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How does Artesunate kill cancer? April 20, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, Naturopathy.
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Close up of someone holding a plant in his hand

Artesunate is a drug that was initially designed for combating malaria, however, recently it has shown great promise as a cancer therapy1,2,3. It has been used in combination with some chemotherapies to improve outcomes in advanced cancer patients5. When fighting cancer it is important to use every tool at your disposal to weaken the cancer and strengthen your own cells. Artesunate is another weapon in the arsenal of natural remedies that can make a significant difference in the fight against cancer.

The mechanism of action for artesunate in the context of cancer therapy is very well defined. Cancer cells have a tendency to absorb iron at high levels and this is thought to accelerate the mutation rate within these cells. Iron reacts with oxygen to form free radicals, which are reactive molecules that damage DNA. In normal cells this reaction is a problem; in cancer cells it allows them to mutate and develop resistance to therapies. Artesunate activates mitochondrial apoptosis by iron catalyzed lysosomal reactive oxygen species production4. In other words, this drug will use the iron within the cancer cells against them.

Preliminary data from Bastyr Integrative Oncology Research Center indicates that IV Vitamin C (IVC) in conjunction with IV Artesunate makes a substantial difference in advanced cancers. IV Artesunate is often administered right before high dose IV vitamin C and there is evidence that these therapies work synergistically together. In patients with Stage 4 Breast cancer, after 1 year the group that received no IV Vitamin C and IV Artesunate had a 74% survival rate. Compared to the IV Vitamin C and IV Artesunate group which had a 90% survival rate after 1 year. By year 2 the results were even more significant as the group that did not receive treatment had a 68% survival rate compared to 90% in the treatment group. It is also important to note that no adverse events were associated with this treatment.

These preliminary results strongly suggest that high dose IV Vitamin C and IV artesunate improves survival in stage 4 breast cancer patients. Evidence is growing that the use of this therapy is effective for a wide range of cancers. Research has shown that Artesunate can increase quality of life in addition to improving survival rates. Just like any other cancer therapy, it is important that it is used under the supervision of an experienced Naturopathic Physician who focuses in oncology. At my clinic I regularly see patients improve significantly when they use this therapy as part of a comprehensive integrative cancer therapy.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, First Nations Healer, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative cancer care. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

 

References:

1) MIYACHI, HAYATO, and CHRISTOPHER R. CHITAMBAR. “The anti-malarial artesunate is also active against cancer.” International journal of oncology 18 (2001): 767-773.

2) Michaelis, Martin, et al. “Anti-cancer effects of artesunate in a panel of chemoresistant neuroblastoma cell lines.” Biochemical pharmacology 79.2 (2010): 130-136.

3) Du, Ji-Hui, et al. “Artesunate induces oncosis-like cell death in vitro and has antitumor activity against pancreatic cancer xenografts in vivo.” Cancer chemotherapy and pharmacology 65.5 (2010): 895-902.

4) Efferth, Thomas, et al. “Enhancement of cytotoxicity of artemisinins toward cancer cells by ferrous iron.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine 37.7 (2004): 998-1009.

5) Zhang, Z. Y., et al. “[Artesunate combined with vinorelbine plus cisplatin in treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer: a randomized controlled trial].” Zhong xi yi jie he xue bao= Journal of Chinese integrative medicine 6.2 (2008): 134-138.

8th Annual Cancer Prevention and Healing Event April 13, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, Healing.
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Dr. Adam McLeod will be holding a special Integrative Cancer Care and Prevention Lecture on Saturday, June 6th from 12PM to 3PM. Don’t miss out! You can purchase your tickets here.

8th annual cancer prevention and healing event

Fasting Before Chemotherapy March 30, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, Chemotherapy.
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chemotherapy-vancouver-clinic

Written By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc

There has been a major movement lately for cancer patients to fast before and after an infusion of chemotherapy. When first hearing this, it sounds dangerous to encourage a patient to fast when their body is already stressed with chemotherapy. Fasting before chemotherapy has been used safely in several clinical trials1,4. It turns out that there is a significant amount of scientific data to support this therapy when the patient is properly supervised. This is a very interesting shift in thinking because the conventional approach in the past has been encouraging patients to get as many nutrients into their body as possible.

There are a number of metabolic reasons why fasting may increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy while reducing the side effects2,3. Fasting triggers normal cells to enter into a protective mode. They rapidly become more efficient and this triggers a reduction in glucose and IGF-1 levels by more than 50%3. This rapid metabolic shift would be very difficult to achieve even with a very potent mixture of drugs. Cancer cells are unable to shift into this protective mode and this makes them more vulnerable to the chemotherapy than normal cells5. This is referred to as differential protection and it has the potential to transform conventional cancer care.

The length of fasting before chemotherapy varies significantly depending on which study that you look at. The most commonly recommended fasting period is 48 hours before chemotherapy and this continues until 24 hours after the chemotherapy infusion. During this fasting period ideally the patient should only have water. It should be as close to complete fasting as possible.

Although it is clearly uncomfortable not eating for a total of 72 hours, the research is indicating that this is a worthwhile sacrifice. The discomfort from hunger will actually decrease the severity of the side effects from the chemotherapy. It is also important to keep in mind that this starvation state is triggering a powerful metabolic shift in your cells that protects your cells while making the cancer cells more vulnerable to the chemotherapy.

As fasting before chemotherapy is further researched it is likely that other mechanisms will be discovered that explain this differential protection. Even without a fully defined biochemical mechanism for this protection, it is clear that fasting does make a substantial difference. Do not implement a fasting protocol before chemotherapy without the supervision of a qualified health professional. It is essential that you are monitored during this process because fasting is not safe for everyone.

If you are currently doing chemotherapy make sure that you contact a Naturopathic Physician who focuses on cancer. There are many different naturopathic therapies which not only increase the effectiveness of the chemotherapy but they can act to reduce side effects from the chemotherapy. These natural approaches are safe to use with chemotherapy when they are used under the supervision of an experienced Naturopathic doctor. A Naturopathic Doctor that works with integrative cancer will take the time to look at your case and help you effectively integrate these approaches into your program.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, First Nations Healer, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative cancer treatments. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

Seasonal Allergies March 16, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Allergies, Alternative medicine, Naturopathy.
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Written by: Dr. Reuben Dinsmore, ND

Most people who suffer from seasonal allergies (aka allergic rhinitis) will tell you there is almost nothing worse – eyes itching and watering, nose dripping, sneezing – it doesn’t stop. You look sick, you feel sick, but you’re not technically “sick”. And while the rest of us are enjoying the sun and warm temperatures of the early spring, you are just dreading the onset of your yearly allergies.

How severely you react to environmental allergens can be based on various factors – total pollen count and the particular species in your area are obvious ones. But what many people don’t realize is that if your immune system is already operating at a certain level of over-activity, you may be primed to react.

With patients, I use the analogy of your body as a bucket with various small taps placed at different levels, allowing slow drainage. And as long as the inflow (the things coming in that your body has to process and excrete) isn’t more than the drainage capacity, then everything works fine. But if there are too many things filling up your bucket, eventually it’s going to overflow, in the form of allergies. These inputs can include underlying food sensitivities, chronic inflammatory conditions, and poor diet and sleep habits.

Allergy medications have come a long way in how effective they are at controlling symptoms; just one pill a day can keep everything under control. However, many of these drugs carry their own side effects including drowsiness and interaction with other treatments. I still get lots of patients telling me they don’t want to have to take drugs every day just to feel normal. So what are your options?

Keep your “drains” open and flowing. Support your body’s natural elimination pathways, including kidneys, liver, lungs and skin. The human body is made up mostly of water – so make sure you’re drinking plenty of it. A general rule of thumb is to aim for two litres a day, more if you’re drinking caffeinated beverages. As well as water, insoluble fibre in your diet keeps bowel movements happening regularly. Engage in regular deep breathing exercises – as well as getting rid of the carbon dioxide, this has the added bonus of decreasing the effects of the chronic stress that everyone is experiencing daily. And try to avoid clogging the pores of your skin with “beauty” products and harmful anti-perspirants. Acupuncture has also been shown to be an effective treatment to ameliorate symptoms.

Reduce your inputs. Avoid your allergy triggers whenever possible. Invest in a good HEPA air filtration system appropriate to the size of your living area. (At the very least, get a good one for your bedroom). At the height of pollen season, don’t bring your pollen-laden clothing any further into your house than necessary. Consider dropping it at the door if this is an option. Shaking it out outside, doing laundry more frequently, showering (or at least rinsing your hair) before bed – these are all ways to keep it out of your bedroom, where most of us spend the majority of our time while at home. Consider looking into any food sensitivities that may be contributing to underlying inflammation.

Choose a few good quality supplements. This is where visiting your naturopathic doctor comes in. In fact, what you’re already taking may be adding to the inflammatory burden. We’ll help decide which will help and which will just be a waste of your money. A few of the ones we’ll consider – omega-3 fatty acids/fish oils, probiotics, quercetin. But not all supplements are created equal, so either do your research or consult the experts.

Is this the year you’re finally going invest the time and effort into taking care of your allergies? Make your appointment to come see one of the doctors here at Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic.

Medical Oncologists and Naturopathic Doctors Need To Work Together March 10, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, Integrative Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Naturopathy.
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oncologists_and_naturopaths

Written by: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc

This year I had the privilege of attending the 4th annual ONCANP conference where Naturopathic Oncologists from around the world gather to discuss the latest research and advances in integrative oncology. It is exciting to see how rapidly the field is advancing and the information that was presented can certainly be applied in a clinical setting to anyone battling cancer.

I was interested to learn at the conference that several cancer clinics in the United States have Naturopathic doctors working at hospitals in collaboration with medical oncologists. The results from this collaboration are nothing short of incredible. When the data is compared to the national standards it is clear that the patients are living longer with an increased quality of life in this integrative cancer setting. One stunning example was with Stage 3 Lung Adenocarcinoma patients where the overall survival was 36 months compared to the national average of around 12 months. Study after study showed that patients were responding more effectively to the chemotherapy and that they were having less side effects. I find it extremely frustrating that this integrative model is not universal given the abundance of evidence.

Major change is needed in the medical system to incorporate this integrative model because the bottom line is that it works. The problem at this point in time is that many Medical Oncologists refuse to work with Naturopathic Doctors at all. Instead, they tell their patients to avoid all natural supplements because they will interfere with the conventional treatments. This is simply not true and it is very easy to find robust evidence supporting these integrative therapies.

Patients are not stupid, when they are given a serious diagnosis they turn to the internet in search of answers even if their oncologist says that they are wasting their time. The problem is that patients do not have the medical knowledge to recognize which supplements are appropriate for them and which ones are completely contraindicated. By telling patients to avoid all supplements and avoid all Naturopathic Doctors, patients are driven to doing their own research and taking supplements without informing their oncologist. The reality is that they need professional guidance from a Naturopathic Doctor to pick the right supplements and the Naturopathic Doctor should then inform the Oncologist about the treatment plan that the patient is on. This creates a better healing environment for the patient and it ensures that everyone is on the same page about the treatment plan.

In the past I have had Oncologists scare patients about the most benign prescriptions or supplements. Patients have been told that Omega-3’s will accelerate tumour growth because it is an “antioxidant” or that EGCG “protects cancer cells” in a patient not even on chemotherapy. These statements are simply untrue and a quick literature search would reveal dozens of references regarding the safety and effectiveness of these supplements. I have also had a number of patients who were told to discontinue a prescription of Metformin or Celebrex only when the MD found out that a Naturopathic doctor prescribed it. In these cases the patients were responding very well to the chemotherapy and they were taking these medications during this entire time period. The pharmacist who filled the prescription also didn’t have a problem with it and I am sure that had a MD prescribed the exact same thing they would have never recommended that the patient discontinue it.

Patients should not be put in a position where they are being forced to make decisions based on one health care practitioner putting fear into them about another health care practitioner. If the medical oncologist has a problem with a prescription that I write, then they should contact me about it. Just as if I change a prescription from any medical doctor I will always make an effort to inform them of this change. It is not appropriate to put the patient in this position and scare them so significantly about something so minor. Having said that, I also feel that Naturopathic Doctors need to make more of an effort to reach out to medical doctors. We also need to make more of an effort to act collaboratively for the benefit of the patient.

When I say that we need to move to an integrative model I am not suggesting that patients should avoid chemotherapy. What this means is that we use evidence based treatment plans to work synergistically with conventional medicine. Very few of my patients are not doing chemotherapy or radiation because ultimately patients do best when they are adequately supported through these conventional therapies. What many medical oncologists do not realize is that very often Naturopathic Oncologists are encouraging patients to do the same plan that they recommended. Often the oncologist scared the patient away from the conventional therapy just based on how they described the treatment. As Naturopathic Oncologists, we make an effort to educate the patient and give them the support that they need through these conventional therapies. When patients feel supported they are more likely to follow through with chemotherapy and they will respond better to treatment.

I have send out many letters to medical oncologists informing them of the treatment plan and many do not even reply to my letter. A handful of oncologists have replied and I have a good relationship with these doctors. Medical Oncologists need to stop pretending like Naturopathic Doctors don’t exist or that we have nothing to offer. For the benefit of the patient every medical oncologist should make an effort to establish a good relationship with a Naturopathic doctor that they trust. Whether they like it or not, patients are seeking this integrative care and they should at least be directed to a Naturopathic doctor that can collaborate with the medical oncologist. We need to work together for the benefit of the patient.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, First Nations Healer, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative cancer treatments. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

DCA and Cancer March 9, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, Integrative Medicine.
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dca_and_cancer

By: Dr. Adam McLeod , ND, BSc

Several years ago there was a huge buzz in the media about Dichloroacetic Acid (DCA) and its use in cancer1. The public was outraged that DCA could be an effective cancer therapy and that the government showed little interest because DCA could not be patented. The drug companies ignored any evidence related to this therapy because without a patent it was simply not a profitable venture. Fortunately, some private researchers raised enough money to continue studies into this simple yet effective therapy.

DCA was initially used for lactic acidosis, a condition where the blood has high levels of lactic acid. The DCA inhibits the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase which causes a major shift in metabolism from fermentation to oxidation in the mitochondria2. In other words, it forces the mitochondria in cells to become more active. This is relevant to cancer because the survival of cancer cells depends on the mitochondria being dormant. The mitochondria are capable of triggering cell death in abnormal or damaged cells. Cancer cells are grossly abnormal and they often depend on the mitochondria being inactive.

The ultimate goal of this therapy is to activate the mitochondria and allow them to trigger cell death in the abnormal cancerous cells. The DCA will certainly help to activate these pathways but it is essential that patients also exercise. By regularly doing aerobic exercise you are also stimulating the mitochondria. The excessive energetic demands during exercise trigger the mitochondria to be more active and burn oxygen. DCA when combined with exercise significantly increases the consumption of oxygen by the mitochondria which is an indication that the mitochondria are being further activated5.

It is essential for cancer patients (not just patients on DCA) to do aerobic exercise if they are physically able to. It does not matter what that type of exercise it is, just as long as it is a moderate aerobic exercise that you are able to do on a regular basis. There is an overwhelming body of evidence which clearly shows that cancer patients who regularly exercise simply do much better than those who do not. It is possible that this mitochondrial activation could be one of the reasons for this.

Most of the research seems to indicate that DCA is more effective for cancers that are localized in the nervous system3. Although it can be used for other types of cancer, it is less indicated for cancers that do not localize to the nervous system. A very common side effect from chemotherapy is neuropathy4 and DCA should be used with caution if there are any signs of neuropathy. There are no known drug interactions with DCA except for the drug Lasix which is a diuretic. Overall DCA is a very safe therapy and there are many studies that demonstrate the safety of this therapy.

The bottom line is that DCA is an effective therapy when used appropriately. It is not a cure on its own but DCA can be a major part of an effective and comprehensive integrative cancer treatment plan. It can be administered either orally or intravenously. The oral dose is typically 15-20mg/kg and it is cycled 2 weeks on followed by 1 week off. It is extremely important to have the appropriate neurological support during this therapy. DCA is known to cause significant neuropathy and you must be monitored by a physician who is experienced with the use of DCA. Common neurological support includes NAC, Thiamine (B1) and ALA. It is essential that you consult with a Naturopathic physician who focuses in cancer to know what neurological support is best suited for you.

A Naturopathic doctor that works with cancer will take the time to look at your case and will write you a prescription for DCA if it is truly indicated. Contact Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic to see if this is the right therapy for you.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, First Nations Healer, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative cancer care. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

References

1) “Cheap, ‘safe’ drug kills most cancers”. New Scientist. 2007-01-17. Retrieved 2014-08-23.

2) Stacpoole PW (1989). “The pharmacology of dichloroacetate”. Metabolism 38 (11): 1124–1144. doi:10.1016/0026-0495(89)90051-6. PMID 2554095

3) Michelakis E D, et al. Metabolic Modulation of Glioblastoma with Dichloriacetate. Sci Transl Med 12 May 2010: Vol. 2, Issue 31

4) Abramowski MC. Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain. J of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology. 2010;1:279-283.

5) Ludvik, Bernhard, et al. “Effects of dichloroacetate on exercise performance in healthy volunteers.” Pflügers Archiv423.3-4 (1993): 251-254.

Exercise and Cancer March 2, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, exercise.
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cancer-and-exercise

Written by: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc

Everyone has heard that exercise is good for your wellbeing. This is not debated at all in the medical community yet when it comes to cancer care patients often forget about the benefits of exercise as they focus their attention on more exotic treatment plans. Exercise is not a cure for cancer but it is certainly an important part of an integrative cancer program.

How does exercise benefit cancer patients? It turns out that there are a number of different reasons why exercise has such a positive impact on cancer patients. The immune system becomes more activated during exercise as the monocytes increase the concentration of specific receptors on their surface1. There are numerous physiological and psychological changes that occur with regular exercise that are very beneficial to cancer patients3.

Several studies clearly demonstrate that patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation do much better if they are exercising regularly2,4. Patients who regularly exercise during these therapies have better clinical outcomes and significantly improved quality of life. Although this is well established in the medical community it is rarely suggested by medical oncologists. This attitude needs to change because when the body is being exposed to toxic treatments it is essential to use every tool at our disposal to help the body adapt to this stress. Exercise is certainly one of many effective basic tools that can help patients deal with the stress of chemotherapy and radiation.

Not only is exercise important during cancer therapies, it is also effective at preventing cancer recurrence7. Although some researchers dispute the significance of recurrence prevention, no one disputes that regular exercise decreases overall mortality in cancer survivors5,6. Women with estrogen positive breast cancer after a successful surgery will be put on tamoxifen for 5 years minimum to reduce the risk of recurrence by only a few percentage points8. In a prospective observational study of almost 3000 RN’s with a history of breast cancer, it showed that women who walked 3-5 hours per week were 43% less likely to develop recurrent breast cancer and 50% less likely to die from breast cancer than women who engaged in less than 1 hour of physical activity per week9. I find it amazing that some patients will readily adhere to taking a drug for 5-10 years yet they are resistant to exercising.

The bottom line is that at every phase in cancer therapy, regular exercise is a powerful adjunct to conventional cancer therapy. It helps to prevent the development of cancer. It helps patients get through the aggressive cancer therapies necessary to kill the cancer. Regular exercise also helps to prevent the recurrence of cancer after a successfully eliminating the cancerous cells. More cancer patients need to be aware of the simple fact that regular exercise makes a big difference when fighting cancer.

A Naturopathic doctor that works with cancer will take the time to look at your case and help you effectively integrate exercise into your program. Contact Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic to see how Naturopathic medicine can help you.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, First Nations Healer, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative cancer treatments. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

References:

1) Peters, C., et al. “Exercise, cancer and the immune response of monocytes.” Anticancer research 15.1 (1994): 175-179.

2) Mock, Victoria, et al. “Effects of exercise on fatigue, physical functioning, and emotional distress during radiation therapy for breast cancer.” Oncology nursing forum. Vol. 24. No. 6. 1997.

3) Burnham, Timothy R., and Anthony Wilcox. “Effects of exercise on physiological and psychological variables in cancer survivors.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2002).

4) Courneya, KERRY S. “Exercise in cancer survivors: an overview of research.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 35.11 (2003): 1846-1852.

5) Irwin, Melinda L., et al. “Randomized controlled trial of aerobic exercise on insulin and insulin-like growth factors in breast cancer survivors: the Yale Exercise and Survivorship study.” Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 18.1 (2009): 306-313.

6) Irwin, Melinda L., et al. “Influence of pre-and postdiagnosis physical activity on mortality in breast cancer survivors: the health, eating, activity, and lifestyle study.” Journal of clinical oncology 26.24 (2008): 3958-3964.

7) Loprinzi, Paul D., et al. “Physical activity and the risk of breast cancer recurrence: a literature review.” Oncology nursing forum. Vol. 39. No. 3. Oncology Nursing Society, 2012.

8) Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group. “Relevance of breast cancer hormone receptors and other factors to the efficacy of adjuvant tamoxifen: patient-level meta-analysis of randomised trials.” The lancet 378.9793 (2011): 771-784.

9) Holmes, Michelle D., et al. “Physical activity and survival after breast cancer diagnosis.” Jama 293.20 (2005): 2479-2486.

Cancer: Know your enemy December 4, 2014

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, Naturopathic Medicine.
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Cancer;know your enemy

By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc

Chemotherapy is an effective tool at killing cancer cells when it is used appropriately. The biggest challenge is knowing which drug is best suited for an individual’s cancer. Over the years we have learned that certain cancers tend to be more vulnerable to specific chemotherapies. This has resulted in specific protocols being assigned to patients in a “cookie cutter system”. For example, if you have hodgkins lymphoma you are given ABVD1. If you have non-hodgkins lymphoma you are given CHOP2. This model is currently the standard of care with cancer treatment but it is clear that this is not the most effective way to treat cancer.

It is true that certain cancers tend to be susceptible to certain chemotherapies but these generalizations are not universally correct. There is an incredible degree of variation between cancer cells in different people. Genetic variations are significant even between different cells within one tumour in an individual3. In fact, very often there is a protocol different than the standard chemotherapy regimen that would be more effective4. Unless tests are done there is no way of knowing which protocol will be the most effective. It is essential to run these tests first and have a clear rationale for the chemotherapy protocol rather than testing on the patient through trial and error.

There is no question that targeted cancer therapies are the future of oncology. It is very important for patients to realize that we already have the ability to do this. Personalized cancer therapy is available but it is rarely encouraged by oncologists due to the costs. Although these tests are often not covered, they can be done privately for approximately $4000.00.

The older chemotherapy protocols involve using extremely toxic compounds that target any cell which is growing rapidly. In recent years there have been major advances in drugs that target specific pathways in cancer cells5. Before using these targeted drugs effectively it is essential to know which targets the cancer cells are vulnerable to.

When a surgery or biopsy is performed on a cancerous mass it is essential that the sample be sent to a lab that runs these personalized genomic tests. The cancerous cells will be tested against hundreds of different types of chemotherapies and clear evidence will be obtained about which drugs the cancer is actually susceptible to. This vulnerability of the cancer is determined by an actual test on the cells rather than making generalizations based on the type of cancer. As these tests become more affordable it will inevitably become the future standard of care because it is so much more effective than the current standard model.

This is something that patients need to ask for before the surgery. You cannot ask for it to be done afterwards because the cells will not be adequately preserved. This service is rarely offered to patients and few are even aware that this is an option. You need to specifically ask for the cells to be sent to a lab that runs these tests.

Personalized cancer therapy gives patients many additional treatment options. If they do not tolerate the initial chemotherapy regiment well or if the cancer becomes resistant to the first line therapy, then there is a potential “Plan B” that is effective based on molecular evidence. By running this test it will give your oncologist data that justifies the use of a protocol, which may deviate from the current standard of care. The data will give a distinct molecular profile of the cancer that allows a customized treatment plan to be developed for you.

If this customized approach is something you are interested in doing make sure you speak to your oncologist. Any naturopathic doctor who works with cancer on a regular basis will also be familiar with these tests. Contact your local naturopathic doctor to see if this test is right for you.

Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, First Nations Healer, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author http://www.dreamhealer.com

He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, BC where he focuses on integrative cancer care.http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

References:

1) Bonadonna G, Zucali R, Monfardini S, De Lena M, Uslenghi C (1975). “Combination chemotherapy of Hodgkin’s disease with adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and imidazole carboxamide versus MOPP.”. Cancer 36 (1): 252–9

2) Fisher RI, Gaynor ER, Dahlberg S, Oken MM, Grogan TM, Mize EM, Glick JH, Coltman CA Jr, Miller TP (1993). “Comparison of a standard regimen (CHOP) with three intensive chemotherapy regimens for advanced non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”. N Engl J Med 328 (14): 1002–6.

3) Ross, Douglas T., et al. “Systematic variation in gene expression patterns in human cancer cell lines.” Nature genetics 24.3 (2000): 227-235.

4) Strickland, Stephen A., et al. “Correlation of the microculture-kinetic drug-induced apoptosis assay with patient outcomes in initial treatment of adult acute myelocytic leukemia.” Leukemia & lymphoma 54.3 (2013): 528-534.

5) McDermott, Ultan, and Jeff Settleman. “Personalized cancer therapy with selective kinase inhibitors: an emerging paradigm in medical oncology.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 27.33 (2009): 5650-5659.

Stress causes Cancer November 28, 2014

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, Naturopathic Medicine, stress.
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blog-stress-cancer

By: Dr. Adam McLeod , ND

Everyday in my practice I see cancer patients who feel that there is a very strong emotional source to their cancer. Patients will often be able to directly connect the formation of their cancer with a stressful event in their life. This is not an imaginary connection, there are biological reasons why emotional stress can trigger the formation of cancer.

Stress can cause cancer. It is important to point out that this is not a hypothetical concept. This is a statement that is well supported by scientific evidence1,2,3. The link between cancer and stress is well established and is not debated by the scientific community. Many people are not aware how significant this connection is and often this connection is disregarded by medical doctors, despite the body of evidence.

There are a number of different biological reasons why stress inhibits the immune system in its fight against cancer. Natural Killer cells are essential in resisting the progression and metastatic spread of tumours once they have developed4. It is well documented that the activity of these crucial cells decreases significantly with stress5. In other words, the cells that patrol your body looking for abnormal cells are less active when you are under stress.

A key component to the development of cancer is mutations in the DNA. A number of well controlled studies have shown that cells are less efficient at repairing DNA damage when a patient is stressed. Patients who are more depressed show significantly poorer repair of damaged DNA compared to their less depressed counterparts6. This is significant because the mutations that drive the initiation and development of cancer are not repaired as effectively in a patient under stressful conditions.

In addition to the effects of stress on DNA repair, additional research has shown that apoptosis is inhibited by stress7. When a cell begins to turn cancerous, the cell will undergo what is called programmed cell death (also known as apoptosis). In other words, when a cell begins to get too abnormal it will commit suicide. This is one of the most fundamental defense mechanisms that our body has to fight the development of cancer. When this process is inhibited, clearly the risk for developing cancer is higher.

The good news is that you can help your body fight cancer by reducing stress and focusing your intentions on healing. One of the most comprehensive intervention studies in cancer research evaluated the effects of stress management techniques, such as relaxation on cancer recurrence following removal of malignant melanoma9. Not only did the relaxed group experience reduced psychological distress, they also had more active immune systems. A 6-year follow up of these patients showed a trend toward greater recurrence and higher mortality rates in the control group, compared to the relaxed group8. The bottom line is that patients who focus on reducing stress and focusing their minds on healing not only have a better prognosis, they also have lower rates of developing cancer in the first place. Given what we know about the connection between immune function and stress, this conclusion should not be surprising.

When fighting cancer it is important to use every tool at your disposal to increase the chances of a successful recovery. The immune system must be strong to fight off any serious disease. Our minds can dramatically influence how our cells respond to stress and this is intimately connected to the function of the immune system. We all need to take control of our health and use this connection to our advantage. By reducing stress and focusing our minds on healing we will live longer and happier lives10. This is a powerful tool that we can all use to our advantage.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, First Nations Healer, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative cancer care. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

References:

1)    Bovberj DH. Physchoneuroimmunology: Implications for oncology? Cancer 1991; 67: 828-832.

2)    Spiegel D, Kato PM. Psychosocial influences on cancer incidence and progression. Harvard Rev Psychiatry 1996; 4: 10-26.

3)    Andersen BL, Farrar WB, Golden-Kreutz D et al. Stress and immune responses after surgical treatment for regional breast cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 1998; 90: 30-36.

4)    Herberman RB. Immunotherapy. In Lenhard RE Jr, Osteen RT, Gansler T (eds): Clinical Oncology. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society 2001; 215-223.

5)    Zorrilla EP, Luborsky L, MacKay JR et al. The relationship of depression and stressors to immunological assays: A meta-analytic review. Brain Behav Immun 2001; 15: 199-226.

6)    Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Stephen RE, Lipetz PD et al. Distress and DNA repair in human lymphocytes. J Behav Med 1985; 8: 311-320.

7)    Tomei LD, Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Kennedy S, Glaser R. Psychological stress and phorbol ester inhibition of radiation-induced apoptosis in human PBLs. Psychiatry Res 1990; 33: 59-71.

8)    Fawzy IF, Fawzy NW, Hyun CS et al. Malignant melanoma: effects of an early structured psychiatric intervention, coping and affective state on recurrence and survival 6 years later. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1993; 50: 681-689.

9)    Fawnzy IF, Kemeny ME, Fawzy NW et al. A structured psychiatric intervention for cancer patients. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1990; 47: 729-735.

10)  Veenhoven et al. Healthy happiness: effects of happiness on physical health and the consequences for preventative health care. Journal of Happiness Studies, 2008; 9(3): 449.

Mistletoe the Parasite October 1, 2014

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, Health.
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vancouver cancer care

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that directly derives almost all of its nutrition from other flowering plants. By parasitizing other plants, they have a competitive advantage over many other forms of life because they do not have to compete in soil for their water and nutrient needs. This description of mistletoe sounds surprisingly similar to how cancer operates. When you look at mistletoe growing on a tree it looks very much like a tumour. Cancer gets all of its nutrition from other cells within the human body and it has a competitive advantage because it does not abide by the same rules as other cells in the body.

It turns out the mistletoe can be used to effectively treat cancer, even in advanced cases1,2,3. In North America this is often considered a “fringe treatment” yet if you go to Germany this is a mainstream therapy that is well established by the scientific community. The use of mistletoe dramatically reduces the side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation. The effects are so dramatic that some countries have already made this the standard of care for cancer treatment. The use of mistletoe as the new standard of care was of huge financial benefit to these countries because of the significant decrease in complications from chemotherapy and radiation.

Although there are several different ways to administer mistletoe, the most common is regular subcutaneous injections. This involves the use of small insulin needles and injecting the mistletoe just under the skin. After injecting the mistletoe lectins the immune system immediately begins to attack the injected fluid resulting in a small red rash around the injection site. This immune activation is an excellent outcome in the context of cancer. By activating the immune system at the site of injection it consequently activates the immune system in the entire body.

Mistletoe has been shown to stimulate increases in the number and the activity of several types of white blood cells4. Immune-system-enhancing cytokines, such as interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor -alpha, are released by white blood cells after exposure to mistletoeextracts5,6. Other evidence suggests that mistletoe exerts its cytotoxic effects by interfering with protein synthesis in target cells and by inducing apoptosis7.

Just like any cancer therapy it is essential that it is used in the right context. When this therapy is used there will initially be a swelling of the tumour, this is a consequence of the immune activation. If there are any detectable masses contained within the skull, then clearly swelling is not desirable. Mistletoe therapy is contraindicated in patients that have any detectable mass in the brain. It also must be used with caution on patients that are are cachexic and malnourished. The sudden release of cytokines associated with immune activation can worsen the malnourished state.

Mistletoe therapy only costs approximately $250 dollars per month and it can be used in conjunction with other medical therapies. I regularly use mistletoe with my patients at the clinic and it is an effective cancer therapy when used appropriately. On a regular basis I see patients improve when they use this therapy as part of a comprehensive integrative cancer therapy. Contact Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic to see if this is the right therapy for you.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, First Nations Healer, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative cancer care. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

References:

1. Mistletoe. In: Murray MT: The Healing Power of Herbs. Roseville, Calif: Prima Publishing, 1995, pp 253-9.

2. Samtleben R, Hajto T, Hostanska K, et al.: Mistletoe lectins as immunostimulants (chemistry, pharmacology and clinic). In: Wagner H, ed.: Immunomodulatory Agents from Plants. Basel, Switzerland: Birkhauser Verlag, 1999, pp 223-41.

3. Hajto T, Lanzrein C: Natural killer and antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity activities and large granular lymphocyte frequencies in Viscum album-treated breast cancer patients. Oncology 43 (2): 93-7, 1986.

4. Büssing A, Regnery A, Schweizer K: Effects of Viscum album L. on cyclophosphamide-treated peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro: sister chromatid exchanges and activation/proliferation marker expression. Cancer Lett 94 (2): 199-205, 1995.

5. Hajto T: Immunomodulatory effects of iscador: a Viscum album preparation. Oncology 43 (Suppl 1): 51-65, 1986.

6. Hajto T, Hostanska K, Frei K, et al.: Increased secretion of tumor necrosis factors alpha, interleukin 1, and interleukin 6 by human mononuclear cells exposed to beta-galactoside-specific lectin from clinically applied mistletoe extract. Cancer Res 50 (11): 3322-6, 1990.

7. Mengs U, Schwarz T, Bulitta M, et al.: Antitumoral effects of an intravesically applied aqueous mistletoe extract on urinary bladder carcinoma MB49 in mice. Anticancer Res 20 (5B): 3565-8, 2000 Sep- Oct.

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