A personal note: The mirage of the cancer “magic bullet”–and a better alternative

Above photo by John Spade (courtesy of Flickr and Creative Commons)

The widespread search for the mirage of the magic bullet for cancer

We’re now into our fifth year managing my wife’s breast cancer, which recurred and is now stage 4. Because of the traumatic experiences we’ve been through and the many cancer patients we’ve met on this journey I started this blog to share the fruits of my research to help my wife.

One thing I’ve found interesting is that there was less interest than I expected in nutritional measures that people can adopt in helping manage their illness. More people are interested in finding the “magic bullet” for cancer. The magic bullet is the one pill, drug, potion, food, or drink that will magically dissolve the tumor and metastasized cancer cells and allow the patient to continue with the same diet, lifestyle, mental state and other factors that contributed to causing the cancer in the first place.

In our fifth year of our cancer journey I don’t think such a “bullet” exists or ever will exist. Cancer is a very complex disease with complex biochemical causes that cause a rippling cascade of symptoms. One of my wife’s oncologists told me that there are easily over one hundred different types of cancer. Oncology tries to deal with this complexity by coming up with evermore complex, costly and toxic drugs and drug cocktails to battle evolving mutations and symptoms. The cancer adapts to one drug or cocktail and they substitute another drug. And on and on it goes. Unfortunately in most cases of metastatic, invasive cancers the eventual outcome is predictable. The statistics I’ve seen tell us that the “cure” rate in such cases is just over an almost statistically insignificant one or two percent over five years.

Forget the magic bullet. Use the magic shotgun!

The good news is that although there may be no magic bullet I like Dr. Michael Greger’s (nutritionfacts.org) alternative of a “magic shotgun” using the many dozens of proven anticancer phytonutrients in fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, beans and seeds many of which scientific studies have proven to slow, stop and even reverse cancer establishment, growth and invasion (see some of the many mini videos I’ve posted below produced by nutritionfacts.org and Dr. Michael Greger). Oncology deals with symptoms (i.e. debulking geometrically growing tumors in order to buy the patient time to try and correct the body’s biochemistry and other bodily causes that resulted in the tumor) whereas the above approach deals with causes. While I believe conventional measures (surgery, chemo and radiation) can be useful in some cases the downside is that over time they tend to be tremendously taxing and traumatizing to the very cells, tissues, organs and bodily systems (such as the immune system) that the patient desperately needs to fight the advancing cancer and that has successfully killed millions of cancer cells and micro-tumors in our body’s for the vast majority of his or her life.

In some cases radical lifestyle and dietary changes have actually resulted in late stage remission of diseases; for example the over one thousand such cases documented in medical journals and written about in Radical Remission by Dr. Kelly A. Turner (see my review in an earlier post below). And Dr. Turner believes that for every documented case of “Radical Remission” there are probably over a hundred cases that were never documented. In some cases radical lifestyle and diet changes may result in a few extra months, a year, three years, five years or more of “bonus time” versus just using conventional treatment alone. In my wife’s case we’re working for the best possible scenario possible given her type and stage of cancer and the complex variables of her body. Whatever that is we’ll gratefully take it. We’re just glad for the gift of every extra day she’s with us.

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2 Comments

June 2, 2014 · 12:37 pm

2 responses to “A personal note: The mirage of the cancer “magic bullet”–and a better alternative

  1. Virginia Wilber

    I follow some of the reviews on Amazon and I was notified of yours re ALA.

    I have no proof the following works, but I felt that I would be wrong if I didn’t at least forward to you the information I recently received about asparagus. I’ve copied/pasted the email I was sent.

    Asparagus:

    Very interesting!
    There was a retired navy man that worked in the lab and he was very interesting gentleman to talk with. He was a retired biochemist from the USN. he asked me what was going on that day and I said I had the day off. I wish I was working as the crew on today was taking a sailor to Homestead as he had a very bad kidney infection.

    Now this elderly gent told me the man should have eaten more asparagus and he wouldn’t have that problem. I asked why? I’ll never forget him saying do you eat asparagus and I said yes, I love them.

    He replied you notice how your urine stinks after eating asparagus? I said well I never thought it was what I ate but yes it does have a pungent odor. It is because it is detoxifying your body of harmful chemicals!!! This was back in 1986 when I was stationed there and to read this email again I had to share this story…Eat more asparagus my friends.

    Asparagus — Who knew?

    My Mom had been taking the full-stalk canned style asparagus, pureed it and took 4 tablespoons in the morning and 4 tablespoons later in the day. She did this for over a month. She is on chemo pills for Stage 3 lung cancer in the pleural area and her cancer cell count went from 386 down to 125 as of this past week.
    Her oncologist said she will not need to see him for 3 months.

    THE ARTICLE:

    Several years ago I met a man seeking asparagus for a friend who had cancer. He gave me a copy of an article, entitled “Asparagus For Cancer” printed in the Cancer News Journal, December 1979. I will share it here, just as it was shared with me: I am a biochemist, and have specialized in the relation of diet to health or over 50 years.
    Several years ago, I learned of the discovery of Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S. that asparagus might cure cancer. Since then, I have worked
    with him on his project. We have accumulated a number of favorable case histories.
    Here are a few examples:

    Case No. 1, A man with an almost hopeless case of Hodgkin’s disease (cancer of the lymph glands) who was completely incapacitated. Within 1 year of starting the asparagus therapy, his doctors were unable to detect any signs of cancer, and he was back on a schedule of strenuous exercise.

    Case No. 2, A successful businessman, 68 years old, suffered from cancer of the bladder for 16 years. After years of medical treatments, including radiation without improvement, he began taking asparagus. Within 3 months, examinations revealed that his bladder tumor had disappeared and that his kidneys were normal.

    Case No. 3, On March 5th 1971, a man who had lung cancer was put on the operating table where they found lung cancer so widely spread that it was inoperable. The surgeon sewed him up and declared his case hopeless. On April 5th he heard about the Asparagus therapy and immediately started taking it. By August,
    x-ray pictures revealed that all signs of the cancer had disappeared. He is now back at his regular business routine.

    Case No. 4, A woman had been troubled for a number of years with skin cancer. She developed different skin cancers which were diagnosed by the acting specialist as advanced. Within 3 months after beginning asparagus therapy, the skin specialist said her skin looked fine with no more skin lesions. This woman reported that the asparagus therapy also cured her kidney disease, which had started in 1949. She had over 10 operations for kidney stones, and was receiving government disability payments for an inoperable, terminal, kidney condition. She attributes the cure of this kidney trouble entirely to the asparagus treatment.

    I was not surprised at this result as `The elements of materia medica’, edited in 1854 by a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania , stated that asparagus was used as a popular remedy for kidney stones. He even referred to experiments, in 1739, on the power of asparagus in dissolving stones. Note the dates!

    We would have other case histories but the medical establishment has interfered with our obtaining some of the records. I am therefore appealing to readers to spread this good news and help us to gather a large number of case histories that will overwhelm the medical skeptics about this unbelievably simple and natural remedy.

    For the treatment, asparagus should be cooked before using. Fresh or canned asparagus can be used. I have corresponded with the two leading canners of asparagus, Giant and Stokely, and I am satisfied that these brands contain no pesticides or preservatives.

    Place the cooked asparagus in a blender and liquefy to make a puree. Store in the refrigerator. Give the patient 4 full tablespoons twice daily, morning and evening.
    Patients usually show some improvement in 2-4 weeks.
    It can be diluted with water and used as a cold or hot drink.
    This suggested dosage is based on present experience, but certainly larger amounts can do no harm and may be needed in some cases.

    As a biochemist I am convinced of the old saying that `what cures can prevent.’ Based on this theory, my wife and I have been using asparagus puree as a beverage with our meals. We take 2 tablespoons diluted in water to suit our taste with breakfast and with dinner. I take mine hot and my wife prefers hers cold.
    For years we have made it a practice to have blood surveys taken as
    part of our regular checkups. The last blood survey, taken by a medical doctor who specializes in the nutritional approach to health, showed substantial improvements in all categories over the last one, and we can attribute these improvements to nothing but the asparagus drink.
    As a biochemist, I have made an extensive study of all aspects of cancer, and all of the proposed cures. As a result, I am convinced that asparagus fits in better with the latest theories about cancer.

    Asparagus contains a good supply of protein called histones, which are believed to be active in controlling cell growth. For that reason, I believe asparagus can be said to contain a substance that I call cell growth normalizer. That accounts for its action on cancer and in acting as a general body tonic In any event, regardless of theory, asparagus used as we suggest, is a harmless substance. The FDA cannot prevent you from using it and it may do you much good. It has been reported by the US National Cancer Institute, that asparagus is the highest tested food containing glutathione, which is considered one of the body’s most potent anticarcinogens and antioxidants.

    Just a side note… In case you are wondering why this has not been made public, there is no profit in curing cancer!

  2. Virginia, thank you for taking time to offer your comments on something that may be helpful. I’ve heard of asparagus being potentially helpful to those fighting cancer. I can’t comment because I haven’t read of the studies supporting this view. I’ll visit nutritionfacts.org (run by Dr. Michael Greger) which is very scientific with the videos and blog posts they put out. I’ll do a search and see if Dr. G. has put out anything on studies about asparagus. The good doctor spends a big chunk of his time poring over the over six thousand nutritional studies done each year around the world.

    I appreciate your calling it to my attention and I’ll certainly look into it. Thanks for sharing with me and others who read your comments.

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