This article was in an issue of Icon, a magazine created by Cancer Active and they are an amazing resource for all things cancer. So if you’re looking for the newest research, some inspiring stories or alternative therapies they have it all! I highly recommend them.
Originally published in July 2002 icon, updated June 2006
icon magazine is just over 3 years old and, judging by readers´ comments, goes from strength to strength. One of the very first articles we ever ran was entitled ´The 4 Pillars of Cancer´. Over the last three years a great deal of new scientific research has been reported and we have learned far more about the ´4 Pillars´. So much so that it was the title for the talks I recently gave on my world tour in the USA, Australia, Japan, Ireland and the UK.
There are thousands of ways of approaching the subject of cancer – its prevention or its treatment. The ´4 Pillars´ is just one of them, but it is both a simple and all-embracing route to help both would-be preventers and those already afflicted with this terrible disease.
A few years ago the World Health Organisation opined that there were three overall causes of cancer, and tried to estimate the relevance of each:
50 per cent caused by POOR DIET
25 per cent caused by TOXINS
25 per cent caused by INFECTION
Many experts would argue that to this list of tangible reasons must be added a much harder area to estimate or quantify:
Unknown per cent caused by MENTAL STATE
Why Worry About The Causes?
50 years ago those people with genetic factors had a 40 per cent chance of developing the disease
Most people reading this have cancer. A number do not, and nor do they want it. Some, however, may feel cancer ´runs in their family´. Certainly 50 years ago those people with genetic factors (such as BRCA1 and BRCA2) had a 40 per cent chance of developing the disease. With modern environments and modern lifestyle, that figure is now just over 70 per cent. However, before those people get too depressed, please be aware that a 2001 Swedish study of identical twins across Europe showed that just because one family member with the genes developed a disease, the identical sibling did not have to, providing he or she took important lifestyle and dietary steps for avoidance. There´s the good news.
To a great degree, the power is in your own hands. The US Chief Medical Officer said that, “this study should remove the ´fatalism´ that because it runs in my family, I must get it too.” You do not ´have´ to get cancer as long as you are prepared to make some effort, The ´4 Pillars hopefully tells you how to ´do´ the basics!
But understanding the causes is also crucial to the person already diagnosed with cancer.
For example, if you smoked and developed lung cancer, by and large whatever your doctor did you would expect the disease to return if you carried on smoking. What causes your cancer could well be the very thing that is maintaining it too.
Understanding Cause Is Crucial To Treatment
Take Professor Jane Plant, for example. Breast cancer was diagnosed, various orthodox treatments used and failed and with tumours behind her neck, she was told to go home and make a will. As a scientist herself, she decided to look for the cause, identified the possibility of dairy, cut this out and within six weeks the tumours had gone. But then, many breast cancers are hormonally driven and since 1991 (NCI, America) we have known that IGF1, found in dairy, can interfere with cell division causing cells to grow rapidly and even mutate.
Many such cancers are a result of ´toxins´, poisoning the system
Take Michael Gearin-Tosh, Oxford Don and multiple mycloma sufferer who, given the choice of extending his life expectancy from 18 months to 30 months by having chemotherapy, instead chose to use the Gerson Therapy and has survived and thrived for almost 10 years. But then, many such cancers are a result of ´toxins´, poisoning the system. For example, farmers have higher rates of multiple myeloma due to their use of pesticides. And the Gerson therapy is an excellent way of ´detoxifying´ the blood system and cells.
Changing The Odds
With every cancer there is an average 5-year survival rate. It´s a statistic. A rate that varies, often widely, by country. With prostrate cancer in Austria the 5-year figure is 83.6%, but in England it is only 53.8%. Clearly then the package of medical treatments, your lifestyle and diet can increase, or worsen, your odds of survival.
Dr Rosy Daniel, former Head of the Bristol Cancer Help Centre says that by building a complete, integrated, holistic programme (using the best of orthodox and complementary, even alternative therapies), a patient can improve their odds of 5-year survival by as much as 60 per cent. And that sounds good enough to me!
But then, if only as a piece of logic, why cannot the orthodox medical world just consider this? ´If 50 per cent of all cancers are supposedly caused by a POOR DIET, couldn´t just some of these patients benefit – even be cured – by a GOOD DIET?´
Cause – An Approach To Treating Cancer?
I know it sounds a bit simplistic but if I were an oncologist, or merely a GP, with a newly diagnosed cancer patient, I´d be spending serious time with them asking:
Q: What may have caused this cancer and what might therefore be maintaining it?
Q: Is it hormonally driven? (Oestrogen drives far more than breast cancer!)
And then I´d be saying to the patient:
A: “Right, before we go near any surgery, radio or chemotherapy we are going to do everything in our power to boost your natural defences – your immune system.”
A: “And we will try and get more oxygen into your blood.”
Why? Well the evidence is quite clear; cancer is systemic – weak immune systems lead to more disease and more cancer. Lowered oxygen levels lead to more cancer. Look into Darkfield Microscopy or Russian algae/photscan diagnosis and this will become abundantly clear; or just read some of the research we´ve covered in Cancer Watch over the last three years.
Cancer is systemic – weak immune systems lead to more disease and more cancer
Cancer is a whole body disease. And this dictates a whole body treatment approach.
And so we come back to you, the reader and, if you have a cancer, how you might begin adding to your doctor´s orthodox expertise.
Poor Diet, Toxins, Infections, Mental State? Unlike the World Health Organisation, we urge you not to think of these as separate boxes.
For example, depression lowers your blood oxygen; poor diet weakens your immune system. This may be exacerbated by certain chemicals and toxins, increasing the chances of infection and ´tipping you over the edge´ into a cancer.
So don´t look for one cause, examine your whole lifestyle. Go with your doctor´s orthodox recommendations, but evaluate them fully and ask objective questions. Two recent studies showed that patients did not understand ´doctorspeak´ when it came to cancer and were also turning more and more to the web because it ´empowered them´ and put them back in charge of their own treatment programme. However, there are great dangers in chasing around the web; some sites talk complete rubbish! Be circumspect. And always get a second opinion, on anything you consider doing!
Read the following ´4 pillars´; copy it/photostat it. Take it with you when you see your oncologist and tell him clearly what you intend to do to increase your own chances of survival around his plans for you. Be open, be honest. But remember, it´s your life. And you must be happy with the final plan.
Managing Your Survival Plan
You are now entering a world largely outside your GP and oncologist´s medical training
The fundamental truth about building a complementary therapy programme, or about addressing the causes (and therefore any likely treatments) via the 4 Pillars of Cancer is that you are now entering a world largely outside your GP and oncologist´s medical training. Natural human nature can then sometimes play an unhelpful role.
Poor diet/good diet – we know oncologists who will confirm that they have never spent a single day studying nutrition or diet (nor supplements) and therefore are simply not qualified to express an opinion. However, despite this, some will reject all supplementation and diet therapies.
Toxins – the majority of these, and their links to cancer are way beyond your doctor´s knowledge or training.
Infection – here your doctor should be able to advise, although science is moving very quickly and they may not be completely up-to-date.
Mental State – almost certainly an area completely foreign to your oncologist. It is a new and very specialised area.
So he may encourage you, or he may try to dissuade you. All the more reason to photostat this whole article and give him a copy. Beating cancer is about RISK MANAGEMENT. And that´s all we are trying to do in this article: Improve your statistics and make you a well-above-average case.
Message To Doctors
And if you are a doctor reading this, please understand that we have research that supports these pages, almost all of it is readily available on our website. Please, please be open-minded, we are just trying to increase the odds of survival for your patient.
And if you want to amplify the possible causes and actions, try reading ´Everything you need to know to help you beat cancer´. It has been Britain´s No 1 selling cancer book for the last two years – the first 12 copies in Japan were all bought by doctors!