Updated: 2019, Jul 30

Cancer Treatment Strategies: Do We Need to “Rethink” How to Fight Cancer?

Rethink for Cancer Treatment

Since the inception of chemotherapy in the late 1940s and the development of additional chemotherapy drugs during the 1950s and 1960s, conventional medicine’s primary standard of care has been chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.

Progress with standard-of-care therapies has been significant when fighting certain cancers, such as testicular, hodgkins, thyroid, pediatric cancers and some lymphoma and leukemia.

However, we have only made incremental progress when facing solid tumors, which comprise most cancer mortalities. By comparison, substantial progress has been made in the treatment of cardiovascular disease during the past 60 years.[1] Cardiovascular disease used to be the number one killer in the U.S., yet cancer is about to become the number one killer in the next few years.

I am not asserting that standard-of-care treatment cannot be effective, but these common protocols have not made great progress over time. The time has come for us to rethink how we can improve our treatments in fighting cancer, and whether we should include other therapeutic strategies, including evidence-based integrative and alternative therapies.[2]

It is questionable whether chemotherapy provides any reasonable, meaningful benefit in late-stage cancer patients, beyond palliative relief. A large meta study examined cancer registry data from Australia and the U.S., and concluded that chemotherapy “only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival.”

Contribution to Cancer Survival

It also asserted, “To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required.” Thus, the unintended consequence of the harsh, toxic side effects, which can engender serious health problems, including fatalities, should be evaluated carefully and compared with the actual benefits.[3]

From my analysis of diversified cancer treatment protocols, I have concluded that other non-standard-of-care therapies can have a profound impact upon longevity and the survival of cancer patients.

I have personally met hundreds of people who were told by mainstream cancer doctors, “It’s time to get your affairs in order,” or “We can arrange hospice,” or words to that effect, who are surviving and thriving many years after their doctors asserted they only had a short time to live.

According to mainstream medicine, these people had tried all proven, conventional therapies and, purportedly, there weren’t any other effective therapeutic options. Of course, this premise was according to the principles of conventional medicine, not the viewpoint of sophisticated integrative or alternative practitioners.

Alternative Practitioners

As a result of my research and interviews with numerous cancer patients and renowned cancer specialists in the development and writing of Hope Never Dies, I discovered the existence of powerfully compelling, non-standard-of-care medical options.

When these therapies are guided and delivered by sophisticated integrative and complementary experts, they can have a profound transformational impact and alter the path of cancer. These therapies are based on science, not voodoo, notwithstanding the fact they don’t fit neatly into standard-of-care methodologies.

To be frank, there are no guarantees in life. However, these options have saved the lives of many people who were given just a few months to live, and many are thriving today. Generally, they include:

  • Personalized, nutritional oncological strategies
  • Psycho-behavioral and mind-body approaches
  • Exercise regimens
  • Evidence-based supplementation strategies

When these strategies are delivered in a well-conceived, multi-faceted, systematic, comprehensive manner, the results can be staggering. And, when the treatments are personalized –not generic, but based upon objective testing criteria, such as bloodwork and tissue samples –the therapy becomes highly focused.

The personalized approach is a therapeutic imperative since genetic cancer mutations can vary within the same person and, in fact, the same tumor!

Additionally, some novel approaches to chemotherapy have been proven to be more effective than the current paradigm. More personalized chemosensitivity tests, based on the person’s own tissue sample, is the epitome of personalized medicine, not generic drug selection.

Dr. Robert Nagourney’s laboratory and oncological work in this realm was recently validated by doctors and scientists affiliated with Harvard University Medical School.[4]

Medical School

Another approach is metronomic distribution of chemotherapy drugs–given in much lower doses over a longer period of time — which is less toxic to the individual.

Various evidence-based methodologies also exist to mitigate the harsh effects of chemotherapy, including fasting strategies,[5] [6] acupuncture,[7] appropriate targeted supplementation and other complementary therapies that help protect the individual’s normal healthy cells and manage other damaging chemotherapeutic side effects.[8]
Highly credentialed integrative doctors and other specialists have experienced excellent clinical results for their patients with these therapies.

When the complementary approaches are designed by specialists to support the body’s immune system, make the body inhospitable to cancer, weaken the cancer and alter cancer’s biochemical environment, they can be profoundly transformational and help patients take control of their health –and beat cancer.

One of the remarkable stories in Hope Never Dies of late-stage cancer patients who beat the odds comes from Cheryl Clark, who overcame the most deadly form of brain cancer.

Brain Cancer

Cheryl’s Diagnosis

In 1997, Cheryl was told she had a Glioblastoma Multiforme, Grade 4 diagnosis, and was given 6 to 9 months to live. This was, and still is, the worst kind of brain cancer. She was told by an oncologist in California to get her affairs in order.

Treatment Choices

From the time of her diagnosis, Cheryl implemented a multi-faceted therapeutic approach with the guidance and help of Jeanne Wallace, Ph.D., an internationally renowned expert in nutritional oncology.

Cheryl also implemented mind-body approaches, engaging in visualizations and affirmations, and read dozens of survivor stories. These practices were foundational in helping her maintain a positive, fighting attitude throughout this daunting challenge.

Her doctor told her she could try chemotherapy, but that it would only offer a palliative and short-term benefit, at best. Cheryl refrained from chemotherapy and followed Dr. Wallace’s expert guidance, derived from peer-reviewed studies showing evidence-based nutritional and supplementation strategies.

Cheryl was also offered radiation therapy, which was also deemed to be palliative, and she decided to undergo these treatments. But she waited for 6 months prior to commencing radiation therapy so that she could strengthen her body with Dr. Wallace’s nutritional and supplementation protocol –regardless of the fact that she was supposed to be dead within 6 to 9 months.

The complimentary, multi-faceted approaches were selected, personally, for Cheryl and designed to produce specific results.

The goals and objectives of these approaches were to inhibit angiogenesis, slow tumor growth, strengthen the immune system, slow or eliminate out-of-control inflammation, enhance cell differentiation, promote apoptosis, protect healthy brain tissue from radiation, enhance oxygen rich blood to Cheryl’s tissues and system, promote a positive attitude and bring about other transformative benefits.

Transformative Benefits

Flash Forward

Today, 21 years later, Cheryl is enjoying life –riding her bike, kayaking down rivers, photographing nature and working on her golf game. She has transformed her biochemistry and lifestyle to mitigate the possibility of a cancer recurrence. She advises, “Don’t give up hope. Don’t let your doctor brainwash you into thinking you have no time left. You are not a statistic.”

Read More: National Cancer Control Month: A Month For Encouragement And Hope

Cheryl credits Dr. Wallace’s therapeutic recommendations and steadfast guidance in beating her terminal brain cancer prognosis.

Many more remarkable stories of survivors –and thrivers –of late-stage and terminal cancer prognoses are building a strong case for “rethinking” how to embark upon this daunting challenge. They are demonstrating the efficacy of finding specialists and therapies outside the standard of care that save lives.

Image Credits
Feature Image: Shutterstock.com
In Post Image: Shutterstock.com
References
1. The New York Times, April 24, 2009, “As Other Death Rates Fall, Cancer’s Scarcely Moves”, by Gina Kolata https://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/health/research/24cancerside.html?mtrref=undefined&gwh=18D9DF7537B8994A992458E11A420793&gwt=pay
2. Semin Cancer Biol. 2015 Dec; 35(Suppl): S276S304. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4819002/
3. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol. 2004 Dec;16(8):549-60. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15630849
4. Nature Reviews Cancer 15, 747756 (2015). https://www.nature.com/articles/nrc4015
5. BMC Cancer. 2016 Jun 10;16:360. doi: 10.1186/s12885-016-2370-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27282289
6. Front Oncol. 2016 Nov 14;6:242. eCollection 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27896219
7. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2017 Apr;10(2):139-142. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28483187
8. Indian J Palliat Care. 2017 Oct-Dec;23(4):468-479. doi: 10.4103/IJPC.IJPC_100_17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29123357
Author

Rick Shapiro J.D.

Rick Shapiro, J.D., a former practicing attorney, is a leading consultant, researcher, and educator in the field of safe, evidence-base

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