An Holistic Approach to the Treatment of Cancer
In undomesticated animals and primitive peoples cancer is almost entirely unknown. It can be regarded as a product of our 20th century ‘civilized’ way of life. The actual cause is, in most cases, unknown, but environmental pollution, poor nutritional status and various psychogenic factors may all be contributory. Certain types of cancer are familial, and it has been suggested that all sufferers have a genetic predisposition.
The development of cancer can be likened to the growth of a mushroom, where the actual plant is underground and invisible, and the part that we see is only the fruiting body. Picking this visible part in no way inhibits the growth of the plant, which will, however, only flourish when the terrain is exactly correct. Similarly, in most types of cancer the tumor will only grow if the internal (bodily) terrain is suitable, and cutting out the tumor is not a cure but a symptomatic treatment.
It has been estimated that, by the laws of chance, all people actually produce about 10,000 potentially mutagenic cells every day. Those are normally identified as defective by the immune system and removed. In carcinogenesis, however, some of these “rogue” cells escape detection and go on to form tumors.
A strong healthy body in a good nutritional state will be more able to identify mutagenic cells when they arise and to deal with them than can a body whose immune system is weakened by poor diet and other physiological stresses.
In the development of cancer it is usually not the availability of pathogens that is significant, but the condition of the body. If a body is sub-standard to it’s optimum level of functioning then nature tends to remove that body through disease and death. This is also true of the mental attitude; if a person has a positive mental outlook they are less likely to get cancer and more likely to overcome it.
Despite the billions of dollars spent on research attempting to find ‘the’ cure for cancer, it remains the second leading cause of death in children and adults in north America. (It is second to accidents in children and heart disease in adults). Although the incidence or the mortality rate of certain cancers have been improved over the years, this is almost exclusively due to better and earlier diagnostic techniques and rarely is it due to successful treatment protocols.
Diet and the Treatment of Cancer.
The nutritional/dietary management of cancer is of supreme importance and great emphasis should be given to it. The general aims are 1) to cleanse the body of any toxins it is harbouring that can ‘feed’ the cancer and 2) to create an environment in the body that is hostile to the tumour development, whilst at the same time enhancing the overall health and well-being of the patient.
To begin with a fast is required to flush out toxins from the body. This should be proceeded by several days of eating only fresh, RAW fruit and vegetables to prepare the body. In the treatment of cancer a fast should last for a minimum of 1 week and may be up to 6 weeks, or may be repeated several times with periods of (controlled) eating between. It is, of course, necessary to take in some nutrients during a fast and the best things are:
- White/green grapes and their juice. this both keeps the blood sugar level stable and flushes toxins out from their storage, mainly in the adipose tissues.
- The juices of Carrot ( 1 part) and Beetroot, Celery and Parsley (1/3 part each) with water (1 part). These have an alkalizing effect on the body, are diuretic so flushing out the system and are high in certain vitamins and minerals.
FASTING SHOULD BE CARRIED OUT UNDER CLOSE SUPERVISION BY AN EXPERIENCED PRACTITIONER, AND SHOULD NOT BE DONE FOR ANY LONG PERIODS BY SEVERELY DEBILITATED PERSONS.
After completion of a fast it is important not to return to old styles and habits of eating. The healing and health – promoting effects of diet are wide-ranging and should be utilised on a day to day basis.
Essentially a return to the most natural diet possible is recommended. Our primitive ancestors had a diet of almost exclusively raw fruits and vegetables with some fish and occasional eggs and only a little meat when they could catch or scavenge it. They ate no grains and no dairy products. All their foods were gathered from the wild and were totally unadulterated. The few thousand years that have passed between then and now are but the blink of an eye in evolutionary terms and our 20th century bodies have not yet adapted to the situation in which we live. Today all the water we drink and all the air we breathe has been contaminated by agricultural and industrial practices; all the foods we eat have been genetically engineered or sprayed with up to 1000 different chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, preservatives, colorants etc. etc). When you add this to the fact that most of us in the western world today eat a lot of meat, eat nearly all our vegetables cooked and eat upwards of 150 lbs. of sugar per person per year, it is not really surprising that we get ill. The dietary recommendations outlined below are specific to the cancer sufferer, but their general thesis will be familiar to anyone who takes even half an interest in what they eat. Even the most orthodox nutritionists today are recognizing that ideally we should greatly reduce our intake of meat, sugar and dairy foods and boost our intake of fresh fruit and vegetables.
In cancer it is important to stress the body as little as possible. Scientists working in the USA have found evidence that when a cooked meal is eaten (regardless of the contents of the meal) that the immune system is stimulated and infection-fighting white blood cells are mobilized to the gut. This event does not occur if the meal eaten consists of raw food. This is significant to the cancer patient because it is the white blood cells that are at the forefront of the fight against the tumour cells. If they are busy dealing with food stuffs around the gut then they are not available to deal with the cancer. Moral: EAT RAW FOOD AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
Furthermore, Drs. Ransberger and Wolf in the USA have found that raw vegetables contain certain proteolytic (i.e. protein breaking) enzymes that are specifically active against tumor tissue.
Foods That Are O.K. To Eat
- Organically raised (free-range) grain-eating birds e.g. Chicken and Turkey.
- North sea or cold water fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel. Avoid farmed fish altogether.
- Occasional wild meat or grass fed organic red meat
- Small amounts of organically grown grains especially brown rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, barley, amaranth, spelt and oats. It is best to grind your own flours from the whole grain to prevent rancidity.
- Lentils, peas, beans, nuts (especially almonds) and seeds, free-range eggs, organic yoghurt. Eat soybeans and soy products regularly, preferably the fermented products like miso, natto and tempeh.
- Cold-pressed vegetable oils especially olive, safflower and flax seed.
- Flaxseeds, either freshly ground daily or soaked overnight in water. Add to cereals or smoothies or use in baking.
- All organically grown fruit and vegetables except as note below. Emphasize orange, red and purple fruits, citrus fruits, berries, garlic leeks and onions. Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale and other members of the Cruciferae family should be eaten cooked to neutralize the anti-thyroid effect .
- Seaweeds and Miso (fermented soya bean paste). These supply certain vitamins and minerals that most people normally obtain from meat, especially vitamin B12.
- Wheat grass, Chlorella, Barley grass or Blue Green algae. These provide amino acids, vitamins and minerals as well being very high in chlorophyll which is a natural cleanser, anti-oxidant and blood builder.
- Beansprouts (alfalfa, aduki, mung, chickpea, lentil, sunflower) E.J. Krebs found that these contain Nitrolosides which are converted in the body into Cyanide and Benzaldehyde. These are harmless to healthy cells but cannot be detoxified by cancer cells. They are also one of the highest natural sources of vitamins, minerals and amino acids and are the only foods we have that are actually living right when we eat them are therefore full of health promoting ‘life-force’.
Foods to Avoid
- All meats and fish not named above.
- All dairy produce (milk, butter, hard and soft cheese, cream, etc.)and all foods containing them. A little organic yoghurt and butter is acceptable.
- Sugar in all forms, especially all refined and processed sugars.
- Tea, coffee, soft drinks, alcohol etc. Drink spring water, fruit juice or herb tea.
- All food should be ORGANICALLY grown wherever possible. It should also be eaten as fresh as possible so that you derive the maximum benefit from it.
- Avoid canned foods and foods packaged in plastic. Do not store your food in plastic containers and do not use cling wrap. Don’t use the microwave, and if you must use it don’t put plastic in it.
- After the initial fasting period it is a good idea to continue to fast on fruit or vegetable juices one day a week.
Supplements for Cancer
|Nutrient||Basic protection||Therapeutic range|
|Beta carotene||7500 iu.||15000 – 30000 iu.|
|Vitamin C||3000 mg.||5000- 20000 mg.|
|Vitamin E||100 iu.||400 -2000 iu.|
|Selenium||100 mcg.||200 -400 mcg.|
|Zinc||20 mg.||40 – 60 mg.|
|Calcium||150 mg.||500 – 1000mg.|
|Magnesium||150 mg.||300 -1000 mg.|
|B complex||100 mg.||200 mg.|
Other Holistic Therapies
In the holistic treatment of cancer diet and herbal remedies are of the highest importance. But over the years it has become obvious that these alone are not enough. The other very significant axis of healing goes by the fancy name of psychoneuroimmunology. All this really means is the relationship between the mind, the brain and the immune system.
Central to this healing modality is the belief that your mental attitude has a major effect on your health – that you can literally think yourself well. Conversely, of course, a strongly held belief that you are going to die will usually become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As part of your treatment plan it is essential that you address these issues. I strongly recommend that you join a cancer support group or undergo some form of counseling. There are also very many useful and interesting books available on cancer survival. Two of my favorite authors are Louise Hay Heal Your Body and Bernie Seigal Love, Medicine & Miracles and Peace, Love & Healing.
For more on cancer, see the Holistic Oncology section.