Note: This article comes from the International Journal of Integrative Medicine; a subscription costs about $68/year and is well worth it; order by calling 1-800-477-2995 (USA) or 1-888-292-2229 (Canada).
NUTRIENTS AND CANCER TREATMENT
by Charles B. Simone, M.MS., M.D.,
with Nicole L. Simone, B.S.E., and Charles B. Simone, II
While thoroughly engrossed in basic science at the National Cancer Institute--as a medical oncologist and tumor immunologist, I found new direction as a result of contacts with cancer patients. One of my first patients was a vice president of the United States, who was dying of malnutrition secondary to his cancer-as do 40% of all cancer patients. Later, a man my own age with a rare cancer asked if I would keep him alive until he saw the birth of his child. Intensive chemotherapy cleaned out the cancer, but he failed to improve. As a last resort, I gave him high doses of antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals. They quickly produced a seemingly miraculous, although temporary result. The man saw the birth of his child.
TODAY'S ONCOLOGY CARE
Despite the enormous effort to combat cancer, the number of new cases of nearly every form of cancer has increased annually over the last century. Over the past several decades, several medical advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer have been made: radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy with biological response modifiers, CT scans, MR scans, and all the other new medical technology. Despite these advances, from 1930 to the present, life expectancy for almost every form of adult cancer--except cervical, testicular, and lung cancer--has remained constant. This means that there has been no significant progress in cancer treatment. (Please read this paragraph again).
Although chemotherapy and radiation therapy continue to have a role in cancer treatment, they produce morbidity. Nutritional modification, including the use of antioxidants and other nutrients, and proper lifestyle factors can dramatically decrease morbidity and the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as increase response rates. Some reports have shown that nutritional and lifestyle modification can actually increase survival. It has been proven that chemotherapeutic agents and radiation therapy reduce the serum levels of certain nutrients, especially antioxidants. The decreased levels of these antioxidants result from lipid peroxidation. (Please read this paragraph again).
AUGMENTING TREATMENT WITH NUTRIENTS
Do vitamins and minerals interfere with chemo-therapy and/or radiation therapy? Patients frequently ask me this question because they have been advised not to take supplements during treatment. The scientific literature has clearly addressed this question:
|TABLE 1. THE SIMONE TEN POINT PLAN|
|1. Nutrition. Maintain an ideal weight--lose five to seven pounds if needed. Follow a low-fat (about 20%), high-fiber (25 gm) diet. Take specific nutrients. Eliminate salt, food additives, and preservatives, and caffeine.|
2. Tabacco. Do not smoke, chew snuff, or inhale others' smoke.
3. Alcohol. Avoid alcohol.
4. Radiation. Avoid unnecessary X-rays and use sunscreens when in the sun. Avoid electromagnetic fields.
5. Environment. Keep air, water, and workplace clean.
6. Hormones/Drugs. Avoid all estrogens and unnecessary drugs.
7. Know the 7 warning signs of cancer. Lump in breast, non-healing sore, change in wart/mole, change in bowel or bladder habits, persistent cough or hoarseness, indeigestion or trouble swallowing, unusual bleeding.
9. Stress Modification, Spirituality, and Sexuality.
10. Have an executive physical annually.
EFFICACY OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Antioxidants neutralize harmful chemicals, called free radicals, that occur in the body. They are generated by fatty foods, smoking, alcohol, environmental pollutants, toxins, carcinogens, iron, smog, and radiation. Free radicals attack vital cell structures and cause damage, thus contributing to the development of certain diseases (e.g., cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, cataracts).
Antioxidants protect normal cells and other tissues by fighting free radicals and the oxidative reaction that free radicals cause/ Antioxidant nutrients include beta-carotene, Vitamins C and E, selenium, copper, zine, bioflavonoids, and cystein. There are not more than 200 studies that show antioxidants decrease the risk of developing cancer.
One of the most recent investigations took place in Linxian, China. Researchers from the Cancer Institute of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences teamed up with researchers at the United States National Cancer Institute. They studied nearly 30,000 adults, randomized over a five-year period into four different groups receiving different nutrients during that period. Here is a brief summary of the study.
Many other studies demonstrated similar findings, including the Finland Study, the Switzerland sTudy, the Hawaiian Study, and studies involving people at high riskf or developing endometrial cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, small cell lung cancer, oral pharyngeal cancer, and others. Most studies show that protection is conferred to those who consume antioxidants and other nutriends.
STUDIES OF PRE-CANCEROUS CONDITIONS
Scores of studies, from all over the world, have shown that antioxidants can decrease the risk of pre-cancerous lesions developing into full-blown cancer.
The Linxian, China, study investigated 3,300 patients with esophageal displasia, which is a precusor to esophageal cancer. The same team of researchers from China and the United State examined the results of the study, which was an intervention study, the best type of clinical design. The group who received the multi-vitamin/mineral formula daily for six years had:
While the duration of this trail was very short (six years) and the doses of the nutrients were far lower than other trials, the patients who took the supplements had much better results than the control group of patients. Other studies show that people who have colon polyps, abnormal cervical Pap smears, or other pre-cancerous conditions, all do better and can reverse the trend toward cancer if they take certain antioxidants and other nutrients.
But what about beta-carotene specifically? There have been reports from the CARET and ATBC studies that beta-carotene increased the incidence of lung cancer in heavy smokers who drank alcohol and were exposed to asbestos. I want to address this issue with the following thoughts:
|TABLE 2. DR. SIMONE'S RECOMMENDED NUTRIENTS/DOSAGES|
|Beta-carotene - 20 to 30 mg per day
Lutein - 10 to 25 mcg per day
Lycopene - 10 to 25 mcg per day
Vitamin E - 400 to 600 IU per day
Vitamin C - 350 to 6,000 mg per day
Bioflavonoids - 10 to 20 mg per day
Selenium - 200 to 300 mcg per day
Zinc - 15 to 20 mg per day
|Copper - 3 to 5 mg per day
Cysteine - 20 to 500 mg per day (see note)
Vitamin A - 5,000 to 7,500 IU per day
Vitamin D - 400 to 600 IU per day
Vitamin B1 - 10 mg per day
Vitamin B2 - 10 mg per day
Vitamin B6 - 10 mg per day
Vitamin B12 - 18 mcg per day
|Niacinamide - 40- mg per day|
Biotin - 150 mcg per day
Pantothenic Acid - 20 mg per day
Folic acid - 400 mcg per day
Iodine - 150 mcg per day
Chromium - 125 mcg per day
|Note from Inez: There is debate about supplementing with Cysteine directly; I wouldn't do it myself. I'll add info on this later.|
This safety issue appears to be for (a) large amounts of beta-carotene with alcoholic liver disease, and (b) excessive alcohol consumption and large amounts of beta- carotene without other protective antioxidants or phyto-chemicals.
The fact remains that beta-carotene:
It is important to rely on the synergism of all the antioxidants, including the carotenoids and B vitamins. Lifestyle changes are also imperative to decrease one's risk of cancer and heart disease. it is foolish to expect that a single nutrient can give the "green light" to continue lifestyle behaviors that will cause disease.
Nutrition and lifestyle factors can profoundly reduce the toxic side effects and improve the results of conventional treatments. In a recent study of 50 patients with early-stage breast cancer, I evaluated the treatment side effects of radiation alone, or radiation combined with chemotherapy, while the patients took therapeutic doses of nutrients. Patients also followed the Simone Ten Point Plan (see Table 1). The patients were asked to evaluate their own response to the treatment in terms of its impact on their quality of life. The major rationale behind our nutritional plan is that it contains a well-rounded supply of antioxidants and immune-enhancing nutrients. The results of the study were impressive.
|What is needed is some person, some institution, some inescapable "force" that captures the imagination of our citizens and demonstrates that cancer will be eliminated only when each of us comes to understand that this can only occur as part of a life- long process of sanity, balance, moderation, and self-respect. --Charles B. Simone,M.MS., M.D.|
Patients who follow the Ten Point Plan and use certain vitamins and minerals report relatively few side effects from chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Twenty studies with more than 2,700 patients investigated lifestyle modifications that included dietary improvements, nutrient supplementation, and other changes. Results of these studies demonstrated a lower recurrence rate and an increase in survival. The patients in these studies had the following cancers: breast, ovarian, cervical, uterine, head and neck, lung, pancreatic, prostate, and bladder. (Please read this paragraph again).
Cancer patients should modify their lifestyles using the Ten Point Plan. This includes modifying nutritional factors and taking certain vitamins and minerals, especially if they are receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation (see Table 2). The studies indicate that it is important to take the correct nutrients to reduce side effects, enhance conventional therapies, and increase outcomes.
An extenstive list of references exists as the basis for this article, link here to view them.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
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Posted to website: 05/01/00