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New study sheds light on why cancer often strikes those with healthy lifestyles August 21, 2018

Posted by Dreamhealer in Cancer, cancer prevention, cancer therapy, Cancer Treatment, oncology, Research.
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Most cancer mutations are due to random DNA copying ‘mistakes,’ not inherited or environmental factors, Johns Hopkins researchers say.

A new study by scientists at Johns Hopkins provides evidence that random, unpredictable DNA copying “mistakes” account for nearly two-thirds of the mutations that cause cancer.

The researchers say their conclusions are supported by epidemiologic studies showing that approximately 40 percent of cancers can be prevented by avoiding unhealthy environments and lifestyles. But among the factors driving the new study, they add, is that cancer often strikes people who follow all the rules of healthy living—nonsmoker, healthy diet, healthy weight, little or no exposure to known carcinogens—and have no family history of the disease, prompting the pained question, “Why me?”

“It is well-known that we must avoid environmental factors such as smoking to decrease our risk of getting cancer. But it is not as well-known that each time a normal cell divides and copies its DNA to produce two new cells, it makes multiple mistakes,” says Cristian Tomasetti, assistant professor of biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “These copying mistakes are a potent source of cancer mutations that historically have been scientifically undervalued, and this new work provides the first estimate of the fraction of mutations caused by these mistakes.”

Adds Bert Vogelstein, co-director of the Ludwig Center at the Kimmel Cancer Center: “We need to continue to encourage people to avoid environmental agents and lifestyles that increase their risk of developing cancer mutations. However, many people will still develop cancers due to these random DNA copying errors, and better methods to detect all cancers earlier, while they are still curable, are urgently needed,”

Tomasetti and Vogelstein’s research will be published Friday in the journal Science.

Current and future efforts to reduce known environmental risk factors, they say, will have major impacts on cancer incidence in the U.S and abroad. But they say the new study confirms that too little scientific attention is given to early detection strategies that would address the large number of cancers caused by random DNA copying errors.

“These cancers will occur no matter how perfect the environment,” Vogelstein says.

In a previous study authored by Tomasetti and Vogelstein in the Jan. 2, 2015, issue of Science, the pair reported that DNA copying errors could explain why certain cancers in the U.S., such as those of the colon, occur more commonly than other cancers, such as brain cancer.

In the new study, the researchers addressed a different question: What fraction of mutations in cancer are due to these DNA copying errors?

To answer this question, the scientists took a close look at the mutations that drive abnormal cell growth among 32 cancer types. They developed a new mathematical model using DNA sequencing data from The Cancer Genome Atlas and epidemiologic data from the Cancer Research UK database.

According to the researchers, it generally takes two or more critical gene mutations for cancer to occur. In a person, these mutations can be due to random DNA copying errors, the environment, or inherited genes. Knowing this, Tomasetti and Vogelstein used their mathematical model to show, for example, that when critical mutations in pancreatic cancers are added together, 77 percent of them are due to random DNA copying errors, 18 percent to environmental factors (such as smoking), and the remaining 5 percent to heredity.

In other cancer types, such as those of the prostate, brain, or bone, more than 95 percent of the mutations are due to random copying errors.

Lung cancer, they note, presents a different picture: 65 percent of all the mutations are due to environmental factors, mostly smoking, and 35 percent are due to DNA copying errors. Inherited factors are not known to play a role in lung cancers.

Looking across all 32 cancer types studied, the researchers estimate that 66 percent of cancer mutations result from copying errors, 29 percent can be attributed to lifestyle or environmental factors, and the remaining 5 percent are inherited.

The scientists say their approach is akin to attempts to sort out why “typos” occur when typing a 20-volume book: being tired while typing, which represents environmental exposures; a stuck or missing key in the keyboard, which represent inherited factors; and other typographical errors that randomly occur, which represent DNA copying errors.

“You can reduce your chance of typographical errors by making sure you’re not drowsy while typing and that your keyboard isn’t missing some keys,” Vogelstein says. “But typos will still occur, because no one can type perfectly. Similarly, mutations will occur, no matter what your environment is, but you can take steps to minimize those mutations by limiting your exposure to hazardous substances and unhealthy lifestyles.”

Tomasetti and Vogelstein’s 2015 study created vigorous debate from scientists who argued that their previously published analysis did not include breast or prostate cancers, and it reflected only cancer incidence in the United States.

Tomasetti and Vogelstein now report a similar pattern worldwide, however, supporting their conclusions. They reasoned that the more cells divide, the higher the potential for so-called copying mistakes in the DNA of cells in an organ. They compared total numbers of stem cell divisions with cancer incidence data collected by the International Agency for Research on Canceron 423 registries of cancer patients from 68 countries other than the United States, representing 4.8 billion people, or more than half of the world’s population. This time, the researchers were also able to include data from breast and prostate cancers. They found a strong correlation between cancer incidence and normal cell divisions among 17 cancer types, regardless of the countries’ environment or stage of economic development.

Tomasetti says these random DNA copying errors will only get more important as societies face aging populations, prolonging the opportunity for our cells to make more and more DNA copying errors. And because these errors contribute to a large fraction of cancer, Vogelstein says that people with cancer who have avoided known risk factors should be comforted by their findings.

“It’s not your fault,” says Vogelstein. “Nothing you did or didn’t do was responsible for your illness.”

In addition to Tomasetti and Vogelstein, Lu Li, a doctoral student in Tomasetti’s laboratory in the Department of Biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, also contributed to the research.

Article retrieved from: https://hub.jhu.edu/2017/03/23/cancer-mutations-caused-by-random-dna-mistakes/

The Real Truth About Cancer February 22, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, Cancer, cancer therapy, Healing, Naturopathic Doctor, Naturopathic Medicine, oncology.
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Written By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc (Hons)

Recently there have been a surge in patients seeking alternative cures for cancer after watching the popular series “The Truth About Cancer”. This series does an excellent job of raising awareness about various natural therapies but it does patients a great disservice by discouraging patients from using conventional therapies. This documentary has given patients a biased view point and as a consequence they feel very polarized in their opinion against conventional care. The problem is that the best treatment plan involves integrating these two worlds together. Both conventional therapies and natural therapies have a lot that they can offer patients but they must be used together in a synergistic way for optimal results.

Patients have the right to choose what ever treatment plan they want. As a Naturopathic physician I have always respected my patients choices, even if I disagree with that choice. It is not my job to force the patient to choose a treatment plan, it is my job to give them the information and then they choose the treatment plan that feels right to them. When developing a treatment plan the key word is “integrative” not “alternative”. This means using natural tools safely and effectively in conjunction with conventional therapies. An integrative approach is what any licensed naturopathic doctor would be recommending and unfortunately this documentary confuses the public by giving them the impression that naturopathic doctors are against conventional cancer treatments. By presenting such a polarized view it often discourages patients from seeking true integrative care that could really benefit them.

Make no mistake about it, I am a big believer in the healing power of nature but this series greatly exaggerates the effectiveness of many natural therapies. Of course there are home runs with simple natural therapies. I have personally witnessed on many occasions where patients have dramatic responses to the simplest natural therapies. Although these responses are amazing and they require further investigation, it does not mean that everyone should abandon all conventional therapies in favour of an alternative approach. What the documentary fails to document is the many people who chose to pursue only alternative therapies and had poor responses. Cancer is unforgiving of delays and poor choices. It is true that chemotherapy, radiation and surgery have side effects but cancer has side effects too.

Many of the natural therapies that this documentary chooses to highlight are not commonly recommended by experts who work in the integrative oncology field. Things like baking soda and apricot seeds are not mainstream natural cancer therapies and have virtually no evidence of being effective. There are countless natural therapies which are more effective than this and which are well supported by scientific evidence. Not all cancers are the same and you must have professional guidance when developing a plan. Many natural therapies are completely contraindicated in certain cancers and just because it is natural does not mean that it is universally safe.

Of course there are times where the use of chemotherapy is questionable. In some circumstances the cancer is unlikely to respond to the drug and intensive therapies are being recommended to only slightly extend life expectancy. In these cases the lowered quality of life must be weighed against the increased life expectancy. There are certainly cases like this where the medical oncologists are only recommending such therapies because there are no other options. It is not unreasonable for patients to resist conventional care in some of these extreme circumstances.

The key thing to recognize is that this does not apply to all cases of cancer. Conventional cancer treatments save lives when used in a timely fashion. The study cited in the series that states the ineffectiveness of chemotherapy is not presenting this information properly. This study is questioning the use of chemotherapy in the context of 5 year survival rate. By the time many of these cancers in the study were diagnosed, the disease had already greatly progressed and it is unlikely that anyone would live for 5 years, regardless of what therapy they choose.

When you take the time to dig deeper into the study it is clear that in many of these cancers the patients are living significantly longer but many of them are not living up to the 5 year mark. In this particular study someone could live for several years with a great quality of life but if they died at 4 years and 11 months then the chemotherapy would be considered ineffective. Obviously if a patient is able to live longer with a good quality of life, this is a success even if they don’t live for 5 years. The public is often left with this false impression that all chemotherapy leaves patients with a crippled quality of life. Certainly some chemotherapies significantly decrease quality of life but not all chemotherapy is the same. Particularly when patients are well supported they have significantly less side effects and can live with a great quality of life. It is not unusual for me to have a patient come to my office who has minimal side effects even when doing an intense round of chemotherapy because they are well supported naturally during this process.

You will never have all studies agree as this is how science works. We cannot base our clinical decisions on one study, we must base it on the totality of the evidence. A quick literature search will find thousands of peer reviewed studies demonstrating the effectiveness of chemotherapy for a wide range of cancers. I have had many patients in the past refuse conventional care against my advice and fly to exotic clinics around the world to receive alternative therapies. During these unnecessary delays the cancer spread to the point that it was no longer curable. In some of these cases I was confident that the patient could have been easily cured had they not hesitated.

Natural therapies can be used to help support patients through conventional treatments. They can help to significantly reduce side effects and support the immune system. When patients have this support not only do they respond better to therapy, they are more likely to embrace both therapies as their answer to this terrible disease. Often those who are the most polarized in their opinions against an integrative approach are people with little to no experience dealing with cancer. These two worlds can coexist and it is a beautiful thing when there is true collaboration.

The bottom line is that a balanced approach is best. The extreme view that no natural therapies work is simply incorrect. Just as the extreme view that only natural therapies should be used is inaccurate. The best treatment plan is an integrative approach which bridges these two worlds. Many patients get scared away from conventional therapies because their oncologist presents the treatments with such a polarized point of view. When you are trained as a hammer, everything looks like a nail. This becomes obvious to many patients after meeting with their oncologist who has a limited set of tools to offer. There are a vast range of natural therapies that can be used to help your body fight cancer but they have to be used in the proper clinical context. A Naturopathic doctor who works with oncology can help to give you a more balanced view and develop a treatment plan that utilizes the best of both worlds.

Dr. McLeod is currently accepting new patients at Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic, please call 604-235-8068 to book an appointment or for more information about integrative oncology treatments. Yaletown Naturopathic is also one of only a few clinics in all of North America who offers Loco Regional Hyperthermia to patients who qualify for this treatment.

Get well. Stay well. 

Are Electromagnetic Fields Dangerous? January 11, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in Cancer, Cell Phones, Healing, Health, oncology.
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Written By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc (Hons)

For those of us who live in the city, we are constantly surrounded by electromagnetic fields. This is simply unavoidable in modern society yet this is a recent change. We are exposed to substantially more electromagnetic radiation than our ancestors. In fact, most of us are completely surrounded by these electromagnetic fields 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The obvious question is, are these electromagnetic fields safe to be around?

There is a common belief in the general population that powerful magnetic fields do not affect living organisms. Perhaps this originates from movies such as Terminator where robots shut down in the presence of these fields while humans seem unaffected. Although the effects may not be as dramatic as a machine interacting with these fields, living organisms are most certainly effected by electromagnetic fields. When you take the time to break down what electromagnetic fields are and how cells interact with them, the reasons are obvious.

What is an electromagnetic field? An electromagnetic field is a physical field produced by electrically charged objects. It extends indefinitely through space and affects the behaviour of charged objects in the vicinity of the field. The chemistry that drives life is dependent on subtle interactions between charged particles. For example, it is the distribution of charged amino acids in a protein that ultimately determine the structure and function of that protein. Your brain functions by creating a distinct yet delicate distribution of charged ions. This is how a nerve impulse moves through your body. These subtle interactions are critical for all living organisms.

It is clear that these fields will influence the biochemistry of any living organism but the implications of this interaction are poorly understood. There is some evidence to suggest that electromagnetic fields are dangerous. In one large Norwegian study, electrical workers with 10 or more years of working experience were 41% more likely to develop leukemia and brain tumours1. A different study indicated that there is a connection between exposure to electromagnetic fields and the development of male breast cancer2. Although numerous studies indicate a connection between cancer and electromagnetic fields, there is still some controversy about how significant this interaction is3.

When I was a teenager my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Thankfully it was successfully removed surgically with no major complications. After the surgery my mother always proclaimed that there was a connection between cell phone use and her tumour. She was suddenly more sensitive to the radiation from a cell phone and she could not even talk on a cell phone unless she put it on speaker phone. At the time there was no evidence to support this connection, but there is now an abundance of evidence that supports a connection between regular cell phone use and the development of brain tumours4,5,6,7. Perhaps what is most convincing about this data is that there is a consistent pattern of association between mobile phone use and ipsilateral glioma and acoustic neuroma. In other words, these people are consistently developing tumours on the same side of their head that they hold their cell phone.

As I was writing this it forced me to look at my own habits and reassess my own exposure to electromagnetic fields. I am constantly surrounded by computers, laptops and cell phones. This is unavoidable for those of us who work in the city and the reality is that I am not prepared to eliminate these items from my life, not yet at least. I have however made several small changes in my life when it comes to electronic devices. Whenever I sit down at a table I will always take my phone out of my pocket and put it on the table. I also make en effort to put my phone on airplane mode whenever possible. When sleeping I always make sure that my phone is as far away from me as possible (ie on the other side of the room rather than beside my bed). These are small changes but I believe that they will significantly reduce my exposure to electromagnetic fields.

The purpose of this article was not to scare people about every electronic device or encourage people to hide from cities. It is important that as a society we become aware that we do not fully understand the significance of how these fields influence our health and that they may be dangerous. Perhaps by recognizing this interaction we can one day make changes as a society to reduce our exposure to these fields.

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

References:

1) Tynes, Tore, Aage Andersen, and FrØydis Langmark. “Incidence of cancer in Norwegian workers potentially exposed to electromagnetic fields.” American Journal of Epidemiology 136.1 (1992): 81-88.

2) Demers, Paul A., et al. “Occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields and breast cancer in men.” American Journal of Epidemiology 134.4 (1991): 340-347.

3) Heynick, Louis N., Sheila A. Johnston, and Patrick A. Mason. “Radio frequency electromagnetic fields: cancer, mutagenesis, and genotoxicity.” Bioelectromagnetics 24.S6 (2003): S74-S100.

4) Khurana, Vini G., et al. “Cell phones and brain tumors: a review including the long-term epidemiologic data.” Surgical neurology 72.3 (2009): 205-214.

5) Hardell, Lennart, et al. “Long-term use of cellular phones and brain tumours: increased risk associated with use for⩾ 10 years.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine 64.9 (2007): 626-632.

6) Hardell, Lennart, et al. “Cellular and cordless telephones and the risk for brain tumours.” European Journal of Cancer Prevention 11.4 (2002): 377-386.

7) Hardell, Lennart, et al. “Meta-analysis of long-term mobile phone use and the association with brain tumours.”International journal of oncology 32.5 (2008): 1097-1103.

The Connection between Childhood Abuse and Cancer October 17, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, Cancer, Healthcare, integrative cancer care, Naturopathic Doctor, Naturopathic Medicine, oncology, Research.
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best vancouver naturopath dr adam mcleodWritten By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc (Hons)

It is not unusual for patients to feel a connection between past emotional traumas and the formation of their cancer. In recent years the mainstream scientific community has started to seriously research this connection. It turns out that these patients are indeed correct and there are large studies to support this connection. Childhood abuse increases the risk of developing cancer in adulthood1,5.

A recent study in journal Cancer demonstrated that adults who reported physical abuse as children were 47% more likely to develop cancer1. There are many well documented physiological changes that occur with this type of abuse2,3. More patients need to recognize that there are clear psychological and physical changes that occur from abuse which make it more likely to develop cancer4. This is not an imaginary connection, it is a very real connection that is supported by large scale studies.

The immune system is constantly patrolling the body looking for any abnormal cells and engages them before it manifests into a clinical disease. During periods of acute stress the immune system is significantly weaker. The immune system will therefore be less likely to recognize these cancerous cells and it will be less effective at preventing the development of cancer.

The stress from childhood abuse continues well after the abuse has stopped. Many patients are permanently scarred emotionally and these emotional stressors will continue weaken the immune system. Many people develop post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childhood abuse. Abuse victims often remain silent about their experience and as a result have no outlet to deal with the PTSD. Many of these patients feel that it is in their best interest to never bring it up and move on with their lives as if nothing happened. What they do not know is that these past traumas are effecting them in a very physical way. In some patients, one could argue that the true root cause of their cancer was the abuse that they endured as a child.

Some of the most profound healings that I have witnessed resulted from a powerful shift in the patients emotional energy. Sometimes a simple acupuncture treatment or a counselling session can bring these deeply rooted emotions to the surface. To optimize the patients immune system and promote healing it is critical that the emotional root cause of the problem is addressed. At the end of the day we want to look at every possible factor that is impacting the patient. The emotional components of healing cannot be ignored and they can make a big difference when battling something serious such as cancer.

A Naturopathic Doctor can help you to develop a safe and effective treatment plan to battle cancer on the physical and emotional levels. Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, 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) Fuller‐Thomson, Esme, and Sarah Brennenstuhl. “Making a link between childhood physical abuse and cancer.” Cancer 115.14 (2009): 3341-3350.

2) Heim, C., et al. “Lower CSF oxytocin concentrations in women with a history of childhood abuse.” Molecular psychiatry 14.10 (2009): 954-958.

3) McGowan, Patrick O., et al. “Epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor in human brain associates with childhood abuse.” Nature neuroscience 12.3 (2009): 342-348.

4) Kendall-Tackett, Kathleen. “The health effects of childhood abuse: four pathways by which abuse can influence health.” Child abuse & neglect 26.6 (2002): 715-729.

5) Brown, David W., et al. “Adverse childhood experiences are associated with the risk of lung cancer: a prospective cohort study.” BMC Public Health 10.1 (2010): 20.

Diabetes Drugs for Cancer? October 13, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Diabetes, Naturopathic Medicine, oncology.
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Diabetes drugs
Written by: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc (Hons)

Can drugs traditionally used for diabetes also be helpful with cancer? There is a growing body of evidence which indicates that both Metformin and a class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones can be a useful adjunctive cancer therapy. The biochemical mechanism behind this anticancer effect is poorly defined but there are some intriguing theories about the mechanism of action.

Metformin is the first line drug for patients with Type 2 diabetes and it is certainly effective at getting the blood sugar under control. Diabetic patients who regularly take metformin have a lower risk of developing cancer1. Metformin activates an enzyme known as AMPK. A recent breakthrough has found a key regulator of AMPK to be a protein known as LKB1. LKB1 is a well recognized tumour suppressor. Activation of AMPK by metformin and exercise requires LKB1, and this would also explain why exercise is beneficial in the primary and secondary prevention of certain cancers2.

Recent studies strongly indicate that the anticancer effects of metformin are indeed linked to AMPK3. Metformin appears to selectively target cancer stem cells, and acts together with chemotherapy to block tumour growth and prolong remission4. When used with doxorubicin it acts synergistically to reduce tumour mass and relapse rates more effectively than either drug alone.

There is a completely different class of medications that is also used for diabetes which appears to have anticancer effects. The drug class is known as thiazolidinediones. One of the most well known drugs in this class is called Avandia. Even though both of these drugs are effective at treating diabetes they work by a completely different mechanisms. The thiazolidinediones activate a receptor called PPAR and by activating this receptor it triggers a cascade of reactions that are beneficial to patients fighting cancer6,7,8. The drug increases the activity of a key tumour suppressor called PTEN5. This tumour suppressor is a protein that halts the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting an enzyme known as PI3K. There are many types of cancer that are dependent on inhibiting the function of the tumour suppressor PTEN. The bottom line is that this drug helps to put the brakes on the growth of cancerous cells by activating PTEN.

As more research accumulates supporting the fact that these antidiabetic drugs can be used to treat cancer, one thing is becoming clear. The anticancer effect from these drugs is due to their influence on several different metabolic pathways. The great thing about these medications is that they have a long history of use and they are well established as safe adjunctive cancer therapies. Like any medication it has to be used in the right context and this therapy is not for everyone. A Naturopathic doctor who focuses in oncology will go through your entire case history to determine if this treatment is indicated. Contact your local naturopathic doctor to see if this therapy is right 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, Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic, in Vancouver, BC where he focuses on integrative oncology.

References:
1) Evans, Josie MM, et al. “Metformin and reduced risk of cancer in diabetic patients.” Bmj 330.7503 (2005): 1304-1305.

2) Bauman AE.Updating the evidence that physical exercise is good for health: an epidemiologic review.J Sci Med Sport2004; 7:6–19.

3) Zakikhani, Mahvash, et al. “Metformin is an AMP kinase–dependent growth inhibitor for breast cancer cells.” Cancer research 66.21 (2006): 10269-10273.

4) Hirsch, Heather A., et al. “Metformin selectively targets cancer stem cells, and acts together with chemotherapy to block tumor growth and prolong remission.” Cancer research 69.19 (2009): 7507-7511.

5) Farrow, Buckminster, and B. Mark Evers. “Activation of PPARγ increases PTEN expression in pancreatic cancer cells.” Biochemical and biophysical research communications 301.1 (2003): 50-53.

6) Bunt, Stephanie K., et al. “Rosiglitazone and Gemcitabine in combination reduces immune suppression and modulates T cell populations in pancreatic cancer.” Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy 62.2 (2013): 225-236.

7) Monami, Matteo, Ilaria Dicembrini, and Edoardo Mannucci. “Thiazolidinediones and cancer: results of a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials.” Acta diabetologica 51.1 (2014): 91-101.

8) Srivastava, Nishi, et al. “Inhibition of Cancer Cell Proliferation by PPARγ Is Mediated by a Metabolic Switch that Increases Reactive Oxygen Species Levels.” Cell metabolism (2014).

Ginger Tea for Cancer September 21, 2015

Posted by Dreamhealer in Chemotherapy, Naturopathic Medicine, oncology.
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Written By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc

Often when looking for natural therapies patients turn to complicated exotic treatments. By doing this it is easy to forget about some of the more basic treatments that are also effective. A more complicated treatment plan is not necessarily more effective. A simple yet relatively unknown cancer treatment is ginger. There are a number of uses for ginger in an integrative cancer setting.

Ginger has some well documented anti-cancer effects and it has been shown to reduce side effects from chemotherapy. When a patient is treated with chemotherapy the goal is to get as much of the drug as possible into the cancer cells. Every cancer cell is very metabolically abnormal and it is appropriate to describe cancer cells as being sick cells. Due to this altered metabolism the cancer cells often have more transporter molecules on their surface to remove toxins from within the cell. This presents a problem when these cells are treated with chemotherapy because these cancer cells can eliminate the drug before it has the opportunity to work. These transporter proteins are essential to the survival of multi-drug resistant cancer cells.

Ginger inhibits the function of a key transporter protein known as P-gylcoprotein1,2,5. As a result when this is combined with certain chemotherapies it will result in a greater accumulation of chemotherapy inside cancer cells. This has been consistently observed in the scientific literature especially with the chemotherapy doxorubicin (also known as Adriamycin)5. The net effect is that it makes the chemotherapy more effective while reducing side effects1. There are many other natural therapies that have similar effects on cancer cells including quercetin and bitter melon6. Not only does ginger inhibit these critical transporter molecules, it also reduces inflammation7. Systemic inflammation is a major concern with cancer patients and it is often helpful to control this inflammation during these aggressive conventional therapies. Ginger suppresses the formation of inflammatory molecules in the body. It also seems to suppress the activity of genes that are directly involved in producing these inflammatory molecules.

A common side effect from chemotherapy is nausea and ginger tea is one of the most effective natural anti-nausea remedies. Ginger inhibits nausea due to its action as a potent 5-HT3 antagonist, which means that it inhibits the activity of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that also is strongly linked to nausea and vomiting. A strong ginger tea can often make a profound difference in patients that have stopped responding to conventional medications3,4. The ginger does not have to be taken in replacement of conventional anti-nausea medications. In fact, it works best if taken with conventional medications because then you have multiple pathways being inhibited rather than just one.

I have personally witnessed on many different occasions where patients have dramatic improvements from chemotherapy induced nausea when they use ginger tea. It is easy to make the ginger tea. Just go to your local grocery store and buy some fresh ginger root. Cut the ginger into small pieces until you have a handful of ginger slices, then place the ginger into a pot of boiling water. Let it simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on to keep all the volatile oils contained within the tea. Filter the pieces of ginger out of the tea using a strainer and allow the tea to cool until it is a pleasant warm tea. Slowly sip at the tea and give it about 30 minutes to work. Some people find the tea more tolerable if honey is added after the ginger pieces have been filtered out.

You must have professional guidance when developing a cancer treatment plan. A Naturopathic Doctor can help you to develop a safe and effective treatment plan. Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hons) Molecular biology, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative oncology.http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

References:

1) Pereira, M. M., et al. “Zingiber officinale Roscoe (ginger) as an adjuvant in cancer treatment: a review.” Journal of BU ON.: official journal of the Balkan Union of Oncology 16.3 (2010): 414-424.

2) Nabekura, Tomohiro, Shizu Kamiyama, and Shuji Kitagawa. “Effects of dietary chemopreventive phytochemicals on P-glycoprotein function.” Biochemical and biophysical research communications 327.3 (2005): 866-870.

3) Pillai, Anu Kochanujan, et al. “Anti‐emetic effect of ginger powder versus placebo as an add‐on therapy in children and young adults receiving high emetogenic chemotherapy.” Pediatric blood & cancer 56.2 (2011): 234-238.

4) Ryan, Julie L., et al. “Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces acute chemotherapy-induced nausea: a URCC CCOP study of 576 patients.” Supportive care in cancer 20.7 (2012): 1479-1489.

5) Angelini, A., et al. “Modulation of multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein activity by antiemetic compounds in human doxorubicin-resistant sarcoma cells (MES-SA/Dx-5): implications on cancer therapy.” Journal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents 27.4 (2012): 1029-1037.

6) Kwatra, Deep, et al. “Bitter melon extracts enhance the activity of chemotherapeutic agents through the modulation of multiple drug resistance.” Journal of pharmaceutical sciences 102.12 (2013): 4444-4454.

7) Grzanna, Reinhard, Lars Lindmark, and Carmelita G. Frondoza. “Ginger-an herbal medicinal product with broad anti-inflammatory actions.” Journal of medicinal food 8.2 (2005): 125-132.

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