A search for Natural Cancer Treatment on Google returns over 132 Million results.
In this article, we select three treatments, provide reference research, and then get Dr. Stegall’s comments on each treatment therapy.
Proteolytic Enzyme Therapy
The Role of Systemic Proteolytic Enzymes on Cancer
A thick outer coating called fibrin covers cancer cells. This coating is used to shield cancer cells from the immune system. Not only does the fibrin keep the immune system from identifying and destroying the cancer cells, it prevents chemotherapy from doing the same thing unless the chemo is used at industrial strength doses.
The use of systemic proteolytic enzymes allows lower doses of chemotherapy to be utilized. It also helps to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and to limit the waste buildup produced during treatment.
Dr. Stegall’s comments: The use of proteolytic enzymes in cancer treatment has been around since the early 1900s, when it was theorized that the pancreas provides defense against cancer. A collaborative study by the National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health examined proteolytic enzymes, and compared their effectiveness to the chemotherapy agent gemcitabine in patients with pancreatic cancer. The study, published in a 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, included 55 patients: 32 received proteolytic enzymes, and 23 received gemcitabine. The patients receiving proteolytic enzymes had an average survival of 4 months, while the patients receiving gemcitabine had an average survival of 14 months. In addition, the patients receiving gemcitabine also had a better quality of life.
The late Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, who helped advance proteolytic enzyme therapy along with Dr. William Kelley, felt that this study was flawed and offered a strong rebuttal on his website. From my perspective, it is hard to discount the results of the study conducted by the NCI and NCCIH – especially since the effectiveness of proteolytic enzymes were far inferior to chemotherapy.
I have had patients who came to me on proteolytic enzymes, and the two most common complaints are the number of capsules which must be taken daily (between 80-160) and the cost (approximately $100 for a bottle which only lasts 5-10 days). For many patients, taking so many capsules each day is not practical. While I remain open to the use of proteolytic enzymes, it is not a therapy I currently recommend – especially with other therapies available which I feel are better.
Antineoplastons (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine – Patient Information [NCI] – Questions and Answers About Antineoplastons
Antineoplastons are a group of chemical compounds that are found normally in urine and blood. They are made up mostly of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and peptides (compounds made of two or more amino acids). For use in medical research, antineoplastons were originally taken from human urine, but they are now made from chemicals in the laboratory.
What is the history of the discovery and use of antineoplastons as a complementary and alternative treatment for cancer?
Antineoplaston therapy was developed by Dr. S. R. Burzynski. He proposed that there must be a process in the body that controls how a cell develops, and that this process fails when a cell divides endlessly and develops into a tumor. He suggested that certain natural substances, which he named “antineoplastons,” switch an abnormal cell back onto the path of normal development.
Since peptides are considered to be the carriers of instructions in the body, he began looking for peptides that may be present in the blood of cancer patients. After comparing the blood of healthy people to the blood of people with cancer, Dr. Burzynski found that people with cancer have lower amounts of a certain group of chemicals. He found these same chemicals in urine and suggested that some of these chemicals can be used to stop certain cancer cells from dividing.
Dr. Stegall’s comments: Antineoplastons were developed and are exclusively used at Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski’s clinic in Houston, Texas. He has published case studies which showed tremendous results with antineoplastons, but a study in Japan failed to replicate those results. Dr. Burzynski has come under fire from both the FDA as well as the Texas Medical Board due to his use of antineoplastons. He has vocal supporters, including patients who said they benefited from his treatments, as well as vocal detractors who feel that his treatments did not help. Several of his antineoplastons are currently undergoing clinical trials, but it is not known when these trials will be completed or what kind of results they will show.
My approach to evaluating any potential treatment involves viewing it with open-minded skepticism. Whether we view the results with preconceived notions that it will work, or that it won’t, we are more likely to see what we want to see. As I regularly discuss, the difficulty with studies into alternative therapies is a lack of funding. As we evaluate the studies on antineoplastons, we must ask ourselves if the studies had adequate funding to allow for accurate methods and precise results.
My main concern with antineoplastons are that they have potential side effects, some of which are significant. Electrolyte abnormalities, bone marrow suppression, neurological issues, and even coma have been thought to be caused by antineoplastons. While the potential exists that Dr. Burzynski has discovered a very promising cancer therapy, I feel that we need more data to know for sure.
The Ketogenic Diet in Cancer Treatment
Fighting Cancer By Putting Tumor Cells On A Diet
Cancer dogma holds that most malignancies are caused by DNA mutations inside the nuclei of cells, mutations that ultimately lead to runaway cellular proliferation. Given the countless genetic blips that have been associated with various cancers, the illness has actually come to be seen as a complex of diseases for which personalized treatments might offer the best chances of success.
But prevailing oncology orthodoxy has its detractors, and some cancer biologists feel that while mutations are nearly ubiquitous in cancer, they may not always be the driving force for disease. Cancer, they suggest, might actually be as much a disorder of altered energy production as it is genetic damage.
This idea traces back to the work of German physician Otto Warburg who, in the 1920s, reported that rather than generating energy using the oxygen-based process of respiration as healthy cells do, cancer cells prefer the anaerobic, or oxygen-free, process of fermentation.
Dr. Stegall’s comments: I firmly believe that a ketogenic approach to cancer is essential. Dr. Warburg made a landmark discovery nearly 100 years ago when he found that cancer thrives on sugar (carbohydrates). The power of a ketogenic approach in cancer is that the very low carbohydrate intake starves cancer cells, but does not harm normal cells. In fact, the body’s non-cancerous cells often improve their health.
I am amazed by the number of physicians who are not aware of the extensive research on cancer cells and its relationship with carbohydrates. Every cancer patient should be educated as to the harms of excess carbohydrate consumption, and a nutrition plan should be a part of every cancer treatment protocol whether the patient is undergoing conventional cancer treatments, alternative treatments, or ideally, a combination of both.
If a doctor tells you that nutrition doesn’t matter when it comes to cancer, find another doctor.