Disclaimer & Warning: The information in this blog is only provided for informational purposes. This information is not designed to be used to treat any disease or health problem. Instead, always consult with your physician for proper treatment.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Cancer Cell vs. Normal Cell

A cancer cell looks, acts and behaves entirely different from a normal (non-cancerous) cell. In fact, there are many differences between cancer cells and normal cells. Some of the differences are well known, whereas others have only been recently discovered and are less well understood.

Why is this important? Because if you understand some of these differences, it will help you to better understand how to fight your cancer via natural means that don't require the use of toxic chemotherapy and radiation.

For true researchers, understanding how cancer cells function differently from normal cells lays the foundation for developing treatments designed to rid the body of cancer cells without damaging normal cells.

Cancer Cell vs. Normal Cell

From a physical perspective, a cancer cell is characterized by a large nucleus, having an irregular size and shape, the nucleoli are prominent, and the cytoplasm is scarce. A normal cell has a smaller nucleus, has a regular size and shape, and is full of cytoplasm.

Cancer cells often exhibit much more variability in cell size – some are larger than normal and some are smaller than normal. In addition, cancer cells often have an abnormal shape, both of the cell, and of the nucleus (the “brain” of the cell.) The nucleus appears both larger and darker than normal cells. The reason for the darkness is that the nucleus of cancer cells contains excess DNA. Up close, cancer cells often have an abnormal number of chromosomes that are arranged is a disorganized fashion. 

From a functional perspective, a cancer cell divides out of control; avoids programmed cell death (apoptosis); invades other cells and tissues; and, is able to move about freely via the bloodstream and lymphatic system. In addition, a cancer cell has a craving for sugar; a disdain for oxygen; a preference for an acidic environment; has stealth ability (to hide from immune cells); can trigger angiogenesis; and, has the ability to recruit and use our cells against us.

On the other hand, a normal cell  divides in an organized manner; performs suicide after about 50-60 divisions via programmed cell death (apoptosis); does not invade other cells and tissues; and, does not move about freely in the body. In addition, a normal cell loves oxygen; can trigger angiogenesis during the repair and healing process; and, prefers an alkaline environment.

Although our bodies' cells continue to divide to replace worn-out cells, this happens in a very ordered, systematic way. The reason is that each cell carries genetic instructions that regulate how fast the cell should grow and divide and when the cell should die. A balance between cells growing and dying keeps our bodies functioning normally.

Normal cells stop growing (reproducing) when enough cells are present. For example, if cells are being produced to repair a cut in the skin, when the repair work is done, cells are no longer reproduced to fill in the hole.

Sometimes a cell starts to grow without regard for the normal balance between cell growth and death, and a small, harmless (or benign), lump of cells will form. A benign growth can occur in any part of the body, including the prostate, skin, or intestine.

In other cases, a cell may continue to grow and divide with complete disregard for the needs and limitations of the body. This continued growth often results in a tumor (a cluster of cancer cells) being formed. Cells that have this aggressive behavior are called malignant or cancerous. They have the potential to grow into large masses or spread to other areas of the body.  When clumps of these cells spread to other parts of the body, they are metastases. A cancer that continues to grow can eventually overwhelm and destroy the part of the body or particular organ where it is located.

Note: Each gene in the body carries a blueprint that codes for a different protein. Some of these proteins are growth factors, chemicals that tell cells to grow and divide. If the gene that codes for one of these proteins is stuck in the “on” position by a mutation (an oncogene) – the growth factor proteins continue to be produced. In response, the cells continue to grow.

Evading Growth Suppressors: Normal cells are controlled by growth (tumor) suppressors. There are 3 main types of tumor suppressor genes that code for proteins that suppress growth. One type tells cells to slow down and stop dividing. One type is responsible for fixing changes in damaged cells. The third type is in charge of the apoptosis. Mutations that result in any of these tumor suppressor genes being inactivated allow cancer cells to grow unchecked.

Normal cells listen to signals from neighboring cells and stop growing when they encroach on nearby tissues (something called contact inhibition). Cancer cells ignore these cells and invade nearby tissues. Benign (non-cancerous) tumors have a fibrous capsule. They may push up against nearby tissues but they do not invade/intermingle with other tissues.

Cancer cells in contrast don’t respect boundaries and invade tissues. This results in the finger-like projections that are often noted on radiologic scans of cancerous tumors. The word cancer, in fact, comes from the Latin word for crab used to describe the crablike invasion of cancers into nearby tissues.

Normal cells mature. Cancer cells, because they grow rapidly and divide before cells are fully mature, remain immature. Doctors use the term undifferentiated to describe immature cells (in contrast to differentiated to describe more mature cells).

Another way to explain this is to view cancer cells as cells that don’t “grow up” and specialize into adult cells. The degree of maturation of cells corresponds to the "grade" of a cancer. Cancers are graded on a scale from 1 to 3 with 3 being the most aggressive.

Cancer cells don’t interact with other cells as normal cells do. Normal cells respond to signals sent from other nearby cells that say, essentially, “you’ve reached your boundary.” When normal cells “hear” these signals they stop growing. Cancer cells do not respond to these signals.

Normal cells secrete substances that make them stick together in a group and enable them to remain in the area where they belong and do not spread to other parts of the body.

Cancer cells fail to make these substances and because they lack the adhesion molecules that cause stickiness, they may spread through the body (metastasize) in several ways. These include direct invasion and destruction of the organ of origin, or spread through the lymphatic system or bloodstream to distant organs such as the bone, lung, and liver.

Once they arrive in a new region (such as lymph nodes, the lungs, the liver, or the bones) they begin to grow, often forming tumors far removed from the original tumor.
Cell Repair and Cell Death
Normal cells are either repaired or die (undergo apoptosis) when they are damaged or get old. Cancer cells are either not repaired or do not undergo apoptosis.

For example, one protein called p53 has the job of checking to see if a cell is too damaged to repair, and if so advise the cell to kill itself. If this protein p53 is abnormal or inactive (for example, from a mutation in the p53 gene,) then old or damaged cells are allowed to reproduce. The p53 gene is one type of tumor suppressor gene that code for proteins that suppress the growth of cells.

The immune system consists of a group of cells called white blood cells (lymphocytes) that are specialized to recognize and destroy "foreign" material in the body such as bacteria, viruses, and unfamiliar or abnormal cells.

So, when normal cells become damaged, these lymphocytes identify and remove them. In addition, normal cells have a built-in identifier so that the immune cells don't attack our own healthy normal cells.

Cancer cells do not have this identifier, so many of them are destroyed before they can grow and multiply. However, as the years pass and our immune system weakens and is not as alert, it overlooks some of these cancer cells, which evade the immune system and begin to multiply. Also, most cancer cells cover themselves with a protein coating that secretes chemicals that inactivate immune cells by "telling" the immune system cells to leave it alone.

By slipping through this detection system without triggering the immune system to start fighting, this allows the cancer cells to continue dividing and growing at the primary cancer site. Eventually, the cancer cells are able to spread to other secondary sites via the blood vessels and/or lymphatic system.

Membrane Coating
Cancer cells have a thick, protein fibrin coating designed to protect them from the body’s immune system. The fibrin coating is a “cloaking device” preventing cancer cells from being recognized by the immune system’s white blood cells (e.g. macrophages, neutrophils), and thus making them immune to attack by natural killer cells.

The sticky fibrin coating is ~15 times thicker than the fibrin which surrounds healthy cells. [Egyud LG, Lipinski B. Significance of fibrin formation and dissolution in the pathogenesis and treatment of cancer. Med Hypotheses. 1991 Dec;36(4):336-40].

Blood Supply
Angiogenesis is the process by which cells attract blood vessels to grow and feed the tissue. Normal cells undergo a process called angiogenesis only as part of normal growth and development and when new tissue is needed to repair damaged tissue.

Cancer cells undergo angiogenesis even when growth is not necessary. As a result, cancer cells are able to obtain their own blood supply (via tumor angiogenesis), enabling the cancer cells (tumor) to grow, invade more tissue and eventually metastasize.

Normal cells produce most of their energy in the presence of oxygen, whereas cancer cells produce most of their energy in the absence of oxygen. 

Normal cells require oxygen in order to produce energy via a process called cellular respiration. Without oxygen, our cells cannot produce the needed amounts of energy that are required to keep us going every day. This energy that our cells produce is called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP for short. Without oxygen, our cells will die.

Cancer cells do not require or like oxygen. Cancer cells produce their energy via a process called fermentation. As a result, cancer cells are able to produce the needed amounts of energy that are required to allow them to grow and multiply.

Normal cells require glucose from the food we eat; and, along with oxygen, our cells are able to produce energy (ATP).  Normal cells contain little "garage doors" (insulin receptors) that open up and transport glucose into the cell.

However, cancer cells contain 28 times more "garage doors" than normal cells. As a result, cancer cells are able to absorb 10 to 15 times more glucose than a normal cell. This causes normal cells to starve and cancer cells to flourish.

Energy Efficiency
For every mole of glucose, a normal cell produces 38 moles of ATP.  For every mole of glucose, a cancer cell produces 2 moles of ATP.  Because cancer cells are less efficient (5%) at producing ATP energy, they require a lot more glucose.

Acidic Environment
Normal cells do not like an acidic environment because of the lack of nutrients and oxygen. Cancer cells love an acidic environment. In fact, in order to promote their acidic environment, cancer cells internally produce acidic and poisonous mycotoxins that cause damage to the cell's mitochondria and genetic/DNA material. In addition, cancer cells produce lactic acid, as a byproduct of producing energy (ATP).

This lactic acid is secreted into the bloodstream and sent back to the liver, where the liver converts the lactic acid back to glucose. Then, the glucose is returned to the cancer cells to produce energy and more lactic acid, which, again is sent back to the liver.

Note: This vicious cycle is known as the lactic acid or cachexia cycle, which causes the body to slowly waste away. Refer to the blog post titled "Lactic Acid Cycle" for more details.

Electrical Charge
Cancer cells are positive on the inside and highly negative on the outside due to a heavy fibrin protein coating. Immune cells which carry a negative charge are repelled by the negative charge on the cancer cell's surface.

When a cell becomes cancerous, potassium which has high membrane permeability is pumped out of the cell and sodium enters the cell through the voltage gated ion channels making the inside of the cell potentially positive and the outside of the cell negative by comparison.

Note:  At rest, your cells have more potassium ions inside than sodium ions, and there are more sodium ions outside the cell. Potassium ions are negative, so the inside of a cell has a slightly negative charge. Sodium ions are positive, so the area immediately outside the cell membrane is positive. There isn't a strong enough charge difference to generate electricity, though, in this resting state. Human cells are designed to run at about -20 millivolts (or pH of 7.35). As voltage in cells drops, going from -20 mV to zero mV, their physiology becomes compromised.

Nutrients and Compounds
There are various nutrients and compounds that normal cells like but cancer cells do not. Some examples include: chlorophyll, sulfur, alpha linolenic acid (ALA), beta glucan, certain seed extracts,  certain herbs such as turmeric and ginger, Vitamins A/C/D/E, ellagic acid, pancreatic enzymes, etc. Refer to the nutrition-related posts for more details.

Functioning Purpose
Normal cells perform the function they are meant to perform, whereas cancer cells may not be functional. For example, normal white blood cells help fight off infections. In leukemia, the number of white blood cells may be very high, but since the cancerous white blood cells are not functioning as they should, people can be more at risk for infection even with an elevated white blood cell count.

The same can be true of substances produced. For example, normal thyroid cells produce thyroid hormone. Cancerous thyroid cells (thyroid cancer) may not produce thyroid hormone. In this case the body may lack enough thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) despite an increased amount of thyroid tissue.

Normal cells are mortal, that is, they have a life span. Cells aren’t designed to live forever, and just like the humans they make up, cells grow old. Researchers are beginning to look at something called telomeres, structures that hold DNA together at the end of the chromosomes, for their role in cancer.

One of the limitations to growth in normal cells is the length of the telomeres. Every time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. When the telomeres become too short, a cell can no longer divide and the cell dies. Cancer cells have figured out a way to renew telomeres so that they can continue to divide. An enzyme called telomerase works to lengthen the telomeres so that the cell can divide indefinitely – essentially becoming immortal.

Genomic Instability
Normal cells have normal DNA and a normal number of chromosomes. Cancer cells often have an abnormal number of chromosomes and the DNA becomes increasingly abnormal as it develops a multitude of mutations. Some of these are “driver” mutations, meaning they drive the transformation of the cell to be cancerous. Many of the mutations are passenger mutations, meaning they don’t have a direct function for the cancer cell.

Summarizing the Differences
As you can see, there are many differences between normal cells and cancer cells. This is a good thing, because it enables researchers to develop counter strategies to fight cancer.

Unfortunately, the majority of researchers who have been successful are those willing to look at non-drug alternative solutions instead of strictly focusing on drug-based solutions. Non-drug solutions cannot be patented or generate a revenue, whereas drug-based solutions have created a multi-billion dollar revenue stream for the medical industry and especially the pharmaceutical industry. As a result, the general public is only made aware of the drug-based solutions from their doctors.

Cancer Cell Anatomy

A cancer cell is characterized by: acceleration of the cell cycle; genomic alterations; invasive growth; increased cell mobility; chemotaxis; changes in the cellular surface; and secretion of lytic factors.

Morphologically, the cancerous cell is characterized by a large nucleus, having an irregular size and shape, the nucleoli are prominent, the cytoplasm is scarce and intensely colored or, on the contrary, is pale.

The nucleus of neoplastic cells plays through its changes a main role in the assessment of tumor malignancy. Changes concern its surface, volume, the nucleus/cytoplasm ratio, shape and density, as well as structure and homogeneity. Ultrastructural characteristics are related to nucleus segmentation, invaginations, changes in chromatin, such as heterochromatin reduction, increase of interchromatin and perichromatin granules, increase of nuclear membrane pores, formation of inclusions, etc.

The nucleolus is characterized by hypertrophy, macro- and microsegregation, its movement towards the membrane, numerical increase and formation of intranuclear canalicular systems between the nuclear membrane and the nucleolus.

Mitoses are characteristic of malignant cells. The number of mitoses increases, atypical mitosis forms with defects in the mitotic spindle appear, which results in triple or quadruple asters and dissymmetrical structures and atypical forms of chromosomes.

Nuclear changes explain the presence of different cell clones and genetic anomalies associated with these changes. In intensely anaplastic tumors, the presence of gigantic nuclei and multinucleate cells expresses abnormal divisions.

These morphological characteristics reflect the changes occurring at metabolic level, with the augmentation of structures in relation to cell division and the attenuation of structures associated to other metabolisms.

The cytoplasm also undergoes changes, new structures appear or normal structures disappear. The accumulation of ribosomal and messanger RNA in the cytoplasm makes it basophilic. Malignant cells have a small cytoplasmic amount, frequently with vacuoles.

The granular endoplasmic reticulum has the appearance of a simplified structure. Amorphous, granular of filamentous material can accumulate in the cisternae. Fragmentation and degranulation are frequently found, with the interruption of connections between the granular endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria. Fingerprint like formations are not uncommon. The decrease of the granular endoplasmic reticulum from tumor cells occurs concomitantly with an increase of free ribosomes and polysomes, which shows an enhanced production of proteins necessary for the cell growth process.

The agranular endoplasmic reticulum is, during the initiation phase, hyperplastic, without being correlated with functional hyperactivity. In other malignancy phases, the endoplasmic reticulum undergoes a reduction.

The Golgi apparatus in malignant cells is generally poorly developed, which involves a positive correlation with the lack of tumor cell differentiation. The cells that have completely lost differentiation sporadically exhibit a Golgi apparatus.

Mitochondria decrease in volume with tumor development. Mitochondria show a high variability of shape and volume, and huge mitochondria can be sometimes observed. Abnormal glycolysis processes occur in mitochondrial membranes, known in the literature as the “Warburg phenomenon”. Changes in mitochondrial crystals occur, inclusions are present in the matrix, and pyknotic images can appear. The longitudinal distribution of mitochondria involves a cytochrome oxidase insufficiency.

Peroxisomes are only present in tumors formed by cells that normally contain these organelles, such as hepatocytes. It has been established that the number of peroxisomes from malignant cells is reversely proportional to growth speed and expresses the degree of differentiation loss.

Glycogen in high amounts is a characteristic of malignancy, especially in the liver and kidneys, but the already malignant cells generally contain a small amount of glycogen, as it has been found in hepatic and cervical carcinomas. The decrease of glycogen up to its disappearance parallels the increase of lipids.

Lysosomes undergo changes in the process of cell malignization. Thus, secondary lysosomes, myelinic structures and lipofuscin granules appear.

Degenerative cellular changes can be expressed by cytoplasmic inclusions. In some forms of neoplasms, apoptosis occurs, with the presence of apoptotic bodies.

Microfilaments, intermediate filaments and microtubules appear in different proportions, in malignant cells. The capacity of invasion and metastasizing of the cancerous cell depends on its possibility to move, which is ensured by the actin content.

Epithelial carcinomas contain cytokeratins, mesenchymal tumors contain vimentin, and in the central nervous system cells is an acid protein from glial fibers, with a special role in tumor diagnosis.

Cytostatics act by the depolymerization of tumor cell microtubules, which leads to the inhibition of the metastasizing capacity, as well as mitosis and tumor growth.

The cell membrane plays an extremely important role in the malignization process. Surface molecular changes, associated with malignization, are able to influence the evolution of a tumor, as well as the host reactions to the lesion. Proteins and carbohydrates that act as enzymes and as cell surface receptors can also undergo changes:
  • increase or diminution in the number of surface receptors, changing cell sensitivity to the regulating mechanisms of the host;
  • structural changes of proteins or surface receptors that no longer react with the corresponding ligand;
  • presence of new surface molecules, characteristic of the embryonic tissue, which are hidden at the surface of adult cells.
Abnormal surface molecules are able to act as antigens and are recognized by the mechanisms of humoral and cellular defense. Consequently, tumor cells are covered with immune complexes, which allows the complement to destroy the cells covered by antibodies and allows phagocytes to attack the opsonized cells.

Malignant cells change their enzyme content, such as the reduction of acid or alkaline phosphatase. Changes occur in the relation between sugars and the sialic acid from glycolipids and glycoproteins, and also the negative loading of the cell surface. The plasma membrane of malignant cell favors the accelerated transport of nutritive substances, especially sugars and amino acids.

The surface of malignant cells displays differentiation antigens that express a normal development of the cancerous cell and antigens specific for the tumor, which appear with the oncogenic transformation, by the change of the genetic program of the cell. The distribution of receptors in malignant cells is altered, which modifies the cell agglutination behaviour. On the cell surface there are specific surface proteases that are responsible for the agglutination capacity of cells under the action of plant lectins. By losing contact inhibition, tumor cells also acquire metabolic autonomy, both their proliferation and movement being favored.

On the surface of malignant cells, atypical microvilli, pseudopods and vesicles with extremely active enzymatic equipment appear.

Differences between cells from the periphery and the center of tumors have been found. The cell population from the center of the tumor has normal intercellular connections, with the presence of desmosomes and junctional complexes, while these are absent or reduced at the periphery. In areas with a high invasive rhythm, cells are completely detached from the tumor mass, and interconnections disspear altogether.

The presence of desmosomes and tight junctions facilitates the establishment of the epithelial origin of the neoplasm, while their absence indicates the mesenchymal origin.

Note: When a cell becomes cancerous, potassium which has high membrane permeability is pumped out of the cell and sodium enters the cell through the voltage gated ion channels making the inside of the cell potentially positive and the outside of the cell negative by comparison. Immune cells which carry a negative charge are repelled by the negative charge on the cell surface.

The basal membrane is present in benign tumors, while the invasive growth of malignant cells is characterized by fragmentation, reduplication or disappearance of the basal membrane. During the first phases of malignancy, defects are produced with the interruption of the lamina densa. Malignant cells have lytic factors that destroy the basal membrane.

The loss of the basal membrane is considered a fundamental criterion of morphological and biological differentiation between benign and malignant tumors. The basal membrane in malignant cells changes its structure or/and ratios between various components, such as: type IV collagen, laminin, heparan sulfate proteoglycan and fibronectin. Neoplastic cells secrete type IV collagenase that destroys type IV collagen, which facilitates metastasizing through the lysis of basal membranes from blood and lymphatic vessels. Thus, malignant cells are disseminated, but they can also leave the vessels and implant in other tissues and organs, with the formation ofmetastases.

In the process of destruction of the basal membrane, a special role is played by laminin and laminin receptors, receptors that are found in the cell membrane and are reorganized during invasive growth.

The functional changes of neoplastic cells cause the formation and elimination of active substances, such as: growth factors, hormones, molecules similar to hormones, lytic enzymes, etc. Lytic enzymes (collagenase, cathepsin and plasmogen activator) favor the increased mobility and dissemination of neoplastic cells.

Major alterations occur in energy metabolism, between normal and malignant cells, especially regarding the use of glucose. The energy production with the highest efficiency in cells is performed by glycolysis in the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle of Krebs cycle), where 36 ATP molecules are produced for each glucose molecule. This metabolism is carried out by oxygen use and represents the main energy production pathway, in the majority of cells.

Cancerous cells exhibit anomalies of both glycolysis and the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. The cancerous cell is particularly characterized by a poor use of oxygen and the massive use of glucose, which is exclusively converted to lactic acid. Consequently, malignant cells take from blood a 5–10 fold glucose amount compared to normal cells and they produce a corresponding lactic acid amount that will be recycled and changed back to glucose in the liver.

Tumor cells behave like a metabolic parasite for the organism or they drain its energy.

Proliferation is the main characteristic of benign tumors and especially malignant ones. Cells grow continuously, without being submitted to the local or general control of the organism. Benign growth is maintained within certain limits, while malignant growth is invasive, with quiet phases, followed by intense and uncontrollable growth phases.

The cell cycle normally develops along four phases:
  • phase S, the cell synthesizes DNA, in order to prepare mitosis;
  • phase G2 follows immediately mitosis (phase in which the genome is equally distributed between the two daughter-cells). It occurs between DNA replication and cell division;
  • phase M or mitosis, characterized by the appearance of chromatids migrating separately between the two daughter-cells;
  • phase G1 is the time interval elapsed between the previous nuclear division and the beginning of DNA synthesis. This phase is very short for bone marrow cells and in enterocytes from intestinal crypts or, in other cases, it can be very long. Cancerous cells have an accelerated cell cycle.
In the case in which the division speed in a tumor is not accelerated, neoplastic proliferation is the result of a disorder in cell maturation, a great number of cells being able to divide within the tissue. In such tumors, a slowing down of the rhythm of cellular apoptosis has also been found, as it happens in lymphoid tumors.

Genomic alterations, a cancer initiating process, persist all through the evolution of a tumor. The combined action of alterations in the mitotic cycle, the deficient synchronization between the nuclear and cytoplasmic divisions and the alterations preceding the existence of the genome induce more and more the instability of cell lines. Aneuploidy, polysemy and chromosomal deficits cause extremely variable morphological and behavioral clones. The depression of some segments of the genome can also enhance the pleiomorphic aspect of neoplastic cells and explains their abnormal secretions.

The proliferation and migration of neoplastic cells from a tumor is unpredictable. The movement of neoplastic cells starts with the formation of irregular cytoplasmic pseudopods, which infiltrate through basal membranes. Between the differentiation grade of a tumor, on the one hand, and its invasive growth, on the other hand, there is a correlation, which means that differentiation processes inhibit the capacity of movement of the cell.

The active locomotion of a malignant cell involves the enzymatic dissolution of the surrounding host tissue, especially of the interstitial matrix. At the beginning of the invasion, a loosening of the interstitial matrix of the host tissue occurs, by the appearance of an edema. The edema is explained by a higher permeability of the capillaries and the lack of lymphatic vessels with a draining role inside and in the proximity of the tumor. The size of the interstitial fluid volume facilitates cell locomotion. With the invasive growth, the destruction of the host tissue, its real lysis occurs, which is partially caused by enzymatic processes, and partially by atrophy through the pressure exerted by the tumor tissue.

The invasion and infiltration of malignant cells is characterized by the fact that they leave the tumor tissue and penetrate the neighboring tissue. But this property is not only specific for malignant tumors, this can also be found in other cells, such as: granulocytes, osteoclasts, endothelial cells and trophoblastic cells. Unlike these cells, the invasive growth of malignant cells is a progressive and continuous growth, ending with the destruction of the host tissue.

The malignant cell that grows invasively has the capacity to move, to produce lytic factors and phagocytose the host tissue. It grows especially in preexisting spaces but it can also create new spaces, by the destruction of the surrounding tissue. Between cytokinases and the invading capacity of cells, there are negative correlations, the cells having in certain phases a proliferative behavior, and in other phases an invasive behavior.

Invading cells have a higher content of actinic filaments and they form plasminogen activator, collagenase, elastase and proteoglycan decomposing enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes are secreted by both malignant cells and certain cells of the host tissue, such as: endothelial cells, fibroblasts, macrophages, mastocytes and lymphocytes.

The hypothesis that lytic factors produced by malignant cells can also initiate the angiogenesis process is advanced.

The loss of differentiation of the malignant cell is an important component. A determining role in this process is played by the reduction of cell organelles, especially the endoplasmic reticulum (which synthesizes proteins) and the Golgi apparatus. The loss of polarity of cell organelles, as well as of some properties of the cell membrane, also occurs. Malignant cells morphologically and functionally become similar to the fetal cells of the host tissue.

In reality, malignant cell complexes are composed of three types of various cells, in which not only the loss of differentiation takes place, but also aberrant processes, along with normal ones, excessive maturation and synthesis of new substances. This explains the histological variety of the cell population of a tumor. Multidirectional differentiation explains the appearance of atypical substances; thus, neoplastic epithelial cells can produce collagen.

At ultrastructural level, the main characteristic is not the loss of differentiation and the simplification of malignant cell structures, but structural and functional reorientation.

The loss of differentiation can be explained by the reduction of the postmitotic regeneration time, which results in the diminution of the differentiation time. Genetic information defects can also be mentioned. These processes cause changes in the cytoplasmic composition and intermediate metabolism and glycogen anomalies.

The differentiation process differs from one tumor to another, and it can be characterized by:
  • the maintenance of certain structures and functions;
  • the appearance of new cell structures and functions;
  • the appearance of new structures, such as metaplasia and heteroplasia;
  • the appearance of differentiations;
  • the disappearance of functions in malignant cells such as anaplasia and cataplasia. Anaplastic tumor cells lose their specific structural characteristics, having small amounts of granular endoplasmic reticulum and some mitochondria.
It can be considered that there is no principle contradiction between malignancy and differentiation, and the loss of differentiation during malignization should be regarded as an epiphenomenon.
In a malignant cell population, subpopulations and subclones develop, which are distinguished in terms of invasiveness, aggressiveness and the capacity of metastasizing. The peculiarities specific for each neoplasm result from heterogeneity, the presence of subclones whose unpredictable appearance and variation, supplemented by the local reaction of the host tissue and of the organism, make difficult tumor therapy.

In addition to these peculiarities of tumor cells, the following should be considered: the relation of the tumor to the stroma; the different behavior regarding the invasion and metastasizing of the different subclones; the different structure of cells, in terms of antigenicity and/or membrane glycoproteins and the variable cell sensitivity to cytostatics, radiation, etc.

Cytostatic treatment should aim to eliminate malignant subpopulations, since these have a high proliferation and invasion capacity. It should be mentioned that only a small part of the tumor cells that reach blood circulation have metastatic properties, and only when they find favorable conditions.

Depending on the metastasizing subclone, the cellular structure of metastases is similar or different, compared to the primary tumor.

The involvement of the host tissue in the development of a tumor is strongly expressed by the growth rhythm and the possibilities of tumor metastasizing. The reactions of the host tissue are initiated by immunological and non-immunological mechanisms  . The invasive cell acts on the extracellular matrix of the host tissue, in particular on collagen and elastin.

This action develops along three successive stages. In a first stage, the receptors of the tumor cell membrane bind to the glycoproteins of the host tissue, especially laminin and fibronectin. In the second stage, tumor cells secrete hydrolytic enzymes that stimulate the secretory activity of host cells. In the third stage, the dissolution of the components of the host tissue matrix occurs, and desmoplasia of these components is stimulated.

According to Carr and Unerwood, 1974, tumor cells stimulate the following phenomena:
  • the lymphoreticular reaction, with the invasion of lymphocytes, macrophages, lymphoreticular cells, immunologically active cells;
  • the vascular reaction, with the proliferation of endothelial cells and the formation of new capillaries;
  • the fibrous reaction, with fibroblast proliferation and collagen deposition;
  • the inflammatory reaction, with polymorphonuclear infiltration (neutrophils and eosinophils).
During its development, the malignant tumor needs the host tissue to survive and to grow. As part of the non-immunological defense reaction, a special role is played by activated macrophages, which are tightly bound to T lymphocytes. Some biochemical mediators and chemical reagents are able to destroy tumor cells non-immunologically or to inhibit their growth. In the case of the regression of a tumor, the phagocytic and Killer activity of macrophages increases. Spontaneous regressions have been found in some neoplasms: melanomas, choriocarcinomas, neuroblastomas, hypernephromas, etc.

The immunological cellular response controls through its mechanisms the growth of malignant cells. Complex processes with specific and non-specific immunodepressive effects take place. Immunological factors are supposed to eliminate malignant cells rapidly, before the appearance of clinical manifestations.

Characteristics of benign/malignant tumors
Growth typeExpansiveInfiltrating
Growth speedSlow (in general)Rapid (in general)
StructureTypicalAtypical (dedifferentiation − anaplasia)
MitosesRare + TypicalNumerous + Atypical
EvolutionLocalLocal + General
Local consequencesVariable (compressions, ...)Severe (infiltration, destruction, necrosis, ...)
General consequencesNone (exceptions : secretory tumors or at particular sites)Constant + severe (in the generalization phase)
Spontaneous evolutionUsually favorableAlways fatal
Evolution after removalNo recurrencesCommon recurrences

The growth of a tumor depends on its vascularization. It has been found that poorly vascularized or even avascular tumors slow down their development or they even stop growing. In contrast, the appearance of capillaries, the infiltration of the tumor by a great numer of capillaries, stimulates tumor growth and proliferation. Malignant cells secrete some substances that stimulate the formation of new vessels, which are called by Bassermann (1984) the “tumor angiogenesis factor” (TAP).

Angiogenesis is a normal physiological response that appears in other processes as well, such as cicatrization and inflammation. TAP molecules are probably produced and elaborated by host cells, such as lymphocytes, macrophages, monocytes, etc.

Due to the fact that tumor cell proliferation occurs at a much higher speed compared to the formation of new capillaries, necrobiotic, necrotic and apoptotic processes take place in the tumor.

For more details, refer to the following link:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What is Cancer

Cancer is a complex group of more than 200 diseases where cells mutate, develop rapidly and invade other tissues. The purpose of the following information is to provide a basic understanding of cancer and how it develops.

And, keep in mind that because there are hundreds of different types of cancer, each of these cancers develop slightly differently from another. More specifically, not all cancer cells are alike. Cancer may affect any organ or part of the body. Cells in one part of the body may mutate and grow out of control, then spread to other parts and create secondary forms of cancer.

Although each form of cancer behaves slightly differently, all forms of cancer have some similar behaviors and functions. Some of these common behaviors and functions include out-of-control cell division, invasion of healthy tissues, rapid mutation, and a propensity for glucose and an acidic environment.

Although each form of cancer affects a different part of the body, cancer is a systemic disease in that it affects your entire body, where your body represents the system. As a result, any successful treatment strategy must address the entire body or system.

In addition, it is now becoming more widely accepted that cancer is not pre-programmed into your genes, but rather it is the environment of your body that regulates your genetic expression that can trigger cancer to occur. Adverse epigenetic influences that can damage or mutate DNA and alter genetic expression, allowing cancer to proliferate, include the following factors:
-- Chronic inflammation  
-- Free radical damage (oxidative stress)
-- Hormonal imbalances  
-- Toxins and pollution  
-- Chronic infections -- Nutritional deficiencies
-- Chronic stress; negative thoughts and emotional conflicts 
-- Other health issues, e.g. diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disease 

The following 1-minute video provides a simple description of the definition of cancer.

If you want a general understanding of how disease develops in the human body, then, refer to the specific blog post about general disease pathogenesis. Also, refer to the blog post about the immune system.

Sidebar 1: If you google "cancer", you'll find that most sites describe cancer as "cells dividing out of control due to a gene mutation". As an engineer, my question is: "What is causing the cells to divide out of control in the first place? And, what triggered the gene mutation?" Maybe, if medical researchers knew the answers to those questions, they could find the real root cause(s) and develop a cure for cancer.

Sidebar 2: If you google "diabetes", you'll find that most sites describe diabetes as "a blood sugar problem". As a result, Western Medicine "solves the problem" by designing medications to lower the blood sugar. But, "high blood sugar" is a symptom of the problem, not the cause. As a result, the diabetes continues to progress, wreaking damage throughout the body -- because we never find the real solution to what is causing the diabetes.

If you google "type 1 diabetes", you'll find that most sites describe type 1 diabetes as "defective beta cells that don't produce insulin".  But, no one thinks to ask "What actually caused the beta cells to become defective in the first place?" If we focus on that, maybe we can find a solution and cure for type 1 diabetes and end all of this unnecessary suffering by the children with this dreaded disease.

A similar scenario exists with heart disease and high cholesterol. Many people take statin drugs to lower their cholesterol because they believe that cholesterol causes heart disease. Nothing could be further from the truth. So, as long as we focus on the symptoms of a disease, we'll never find the real root cause of the problem and an eventual solution.

So, "something" must be causing the cancer and causing the cells to divide out of control and causing the DNA damage/gene mutation. Here is just one of many possible ways that cancer may develop in the human body.

Cell Division
The most common form of cell division is called mitosis. It is used for growth and repair. During mitosis, a cell makes an exact copy of itself and splits into two new cells. Each cell contains an exact copy of the original cell's chromosomes in their 23 pairs. This is the reason why all the cells in an organism are genetically identical.

Cells do not live forever -- they follow a normal cell cycle and they will reach a point where they will divide through mitosis, or die through a process called apoptosis.

There are two types of genes that normally control the cell cycle: proto-oncogenes, which start cell division and tumor-suppressor genes, which turn off cell division. These two genes work together, one turning on cell division when the body needs to repair or replace tissue, and the other turning off cell division when the repairs have been made. If the proto-oncogenes become mutated, they can become oncogenes -- genes that lead to uncontrolled cell division. Mutations in the tumor-suppressor genes result in the cell not having the ability to turn off cell division.

Cancer Cell Attributes
When a cell becomes cancerous, it develops traits that normal cells do not have. For instance, a cancer cell can have unusual number of chromosomes due to incomplete mitosis or cytokinesis.

Cancer cells may be abnormally shaped or larger than normal cells. Cancer cells also can lose their attachment to nearby tissue and travel to other parts of the body, where they continue dividing and causing problems at other locations. Secondary growths of cancer at a distance from the primary site are referred to as metastasis.

Cancer cells take essential nutrients from the blood to grow and divide and crowd out other cells that have important jobs. In the case of leukemia, white blood cells grow uncontrollably and crowd out the red blood cells, thus reducing an individual's ability to deliver nutrients to the body and affecting the blood's ability to clot and repair wounds.

Cancer Risk Factors
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), common risk factors for cancer include:
-- Tobacco use
-- Alcohol use
-- Overweight/obesity (High inflammation)
-- Cardiovascular problems (High inflammation, High blood pressure)
-- Diabetes (High blood sugar, High insulin)
-- Dietary factors (Cellular starvation, Weakened immunity)
    (including intake of substances such as trans fats, HFCS, insufficient vegetables/fruits)
-- Sedentary lifestyle (Lack of oxygen, Stagnant lymph system)
-- Stress (High cortisol, Burned out Adrenal glands)
--  Insomnia (No melatonin production during REM)
-- Chronic infections from helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and some types of human papilloma virus (HPV)
-- Environmental and occupational risks including ionizing and non-ionizing radiation

Cancer Root Causes & Factors

Note: The items listed in the diagram are not causes of cancer -- they are risk factors that cause cell damage to various tissues and organs, which, in turn, weakens the body's immune system and makes the body more susceptible to developing cancerous cells.

What is Cancer?
Here are some web links that explain what is cancer, what causes cancer, and how cancer develops:

Author's Note: Doctors told me that I was wasting my time trying to educate myself about diabetes. They said that acquiring knowledge about diabetes would only frustrate me and take my focus away from the drug treatments and what the doctors wanted me to do. When I was in the hospital and I told the doctors about the research I found on the Internet, they just rolled their eyes and warned me to stay off the Internet.

Types of Cancer
There are more than 100 forms of cancer. Cancers are classified by the type of cell that the tumor resembles and is therefore presumed to be the origin of the tumor. These types include:
  • Carcinoma: Cancer derived from epithelial cells. This group includes many of the most common cancers, including those of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
  • Sarcoma: Cancer derived from connective tissue, or mesenchymal cells.
  • Lymphoma and leukemia: Cancer derived from hematopoietic (blood-forming) cells
  • Germ cell tumor: Cancer derived from pluripotent cells. In adults these are most often found in the testicle and ovary, but are more common in babies and young children.
  • Blastoma: Cancer derived from immature "precursor" or embryonic tissue. These are also commonest in children.[citation needed]
Cancers are usually named using -carcinoma, -sarcoma or -blastoma as a suffix, with the Latin or Greek word for the organ or tissue of origin as the root. For example, a cancer of the liver is called hepatocarcinoma; a cancer of fat cells is called a liposarcoma.

For some common cancers, the English organ name is used. For example, the most common type of breast cancer is called ductal carcinoma of the breast. Here, the adjective ductal refers to the appearance of the cancer under the microscope, which suggests that it has originated in the milk ducts.

Benign tumors (which are not cancers) are named using -oma as a suffix with the organ name as the root. For example, a benign tumor of smooth muscle cells is called a leiomyoma (the common name of this frequently occurring benign tumor in the uterus is fibroid). Confusingly, some types of cancer also use the -oma suffix, examples including melanoma and seminoma.

YouTube Videos
Here are a couple of the many videos on YouTube about how cancer starts (and immune system/macrophages), cancer microbes, cures and other similar topics.

Cancer Website References and Terminology
To understand cancer and how it develops, here are some websites that explain many of the terms used in discussing cancer.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What to Do After Diagnosis

If you are reading this, chances are that you (or someone close to you) have been diagnosed with cancer.

When we first hear the terrible diagnosis, the natural reaction is shock and often denial. Sometimes we will literally shake with fear for days afterwards. This fear is usually accompanied with sadness and/or anger for a life that we feel is being denied us, and for the impending loss of loved ones and their loss of us. These are understandable reactions as most people unfortunately regard a cancer diagnosis as a death-sentence.

"Why me?" This is one question that everyone diagnosed with cancer asks themselves. But, today, cancer has overtaken heart disease as the number one killer in the Western world, with one in three of us being diagnosed with this condition at some point in our lives (by 2018 it is estimated that this figure will be closer to one in two).

Cancer today has become pandemic throughout the world, and whatever the conventional therapy propaganda machines keep telling us, the "war on cancer" being waged by the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical companies is unquestionably being lost.

So, what is a person supposed to do after receiving such a devastating diagnosis? We realize how traumatic all of this is, so, we've tried to put together some information to help you.

DON'T PANIC: The first step after being diagnosed with cancer is: Don't Panic!
We realize it is difficult to not to panic, but, cancer is not a death sentence -- some people are cured every day. Even if your oncologist tells you that you only have a short time to live, he or she is only making this judgment based on expertise in and experience using ineffective treatment methods (and as you will learn later on, cancer research is unequivocal in showing that conventional treatments are relatively ineffective for most cancers).

The problem with cancer is that no single therapy is likely to cure it, and indeed, no single combination therapy is likely to be successful with all sufferers. Cancer is a systemic disease that affects the "whole body". Consequently, treatment programs such as dietary and lifestyle changes, psychological programs and nutritional supplementation are likely to be effective (however, conventional treatments such as surgery can be effective in some situations and should not be dismissed).

When you are diagnosed with cancer, you need to construct a specific treatment program tailored to your unique biological and psychological profile. And as we are each unique individuals, this treatment program is also likely to be unique, although our biological and psychological similarities will mean that all treatment programs will have certain foundation factors in common.

Factors unique to your particular situation which you need to take into consideration include: the type of cancer diagnosed; how early it is detected; whether it has metastasized or spread; orthodox or conventional treatment success rates; alternative treatment success rates; complementary treatment effectiveness; your other health issues and medications you may be taking; and dietary, lifestyle and psychological changes we are prepared to make. Get the program combination right for you, and you maximize your chance of a complete cure.

So a cancer diagnosis is actually a call for you to become a private investigator so that you can uncover an effective treatment program for you, and perhaps the right health practitioner to help supervise aspects of that treatment program.

But as long as you are in panic mode, you will be making reactionary choices out of fear rather than from a place of responsibility. (This is how and why the majority of newly diagnosed cancer sufferers unquestioningly opt for the treatment program offered to them by their oncologist, even though just a little investigation would reveal that this choice not statistically in their best interest — their reactionary choice is an irrational one, except in a small percentage of cases.) So it is important to try to reduce panic as much as possible so that you can make responsible choices.

Note: If you're not 100% certain about your diagnosis, get a second opinion.

SUPPORT: The second step is begin to put together a support team.
You can't do this alone. If you are married or have a partner, make sure to include them -- don't shut them out. Recruit relatives and friends who will be supportive and honest with you -- avoid the negative people.

Join a local support group and /or join an online support group. It will ease your mind when you see that there are thousands of other people who have successfully beat their cancer.

COLLECT & EDUCATE: The third step is to collect as much information as possible and educate yourself.
While you're putting together your support team, begin your research, collecting information and educating yourself about cancer, nutrition, etc. In fact, you may want to begin educating yourself before you set up your support team, because your support team members will probably have questions.

Because of the emotions associated with being diagnosed with cancer or any disease for that matter, we believe that recruiting your support team for emotional support may be more crucial than collecting information. But, we'll leave that up to you -- do what is more comfortable to you -- these are just guidelines to get you going.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you are likely to have already spoken to an orthodox or conventional medical cancer expert or oncologist. As the average length of time an oncologist spends with a newly diagnosed cancer patient is just 6 minutes, he or she is unlikely to have given you much information on the proposed treatment, and what little you have been given will probably be color it in as positive light as possible.

So you need to be very blunt with your doctor and insist that he or she tell you the long-term survival statistics for the combination of your particular condition and the treatment he or she is offering you. This could be because the survival data is not yet available; they have not researched data that is available; or, as is mostly likely, because they are hiding the embarrassing truth that orthodox or conventional treatment does not actually "treat" very well.

As Professor Hardin Jones, a prominent cancer researcher at Berkeley, has stated: "Patients are as well, or better off, untreated…" (which does not necessarily mean that no treatment is the best treatment, only that conventional treatment may be the worst option).

The problem with conventional cancer treatment is that its ineffectiveness does not seem to stop doctors and oncologists promoting it. The reason for this is that pharmaceutical companies know the huge financial benefit of maintaining the medical establishment's loyalty and so give such huge gifts and funding — bribes — to medical doctors and to medical schools, and bankroll large amounts of "independent" drug research. It is estimated, for example, that in the UK alone this industry spends £10,000 per doctor promoting drug solutions — no wonder the average oncologist has fallen for this intense propaganda campaign!

Without this knowledge of survival statistics, you will have no basis, apart from an emotional one, on which to decide whether to have the orthodox or conventional treatment on offer. So you must insist your doctor get you the long-term survival rates for others who have had your particular condition and who have undergone the same orthodox treatment that is being offered. And don't be misled with 5-year survival statistics that give the false impression of a "cure" – you want to know long-term AND quality of life. After all, is it really a success to live an extra year if during that year you are in constant physical agony and mental turmoil? If your doctor is not forthcoming with survival-rate information, then switch to a more open doctor or find the information that you need on the internet.

If your particular cancer is very late stage and very aggressive, you may have to go with the orthodox or conventional treatment being offered due to time constraints: orthodox treatment attacks cancer like a blunderbuss – it is good for killing cancer cells quickly but generally gives a poor long-term prognosis because it destroys both the immune system (our natural protection against future cancers) and only weaker cancer cells in the body (leaving the more hardy and virulent ones to bounce back another day, which is why remissions after orthodox treatment are so common and deadly).

But when you are very late stage and your cancer is very aggressive, you often don't have a lot to lose and you need to "de-bulk" (kill large numbers of cancer cells) as quickly as possible to take the pressure off your system, even if there is a significant chance that this will cause your demise further down the road. In a crisis situation, this gamble may be worth playing.

Most of us, however, do have a little time to explore the bigger picture – you only need a couple of weeks to find out most of the information that will be helpful to you. Fortunately, there is a lot of good information out there, it is just a question of identifying it and reading what is necessary.

To save you some time, I researched and collected a lot of information so that I could set up this blog with information that can get you started and moving in the right direction. This information is not meant to prescribe a specific diagnosis, because that would be impossible even if we focused on just one form of cancer.

Hopefully, this information does not upset you -- that is not my intent. My intent is to give you some time to collect your thoughts and figure out what is the best strategy for you, given your specific and unique circumstances.

Don't try to do this by yourself. Ask your partner or a friend to help with some of the research. Try to find a naturopathic doctor or someone in the alternative medicine field that you can trust. Try to find someone preferably via a referral from a healthcare professional, a friend from work or church, or a relative or friend.

I must admit that this can be overwhelming and difficult trying to figure out which information is the right information for you. I had this problem years ago when I was struggling with my diabetes and other health issues after almost dying from a diabetic coma.  Luckily for me, I had a lot of support from my mother, daughter and sister. While they took care of the household, I was able to focus on research and collecting information about diabetes, nutrition and various alternative treatment strategies.

My mother and daughter also provided emotional support; and, my mother and one of my brothers provided spiritual support. My job provided financial support and my managers ran the organization in my absence. As a result, I was able to strictly focus on my diabetes and how to get well.

Unfortunately, not everyone has a good support system, so, do the best you can and make sure that you don't shut out people who may be able to help you. There is a lot of good research information on the internet and in libraries about cancer, nutrition and many different alternative treatment strategies. 

However, the problem with research information on alternative cancer treatments is that there is legislation, such as the Cancer Act 1939, that prevent those outside of the medical establishment from being able to disseminate information on alternative treatments. What the legislation does is effectively censor a lot of the cancer information on alternative treatments, and so you have to dig a little deeper to find helpful information.

Hopefully, this blog will help you with your research and collecting your information.

p.s. In the near future, we will providing Skype online training along with a cancer ebook that can be used in conjunction with my Death to Diabetes book.

Books About Cancer
Books are a great resource of information. Go to Amazon.com and do a search on cancer books and read some of the reviews to help you decide which books to purchase. In the meantime, here are a few books that may be helpful:

Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients — Russel Blaylock
Whether you choose to undergo conventional, alternative or integrative medicine, this book is a fantastic resource and will guide you to make the best of your choice, advice that is backed up by clinical research. This book also gives important dietary advice. (ISBN 0758202210)

Anticancer: A New Way of Life — David Servan-Schreiber
Servan-Schreiber is himself a medical doctor who got cancer and this book came out of the research that he did to find a way to heal himself. It recommends simple alterations in diet, lifestyle and attitude. (ISBN 0718156846)

The Cancer Breakthrough — Steve Hickey and Hilary Roberts
These two academics have summarized the best cancer healing strategies such as high Vitamin C and low sugar diets. Definitely worth a read. (ISBN 1430323000.)

Cancer the full menu — Rolf Gordon
This books informs you of the 'full menu' so that you will be aware of your real options, including complementary and alternative options. (Available online at Dulwich Health.)

Healing Cancer — Simon Kelly, Enrida Kelly
The Kelly's have written a great introduction to the top 12 non-toxic cancer treatments. The great thing about this book is that it doesn't just list alternative therapies, but gives the reader some idea of how to put together the best treatment program. (ISBN 0954463684)

Winning the War on Cancer — Mark Sircus. 
This is a 900-page E-book that covers a very wide range of information on the best of the world of allpathic and alternative medicine. You can get it for $40 here.

Everything You Need To Know To Help You Beat Cancer — Chris Woolams. 
The title says it all for this UK bestseller that is now in its third edition. This invaluable guide covers both cancer prevention and cancer treatment programs, and presents the information in a practical and easy-to-read manner. (ISBN 095429680X)

Reading these books will give you a good understanding of cancer from the point of view of what works best for your health and survival, and not what necessarily maximizes pharmaceutical industry and orthodox healthcare profits. The authors will give you the clarity and foresight you will need in order to made decisions which will be in your best interest, and your best interest alone.

GET WELL PLAN: Your next step is to put together a Get-Well Strategy.
In general, there are four options to select from for your particular condition:

1. Take the orthodox or conventional treatment with nothing else.

2. Take the orthodox (conventional) treatment along with complementary extras — an integrative approach.

3. Opt for a completely alternative treatment program.

4. Choose to do absolutely nothing and keep going as you are.

The option that you choose will depend on your condition, your temperament, your belief systems and your social support structure.

Option 1 is generally for those who prefer to transfer responsibility for their health to a doctor, and prefer to defer choices to "the experts". Generally speaking, if you are this type, go to the orthodox medical profession and follow their treatment programs and advice, for you will not have the motivation or focus to take a complimentary or alternative path.

If you are in this category, as the majority seem to be, then this guide is not for you. But please really question your doctor about each aspect of the treatment program that he or she proposes. Question, question, question. But you can still do a few things to minimize the side-effects. For example, eat a very healthy diet during treatment, take regular exercise as far as possible, cut out alcohol and sugar, and take a strong probiotic supplement (as chemo kills gut bacteria). This will undoubtedly reduce side-effects and speed recovery. As will taking antioxidants such as Vitamin C before and after treatment. Some doctors even advise that a patient find out what chemotherapy they are going to be having and take a homeopathic dose of 30c during and after treatment. And a coffee enema after chemo can also minimize adverse effects.

Option 2 is generally for those who either want the best of both the orthodox or alternative worlds (they hedge their bets) or have a very aggressively developing cancer that needs the orthodox treatment to give the body more time by rapidly reducing the number of cancer cells. These types of people may or may not take responsibility for their health — often they will give up responsibility to both the doctor and the alternative practitioner.

Integrative approaches have shown a lot of promise and are more accepted by the orthodox medical profession because they do not dismiss orthodox treatments. If you are in this group, please consider some of the supplementary practices outlined in Option 1 as this will minimize the side-effects of the conventional treatment component. [Please note that a few leading conventional cancer experts are starting to use low-dose (5% of normal chemo amount) intermittent chemo first priming the body with insulin to increase the uptake by cancer cells. This is called Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT) is much less destructive on healthy cells, but it will unfortunately take a while for this practice to become standard.]

Option 3 is generally for those who really do take full responsibility for their health. These types of people often have done the research on conventional treatment success rates and have decided to take other options. That said, a portion of those in this category choose it because they like the idea of taking the alternative route but lack the real focus and gumption needed to follow it through. Such individuals should not follow this option themselves but should really be under the supervision of an alternative practitioner.

Option 4 is generally for those who are either in complete denial, have a very slow developing cancer (often associated with cancers in older people), are option 1 type people with a cancer that is untreatable by orthodox means, or are too old or frail to go through the often long and draining conventional healing process. Even if you choose this option you should really consider basic lifestyle changes to increase general health, well-being and longevity.

Overall, choosing either option 2 or 3 gives the best chance for survival (although some alternative practitioners like Andreas Moritz believe that option 4 gives a person better survival chances than 1 or 2). As to which option — 2 or 3 — is the best one for you, that depends on what you have uncovered with your research into survival rates and which you believe will be most effective (the mind plays a huge role in survival so you must feel out what you are most comfortable with).

As a general rule, according to Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, an orthodox cancer treatment like chemotherapy is only worth trying for Hodgkin's disease (70%-80% of cases cured although secondary tumors return years later), testicular cancer, childhood acute lymphocytic leukaemia, some adult lymphomas, and choriocarcinomas. All other types of cancer do not respond well, if at all — the common metastatic cancers such as breast, colon and pancreas can't be cured by chemo, despite the billions of dollars spent on chemo research in these areas.

Indeed, there is evidence that chemo can encourage cancer cell proliferation. And an article recently appeared (25 Oct 2012) in the New England Journal of Medicine proclaiming that chemotherapy does more harm than good. So we would be wise to really look at the benefits of the type of chemotherapy we are considering, if that is the choice that we are making.

It is always extremely beneficial to have the counsel of a medical doctor open and knowledgeable with regards to alternative approaches, and therefore able to advise you on many different options you can take. (There are relatively few of these but you can find them on the internet or by visiting some of the sites mentioned above.)

You are strongly advised against making any decision based solely upon information given to you by an orthodox medical oncologist — always consider alternative approaches and perspectives, even if you end up not following them. Remember, almost all oncologists will not have the scope to be able to recommend anything outside of orthodox treatments that, quite frankly, do more harm than good in the majority of cases.

You always have to dig a bit to find the viable alternatives. This is because the law will be working against you on this one because it is illegal for anyone other than a medically trained oncologist to promote the treatment or cure for cancer.

In the UK, for example, there is the 1939 Cancer Act which is still being used today to suppress life-saving information. For example, two of the largest UK supermarkets were taken to court by Trading Standards a few years ago for illegally promoting cancer treatments under the 1939 Cancer Act. (For more info on the Cancer Act see: www.energygrid.com/health/2012/04ap-canceract.html)

What they had done is to state on some of their labels that increasing fruit and vegetable intake can help reduce the risk of cancer, something that is patently true (even the government officially stated this a few years earlier). But such promotion of the truth is illegal — the medical monopoly in the UK (and in every other developed nation including the US) has been conspiring for decades to keep you ignorant of alternative and complementary cancer treatments, and this is unfortunately firmly encoded in the our legal systems.

This is the main reason why most people are ignorant of the alternatives available to them: they are being systematically suppressed by laws that were passed decades ago that ensure the medical monopoly (and ridiculed by orthodox doctors and journalists and TV producers influenced by the massive pharmaceutical PR machine).

It is also important to bear in mind that with cancer treatment it is not a question of the more treatments you have the better – option 2 may include the same alternative treatments as in option 3, except chemotherapy or radiotherapy is added as well, but this does not mean it is a better treatment because chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be a negative factor in the equation for many (but not all) patients. (Most cancer sufferers today die as a result of conventional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy rather than from the disease itself.)

This is why some alternative cancer practitioners report far higher success rates with their treatment programs when the patient comes to them before trying conventional treatment. (The late William D. Kelley even claimed a 93% success rate with cancer patients, provided they had not previously had conventional treatment. Dr. Gonzalez who examined Kelley's work over a five year period found that, overall, he had an 80% success rate, which is phenomenal when you consider that the average conventional treatment success rate at best is below 7%.)

That said, there is sometimes a place for conventional treatment, especially in very aggressive cancers and those cancers mentioned above, and of course for those who are too afraid to try anything remotely unconventional.

There is, however, a major downside of taking the alternative cancer route: it will involve you having to make extensive dietary and lifestyle changes. You have to learn how to eat healthy foods every day, 4 to 5 times a day probably for the rest of your life. Therefore, compliance is the major stumbling block for most alternative treatment regimes.

If you are someone who finds it difficult to change your lifestyle because you feel it defines you, then the alternative cancer route might not be the one for you and you might have to take your chances with allopathic programs (1) or doing nothing (4). Lifestyle changes are not something you can just dabble with — you have to throw yourself into them with an "all-in" mentality -- a 100% commitment for life!

Remember that whatever treatment option you select, ask your doctor or alternative health practitioner for 5-year survival statistics with and without the treatment being advised. And be very wary about "relative risk" statistics.

For example, you doctor might tell you that chemotherapy for your breast cancer can reduce your risk of breast cancer by 50% — but that impressive-sounding figure might hide a absolute reduction of only 2%, (the chemotherapy might only be reducing the risk of getting breast cancer from 4% to 2% in the study). Now that absolute figure does not sound so impressive, which is why orthodox oncologists almost invariably sell their treatment programs to their patients on the back of relative risk statistics. (Which is understandable: if they quoted absolute risk statistics, which are more meaningful to the patient, they would soon find themselves out of a job because no patient in his or her right mind would go through so much for so little benefit.)

Note: If you select Option 1, then, in most cases, your chances of survival will diminish greatly. At a minimum, you must include some kind of diet program to help fight your cancer and help to nourish and repair your body.

Note: For more details, refer to the blog post about developing a get-well or wellness plan.

Here are some of the best information sources that we have found for alternative and complementary cancer therapies and treatment protocols:

www.thenewmedicine.info — Patrick Kingsley is a highly respected English retired medical doctor who, in his last 25 years of practice, did not prescribe a single pharmaceutical drug.

To the Cancer Patient: Natural Cures vs. Traditional — This article by Dr. O'Shea is highly recommended and gives very useful advice to cancer patients.

www.peopleagainstcancer.net — People Against Cancer (PAC) is one of the best places to go for an alternative assessment.

www.dr-gonzalez.com — Nicholas Gonzalez is doing some of the most important research on effective nutritional cancer treatments.

www.energygrid.com/health/2005/08tt- hirneise.html — Lothar Hirneise, founder of the German People Against Cancer, has researched cancer treatment in depth. This is an important article to read if you are considering chemotherapy.

www.self-helpcancer.org — This self-help cancer solutions site was put together by writer, John Davidson, and gives a great introduction to the alternative cancer treatment scene.

www.cancerdecisions.com — The Moss Reports are Ralph Moss's excellent cancer reports that give you the low-down on both conventional and alternative cancer treatments. Also look out for his fantastic book: Questioning Chemotherapy.

www.canceractive.com — Cancer Active is run as a charity in the UK and provides excellent information for treating cancer naturally, alternatively and effectively. Here you will also find the book mentioned above: Everything You Need To Know To Help You Beat Cancer (Third Edition).

www.cancertutor.com — Cancer Tutor contains a great deal of information both on alternative cancer treatments and the politics of cancer. You can find some great information here with links to specific products and vendors who are actively involved in helping people with cancer.

www.cancercontrolsociety.com — The Cancer Control Society is a Californian organization that arranges weekend alternative cancer conventions, inviting some of the leading lights in alternative cancer therapy. This is a good site to visit if you are look for an alternatively minded medical doctor.

www.cancerbackup.org.uk — Great information resource for those undergoing conventional cancer treatments. (As with many conventional sites, alternative treatments are only covered in a superficial and condescending manner.)

www.preventcancer.com — The Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC) is a US coalition of leading independent experts on cancer prevention and public health.

www.canceroptions.co.uk— More of a cancer consultancy but certainly one of the best. It was founded by ex-nurse Patricia Peat.

Managing Emotions
People with cancer and their family members are under a great deal of pressure to cope effectively with the treatments, side effects, and anxieties that accompany a diagnosis of cancer. Every single patient, at every stage of disease, regardless of the type of treatment, deals with issues that cause some level of distress, ranging from common feelings of vulnerability, sadness, and fear of recurrence or death, to problems that are more disabling, such as clinical depression, intense anxiety, or panic.

Emotional distress can affect your ability to carry out daily activities and to participate actively in your treatment. It can also make physical symptoms more severe, or even impact the treatment outcome. It takes time to accept the diagnosis of cancer and to understand what it will mean for both patient and family. People’s reactions will differ and will probably vary over time. But please know that you are not alone.

The Stages of Emotional Distress
Pre -Treatment - you may feel that “no one understands” what you are going through. It is important at this time to gather as much information as possible and to find someone to talk to who has been through treatment.

Mid-Treatment - you may feel overwhelmed, even unable to manage daily responsibilities. This is a normal reaction and often reflects the strain on your physical and emotional energy as you manage treatment and cope with your situation. Many people find a support group to be very helpful at this time as you can learn from others about what helps them at this time.

Post-Treatment - you may feel “abandoned” by your healthcare team or other supportive people that were so involved during treatment, or you may feel anxious about the cancer returning.  Throughout this time, you and your caregivers may find that a support group can be beneficial in making the transition from being ill to living well after cancer.

Anger is also a normal and healthy response to having cancer. Expressing anger in a productive and thoughtful manner can prevent emotions from building up and potentially leading to more serious emotional problems such as hostility, responsibility and inconsiderate impulses.

What To Do to Manage Emotional Distress
Here are some ways to manage your emotional distress:
    Talk with your family, friends, doctor, nurse, and/or social worker about what you are feeling.
    Talk to other people who have been through your type of treatment.
    Join a local and/or online cancer support group.
    Seek professional help from a therapist experienced in working with cancer patients.
    Try stress-relieving activities such as meditation, yoga, or Tai Chi.
    Use humor — find something to laugh about every day.
    Use prayer (to talk to God). But, also, use meditation to listen to God (for answers to better health).
    Exercise as much as possible, given your physical limitations.
    Use the Internet wisely for chat rooms, support groups, and other information.
    Be aware that not all information on the Internet is accurate or helpful to your situation.
    Keep a journal to record and  track your progress and to release your feelings.

The Challenge of a Positive Outlook and Hope
Looking for and implementing dietary and lifestyle changes that fight your cancer and improve your health will give you real hope and a positive outlook on your life.

Reinforce your positive outlook by continuing to look for and implementing healthy solutions to fight and defeat your cancer. Having a positive outlook with a commitment to seek knowledge will fuel your drive and hope and will give you energy to get well. On then other hand, if you are in denial or if you fake being hopeful without any commitment to get well, then, sadly, this will lead you down a path of deteriorating health.

Of course, a feeling of optimism during the cancer experience should not exclude sadness, anger, sorrow, grief and hurt, but studies underscore the importance of optimism in relation to quality of life. In research studies, patients who were more optimistic were less depressed and more likely to make the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes to effectively fight their cancer.

A hopeful person can experience a wide range of negative and positive emotions; yet through all of the difficulties, will try to move forward in life. Hope is something that you gain by acquiring the right knowledge, implementing healthy changes and getting support from others.

Please Note: Most people with a disease tend to have low serotonin levels and high cortisol levels, which can lead to feeling depressed. Do not fall into the trap of taking a drug for your depression. There are many creative ways to raise your serotonin levels and fight your depression, e.g. food, exercise, socializing, joining a support group, confiding in a friend, helping someone else, yoga, etc.

FYI: Serotonin is the feel good hormone while cortisol is known as the stress hormone.

More Website References
Cancer diagnosis? Advice for dealing with what comes next - Mayo Clinic

Cancer diagnosis: 11 tips for coping - Mayo Clinic

A Cancer Diagnosis: What to Do Next?

Ten Questions to Ask Your Doctor After a Cancer Diagnosis

Coping with a cancer diagnosis

Cancer Clinic Dealing with Grief of Diagnosis

The emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis | American Cancer Society

Your Emotions After a Cancer Diagnosis | We Can Help | LIVESTRONG.org

Coping with a cancer diagnosis - Cancer Council Australia

Managing Emotions of Cancer Diagnosis

Cancer blood tests: Lab tests used in cancer diagnosis - Mayo Clinic

Managing Emotions | Cancer.ne

Emotional Responses to Cancer Diagnosis - Cancer Council Victoria

Cancer survivors: Managing your emotions after cancer treatment diagnosis - Mayo Clinic

After cancer diagnosis, what comes next? - CNN.com