Thinking Outside the Traditional Medical Box

I begin by saying that I have the utmost respect for medical doctors and love their dedication to healing people.  I am very grateful for the doctors who treated me during my illness.  As a cancer survivor, I would not have been able to advance my life to the extent I have had it not been for their contribution to my healing process.

Once I completed the necessary regimen though, of surgery and chemotherapy, I knew my healing process didn’t stop there.  This is true for anyone who experiences any kind of cancer but is especially true for those of us who face strong odds of recurrence.  In fact, healing doesn’t stop after any traditional medical treatment for any illness.  At the very least one must pay particular attention to the food they put in their body.  Nutrition is paramount to staying healthy.

My focus now, goes beyond nutrition to embracing alternative medicine.  Yes, I know many shun the idea of using herbs, supplements or any treatment that has not withstood the test of strict, scientific clinical studies.  If this is your bottom line stance, then I understand your position and must respect it.  I, on the other hand, would like to offer those who are open to thinking outside the medical box, an introduction to the concept of using alternative medicine as an adjunct or follow up to traditional medicine.

First of all, if you connect with a bona fide Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioner, they will not recommend you do anything harmful.  Herbs and supplements, if taken as suggested and purchased from a reputable supplier, are not harmful.  Hence, you have nothing to lose by using them.  As well, there are some alternative treatments, albeit with limited studies sometime, that show very positive results.  However, because there is no funding and limited interest in this country to perform the large scale scientific studies needed for absolute proof, those treatments are dismissed as ineffective by the medical community at large.

For example, Nobel-prize winning chemist, Linus Pauling, did a study on 100 patients with various cancers.  He began injecting them with mega-doses of Vitamin C under the theory that Vitamin C turns into hydrogen peroxide when injected intravenously and hydrogen peroxide kills cancer cells but doesn’t harm healthy cells.  His study, while not a true clinical double-blind study, showed improvement of many of his patients.  However, because it was not an official study, it was denounced by the medical community and Dr. Pauling was labeled a quack.  In fact, although Dr. Pauling clearly stated that the Vitamin C had to be administered intravenously to be effective, a subsequent study by the Mayo Clinic was done with oral Vitamin C and showed no improvement of cancer patients.  These findings were used to debunk the theory that Vitamin C was a cure for cancer.  Nonetheless, some scientists are continuing to follow up on Dr. Pauling’s study and are finding positive results.  In fact, in an article in dated February 19, 2014 a team of researchers from the University of Kansas conducted studies of high doses of Vitamin C in vitro in a lab, in mice and into 22 human ovarian cells.  The results were positive in all three models.  The Vitamin C effectively targeted the cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells untouched.  The researchers admit more human trials are needed but are unlikely due to Big Pharma’s unwillingness to fund the necessary research. Big Pharma cannot patent Vitamin C so have no incentive to conduct research with it.   Still, there are ongoing studies now at other institutions (NIH – National Institute of Health, Thomas Jefferson University to name two) which are revealing more positive results.  Please be sure to read the National Cancer Institute/NIH report at at Cancer Topics for high dose vitamin C if you’re considering this therapy.

This lack of funding for non-traditional healing modalities is the reason cancer patients feel forced to rely on traditional medicine for their cures.  In fact, because the medical and pharmaceutical communities often vehemently attack alternative treatment, many people are too fearful to try them.  What I find disturbing is that the attacks often come from criticizing the limited studies conducted, yet no effort is being put forth to conduct the studies necessary to validate (or invalidate) their efficacy.

I submit that if there is no bodily harm in trying a non-traditional method that has helped others, knowing that chemotherapy is not always a cure and harms healthy cells, why not try a non-traditional method(s).  Once you do your own research, weighing the pros and cons of any non-traditional method being considered, why not try?   This is your life and you should have the final say.  While we know chemotherapy kills cancer cells, it also kills healthy cells.  Hence, any long term treatment with this drug will eventually wreak havoc on your body.  So why not either supplement chemotherapy with an alternative therapy or seek alternative treatment proactively once done with chemo.  That’s what I did.  When I finished chemo, I got Vitamin C injections monthly, then quarterly for about 18 months.  I never experienced one side effect.  I am cancer free now and plan to stay that way.

I have found the best possible way to address a recurrent cancer, when working with traditional doctors, is to use their method the first time around and then use CAM procedures once you’re considered NED (no evidence of disease) or in remission.  However, if your cancer remains and you’re told chemotherapy is to be permanently in your future, you then need to decide if you want to incorporate alternative medicine as either a supplement or perhaps even a substitute, at least temporarily, to give it a chance.  It’s your body and your life.  You have the final say.

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