by Linda Sechrist
Susan Silberstein takes her message for preventing cancer and recurrences to medical and nursing schools, continuing oncology nursing education programs and universities from her BeatCancer.org headquarters in Richboro, Pennsylvania. The nonprofit organization provides research-based education and counseling on how to prevent, cope with and beat cancer through immune-boosting holistic approaches.
Since 1977, it has helped nearly 30,000 cancer patients and more than 50,000 prevention seekers.
“Early detection is better than late detection, but it’s not prevention,” says Silberstein, who taught the psychology of health and disease at Pennsylvania’s Immaculata University. “We focus on building up patients— minimizing treatment side effects, enhancing immune system function, improving nutritional status and addressing the reasons for sickness in the first place.”
“Conventional medicine never addresses the cause, which is a process that needs to be understood so the individual can turn it off,” elaborates Massachusetts Institute of Technology- trained scientist Raymond Francis, author of Never Fear Cancer Again: How to Prevent and Reverse Cancer. Based on his experience beating cancer and research into cellular biochemistry and molecular biology, he concluded that the disease is a biological process that affects the entire body, not something that can be cut out, killed or poisoned.
“Central to healing and prevention is the elimination of things that fuel the growth of cancer cells, such as sugar, toxins, heavy metals, nutrient-deficient processed foods and an acidic environment in the body,” observes Francis. “Regular exercise, a daily, high-quality multivitamin and detoxification are equally crucial to restoring the body’s biological terrain.”
Doctor of Naturopathy Judy Seeger, founder of CancerCleanseCamp.com and host of CancerAnswers.TV and Cancer Winner Radio, recommends both a regular detoxification regimen and ongoing healthy nutritional plan to help maintain a healing alkaline environment. While this helps cleanse the body of environmental toxins, the toxic emotions and stress that produce acid, weaken the immune system and create an environment for cancer to propagate, must also be dealt with.
Experts generally agree on a range of basic, common sense preventive measures that include a low-fat, plant-based diet; aerobic, flexibility and strength exercises; healthy sleep habits; and other stress-reducing activities. “These are basic ingredients for maintaining sound health, and can be crucial toward improving the health of an individual with cancer,” says Dr. Keith Block, the “father of integrative oncology,” and author of Life Over Cancer. He founded The Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment, in Skokie, Illinois, that customizes care plans based on each person’s medical, biochemical, physical, nutritional and psychosocial needs.
Thousands of cancer patients have outlived their “medical expiration date” by using alternative nontoxic treatments and approaches, many of which are documented in Outsmart Your Cancer, by Tanya Harter Pierce.
Lou Dina, a cancer survivor who like Francis, underwent a journey of intensive research, became a patient advocate and authored Cancer: A Rational Approach to Long-Term Recovery. Dina speaks at conventions hosted by the Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy (FACT), founded in 1971 by Ruth Sackman. He also appears with other survivors in the FACT documentary based on Sackman’s book, Rethinking Cancer: Non-Traditional Approaches to the Theories, Treatments and Prevention of Cancer.
From decades of findings by international clinicians, FACT educates practitioners and patients to view chronic degenerative diseases as systematic malfunctions caused by breakdowns in the balance of body chemistry that are subject to bio-repair. However manifested, they are viewed as correctable and controllable via an individualized program that includes a balanced diet of whole, unprocessed, organic foods— spurred by Gerson therapy that floods the body with organically grown nutrients— supplementation and detoxification. Other key measures involve body temperature therapy, cellular and stem cell therapies and the use of botanicals.
“Nutrients in food directly impact the mechanisms by which cancer cells grow and spread,” explains Block. “They also indirectly impact cancer by changing the surrounding biochemical conditions that either promote or inhibit the progression of malignant disease. This is why targeting only tumors is not enough to quash cancer. Conventional cancer therapies almost inevitably leave behind at least a small number of malignant cells. Your internal biochemical terrain plays an integral role in determining whether a tumor will regain a foothold after treatment, metastasize to distant sites or stay where it is without posing a threat.”
Block notes that a healthy biochemistry can help prevent unpleasant and possibly life-threatening, complications. An anti-cancer biochemical terrain will even boost a patient’s overall quality of life. At the Block Center, detailed assessments identify disruptions in six defining features of patients’ biochemical terrain—oxidation, inflammation, immunity, blood coagulation, glycemia and stress chemistry. Cancer thrives on terrain disruptions, which also can impair treatment.
Focus on High-Impact Foods
Kathy Bero, founder of NuGenesis Inc., in Stone Bank, Wisconsin, asks, “How many other lives could be saved if doctors prescribed a diet primarily focused on plant-based, angiogenic-inhibiting foods for all cancer patients?”
Angiogenesis is the development of new blood vessels. Cancer turns the body against itself by hijacking the angiogenesis process and keeping it permanently activated, ensuring that cancerous cells receive a dedicated, uninterrupted blood supply. “To effectively prevent cancer, inflammation and angiogenesis need to be controlled before a tumor can get a foothold,” advises Bero.
Bero has personally beaten back two unrelated aggressive forms of cancer and credits the angiogenic-inhibiting foods in clinical research at the Medical College of Wisconsin, in Milwaukee, and the University of Wisconsin- Waukesha. Examples include green tea, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, apples, grapefruit, lemons, tomatoes, cinnamon, kale, grape seed oil and pomegranate.
“These foods also played a significant role in strengthening my immune system and restoring my overall health, which was radically affected by many rounds of chemotherapy and radiation,” remarks Bero.
Boost Recuperative Powers
Patrick Quillin, Ph.D., a former vice president of nutrition for a national network of cancer hospitals and author of The Wisdom and Healing Power of Whole Foods and Beating Cancer with Nutrition, recommends a triple threat. “Cancer requires a threefold treatment approach to create a synergistic response. Teaming up to reduce the tumor burden without harming the patient, re-regulate the cancer to normal healthy tissue and nourish the patient’s recuperative powers is far better than any one approach,” says Quillin.
He maintains that restrained medical interventions, appropriate nutrition and naturopathic approaches can bolster nonspecific natural defense mechanisms to reverse the underlying cause of the disease. “Nutrition and traditional oncology treatments are synergistic, not antagonistic, as many oncologists believe,” advises Quillin.
Glenn Sabin, founder of FON Therapeutics, similarly suggests that multi-interventional, outcome-based studies, akin to Dr. Dean Ornish’s approach to prostate cancer, could greatly benefit conventional oncology. Sabin recounts his Harvard Medical School-documented remission of advanced leukemia in his upcoming book, N-of-1: How One Man’s Triumph Over Terminal Cancer is Changing the Medical Establishment.
Sabin turned to therapeutic nutrition, neutraceuticals, stress reduction and exercise to become a 22-year cancer “thriver” without the aid of conventional therapies. He also emphasizes the importance of the psychological and psychosocial aspects of healing with the cancer patients he coaches. “If you don’t have your head in the game, it’s hard to make anything else work for you,” counsels Sabin.
Understand the Connection
Silberstein and other leading physicians, including Dr. Tien-Sheng Hsu, a Chinese psychiatrist and author of the Secret to Healing Cancer; Dr. Jingduan Yang, a board-certified psychiatrist and founder and medical director of the Tao Institute of Mind & Body Medicine; and Seeger, believe that the mind and spirit play a significant role in healing.
“Cancer begins in the spirit and ends up in the body, which is why I recommend that anyone positively diagnosed read the Cancer Report,” remarks Silberstein. Cancer Report, co-written by John R. Voell and Cynthia A. Chatfield, discusses psychoneuroimmunology and the powerful role that the mind, emotions and spirit play in contributing to or resisting disease and healing even the most terminal of cancers (Tinyurl.com/ VoellCancerReport).
Yang and Hsu, who also use acupuncture protocols, believe illness is a reflection of inner problems that disrupt the body’s naturally powerful immune system. “Cancer is a symptom delivering a message: You need to take better care of yourself—emotionally, chemically, physically and spiritually,” says Yang. As a faculty member of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, Yang sees firsthand how few patients understand that the trauma of a diagnosis and treatment can reactivate past traumas, unresolved issues, blockages and repressed emotions. Both he and Hsu offer mind/body/spirit interventions to help patients cope better.
“I talk to people who do all the right things to improve their biochemistry, but without an emotional detox and spiritual connection to something larger than themselves, their healing process tends to stall,” Seeger observes. Her online talk shows feature long-term cancer survivors like Dr. Carl Helvie, author of You Can Beat Lung Cancer Using Alternative/Integrative Interventions.
“It all comes down to the microcosm of the cell. If we give our 73 trillion cells everything they need, the macrocosm of the body will function properly,” says Francis. The authors of Cancer Killers, Dr. Charles Majors, Dr. Ben Lerner and Sayer Ji, agree. Up till now, they attest that the war on cancer has been almost exclusively an assault on the disease, rather than an enlightened preventive campaign that clearly identifies and counters how cancer develops. “The battle can only be won by instructing people in how to boost their body’s immune responses to kill cancer cells before they face a full-blown diagnosis and showing them how to aggressively address the hostile exterior agents that turn healthy cells cancerous.”
The best winning strategy is to naturally nurture a body—structurally, chemically, energetically, emotionally and spiritually—so that the inner terrain naturally kills cancer cells and stops them from growing.
Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings. Visit ItsAllAboutWe.com for the recorded interviews.