Thursday, July 31, 2014

First do no harms – Integrating complementary therapies into cancer care

For years advocates and patients have been concerned over the short and long-term adverse effects caused by conventional treatment. Even in this era of consecutive chemotherapies designed to reduce toxicities, we are still experiencing them. Using a muga scan to examine the heart before certain treatments works to discover who already has heart weakness ,but speaks not at all to those who will develop it. Similarly with neuropathy, once developed, it is extremely damaging and not under control. We suggest the use of certain natural supplements which in a variety of studies seem to enhance chemo treatments and may reduce the risks of many of the adverse effects suffered by the human being behind the cancer. This is of grave concern to our advocacy organization. Examples abound of substances that are GRAS. A study on fish oil (Omega-3) in mice indicated it was synergistic with doxorubicin and slowed tumor growth without increasing toxicity. A variety of studies point to its value in cachexia, and some believe it shows promise as an anti angiogenic agent. Curcumin has been shown to affect 9 pathways in the body – it is able to induce glutathione S-transferase activity. When combined with piperine (black pepper) its value is mightily enhanced. It may work equally well in ER+ or ER- breast cancer cells. It has demonstrated an ability to inhibit the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), and curcumin preferentially arrests cancer cells in the G2/S phase of the cell cycle. A study in mice demonstrated that turmeric/curcumin may protect cancer patients from the burns and blisters suffered as adverse effects of radiation therapy. This same paper, presented in 2002 suggested that the benefit of RTx is enhanced as well. Topically applied tea may reduce radiation burns per a study from UCLA reported in 2006. L-theanine, an amino acid, has been shown to enhance doxirubicin's cancer killing effects, while protecting normal cells. Many studies indicate bnefit from the addition of vit D – this is being studied in several labs now. One study indicated enhancement of paclitaxel through the addition of vit D analogues. The vitamin D3 analog, ILX-23-7553, enhances the response to Adriamycin and irradiation in MCF-7 breast tumor cells. Also in vitro, both tumorigenicity and metastatic ability decreased after addition of N-acetylcysteine or selenium (from a 2001 study). Quercetin, a flavinoid molecule, has in vitro and some preliminary animal and human data indicate it inhibits tumor growth, as well as having little toxicity (2000). Quercetin has been used to enhance hyperthermia as well. B12 among other B vitamins has been shown to inhibit tumor cell growth in MC7 cells. A 2002 study showed (in rats) that supplementation of a niacin-adequate, high quality diet with pharmacologic levels of nicotinic acid or nicotinamide increases NAD+ and poly(ADP-ribose) levels in bone marrow and may be protective against DNA damage. CoQ10 is finally being studied as cardio-protective in a human trial right now. Alpha lipoic acid and glutathione have been indicated as helpful for prevention/reduction of neuropathy. These and many other natural substances, mostly GRAS, call out for more study and inclusion in our treatment protocols. They are likely not toxic and in a system where drugs of great toxicity are routinely given, it just makes sense.

Fish oil

Integrative Oncology from the Patient Advocate Perspective

As a 20+ year survivor I sought to find, then offer, information on natural cancer strategies.  At first I needed them for my own cancer protocol, then to help others.

Integrative Oncology refers to the simple, natural and non-toxic approaches that can reduce toxicity, possibly enhance the efficacy of conventional treatment, and create feelings of well-being and control in people dealing with cancer.
Many studies, some from long ago, have pointed to the strong patient interest in Integrative Oncology (formerly known as CAM).  Yet the professional oncology community’s knowledge has failed to keep up.

Trained to seek Level 1 studies, they have failed to note the preponderance of all the other evidence available supporting natural approaches. Due to cost, most natural products/substances are not reviewed at Level 1 and probably will never be.

We’ve created a simple program we call 3 Steps 4 Health which offers anyone in cancer treatment a guide to improved health.  We will present the research that backs up these simple ideas that can be incorporated into anyone’s protocol.

We also have a Handout to Reduce Toxicities (also a Pediatric version) that is evidence-based to help with those adverse effects that plague modern cancer patients.  So many suffer from neuropathy – there are quite a few methods to protect or treat this with complementary therapies that can be integrated into conventional treatment.  ASCO has pointed to the value of Yoga, of Ginger and more natural approaches but oncology professionals have been slow to adopt or recommend.

Ann E. Fonfa, Annie Appleseed Project, Delray Beach, FL USA

Obstacles to CAM for minority communities to healthy foods and supplements

Obstacles and solutions for minority communities to healthy foods and supplements, gyms and healthy care products. Princetta Scott and Ann Fonfa, The Annie Appleseed Project, Delray Beach, FL

There are a variety of obstacles that make it difficult for people living in minority communities to adopt healthier lifestyles despite their desire to do so.  These include few health food stores or shops that carry fresh produce or supplements.  Very little access to gyms, few ‘safe’ places to run in the streets or parks to play outdoors in.
Some minority neighborhoods have been shown to have more fast food restaurants and bars than any other type of food establishment.  Prices for fresh produce may be higher in these communities.

Some solutions include joining a walking or running group (be the organizer if this does not exist in your area yet). Joining or creating a food coop, reaching out to local/organic farmers to suggest a market day.  Visit with local nonprofits to suggest they fund or run these projects.

Ask local stores to host a food market or coop.

(photo shows the authors in Lisbon, Portugal with a poster)