Understanding cancer, and how it develops in the body, is an extremely important topic. In fact, “what is cancer?” is one of the first topics Dr. Stegall addresses with his patients. When cancer is first diagnosed, the mind tends to quickly focus on the prognosis, the treatments, and the potential side effects. Many patients are in such a state of shock, to the point that they do not even remember details of this meeting.

By the time they are in our office, they have likely heard and read so much information – often conflicting information – that they are overwhelmed. All of these emotions and feelings are understandable. That is why Dr. Stegall likes to take a step back, define cancer, and discuss what it is and how it develops in the body.

Cancer is defined as a collection of over 100 related diseases, characterized by the unregulated growth of abnormal cells. These abnormal cells were once normal, healthy cells. The process of converting these normal cells into abnormal cells involves three steps, which will be discussed below. During this process, the cancerous cells learn how to evade the body’s system of checks and balances, which is why the unregulated growth continues. A normal cell isn’t allowed to do that.

Our discussion of cancer must focus on the cells of the body. Many people are surprised to hear that they have over 100 trillion cells. These cells work together to perform all of the functions needed for survival. These cells are uniquely specialized for their given function(s), but they are quite similar for the most part. They have an outer structure, called the cell membrane, which provides structure to the cell and also allows certain things to enter and leave the cell. The cells also have many important internal structures, such as the nucleus, which contain DNA – the cell’s genetic material. The mitochondria are also found inside the cell, and they are extremely important because they make ATP – the cell’s energy currency.

The list of what causes cellular inflammation is a potentially lengthy one. However, there are some common toxins that are known to cause cellular inflammation:

Sugar (table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and almost all carbohydrates)
Trans fats (man-made fats which appear on nutrition labels as “partially hydrogenated oil”)
Gluten (due to all wheat today being genetically modified, resulting in multiple new strains of gluten not normally present in wheat)
GMOs (wheat, corn, soy, artificial sweeteners, and any other genetically altered food)
Cigarette smoke (not only bad for your lungs, but your cell membranes too)
Increased body fat (known to release pro-inflammatory factors in the body)
Heavy metals (mercury, lead, etc.)
Radiation (x-rays, CT scans, microwaves, etc.)
While we cannot completely avoid the above inflammatory exposures, we can reduce our interactions with them.

The mitochondria are known as the “powerhouse of the cell,” because they make ATP – the body’s form of energy. Just as a car needs gas to run, the body’s cells need ATP to function. When cells have plenty of ATP, they easily do their jobs and the body is in excellent working order. However, when cellular inflammation is present, ATP isn’t made as easily. When inflammation is allowed to continue, the mitochondria actually change the way they function. This was first noted in the 1920s by Dr. Otto Warburg, a German physiologist. He discovered that cancer cells, regardless of the cancer’s location, have defective mitochondria. These cancer cell mitochondria are actually more primitive than the mitochondria of normal cells, as they require much more sugar for energy. In fact, they can ONLY use sugar for energy. This is in contrast to normal cells, which can use fat, protein, and oxygen, as well as carbohydrates, for energy.

Cancer cells have also been found to take up sugar much more rapidly than normal, non-cancerous cells. This is the basis for PET scans. A patient receiving a PET scan is given radiolabeled glucose, which is a special type of sugar. The cancer cells take up this glucose, and the cancer cells light up on the scan. This is why it is often said, “sugar feeds cancer.”

As a result of cellular inflammation, which then causes changes to the mitochondria and how they produce energy, the cancer cell begins to exhibit alterations to its DNA. This is the genetic material of the cell. As these genes change, the ability of the immune system to detect these cells as foreign decreases. This is why cancer is allowed to exhibit uncontrolled growth, but the body’s normal cells are not. As the cancer cells continue to grow, the cancer evades surrounding tissue, including nearby blood vessels. If not halted, cancer will spread to other parts of the body – a process known as metastasis. At this point, cancer continues to grow and take over the body’s resources, ultimately leading to death.
Despite billions of dollars being spent on cancer research since President Nixon declared “War on Cancer” in 1971, the overall survival rate from cancer remains unchanged. With the mapping of the human genome being completed around the turn of the century, there was a great deal of excitement surrounding the ability to identify cancer genes and subsequently develop drugs to target these changes. Almost universally, this research revealed no promising results. In fact, studies involving cancer cells from the same tumor in the same person showed very little similarity in the cancer DNA. This was incredibly frustrating for researchers, as the hope was that enough genetic consistency would be found to better target cancer.

Dr. Stegall believes that these genetic changes in cancer cells are mostly random and chaotic, and that cancer DNA is the wrong target for cancer treatment. Rather than these gene changes being the cause of cancer, they are a symptom of cancer according to Dr. Stegall. His view of cancer is that it is a metabolic disease, resulting from inflammation to the cell membrane and changes to the mitochondria. Thus, Dr. Stegall’s protocols not only focus on the tumor, but on the cellular changes that likely occurred which led to the tumor’s formation and continued viability.

Patient Feedback:

I saw patients getting better and better

As the days went by, I saw patients getting better and better, and at the end of their treatment they looked like completely healthy patients.

Sandy, GA

Communicates well

The entire staff communicates well together and with patients regarding treatment.

Teresa, TN

Customized and personalized

Dr. Stegall’s treatments are customized and personalized. He is caring and concerned about all the issues going on with your body.

Kim, FL

Kind, compassionate, and very caring

I have found Dr. Stegall and his staff to be knowledgeable, kind, compassionate, and very caring.

Teresa, TN

Quality care

I have never, in my life, received this quality of care anywhere!

Denise, OH

One on one care

The IPT therapy is very individualized and patients receive one on one care during each session.

Teresa, TN

The most caring physician

Dr. Stegall is the most caring physician.

Denise, OH

Would highly recommend Dr. Stegall

I am very pleased with my experience and would highly recommend Dr. Stegall to anyone looking for an integrative oncologist.

Teresa, TN

Such care and respect

I’ve never been to an office where the patients are treated with such care and respect by both the staff and doctor.

Sandy, GA

This is the place to be

If you have cancer, this is the place to be. I call it the ‘cancer spa.’

Kim, FL

Knowledgeable and careful

Dr. Stegall is very knowledgeable and careful with treatments.

 Julie, SC

Has given me hope

Not only have I received wonderful care, but I’ve been educated on how to take care of myself, which has given me hope. I truly believe I will beat this!

Denise, OH

Highly recommended

I highly recommend this center for your cancer treatment.

Sandy, GA

Caring and compassionate

The staff is very caring and compassionate.

 Julie, SC

Outstanding support

Dr. Stegall provides outstanding support on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.

Ann, GA

Wonderful care

I have received the most wonderful care from Dr. Stegall!

Denise, OH

Second to none

The staff here is second to none. They have become my family!

Denise, OH

Calmed my fears

Dr. Stegall and his staff calmed my fears and encouraged me each day.

Denise, OH

Staff are awesome

Dr. Stegall and his staff are awesome.

Kim, FL

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The Center for Advanced Medicine

10700 Medlock Bridge Road, Suite 207

Johns Creek, GA 30097

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(770) 551-2730


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