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CAIM Approaches to Cancer
Outline and Key Concepts -- 2009  

Michael B. Schachter, MD, CNS, F.A.C.A.M.

        Conventional medicine focuses on destroying cancer with surgery and/or radiation and/or chemotherapy and/or hormonal manipulation (like Arimidex for breast cancer or combined hormonal blockade for prostate cancer) and/or monoclonal antibodies designed to target specific steps in the cancer process, such as blocking growth factor receptors (e.g. Tarceva) or interfering with new blood vessel formation (e.g. Avastin). All of this is done without much attention to the person’s defenses against cancer or the overall health of the patient. Both the anti-hormonal therapies and the monoclonal antibody treatments show some promise, but also have several drawbacks.

With regard to solid tumors, most cancer research has focused on reducing the size of the tumor in order to determine whether or not a particular treatment is beneficial. Unfortunately, reducing the size of the tumor has little relationship either to the survival or quality of life of the patient. This is true because the tumor consists not only of cancerous cells, but also body defensive cells as well, and shrinking the tumor kills both types of cells, which may lead to increased risk for cancer spread.

The oncologist in discussing treatment options usually refers to a “response to treatment,” which means the likelihood that the tumor will shrink.  The patient generally thinks a response to treatment refers to either improved survival and/or improved quality of life. So there is a breakdown in communication. It is crucial for the patient to learn to ask the right questions before beginning any treatment.

The most important first step in my approach to the cancer patient is educating the patient about his/her illness and the various options for treatment, both conventional and alternative. This is basic to the concept of CAIM (Complementary, Alternative and Integrative).

Examples of poor communication between physician and patient involve our most common cancers in women and men: breast cancer and prostate cancer.  Women with breast cancer are generally not told that radiation following a lumpectomy and axillary lymph node removal will not improve their survival.  Men with prostate cancer are not told that as of the present time, no statistically significant evidence exists to indicate that any kind of radiation therapy will improve survival and that survival for men with a radical prostatectomy is improved only moderately in a small group of young men with an aggressive prostate cancer.  This information is contrary to the imformation they usually receive from conventional physicians who indicate that these treatments (radiation and removal of lymph nodes for breast cancer and radiation or radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer) are absolutely necessary and that there are no other choices.

My approach to cancer presupposes that the body has the ability to heal itself under the proper circumstances. Much less emphasis is placed on destroying the cancer at all costs.  Emphasis is placed on building up the body to handle the cancer with relatively non-toxic methods.

The clonal-mutational theory of cancer helps us to better understand the strengths and limitations of the conventional and CAM approaches to treating cancer.  One theory about cancer is that it develops as a result of mutations involving three specific classes of genes: (1) Proto-oncogenes, which normally stimulate normal cell division, become oncogenes, which stimulate and accelerate wild cell division; (2) tumor suppressor genes, which help to prevent cells from dividing abnormally, mutate and fail to put on the brakes; and (3) DNA repair genes, which repair DNA damage to cancer cells and help them survive (e.g. PARP protein).  These mutations are either inherited from parents or result from environmental influences—exposure to too many adverse environmental factors like chemical mutagens or radiation and/or not enough exposure to protective factors like phytonutrients.  Environmental mutations accumulate over time, so that cancer is generally more common with age.  Generally, four or more of these types of mutations within a cell are necessary for the development of clinical cancer.  The more mutations present in cancerous cells, the more bizarre, angry and aggressive the cancer. In addition, Dr. Beljanski has offered the theory that destabilization of DNA by carcinogenic substances interfering with the hydrogen bonding between the two DNA strands, also contributes to cancer development and progression.  More recently, the concept of epigenetics has been introduced.  According to this concept, genes are affected throughout life by environmental factors (either positively or negatively) and can be upregulated or downregulated, resulting in acceleration or inhibition of cancers.

Radiation and chemotherapy are highly mutagenic and carcinogenic (in addition to being toxic, immune suppressive and causing destabilization of DNA).  They may contribute to the development of more mutations in cancerous cells that they do not kill or upregulate genes that may contribute to the worsening of the cancer or to the development of a new cancer.  This helps to explain the well-known phenomenon that after conventional therapy using these therapeutic modalities, when a cancer recurs, it is almost always more resistant to further treatment and more difficult to treat.  Furthermore, these treatments are immune suppressive (e.g. they significantly reduce natural killer cell functional activity) and damage the body’s ability to fight the cancer.  Could we be building in long-term disaster with routine radiation and/or chemotherapy for breast cancer and radiation for prostate cancer?  In evaluating these modalities, we need to balance the cancer killing potential of these treatments with their ability to cause further mutations and damage the body’s defenses.  At the very least, when using these treatments, we should be paying attention to ways to building the body simultaneously to reduce their adverse effects.

The various CAIM therapies tend to be protective against mutations and are immune enhancing. They should be used either alone or to counteract the negative effects of radiation and chemotherapy.  One small, but very impressive study showed that when high doses of nutrients were given to patients with small cell lung cancer along with their conventional therapy, survival was drastically improved.  The fear of using anti-oxidant nutrients because they may inhibit the pro-oxidative killing effects of radiation and/or chemotherapy is probably not justified because the nutrients are much more beneficial to normal cells than malignant cells.

Categories of CAIM treatment programs at our Center are:  (1) an avoid list; (2) dietary recommendations; (3) oral nutritional supplements; (4) an injectable program; (5) bio-oxidative therapies; (6) hyperthermia -- done outside our office; (7) detoxification; (8) possible hormone balancing;  (9) exercise; (10) fresh air and natural light; (11) stress management and imagery techniques; (12) homeopathy; (13) various other general modalities, such as bodywork in the form of acupuncture, massage or spinal manipulation or magnetic therapy; and (14) conventional medication including specific conventional cancer treatments that are done outside our office by other practitioners.

The avoid list given to all patients is a general list of foods or environmental exposures that patients are asked to avoid as much as possible.  These include:  (1) tobacco exposure—both active and passive; (2) alcohol; (3) caffeine; (4) refined carbohydrates—including white sugar, white flour and white rice; (5) fluoridated and chlorinated water and fluoride in all forms, including tooth paste; (6) hydrogenated fats; (7) mercury amalgam fillings; (8) artificial chemical additives to foods—including artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and saccharine; (9) pesticides, hormones and antibiotics in food; (10) high voltage power lines; (11) microwave ovens; (12) electric blankets; (13) aluminum cookware, aluminum containing anti-perspirant deodorants and aluminum containing medications; and (14) polluted air.   

Dietary recommendations: Patients are asked to eat a wide variety of fresh whole organic foods with an emphasis on vegetables, fruits and whole grains with high-quality animal protein foods as well.  If tolerated, a significant percentage of the diet should be raw.  We believe that dietary changes are essential to recovery from and prevention of cancer.  Most patients are recommended to take oral supplements, including vitamins, amygdalin, minerals, proteolytic enzymes, essential fatty acids, phytonutrients, therapeutic foods and herbs. These nutrients tend to be synergistic as shown in a simple rat experiment, which showed that as the number of nutrients was increased, the therapeutic effect was increased. We frequently use the products developed by Mirko Beljanski for cancer patients for their benefits to cancer patients directly and also for their positive effects with conventional treatment, providing that excessive dosages of the conventional treatment are not used. Beljanski products include two herbal extracts with anti-cancer properties (Pao Pereira and Rovol Vomitoria), an herbal extract that inhibits abnormal scar tissue formation (Ginkgo Biloba) and an RNA extract from non-pathogenic E.coli, which stimulates platelets and white blood cells (especially helpful for patients undergoing radiation and/or chemotherapy).  A fermented wheat germ product (Avemar) from Hungary inhibits cancer cells and nourishes normal cells. We also use a mushroom extract called  "Maitake D-fraction" (Maitake Products, Inc.). This is a unique beta-glucan product widely used by thousands of health professionals in the USA to enhance immunity as well as induce apoptosis. It has a strong synergy with vitamin C, IFN and some chemotherapies (reducing their side effects and enhancing the QOL of cancer  patients as well).

Most patients receive an injectable treatment program involving high doses of Vitamin C and amygdalin. Both of these treatments tend to kill cancer cells (for different reasons), but leave normal cells alone. Other components of the program involve the categories mentioned above.

We sometimes recommend low-dose naltrexone therapy, hydrazine sulfate or other medications that appear to help cancer patients, but are generally not used by conventional oncologists.

 
 

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©2016 Michael B. Schachter, M.D., P.C. 
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