Naturopathic Doctors with a special interest in cancer care rely on research studies when recommending natural products for their patients. Many well-designed studies demonstrate the use of effective natural treatments that can be safely combined with conventional medical therapies, such as with chemotherapy.
Dr. Amita Sachdev, ND uses safe and effective treatments including high dose intravenous vitamin C (IV vitamin C), mistletoe (Viscum album), and many other important herbs and supplements in supporting patients enduring conventional chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
However, patients diagnosed with cancer, understandably, search the internet and inquire friends, family, and neighbours for every possible “cancer cure”. Everyone seems to have a testimonial about a “cure” that worked for “so & so” and everyone has an opinion on what the cancer patient should do or should not do. Much of this “well meaning” advise, however, lacks scientific validity or reasonable evaluation and needs to be carefully reconsidered. Let’s look at some popular cancer myths.
Cancer creams: Commonly referred to as black salve using herbs such as sanguinaria or bloodroot and / or dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) have been used topically on the skin over the location of the tumor in efforts to draw the cancer out of the body. This does not work. In fact, ulceration of the skin is caused by its stimulating effect on tumor growth! Only apply substances to the skin that are prescribed by your Naturopathic Doctor, especially during radiation treatment.
Noni juice / Mangosteen / Aloe Vera juice: Many exotic juices are proposed to have anticancer effects related to their high content of antioxidants and flavonoids and their ability to stimulate immunity. However, their use in very high quantities may interfere with certain chemotherapeutics and lead to electrolyte imbalances in patients receiving conventional medical therapy. Always check with your Naturopathic Doctor before consuming any natural products in high quantity beyond what can normally be attained from a healthy balanced diet.
Laetrile / Amygdalin / Vitamin B17 / Apricots seeds: Laetrile, Amygdalin or B17, is made from naturally occurring chemicals, particularly cyanide, found in almonds, and the seeds found in apricot and peach pits. Some proponents believe that cyanide kills cancer cells. Laetrile is typically given intravenously along with other vitamins and minerals. Keep in mind, cyanide is poisonous. Cyanide toxicity can lead to severe disturbances in heart rate, breathing, and coma and should not be combined with conventional chemotherapeutic agents. Naturopathic Doctors may use vitamins and minerals intravenously when deemed appropriate in consideration with a patient’s chemotherapeutic / surgical / radiation and other medical treatments.
When used with high dose of oral and/or intravenous vitamin C, cysteine is used up by the body’s detoxification mechanisms and cyanide can build up in the patient’s body leading to life threatening cyanide toxicity. Always tell your Naturopathic Doctor about all your treatments, including those that are self-prescribed, especially if you are taking vitamin C orally or receiving intravenous vitamin C (IV vitamin C).
Poly-MVA: This proprietary complex of palladium, alpha-lipoic acid, vitamins B1/B2/B12, trace minerals, and amino acids. Studies showing their effectiveness are too preliminary to support their anticancer effects. Antioxidants are known to interfere with conventional radiation treatments.
Sodium Bicarbonate: Our bodies work very hard at maintaining homeostasis and maintaining the blood pH and alkalinity. Some patients try to “alkalinize” their body to fight cancer by ingesting high amounts of baking soda (which is often contaminated with aluminum) or sodium bicarbonate daily.
Though it is true that cancer cells act like individual “acid producing factories” and are constantly generating their own acidic environment in which they thrive, it is important to understand the difference between blood alkalinity and body/tissue/urine alkalinity and know how to use these measurements stave off the growth of cancer cells.
Gross disturbances in blood pH can result from patients ingesting unhealthy amounts of baking soda / sodium bicarbonate, therefore, this practice is generally discouraged.
Common sense tells us that a healthy body, free of side effects from toxic therapies, is important in protecting and defending against cancer progression. Consider more researched and evidence based, non-toxic, safe and effective natural therapies as part of your comprehensive cancer treatment plan, such as high dose intravenous vitamin C, mistletoe (more to come on this very promising European herb) and cannabis (natural versus synthetic).
Stay hopeful, stay safe, and talk to Dr. Amita Sachdev ND at NatCan Integrative Medical & Wellness Centre about therapies that are best for you in supporting your journey with cancer.
Dr. Amita Sachdev ND