventional therapy el iminates all traces of abnormal cells but leaves you with a health index of 4.5 from the stress of the treatments. The metabolism is still impaired. What if instead, during and after the elimination of abnormal cells, you promote and build your health to an index of 9.8? Which approach is more likely to restore your health? Cancer treatments would likely be more effective if the patient's health were nurtured and promoted as part of the treatment protocol.
The history of cancer research seems to support a model of cell conversion associated with metabolic alteration. The association of free radicals with increased cancer risk is well documented. It's believed these charged particles can react with th e DNA to turn the cell cancerous.( 9) Increased levels of free radicals may also be an indication of metabolic impairment, as reactive metabolites unable to be paired with oxygen back up and spill into the cell interior When the cell divides and the chrom osomes are exposed to this reactive environment, the chances for genetic alterations are enhanced.(10) One of the reasons a long term local irritation may turn cancerous is that the continuous inflammation and breakdown of tissue creates a high free-radi cal environment at a time when cells are actively dividing to replace damaged cells.(11) Antioxidant nutrients which soak up such oxidative reactants have been associated with preventing and helping to control cancer. Yet antioxidants a re only part of the balance of nutrients needed for a normal metabolism. Indeed, it's speculated that an excess of antioxidants, especially fat-soluble vitamin E when taken in thousands of units, may even impede the metabolism's necessary oxidation react ions.
Oxygen therapies have a counteractive effect on cancer cells, which are more susceptible to oxidation damage than normal cells. Increasing the oxygen pressure in the blood also helps to promote an aerobic metabolism and stabilize the degenerative p rocess.(12) If the metabolism is impaired because of nutritional imbalances or deficiencies, oxygen therapies would be expected to aggravate these problems and undermine health. Because oxygen therapies can also promote free radicals, antioxidant nutrien ts should be increased accordingly to protect noncancerous cells from oxidative damage. Antioxidants and oxygen therapies are best taken at separate times to prevent one from canceling out the other.
Diet and Lifestyle
A balanced metabolism requires a nutritionally adequate diet. In our modern society, a diet totally devoid of fresh fruits or vegetables is not uncommon. Available produce is often picked green and may retain traces of pesticides or other chemical additives. Processing foods disrupts the natural balance of nutrients and may also add chemicals such as artificial colors or flavors. Environmental pollutants such as industrial chemicals and radiation all add to the total load.(13) If the reactions tha t drive the metabolism become suppressed due to an improper diet, the metabolic problem will be systemic and so will the disease that results from it. Cancer cells are known to have an anaerobic metabolism. Assessing and correcting for nutritional defici encies in order to promote a normal metabolism should be the first consideration in any recovery plan if health is to be restored and cancer truly cured.
Two nutrients essential for proper metabolism and commonly deficient in the American diet are magnesium and the omega-3 fatty acids. Dr. Johanna Budwig, pioneer researcher in seed oils, believes omega-3 fats play a strategic role among the respirat ory enzymes needed for normal metabolism. She reportedly has had a high rate of success in controlling, arresting, or reversing cancer by including in the diet one to five tablespoons each of flax oil and cottage cheese daily.(14) She believes this combi nation provides the specific protein/fatty acid complex needed to yield the highest production ofATP. Flax oil, salmon oil, pumpkin seed oil, and fresh fish are all rich in omega-3 fats, but rarely are included as staples in the American diet.(15)
High blood sugar is a common factor in cancer and is known to suppress the immune system.(16) Elevated glucose levels are seen three times more often in cancer patients and eight times more often in breast cancer patients than in age-matched contro ls. Excess glucose feeds the fermentation metabolism of cancer cells. Hyperglycemia can be caused by nutritional deficiencies such as chromium or magnesium which are both needed for proper insulin function. Magnesium is also a key nutrient in the glycol ysis stage of metabolism where sugar is prepared for oxidation. High blood lactic acid levels seen in cancer patients may be another sign that the metabolism is becoming less able to properly oxidize the products of sugar break down. Lactic acid is conve rted by the liver back to glucose and reenters the blood, nourishing the cancer cells. Once the diet is balanced and a proper metabolism restored, blood sugar levels are more likely to normalize.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant and an important nutrient in the liver's processing of toxins. As an antioxidant, it protects cell membranes and DNA from oxidative reactions. Selenium, another antioxidant, has strong anticancer properti es. It supports proper immune function and may also have functions such as gene modulation, as yet undiscovered. Nutrients such as folic acid (a B vitamin) and butyrate (a fatty acid constituent of normal metabolism) have been associated with redifferent iation of abnormal cells probably by supporting a normal metabolism or regulating the DNA.(17)
Detoxification helps move all systems toward a normal condition of health. Colon therapies to enhance waste elimination may include common enemas, coffee enemas, or colon irrigation (colonic) to help the liver expel toxins in the bile and process m ore wastes from the blood. Herbal teas such as oat straw, burdock, red clover, and dandelion root are traditionally known for helping detoxify the blood, generally as liver and kidney tonics. Essiac tea may effect its anticancer properties by helping the body to detoxify in addition to balancing immune functions and possibly influencing gene regulation. The skin is also an organ for excreting toxins. Saunas or skin abrasive therapies such as massage with salt (salt glow) or dry brushing of the skin can also help stimulate and move toxins to the surface. Detoxification therapies take the toxic burden off the immune system so it can attend more fully to abnormal cells like cancer.
New technologies combined with the accumulated knowledge of science and research is leading to new insights into mechanisms of intercellular and intracellular communication and regulation. Even the mapping of the genetic code is becoming possible f or the first time in our history.
Lipids (fats and related substances) are essential components for proper cell communication and regulation. Dr. Johanna Budwig believes omega-3 fats optimize the metabolism which also empowers the immune system. Dr. Emanuel Revici considers the lip id system to be a primitive immune system. Lipid therapies developed by Revici are designed to work by balancing the metabolism. Research has shown that lipid-based molecules, eicosanoids, regulate cellular and humoral processes. Lipids are also a major constituent of the cell membrane and help give the membrane its selective properties. Membrane selective permeability is needed to maintain such cellular functions as nutrition, metabolism, communication, and gene expression. Unnatural fats such as marg arines are believed to disrupt the metabolic and membrane properties.
Viruses are known to interact with the cell by inserting viral DNA to instruct the cell to alter some aspect of cell function. Genetic engineering may someday produce a method of "infecting" the cell with genetically designed viruses to give instru ctions to correct for abnormalities and at least temporarily to eliminate the cancer cells.
The work of biologist Gaston Naessens continues the research of Antoine Bechamp, Guenther Enerlein, Royal Rife, Wilhelm Reich, and others into an extremely small microbe associated with cancer and other diseases. The microbe changes form (pleomorph ic) from spores to bacteria to yeast, as the homeostasis changes from stress, trauma, or ill health. Its pleomorphism seems to be both symptomatic and causational of cancer. The form of the microbe can forewarn disease years before outward symptoms devel op. The pathological form can also be concentrated and injected into healthy animals to cause cancer, suggesting a communication or other interaction with the DNA. Royal Rife concluded that with cancer,
"...it is not the bacteria themselves that produce the disease, but the chemical constituents of these micro-organisms enacting upon the unbalanced cell metabolism of the human body that in actuality produce the disease. We also believe if the meta bolism of the human body is perfectly balanced or poised, it is susceptible to no disease."
Dr. Stanislaw Burzinski has discovered specific peptide complexes which inhibit cell division by inhibiting DNA synthesis.(18) Understanding how these peptides affect DNA may give clues to how the cancer microbe influences the cell and how treatmen ts might be designed to influence or repair the DNA and reestablish normal cell behavior.
Humans are more than physical beings, and a patient's psychological needs should not be overlooked. Finding value in one's experience can give hope, inspiration, and meaning to life. Finding answers to the universal question, "Who am I and why am I here?" can give one a sense of identity, balance, belonging, and peace of mind. Getting the energy flow needed for true health goes beyond an optimum metabolism or chemical homeostasis. The mind affects the brain, and the brain affects all physiological systems. Whether the mind plays a role in the manifestation of cancer is unknown, but if people are not comfortable within themselves, they will never achieve an optimum balance in health.
Cancer is a process of progressive degeneration where cells no longer maintain a normal aerobic metabolism or a high degree of differentiation. Truly effective treatments for cancer always seem to include one or more of the following four features:
( 1) Enhance the metabolism
( 2) Cleanse the blood to take the burden off the immune system
( 3) Induce the immune system to attack abnormal cells
( 4) Regulate the DNA.
More than the elimination of abnormal cells, a true healing of cancer must activate and support the body's own healing mechanisms by restoring an optimum state of mental and physical health.
(1) R. Jaffe, "Immune Defense & Repair Systems," Townsend Letter for Doctors, Feb./Mar. 1990.
(2) Otto Warburg, "The Prime Cause And Prevention Of Cancer," Meeting of Nobel-Laureates, June 30, 1966, Wiesenhof.
(3) D. Rohem, "The Cauda Test for Cancer", Townsend Letter for Doctors, May 1991.
(4) Hans Nieper, "Iridodial: An Insect-Derived Genetic Repair Factor with Antimalignant Effect," Townsend Letter for Doctors, September, 1991.
(5) Michael Sheehan, "What Your Doctor Doesn't Know Can Kill You," Townsend Letter for Doctors, July 1991.
(6) Johanna Budwig, Flax Oil as a True Aid,, Apple Publishing Co. 1992; Santisteban, Ely, Hamel, Read, Kozawa, et al., "Glycemic Modulation Of Tumor Tolerance In A Mouse Model Of Breast Cancer," Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, November, 1985
(7) Santisteban, Ely, Hamel, Read, Kozawa et al., "Glycemic Modulation Of Tumor Tolerance In A Mouse Model Of Breast Cancer," Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, November, 1985; Pizzorno and Murray, "Immune Support."A Textbook of N atural Medicine, IV:Immune Support-1, 1985.
(9) Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, Life Extension, Warner Books, 1982.
(11) Michael L. Culbert, "There Are Not 400 Kinds...Of Cancer," American Biologics, Mexico, 1987.
(12) Warburg; Max Wolf, Enzyme Therapy, Writers and Research, Inc., 1994.
(14) Budwig, 1992; Johanna Budwig, "Immune Function is NOT Suppressed by Unsaturated Fatty Acids," Townsend Letter for Doctors, April 1990; E. Halme, "The Role of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Overcoming Cancer," Townsend Letter for Doctors, Octob er, 1990; Pizzorno; Rohem.
(15) Budwig, 1992.
(16) Santisteban et al.
(17) R. W. Bradford, "Another 'Secret' Weapon in Metabolic Therapy," The Bradford Research Institute; Cecil E. Pitard, Conventional Biopharmacotherapy Of Cancer, University of Tennessee School of Medicine, June, 1988.
(18) L.K. Altman, "New Cancer Clue: How Cells Talk To Each Other," The New York Times, January 21, 1992.
Article copyright The Center for Frontier Sciences.
By John W. Cartmell