CAIM Approaches to Cancer
Outline and Key Concepts -- 2009
Michael B. Schachter, MD, CNS, F.A.C.A.M.
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
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).
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
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)
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
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.
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).
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
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.