The word reminds us of our mortality. To many the word cancer is dreadful and synonymous with pain, suffering and death. At some point in their lives many people will have to contend with a cancer diagnoses.
Our body’s cells are constantly dividing and copying themselves. With every cell division, there is a risk of a mistake and developing cancer. Under normal circumstances our bodies can find and eliminate cancerous cells, but there is a risk of mistakes in our immune response as well.
The American Cancer Society reveals the current statistics: one out of every two men and one out of every three women will battle cancer at some point in their lives. Very often, they will lose. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States.
The National Cancer Institute’s statistics report a 66%, five-year survival rate. Longitudinal studies reveal a 58-59% twenty-year survival rate. Conventional medicine claims today’s statistics prove current treatments are effective at curing cancer or at the very least extending life. Not everyone agrees with these claims.
Cancer is a slow moving disease; early detection is increasing. The earlier cancer is detected, the greater the odds of living for five years, with or without effective treatment. Critics, such as Mike Anderson, (from the documentary, Healing Cancer from the Inside Out) contend the increase in numbers of cancer patients living for five years is caused by the increase in early detection rather than the efficacy of current conventional treatment. In addition, he contends the methodology of reporting numbers is highly suspect—that the cancer industry manipulates the data to support false claims of effective treatment.
The National Cancer Institute’s data graphs show significant improvement in the survival rate for lymphoma and melanoma. When these numbers are combined with the statistics for all types of cancers, the overall cancer survival rates dramatically improve. But when the other cancers are looked at individually, their survival rate from 1975 through today shows negligible improvement on a graph. (1)
Cancer begins with a single damaged cell—a cell that refuses to follow a normal life cycle of growth, division, and death. The cancer cell mutates and refuses to die; instead dividing to form a mass we call a tumor, or, in the case of leukemias, disrupting normal processes in the bone marrow and blood.
As cancer grows, tumors impede normal function of organs and body systems. The bloodstream and the lymphatic system become the means for cancer cells to invade other parts of the body.
Some forms of life are more prone to cancer than others. Mammals are more prone to cancer than reptiles or fish, though both fish and reptiles get cancer more frequently than amphibians do. Domesticated animals are more prone to cancer than their wild counterparts and guinea pigs are the most prone to cancer of all animals. Age is also a factor in cancer, childhood cancers are rare, and cancer is more likely the older someone gets. (2)
Conventional treatment zeros in on the tumor or tumors, primarily using surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation to kill the cancer cells. Treatment is aggressive and invasive. Chemotherapy and radiation destroy healthy tissue as well as cancerous tissue. Chemotherapy also suppresses the patient’s immune system, raising the risk of death by other causes such as pneumonia.
Nutritionally based alternative treatments such as the Gerson and Budwig diets view the tumor as a symptom of disease, not the cause. Treatment is focused on building health, strengthening the immune system and the liver, raising oxygen in the cells, detoxifying the body, and eliminating the wastes created as the body wages war against the cancer. (3)
Whichever protocol someone chooses to follow, they should select a proven path and fully consider their ability to comply. If someone with cancer is the kind of person who “can’t follow a diet to save his or her life,” then in this instance conventional treatment may be a better fit for him or her.
With the alternative route, one would need to surround them with a safe and protective support system. Naysayers, both professionals and laymen, are vicious. They would leave no stone unturned in their efforts to undermine alternative treatment decisions, attacking one’s confidence, and resolve. Critics of alternative treatments truly believe anyone willing to try naturopathic treatments to be fools in need of advice. Strangely enough, their concern as heartfelt as it may seem to be, typically vanishes when alternative treatments are successful. (4)
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