War on cancer ? Or on us ?
Posted on Thursday, 5 March, 2009 | 2 comments
Columnist: William B Stoecker
In January, 1971 President Richard Nixon requested $100 million more for cancer research, and in October of that year he converted a biological warfare center at Fort Detrick, Maryland into the Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center. On December 23 that year he signed the National Cancer Act, beginning the program that would ultimately be known as the "war on cancer." Since then, billions of tax dollars have been spent on cancer research, with little to show for it. Like "hot" fusion research, the program has provided lucrative careers for researchers, but like that program and like the government's other "wars," on poverty, illiteracy, etc., we taxpayers have yet to benefit. Cure rates have improved only slightly (some would argue not at all) and the preferred treatment continues to be chemotherapy, with its devastating side effects. Whether due to some sinister design or sheer bureaucratic incompetence, promising alternative treatments and means of prevention have largely been ignored.
Some 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year, not including non invasive basal and squamous cell skin cancers. Lung and prostate cancers kill the most men, and lung and breast cancers kill the most women. One half of all men and one third of all women will eventually have cancer, making it the second leading cause of death after heart disease. Some 8,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, making it the main cause of death through age fourteen. Cancer costs the US some $180.2 billion dollars each year.
Cancer, or malignant neoplasm, differs from "benign" tumors, which are self limiting, because it is invasive, grows uncontrollably, and tends to metastasize, or spread throughout the body. Studied and treated by oncologists, cancer is promoted by oncogenes which promote uncontrolled growth and prevent programmed cell death. Cancer cells inactivate the normal tumor suppressor genes. Cancers include carcinomas (in epithelial cells like the lungs, colon, breast, and prostate), sarcomas (in connective tissues or mesenchymal cells), lymphomas and leukemia (in blood-forming, or hematopoietic cells), blastomas (which resemble embryonic tissue and are most common in children), and germ cell tumors (in totipotent cells like the testicles and ovary).
Leukemia, or cancer of the bone marrow or blood, leads to excess blood cell (usually leukocytes, or white blood cells) proliferation.It is really several diseases, part of a larger group called hematological neoplasms. Slow, chronic leukemia is more common in the elderly, but acute leukemia often afflicts children, and is characterized by a fast rise in the number of immature blood cells, preventing the bone marrow from producing normal blood cells. It can also metastasize. Leukemia patients may be prone to bleeding or become susceptible to other illnesses and infections.
The prevailing theory of cancer is that it is caused primarily by DNA mutation, or sometimes by aneuploidy (an abnormal number of chromosomes). It is recognized that perhaps fifteen percent of all cancers are initially caused by viruses, including the hepatitis A and B viruses. HIV causes Karposi's sarcoma and some other cancers. Cancer may be preceded by pre-malignant cells characterized by dysplasia, or a loss of cell structure along with rapid cell proliferation. Certain chemicals, or carcinogens, may intitiate the cancer, or heavy radiation doses may cause it. Obesity seems to contribute to some cancers, and heredity certainly plays a role. Meat may increase the chance of colon cancer, and, of course, smoking increases the rate of lung cancer. A low fat diet may help prevent cancer, and there is some evidence that coffee can reduce the risk of liver cancer.
For decades the preferred treatments have included surgery, radiation therapy (intense and localized), and chemotherapy. Under official auspices there has been a little research into less conventional treatments, like immune therapy, hormone therapy, and photodynamic therapy, often with lasers. But by far most of the research money is put into the most common treatment: chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses substances that interfere with cell division and tend to affect all rapidly multiplying cells (like the intrestinal lining) not just cancer. These drugs include prednisone, vincristine, and anthracycline drugs among others. These are generally delivered by IV, which tends to be a fairly miserable experience in itself. Usually multiple drugs are administered for months in high dosages, followed by a lower maintenance dose for up to several years.
Side effects are typically devastating, often causing more suffering than the disease itself and often failing to cure the cancer. The side effects may be acute or chronic or even permanent or fatal, and include pain (often intense), diarrhea, consipation, mouth sores, hair loss, nausea and vomiting, bleeding, anemia, and suppressed immune function (often leading to other diseases or serious infections). Hearing and eyesight may be permanently impaired, and cognitive functioning may be impaired. We have all seen videos of the bald children suffering, often horribly, in children's hospitals.
Establishment doctors and researchers, and, or course, the big pharmaceutical companies, claim cure rates as high as fifty to ninety percent for some cancers, but much lower rates for many others. But these are five year survival rates. G. Edward Griffin, author of "World Without Cancer," has pointed out that these survival rates are measured from the time the cancer is first diagnosed, and due to more widespread and effective screening, cancers are diagnosed earlier and earlier, making it appear that survival rates are improving when they may not be, as many cancers take years to kill, even without treatment. Griffin also points out that overall cure rates now include skin cancers, most of which do not metastasize and have always been easily cured.
Alternative treatments, largely ignored and underfunded, include simple heat. Immersing patients in a hot bath and raising their core temperature to 105.8 degrees fahrenheit slows or stops the growth of at least some cancers; obviously, the patients experience some discomfort, but hardly real pain or the devastating effects of chemotherapy. And obviously they must be carefully monitored during treatment as this temperature is close to the safety limit. More research might have proven, one way or the other, just how effective this simple treatment is, and how best to combine it with other treatments, like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Of course, the pharamaceutical companies cannot patent heat nor profit from it.
A number of researchers have experimented with low dosage, whole body radiation. We are assured by our glorious leaders that any radiation at all is harmful, but it is a fact that people living in high mountain areas, receiving more radiation from space, tend to be healthier and longer lived than people living at sea level. This is also true of people living in areas where radon gas is naturally present.Dr. Myron Pollycove at the Harvard Medical School successfully treated cancer with such low dosage radiation, as did Dr. James H Welch at John Hopkins University, and Dr. Kenkichi Sakamoto at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan.
Swiss Doctors W. Blumer and T. Reich had good results treating cancer with chelation therapy to remove heavy metals, free radicals, and oxidized fats, as did US researchers like Dr. Bruce Halstead, Dr. H.B. Demopoulos, and Dr. Ross Gordon, former president of the American College for Advancement in Medicine. When Dr. H.R. Evers treated patients in Alabama with chelation therapy, the FDA took him to court and stopped him.
But perhaps the most exciting and controversial treatment, one completely shut down by our dear government, is laetrile. Much has been written about laetrile by the FDA and the elite media, and most of it appears to be untrue. Laetrile, also called amygdalin, or vitamin B-17, is found naturally in apricot and peach kernels and bitter almonds (almost impossible to find), and to a lesser degree in the seeds of other fruits of the rose family like cherries, plums, and apples. It is also present in limited quantities in millet and in sorghum molasses. If you don't mind the risk of alcoholism, it is present in amaretto liqueur and in peach and apricot brandies. Regular almonds contain very little. In 1952 Dr. Ernst T. Krebs believed that cancer is a nutritional deficiency, and laetrile can prevent it, or, in heavy doses, cure it. At the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Kanematsu Sugira had very good results in preventing and treating cancer in mice with laterile, as did his colleagues Dr. Elizabeth Stockert and Dr. Lloyd Schoen. But the top management stopped their research and put out a story that it was ineffective. The institute is controlled by the Rockefellers, and one executive was a close associate of President Carter.
The substances containing laetrile (which can also be synthesized) also contain small amounts of cyanide, used by the FDA as an excuse for banning it, but there is no evidence that anyone has ever been harmed by laetrile or poisoned by eating apricot pits. Cancer cells, in fact, contain a substance that unlocks the cyanide (bound to other compounds and thusly rendered fairly harmless); other body tissues produce the enzyme rhodanese, which neutralizes the cyanide. So if it is not dangerous, why has the use of laetrile and even any further research with it been banned by the FDA?
The FDA claims that cure rates in human patients are so low as to be meaningless, but there has been too little research to provide truly meaningful statistics. Since laetrile, unlike chemotherapy, only kills malignant cells, it may not visibly shrink tumors, which are composed mainly of benign cells. Most people who have tried laetrile have done so only as a last resort, when they were already nearly dead from cancer and from the chemotherapy; even so, some have been saved by it, and even those whose organs were already too damaged have reported a pronounced lessening of pain. Mr. Griffin and other proponents of laetrile suggest a small daily dosage as a preventive (I would suggest also a low daily dosage of vitamin D and selenium, both known cancer preventers). For those who fail to take the preventive and contract cancer, there is strong anecdotal evidence that a much larger dose, perhaps combined with heat and low dosage, whole body radiation, might cure most cancers. But no one knows for sure, as the FDA does not allow research.
One final and ironic note. Senator Edward Kennedy, the leftist hero of Chappaquidick, held hearings in 1977 titled "Banning of the Drug Laterile From Interstate Commerce by the FDA," a ban he supported. He is presently (February, 2009) dying from cancer.
William B Stoecker For information, news and answers to any questions about cancer please visit Cancer Research UK.Article Copyright© William B Stoecker - reproduced with permission.