We’ve helped thousands of people since introducing Cancer Tutor to the world more than a decade ago and hope to see countless more in the decades to come. The most recent data tells us that around 14.5 million people of all ages are living with a history of cancer, and in 10 years, the number is expected to grow by a third. (1)
That means millions of people, more every day, are undergoing or have undergone some kind of treatment for cancer. They all put their lives on hold and made major sacrifices, and many spent tons of money and suffered traumatic side effects so that they could be named with the survivors. We hope to see more survivors with a story of beating cancer naturally, empowered by their experience, taking responsibility for their health into their own hands, and becoming stronger for it.
Standard approach to cancer treatment
Since cancer isn’t just one event but a category for seemingly endless variations, each type of cancer and the severity at which it’s found will inspire different types of treatment.
Surgery is usually a consideration, given as an option as early as when cancer is merely a risk and not a diagnosis until advanced stages that require extensive removal. (2) Sometimes, the tumors or lesions are successfully removed and that’s that. Others are not so simple. In some cases, like bone marrow cancer, surgery is rarely, if ever, an option.
The next most common response to cancer in mainstream medicine is to introduce chemotherapy or radiation – sometimes both. This is usually a much more difficult decision to make, as conventional treatment side effects can be extensive.
The idea behind chemotherapy and radiation treatments is to attack the cancer cells quickly and dramatically with substances that will kill or neutralize the cancer cells. But it isn’t a localized attack. Both chemotherapy and radiation affect whole regions of the body, sometimes the whole body, without any differentiation between cancer cells and healthy cells. So alongside whatever damage is inflicted on cancer cells comes a potential laundry list of chilling side effects. Some will never go away; some will prove deadly.
There are some localized treatments for certain types of cancer, but this gives us an idea of the current approach to cancer care. Our fix-it culture looks for a treatment that can be administered (or inflicted, more accurately) rather than a program to be implemented. The approach is relatively one- or two-pronged, focusing on only a couple of ways to battle the cancer cells rather applying than the wide range of knowledge of treatment options we are gaining every day.
If you really want to beat cancer naturally, you have to hit cancer hard and fast from multiple angles. A single treatment route is never enough – hence the super strength toxins in chemotherapy.
What it means to ‘beat cancer naturally'
As a society, it seems we’ve moved away from trusting our instincts, from our ability to do the hard work necessary to be well, and have tried to take control with our own devices. The “magic bullet” sought in so many disease treatment plans is evidence of this shift, as well as the lengths we have gone through to beat cancer with narrow treatment approaches.
Beating cancer naturally means being willing to look at all angles of the problem and meeting each concern. Beating cancer naturally means being willing to consider that the conventional approach can be short-sighted. Beating cancer naturally means looking beyond the standard 6-months “survival” time and setting our sights into years ahead. Beating cancer naturally means working hard and changing our lives.
Natural cancer treatments often operate from a different starting point regarding the cause of cancer than the conventional, chemical route. When the starting premise is that the cells themselves are defective, mutating out of control to form tumors, the goal is to destroy them. However, this misses the widely-accepted Warburg effect. In the 1930s, a scientist named Otto Warburg received a Nobel Prize for his work on the metabolism of cells, discovering low energy conversion (ATP) as the ultimate definition of a cancer cell. A 2009 article published in the journal Science walks us through this mechanical process unique to cancer cells, emphasizing that “A better understanding of the mechanistic links between cellular metabolism and growth control may ultimately lead to better treatments for human cancer.” (3)
Instead of destroying the cells (and the surrounding cells and tissues), natural cancer therapies work to target the cell weakness and the body’s ability to create and maintain healthy cells. This is usually accomplished through the addition of things found in nature, supporting the body with the things Nature created us to consume and excluding all else.
Nutrition’s key role in beating cancer
Your body, right now, is executing hundreds of functions, and most – if not all – of them are dependent upon nutrient stores and nutrient input. Everything we breathe and eat is metabolized – broken down and turned into energy that each cell can access and process. With cancer cells metabolizing energy poorly, natural cancer protocols often center around flooding the body with nutrients. Another aspect of an effective cancer diet is to exclude foods that further weaken cells and disrupt the microbe balance in the body.
Cancer diets come in all shapes and sizes, with a number of protocols for various needs. Finding an adequate cancer diet is an ongoing study with constant revelations and revisions to improve efficacy against each kind of cancer and stage. There are some unifying principles that all of them follow, though, because we know there are certain things that feed cancer cells and certain things that help the body overcome it.
Note: Before you begin to adapt your diet for cancer therapy, make sure you are sticking to one protocol only. While there are unifying principles that we will explore, it’s important to note that the researchers who developed each protocol did so with those exclusions and additions alone. Making modifications without the years of study and research that they put behind it is likely to alter the efficacy and can even make things worse. It’s not easy to alter your lifestyle for natural cancer therapy. Make sure you aren’t taking steps to make it counter-productive.
Cancer diet Exclusions
Most cancer protocols avoid certain kinds of foods outright, some because they are outright known to cause cancer, some that feed existing cancer, some that weaken treatment and some that weaken the immune system.
Refined sugars, refined carbs, and processed foods in general, for example, are basically a given as an exclusion. Our culture spends millions upon millions of dollars on packaged, processed foods – and then we wonder why cancer is so prevalent! Caramel coloring alone is a potent carcinogen, found in drinks, snacks, sauces, and more. (4) Trans fats, artificial sweeteners, and MSG will also be excluded from any cancer diet.
Other exclusions will be focused on more indirect – but still incredibly important – associations with cancer. Refined products, for example, might cause and feed cancer, but they also can make the body more likely to host cancer cells. If the immune system is bogged down by foods like sugar, meats, and dairy, it is hindered in its cancer-fighting effects. Stimulants and chemicals – think coffee, fluoride, alcohol, chlorine – will inhibit alternative treatments, as well, and almost certainly be excluded.
Cancer diet inclusions
Inclusions will vary based on the protocol, but frequently contain high levels of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables loaded with phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals, as well as their alkaline status. This is, again, where it’s important to find one protocol and stick with it rather than trying to combine them. Following more than one protocol might double up alkalinity efforts, for example, and become dangerous rather than helpful.
Supplementing the diet in a cancer protocol
Supplements also play a key role in natural cancer remedies, boosting the body’s supply of certain nutrients beyond what the diet can provide. Check your protocol and consult with your wellness professionals before adding supplements, of course, because natural substances are powerful and should be treated with respect. Here are a few supplements likely to be included in your natural protocol.
Probiotics & Enzymes. Digestive support plays many roles in wellness. For cancer therapy, it helps to maximize the effects of the nutritional efforts we’re making as well as providing microbial support for the immune system and cellular health.
One approach is through proteolytic enzymes, which has been studied as an element of cancer therapy since the early 1900s when John Beard first discussed the potential that pancreatic proteolytic enzymes had to defend the body against cancer. In the early 1980s, it gained traction as an alternative, and we have only learned more since then.
In 2008, researchers published their findings on proteolytic enzyme therapy in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies. They detailed impressive findings: “These studies demonstrated that systemic enzyme therapy significantly decreased tumor-induced and therapy-induced side effects and complaints such as nausea, gastrointestinal complaints, fatigue, weight loss, and restlessness and obviously stabilized the quality of life.”
Additionally, using proteolytic enzymes increased length of remission and survival times. (5) Proteolytic enzymes are typically taken multiple times each day alongside other treatment methods.
Probiotics also assist digestive wellness, but more importantly, they improve the microbial balance in the gut and provide immune support. These effects compound as an anticancer agent, demonstrated when researchers tested the effects of probiotic-rich kefir in a mouse model. They detailed “the mechanisms (immune and nonimmune) involved in the antitumor effect” against breast cancer. (6)
Vitamins & Minerals. The combination of vitamin and mineral supplement is another important part of natural cancer therapies, for varying reasons. Vitamin C, for example, is often employed as a chelating method – meaning, it is used to grab onto toxins and remove them – administered by natural health professionals. The effect has been found to be “pro-oxidant,” which in this scenario is quite beneficial, appearing to “be responsible for destroying tumor cells.” (7)
Vitamin D and calcium combine to improve the body’s chances of defeating and preventing cancer. One randomized trial observing postmenopausal women over four years determined the combination “substantially reduces all-cancer risk” – cancer just can’t stand the duo! (8)
Herbs, essential oils, and cancer
Other supplemental efforts come from plant life – amazing gifts of healing that nature has for us to utilize! Whole herbs and plant-based therapy, as well as essential oils, are often employed to beat cancer naturally. While, again, none of this is administered on its own, herbal and essential oil treatments make excellent and effective components of a cancer battle plan.