When we talk about cancer, we are often referring specifically to a tumor. However, a tumor is only discovered when the number of cells reaches the detection threshold of our technology. Cancer is more than just the tumor; it is really the entire process that has occurred to result in a tumor.
The problem with the current view of cancer is that it focuses on the tumor, not the cause of the tumor. The tumor is assaulted with chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, which may eradicate the tumor but do nothing to treat the underlying process. This failure to treat the underlying causative process is why so many cancers recur, even after treatment.
The cancer development process includes liver toxicity/elimination blockage, immune system dysregulation, hormone imbalance, and difficult emotional experiences. Issues of heredity may increase an individual’s risk of developing cancer, rather than another disease, if these areas become unbalanced.
As with any multi-faceted condition, different pieces play different roles and have different levels of importance for each individual. Primary to the cancer process is liver toxicity/elimination blockage. A variety of common toxins and chemicals have the ability to cause cellular changes that can promote the growth of abnormal cells. When the liver is overburdened, and the elimination pathways are blocked, these toxins can remain in the body for a longer period of time, thus increasing the exposure of sensitive cells to their mutative properties.
These chemicals can accumulate in the extracellular matrix (ECM) surrounding each cell and directly contact the cell membrane. The ECM is used for transport of materials in and out of the cell, storage, and communication between cells. Accumulation of toxins in the ECM prevents the proper nutrition from diffusing through the membrane into the cell as well as preventing the normal wastes produced from cellular activity from being carried away. The ECM can also be damaged by poor diet, lack of sleep, exercise, and clean water, and stress, which create free radicals and chronic inflammation. A damaged ECM can create more inflammation and obstruct proper tissue repair, leading to chronic degenerative diseases, including cancer. This accumulation can also change the signals that cross the cell membrane and reach the nucleus of the cell as well as change the receptors and cell identity markers that the cell produces and locates within the membrane. These receptors and identity markers are essential to cell-to-cell communication, and to the immune system’s ability to differentiate between healthy and abnormal cells.
This function of the immune system to monitor our cells and identify and destroy those cells that have become abnormal can be impacted by changes in the cell membranes as well as the functioning of the immune system itself. If the immune system is not fully functional, individual cells may escape detection allowing a mass to develop. Many of the same chemicals that cause mutations also disrupt the immune system, so they can have a dual action in the cancer process. The liver also makes immunoglobulin proteins, so a dysfunctional liver can also affect the immune system.
Every cancer has a hormonal component and hormone imbalances have known impacts specifically on the breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate. These imbalances may be internally generated or may be caused by exposure to external hormones. Internal causes of hormone imbalances may include a poorly functioning liver, unable to correctly process the hormones, or a high stress level, causing imbalances in a wide array of hormones, sleep, and the healing process. External hormones may include actual hormone supplementation, such as HRT for menopausal women, or exposure to hormone-mimicking chemicals.
These three areas are strongly affected by environmental and lifestyle factors. Environmental factors include chemicals, radiation, and infectious microbes. A chemical’s ability to initiate or stimulate the cancer process is a combination of the chemical itself and an individual’s ability to detoxify the chemical. If a person’s detoxification enzymes are dysfunctional, either due to lifestyle or heredity, a chemical exposure may have a greater carcinogenic impact. So the issue isn’t just the chemical- it’s whether a person can detoxify and eliminate the chemical after being exposed.
Radiation exposure includes natural exposures to UV rays from the sun as well as diagnostic exposures, such as x-rays and CT scans. Ionizing radiation causes genetic mutations, and has a high impact on bone marrow, thyroid, and breast tissue. Infectious agents, such as Epstein-Barr virus, human papilloma virus, Hepatitis B and C viruses, and Helicobacter pylori have been implicated in a wide range of cancers.
While a person may have little or no control over some environmental exposures, an individual’s lifestyle choices play a large role in the cancer process. All forms of tobacco increase the risk of cancer, especially of the lung, throat, and mouth. It may also be involved in cancers of other organs not directly exposed to the tobacco, including pancreas, bladder, and kidney. Diets high in saturated fat, alcohol, calories, nitrates, processed foods, and sugar increase the risk for cancer, while diets high in fruits and vegetables decrease cancer risks. Sugar has been shown to impact the activity and number of immune cells for hours after ingestion, so a diet high in sugar or with frequent sugary foods may result in nearly constant immunosuppression.
The final piece is emotional. Unresolved emotional upsets and traumas can stay with us for years and accumulate much like chemical exposures or act as triggers. Emotions can be just as toxic as chemicals, and unresolved negative emotions can create similar cellular changes from an energetic direction. Current research is showing that our psychological states change which chemicals are released in our bodies, having the biggest impacts on the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. In Chinese medicine, the liver is the ruler of the emotions and is responsible for maintaining the smooth flow of blood and qi through the body. Emotional upset or blockage can affect the physical and energetic functioning of the liver. However, not everyone with emotional upsets or traumas develops cancer– it depends on who the individual is, how he/she responds, and the changes that occur within that person due to the emotion. Through our ability to make peace with events that impact us, we can dispel the toxic qualities that may later manifest in the physical form of cancer.
Looking at the cancer process provides us with many treatment plans and options. Because the cancer process starts long before a tumor is ever detected, identifying and treating imbalances in all three areas will improve health and be truly preventative. Once person is “cancer free”, an individualized 5-year plan will be developed, which will form the basis of the lifelong management needed to keep the underlying cancer development process in check and keep all organ systems in balance.
Cancer treatment needs to include the medicine of chemistry as well as physics, so I work with both the physical and the energetic aspects of each patient. Physical level treatments may include nutrition, hydrotherapy, supplements, and lifestyle changes, which energetic treatments are used to stimulate an individual’s vital force and inner healing power to re-establish balance and optimal organ functioning. An analogy I use is if you go to a craftsperson and order a mahogany table but get oak chairs, you need to change both the materials (the physical) and the blueprints (the energetic) the person is using.
The cancer treatment plans I develop for each patient follow a phased approach that addresses each of the unbalanced areas, as well as specific symptoms that may arise through the course of treatment. These phases include:
- Decongesting and protecting the liver;
- Providing emotional support for both prior events and issues that arise from the cancer diagnosis and experience;
- Treating the cancer development process itself, including balancing the immune system, hormones, and heredity; and
- Treating the local processes for the specific organs where tumors have been identified.
Each individual also needs to decide what allopathic treatments will play a part in their overall treatment. It is crucial that patients make educated choices about the risks and benefits of their choices and ultimately make the choices that are right for them. I provide additional treatment protocols for patients undergoing radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery.
- Radiation treatment
- Radiation destroys cells within the “line of fire”. Systemic immunity is not significantly affected but local immunity is drastically impacted. For patients undergoing radiation treatment, our goals are to break down the radiation debris by-products what cause side effects, prevent radiation burns, and protect the organs and tissues near the radiation sites. See the attached radiation guidelines.
- Chemotherapy decreases the number of replicating cancer cells but the immune system is depressed for a significant length of time. Chemotherapy agents are poisons designed to kill cancer cells, but healthy cells are also affected by their toxicity. For patients undergoing chemotherapy, our goals are to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy by clearing the agents as quickly as possible after they have had their targeted effect. See the attached chemotherapy guidelines.
- Surgery will decrease the number of cancer cells but doesn’t treat the cancer process or stimulate the immune system. In fact, the stress of surgery can decrease the immune system. Therefore, for patients undergoing surgery, our goals are to clear any cellular debris, anesthesia, and medications used in the procedure to minimize the immune suppression. See the attached pre- and post-surgery guidelines.