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The Moss Report Podcast
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Cancer Stem Cells
Complementary and Alternative Cancer Treatments
Cancer Stem Cells
What has been known as CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) is now better known as “Integrative Medicine”. The term, Integrative Medicine, according to the NCI, means “An approach to medical care that recognizes the benefit of combining conventional (standard) therapies (such as drugs and surgery) with complementary therapies that have been shown to be safe and effective.” The Moss Report articles on complementary, alternative or integrative medicine explore a wide range of subjects including hyperthermia, cryoablation, insulin potentiation, photodynamic therapies, and other treatments spanning generations of scientists and researchers.
Alternative Cancer Treatments
One hundred years ago there were “secret” cancer treatments advertised in the back pages of magazines and newspapers. In our own day we have seen raging controversies over many popular treatments. But do they work? No one is better at evaluating these treatments than the man who blew the whistle on Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Laetrile coverup.
Antioxidants are naturally found in fruits and vegetables and are sold as concentrated food supplements. But do supplements actually conflict with radiation and chemotherapy? Oncologists say they do. Find the actual evidence here.
Cancer Stem Cells
Long suspected to exist, cancer stem cells were discovered in solid tumors about 20 years ago. Is this the long-sought root cause of cancer? Thousands of scientists now believe so. Then why haven’t you heard about this from your oncologist? We delve into the debate on CSCs, and explore which foods and food supplements are most effective in the lab at killing or blocking cancer stem cells.
Surgery is not the only way of getting rid of a tumor. Scientists have invented nonsurgical, non-radiation ways of eliminating tumors and boosting the immune system at the same time. This is cryoablation, which uses cold probes to kill cancer cells. Already FDA approved for prostate and breast cancer, and in use at some major medical centers, it is an almost blood-free way of destroying dangerous tumors.
An almost 200-year controversy has raged over the use of minute quantities of drugs to fight disease. Is it possible or logical that tiny doses could work without any side effects? Opinions differ, of course, but in line with evidence-based medicine, we base ourselves on the clinical record, not on someone’s specious arguments and faulty logic.
Fever is part of nature’s response to illness, since it speeds up metabolism and healing. Hyperthermia is a man-made fever in a medically sophisticated form. What effect does heat have on cancer treatment? We follow ongoing efforts around the world to harness local, regional and systemic hyperthermia against cancer.
Harnessing the immune system to fight cancer had its roots at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the 1890s. No treatment has gotten more attention in recent years than “immune checkpoint inhibitor” therapy. But is this treatment right for you? See our award-winning video on “Immunotherapy: The Battle Within” and read our ongoing coverage of this and related topics.
Until recently, self-help meant taking foods, supplements, and other lifestyle modifications, while injectable meant prescription drugs from allopathic doctors. Now wellness centers are springing up, offering IV nutrients to patients and those seeking a return to optimal health. Is this safe and effective? We survey the field.
Interactions & Conflicts
One of the biggest questions we confront is how to integrate conventional and complementary cancer treatments. The biggest sticking point is oncologists’ belief that foods, supplements and herbs conflict with anti-cancer drugs. We carefully examine the basis of such concerns. Although conflicts are possible, by and large there is little evidence that they actually do conflict. More frequently the data supports not just the harmlessness of supplements, but a beneficial effect.
Perhaps the greatest breakthrough of the 20th century was Otto Warburg’s discovery that cancer cells crave glucose and process it in a manner far different than normal cells. This has led to such diverse approaches as the ketogenic diet, time-restricted eating, intermittent fasting, etc. Is a high-fat diet necessary or safe for cancer patients? What is the evidence for and against it? Join the argument!
Does the mind control the body (or vice versa). This philosophical argument has a direct bearing on cancer patients. Can you use the mind or spirit to bring about remissions or even cures of cancer? How does this relate to “spontaneous regressions” of the disease, occurring without any apparent medical cause. What do we make of Hamer’s claim that every cancer is caused by a sudden emotional shock to the system?
Nature of CAM
Until about 1995, the world of cancer was divided between “conventional” and “alternative medicine.” But after the formation of the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) at the NIH, things began to change. Now the use of the term “alternative” is ancient history. Instead, what we have is “complementary” and “integrative” healthcare. What has been lost, or gained, through this shift in perspective is the subtext of many of our articles. We were among the founders of the OAM, and have done podcasts with other founders of the field.
In a consumer society, we are conditioned to take commodities (drugs, foods, supplements) to improve our health. But nothing is more important than our level of activity. This influences the body’s basal metabolic rate. What role does activity and especially exercise play in preventing cancer recurrences? (Hint: In one study, it was more powerful than any drug or radiation treatment.)
It now costs over $1 billion to see a new drug through from inception to FDA approval. This fact is used to justify the astronomical cost of new treatments (one of which is priced at $475,000 per patient!) But what if an already-approved and out-of-patent medication could be repurposed to treat cancer. (Hint: A bottle of one such drug sells for $4.20… for 180 pills! Find out how to access these promising older drugs.)
Widespread discontent with the scattershot approach of chemotherapy, combined with major advances in immunology, led to the development of targeted therapies.” This began in the 1980s and took off with the work of Judah Folkman after 2000. Since 2010 there have been 50,000 journal articles on the topic. Since then, a number of cancer drugs have been developed in recent years that specifically target genetic alterations. How effective are these therapies, and are they really less toxic than classical chemo? We explore the field, showing its strengths and weaknesses.
Microbes and viruses can cause or promote the growth of many kinds of cancer, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, or H. pylori bacteria and stomach cancer. But what if viruses could be used to fatally target cancer cells? Which ones are available now? And which clinics specialize in using poultry viruses against brain and other cancers?
Sound, Light & Electricity
Ionizing radiation is often effective but dangerous. Using “Hiroshima-level” radiation to destroy tumors is like using a jackhammer to drive in a thumbtack. Innovators are using less dangerous forms of “radiation” such as heat, light, ultrasound and electricity to destroy tumors without ravaging surrounding normal tissue. Learn more about it here.
Nutrition & Supplements
Health through Nutrition Nothing is more promising—and more controversial—than the use of nutrition, foods, and food supplements in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Various compounds found in nature have been repeatedly proven, through scientific studies, to have considerable value in the human body. Nothing revolutionized the study of disease more than the discovery of vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. The discovery that there was a mysterious substance in lemons and limes (later called ascorbic acid, or vitamin C) that prevented and even cured a terrible disease, scurvy, changed the course of human history. Understanding how nutrition affects the body chemistry and how that chemistry can have an effect on cancer is an essential tool in healing the effects of malignancy. Ralph W. Moss, author of Antioxidants Against Cancer, and Herbs Against Cancer shares his research on these critical topics, fully explaining a key question about supplements and showing the hard science behind his sometimes unexpected conclusions. Moss not only “talks the talk” but “walks the walk.” He himself is a long-term survivor of aggressive prostate cancer. His food recommendations and recipes for smoothies, seed crackers, soups, and teas all contributed to his success in beating his own cancer.
Cancer Stem Cell Fighters
Since the discovery of cancer stem cells (2003 for breast cancer), there has been a gold rush to find drugs that would kill or block these causative agents. However, the field ran into problems because scientists differ on whether “stem-ness” is the mark of a special category of cancer cells or merely a quality that can apply, more or less, to any cancer cell. Also, since there are about 35 separate markers of CSCs, it became apparent that multiple agents would be necessary to entirely block CSCs. The experience with immunotherapy, however, has shown that even employing two such agents causes a panoply of side effects. So how can one contemplate the use of multiple anti-CSC drugs? What is far more promising is the use of foods and food supplements to fight CSCs. We at The Moss Report have studied more than a dozen reports from around the world on the use of natural products for this purpose. This informs our recommendations of the most promising anti-CSCs nutrients and herbal factors.
Are there dietary programs that deter and defeat the growth of cancer in the human body? Since the work of Max Gerson, MD, in the 1930s, people on the fringe of medicine have attempted to prescribe special diets, with lists of things to include and avoid, to fight the disease. Since then, we have had the Budwig diet (flaxseed oil and cottage cheese), the Breuss diet (fasting), the Kelley and Gonzalez diet (pancreatic enzymes), the Macrobiotic diet (brown rice and Japanese vegetables), the Livingston diet (no chicken), and so forth. Once-stodgy cancer centers have gotten in on the act, now advocating the “plant-based diet” (by the way, cane sugar is plant-based, but that doesn’t make it anti-cancer). Unlike some, we at The Moss Report cast a cold eye on faddish cults. We proceed from scientific evidence in making recommendations concerning diet and cancer.
Food and Cancer
While conventional medicine previously mocked any connection between food intake and cancer, this link is actually profound. Even some oncologists have gotten on board. The classic DeVita cancer textbook now has whole chapters on “Dietary Factors,” “Obesity and Physical Activity,” and “The Microbiome and Cancer.” In this section, we explore in depth the preventative nature of certain foods and their impact on people who are already fighting existing disease or trying to prevent its recurrence.
Fruits and Nuts
As part of a plant-based diet, we are often told to eat plenty of fruits, nuts and seeds. There is a good rationale for this recommendation. Walnuts and flaxseeds are good sources of essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are essential in the diet (cannot be synthesized in the human body). But flaxseed is poorly metabolized and only about 15 percent of it turns into the necessary EPA and DHA. Seeds can also be problematic: If you have a cracked tooth, a seed can split it open with considerable pain. Seeds can also exacerbate diverticulosis. Peanuts (which, despite the name, are not nuts, but legumes) can be infected with dangerous aflatoxin. Fruits in general are high in fructose, a form of sugar that can only be metabolized in the liver, and thus may contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. So this category must be approached with caution.
Herbs, Spices & Botanicals
Herbs, spices, and botanicals are one of mankind’s earliest anti-cancer remedies. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a huge repository of potential treatments for cancer and its symptoms. Other countries similarly contribute to this storehouse. Native Americans contributed to this tradition, although the most famous such formula, Essiac Tea, is almost certainly a fake Indian herbal remedy. In 2015, Tu Youyou won the Nobel Prize for her discovery of artemisinin, an extract of Chinese wormwood. This drug is now being repurposed as a cancer remedy.
Mushrooms are among humanity’s oldest medicinal substances. Mysterious entities – sometimes delicious, sometimes deadly – and psychoactive in the extreme, they also can profoundly affect the “chi,” or immune system. Mushrooms work best in combinations of fruiting body extracts. Yet studies show that about two-thirds of the products on the American market contain no beta-glucans, the molecular signature of mushrooms! We show readers how to identify and obtain effective fungal preparations.
The foundation of health is diet. Every child should be taught to cook, and people should go back to preparing meals from scratch and eating them together at least once per day. Convenience foods are not convenient when they result in metabolic diseases. Certain foods and drinks are especially important in regard to cancer prevention. We provide some recipes to increase health, such as a seed cracker, a mushroom soup, and three kinds of smoothies.
Vitamins & Minerals
Basic vitamins and minerals are essential to health and life itself. You should get your vitamins and minerals mainly from food, but supplements can also be important, although maligned by some in the medical establishment. Vitamin D3 in particular has an important role to play in cancer. It inhibits the growth of cancer stem cells and is considered a promising therapeutic approach, at next to no cost to the patient.
Doctors & Clinics
Since 1974, nobody has carried out as complete a survey of the world CAM-cancer field as The Moss Report. For example, we have made 19 separate trips to Germany to site visit innovative cancer clinics. Moss was the first American inducted into the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first scholarly articles on unconventional cancer clinics in Mexico, China, Italy, and Israel. Through this multi-decade, multi-generational effort, The Moss Report has achieved a unique standing in the world of CAM. We have interviewed the major CAM doctors around the world and evaluated their facilities. No other information source can provide even a fraction of that knowledge. This is a source of great hope and optimism for those with a dire prognosis. If you are considering traveling to another country, you want to have a clear picture of what you are getting into! Oftentimes, a foreign clinic is just the thing for the patient. But sometimes we have seen patients make momentous and costly decisions based on inadequate information. The articles in this section will help you not only to find resources but will empower you to ask the right questions and show you what to look for in a…
Choosing a Clinic
Cancer is a complex disease. While it would be ideal to have both conventional and complementary treatment in the same center, this is not often possible. So, one’s treatment becomes fractured and sporadic. This is the rationale behind the existence of specialized clinics that deal with the disease (and the patient!) in a holistic way.
Asia is, in a sense, the birthplace of complementary medicine. Without the existence and persistence of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is doubtful whether the holistic health movement would even exist. In China today, patients are still offered a choice between Western and TCM, and many choose the latter. We have repeatedly visited clinics in China and other Eastern countries to learn their methods of approaching this complex disease.
America spends more on healthcare per capita than any other country on Earth. It is also home to about half of the multinational “Big Pharma” companies. Perhaps as a result, its attitude toward holistic clinics is very restrictive. The once-thriving CAM cancer scene of the 1970s and 1980s is no more. But about half the states do recognize naturopathic medicine, and a few states still have thriving CAM cancer clinics. We have visited those clinics and brought back reports. We also maintain a constantly updated map of cancer practitioners, centers and hospitals.
Germany is the homeland of complementary medicine in the West. Since the 1970s, its laws have allowed for a broad array of nonconventional practitioners. Nonconforming doctors there do not live in fear of government persecution. As a result, there are about 125 unconventional clinics, many of which treat English-speaking patients. We have made 18 separate trips to Germany (and visited its neighboring countries as well). Ralph Moss was the first American to be inducted into the German Society of Oncology. So we have lots to say on the relative merits of the various clinics.
There are about 25 nonconventional cancer clinics in the Tijuana area alone, with significant clinics in Cancun and Mexico City as well. We made our first site visit to Tijuana in 1976 and have gone back frequently. We wrote the first scientific journal article on the phenomenon of the border cancer clinics. We discuss the relative merits of the various Mexican clinics, separating the wheat from the chaff in a complex but fascinating phenomenon.
This section of The Moss Report pertains to “conventional” treatments of cancer – surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and other treatments that are typically prescribed by licensed medical practitioners and specialists in the United States and other countries. Doctors often play up the positive effects while downplaying adverse events. In our discussion of this topic, we include an explanation of side effects, which must always be considered in any evaluation of cancer treatment. Conventional therapy can be lifesaving. But it also can at times be a minefield, with potentially devastating side effects. We arm you with reliable information to prevent hype, peer pressure, or doctor pressure from distorting your decision from what your instincts tell you is the proper course for you. For example, in his DIY Guide to Conventional Treatments, Moss shows how he researches a conventional treatment. You can learn his methods (based on over 40 years of experience) so that you can do your own analysis of what your doctors are recommending.
Chemotherapy was founded on the idea that certain poisonous drugs could target rapidly dividing cells of the blood, i.e., acute leukemias. That worked pretty well. But chemo proved far less effective against solid tumors of adults. We do a “deep dive” into the world of chemo, showing which regimens are effective against which cancers, and the many cases in which chemo shrinks tumors, but does not extend survival.
Diagnosis Specific Guides
Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D., has spent decades creating and editing detailed reviews of the safety and effectiveness of the conventional treatment of cancer. He has scoured the world literature, and read tens of thousands of journal articles, to reach a fair and dispassionate assessment of the pluses and minuses of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy for over 50 major cancer types. He also investigates hormonal and immunological treatments. Many patients have said,“I wish I had this report when I began my treatment!” But it will be of use regardless of where you are in your journey. [fusion_global id="549170"] [fusion_global id="549904"]
Around 1940, Charles Huggins of the University of Chicago showed that the course of prostate cancer can be affected by hormones. But when the production of male sex hormone was prevented through castration, or if female sex hormone were added, the growth of cancer was slowed. Huggins won the 1966 Nobel Prize for the discovery. Today, hormone therapy is used routinely in about 80 percent of breast cancer cases as well.
No word in cancer is more frightening than “metastasis,” which means the secondary spread of a tumor from its initial appearance to a vital internal organ. About 90 percent of those who die of cancer do so as a result of metastases. Surgery and radiation are local or regional treatments. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy are more systemic. And some complementary treatments show promise in stopping the ability of cancer cells to metas