A Summary From the Author – Breast Cancer: The Rest of the Story
by Dr. James P.M. Odell
There are few things more frightening for a woman than the discovery of a lump in her breast. Usually, the first thought that comes to her mind is breast cancer. Fortunately, most lumps – approximately more than 80% are benign – but as for the cancerous lumps, each has a unique story to tell. Everyone is biochemically and psychoemotionally unique; hence, every patient’s situation is different, and every patient responds to treatment in an individualized way. The good news is that most cases of breast cancer can be treated successfully using both conventional and complementary/alternative approaches. This means combining the scientific knowledge gained over the last few decades with 3000-year-old traditional medical wisdom. In this way, it is possible to prevent recurrences for those who have had cancer and to reduce the risk of cancer for those who wish to stay cancer free.
As a teen, I enjoyed listening to the radio broadcast of Paul Harvey “The Rest of the Story”. Though I did not always agree with his political views, I marveled at his unique style of storytelling and interesting, heart-warming surprise endings. The following text is designed as a comprehensive manual to help disclose the secrets of breast tumors that are rarely discussed. I present the often-hidden causes of breast tumors and evidence-based treatments of all kinds, conventional and natural, non-toxic – in short, the rest of the story. I have concluded from my years of research that breast cancer is an expression of a systemic disease of the whole mind-body involving multicausal factors that create a cancerous terrain. Thus, in order to successfully treat an individual with breast cancer it is necessary to treat the whole-body terrain, which includes an associated psychoemotional dynamic. I have come to understand that a combination of physical, biochemical, energetic, mental, and emotional healing must be the foundation and cornerstone of any successful cancer therapy protocol. In short, a mind-body approach is necessary, because it is a mind-body illness. Conventional oncology at its core is designed to only treat the tumor, not the toxic and altered biological terrain or psychoemotional traumas and stress that created the tumor.
This text also illuminates the critical need to call attention to variability and individuality as factors of cancer susceptibility and treatment. Every attempt has been made to both personalize therapy and link together physiological systems into an integrated whole and demonstrate how these are influenced by one’s psyche and environment. These approaches address the individual with cancer from a cellular to psychoemotional level. This book explains that people do not become ill and develop cancer despite their lives, but rather because of their lives. That experience includes not only physical factors like diet, physical activity, and the environment, but also the internal milieu of thoughts and unconscious emotions that govern so much of our psychology, through the mechanisms of stress and the unity of the systems that regulate nerves, hormones, immunity, digestion and cardiovascular function.
For certain types of breast cancers, the long-term remission or cure rates using conventional treatments alone is frightening; particularly, with some studies showing no difference in long term survival rates between treated and non-treated patients. This especially becomes distressful after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on diagnostics and treatment with an outcome ending badly. We should ask why oncologists are continuing to demand their patients receive these protocols that change from year to year without even consideration of integrating relatively inexpensive, non-toxic, complementary treatment methods.
Many North Americans assume that Western conventional medicine is the only valid health care system in the world. However, there are numerous time tested, effective traditional systems of medicine that exist in the world today that treat not just millions, but billions of people. Examples are traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Japanese medicine (Kanpo), traditional Tibetan medicine, Ayurvedic medicine in India, traditional Persian medicine, Native American medicine, European biological regulatory medicine, and Amazonian medicine. Traditional medicine is often referred to as “complementary alternative medicine” (CAM) and covers a wide variety of therapies and practices which vary from culture to culture, country to country. The U.S. National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) groups CAM practices into four domains, or types of therapies, recognizing there can be some overlap1. In addition, NCCAM has a category of CAM whole medical systems, which cut across all domains.
The NCCAM categories of therapies are as follows:
- Mind-Body Medicine, which uses a variety of techniques to enhance the mind’s capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms.
- Natural Product Based Therapies, which use substances found in nature to promote health.
- Manipulative and Body-Based Practices, which are based on manipulation and/or movement of parts of the body.
- Energy Medicine, which involves the use of energy fields, either the unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, or the manipulation of energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body.
- Whole Medical Systems, which are complete systems of theory and practice outside the conventional allopathic model.
Each of these health-care approaches has been derived from various traditional systems of medicine throughout the world. Traditional medicine is the aggregation of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures. These practices, explicable or not, are used in both the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement and treatment of physical and mental illness. Since breast cancer is not new, each of these systems of medicine has developed time-tested specific and unique treatments. Unfortunately, the American Cancer Society and lobbyists of the wealthiest of all industries – pharmaceuticals – have created legal obstacles to obtain many effective, non-pharmaceutical therapies. Thus, due largely to politics of the cancer industry in North America, many of the most cutting-edge cancer clinics that incorporate CAM cancer therapies are located outside the U.S. This text describes several evidence-based, time-tested, world medicine treatments for breast cancer with associated research documentation.
It is tragic that most conventional oncologist do not discuss the individual’s breast cancer causation in detail. Of course, a busy oncology practice leaves little time for detail explanation. This is also why most treatment regiments are ‘cook-book style’ and not individualized. But how can any illness, particularly cancer, be successful prevented or treated if its causes are not the primary focus? Some lip service is given to lifestyle, such as smoking and obesity, as well as estrogen and genetics. However, little or nothing is discussed in terms of other factors such as nutritional deficiencies, carcinogens in food and cosmetics, toxic environmental exposures, oral/dental toxicity, or psychoemotional stress and past traumas.
Damage to the oxidative machinery of individual cells can trigger a series of miscalculations, altering a cell’s normal function. When a cell is damaged by radiation or carcinogenic chemicals, or receives misinformation from a chemical messenger, and the mistaken signal is not corrected, the result is inappropriate or uncontrolled growth. Research has clearly established that breast cancer is caused by a combination of environmental, hormonal, and genetic risk factors, and we know that environmental factors can be identified and modified. Focusing our efforts on the removal of toxic chemicals and elements from our environment and bodies is key to treating cancer at its source.
There are rarely attempts made by conventional oncologists to incorporate critical detoxification measures into treatment protocols. Not only do accumulated environmental toxins need to be metabolically removed by organs of detoxification, but the highly toxic tumor load broken down by cytotoxic chemotherapy and radiation treatments, or more natural-non-toxic therapies, must also be eliminated by an already weakened body. This text will discuss important nutritional and life-style approaches for both detoxification and restoration of weakened organs, glands and immunity.
The slogan ‘early detection is the best prevention’ has attained the status of a truth in the public mind. In fact, early detection, by whatever means, is only detection. Equally persistent has been the promotion of regular mammograms as a preventive measure. Mammography is a tool for detecting breast problems, not for preventing them. In fact, the accumulative effects of ionizing radiation from mammography and X-rays is implicated as causing breast cancer. Determining and focusing on the individual’s potential causative antecedents and toxic triggers of cancer is true prevention and presents a tremendous opportunity to stop breast cancer before it starts.
Some people prefer not to think much about their disease or treatment. Others prefer to learn all they can and want to be very involved in all decisions. This book is specifically for those who want to learn more and be involved and proactive. It is designed to inform and empower the reader with a wide spectrum of information on breast cancer causation, its biochemistry, pathophysiology, diagnostics and therapeutic modalities, both conventional and CAM. Every attempt to document that information with a research reference has been made. For most North Americans, it may be difficult to obtain some of the treatments described in this text, as many are not yet sanctioned by American medical establishments. Fortunately, numerous clinics throughout the world offer the therapies mentioned herein that are not available in North America.
One of the most promising recent immune therapy developments in the oncology has been the discovery of the molecule Gc-MAF, short for Gc Macrophage Activating Factor. Gc-MAF is produced by the body and activates the macrophages (a type of white cell) to attack cancers, as well as other diseases. The production of Gc-MAF is blocked by an enzyme called nagalase (alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase) produced by many cancers. The production of nagalase is one of the mechanisms that helps tumors evade the immune system. In Japan, Germany, Switzerland and other clinics throughout the world, scientist and physicians are using injectable forms Gc-MAF on many types of cancers. The results have been nothing less than astounding, even late stage breast cancers. Gc-MAF injections are used in combination with a very low carbohydrate, low sugar diet, and ample amounts of vitamin D3 and vitamin A, as well as certain other nutrients. Unfortunately, like so many useful non-toxic effect cancer treatments, injectable Gc-MAF has been forbidden by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. Medical politics, backed by the cancer industry has done everything in its power to discredit Gc-MAF therapy. The long arm of the pharmaceutical industry would rather sell ineffective cytotoxic chemotherapy with proven serious side effects than sanction a harmless molecule that is now helping thousands of people overcome their cancers. This is only one example of the many over-looked, black-listed therapies that I will discuss in this text.
Physicians – allopathic, naturopathic, or other – who focus on the treatment of cancer, have not chosen an easy path. It takes faith and passion for both doctor and patient to walk through this valley of shadows. Particularly, as a naturopathic doctor, cancer patients present a considerable challenge, both professionally and personally. This is in part due to the conventional oncological approaches that advocate one-size-fits-all therapy and treat only the tumor and not the whole individual. Many oncologists are not familiar with CAM cancer treatment. As a result, they are often concerned for their patient’s safety, and their license, when treatments unfamiliar to them are being considered. Hence, these oncologists will discourage or even forbid patients to seek out nutritional supplementation, antioxidants, phytotherapy therapy, or other CAM treatments during or after conventional therapy. Many conventional oncologists will even threaten their patients with abandonment if they chose CAM approaches. Consequently, patients with cancer are usually left conflicted and confused as to using CAM care.
Worldwide CAM methods have played an important role in breast cancer treatment, showing benefits such as a higher quality and length of life, reduced instance and severity of the side effects of conventional therapy, and a general improvement of the patient’s immunological state. Indeed, these methods – from carefully monitored nutrition, exercise, and psychological support, to enzyme substitution, phytotherapy, hyperthermia and microbiome therapy – are critical to a treatment’s overall success.
More than ever, patients and doctors need accurate, up-to-date information about which methods have been proven in scientifically based clinical studies to be acceptable for use in conjunction with standard treatment methods. This unique book will present data on the efficacy of these methods as they are currently being used, the necessary scientific background, and practical advice for introducing them into practice. This text will also reveal information not reported by mainstream media. Bear in mind some of what you read will no doubt be rejected and scorned by the conventional oncological community. Due to the vast amount of CAM cancer research that has been conducted throughout the world, I have been able to include numerous research references to substantiate the information presented. Unquestionable, simply because this text outlines numerous CAM cancer therapies, it will come under extreme criticism from many sources. Most of the facts presented will not be so disputed, because they stand on solid evidence-based research. Unfortunately, for me, it will more likely involve a personal attack. It is the old law tactic that if you cannot argue the facts, then personally attack the witness to discredit them. I have been able to stay under the radar practicing traditional naturopathy and traditional Chinese medicine for almost 40 years. Mostly because, in my work I have never treated cancer or a tumor, instead treatment is tailored to the individual and the causes of a cancerous terrain. It is possible that after publication of this text, I may no longer be legally allowed to practice in the U.S. If so, I will probably retire in a more sunny, southern country removed from the slanderous attacks of so-called quack-busters, conventional oncologist, and representatives of the cancer industry, who stay busy attempting to personally discredit whistleblowers like me. However, the information in this text is important enough for me to take the bullet if it comes. I have faith and trust that this text will create a strong ripple of awareness and empower the reader with life-saving information and hope.
My passion in natural medicine is in part rooted in my experience of losing my parents to degenerative disease. At the age of six I lost my father to heart disease and when I was 20 my mother died of metastatic lung cancer. As a college student working as an orderly in the emergency room of a large hospital, I felt the despair of not being able to help my mother with the treatment of her cancer. As I watched her undergo radiation, and cytotoxic chemotherapy only to succumb to a grim death. From this I began to question the effectiveness of conventional oncology treatments. These events marked the beginning of my journey into naturopathy and traditional Chinese medicine. After graduating from naturopathic college, I moved to China for three years to study traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and later studied European biological regulatory medicine in Switzerland and Germany. It has been my continued passion and dharma to inform patients of options that address the individual patterns of illness that gives rise to tumor formation.
While studying in China, I quickly realized that practically all oncology patients utilized some form of TCM in their care plan. Most patients consumed some form of herbal therapy, such as medicinal mushrooms or immunological herbal formulations. Others received acupuncture designed to strengthen their immune system, while incorporating plant-based nutrition and exercise like taijiquan. During my studies in Switzerland and Germany, I was astonished that many of the non-pharmaceutical cancer therapies commonly employed in Europe which are not available in the United States. The therapeutic efficacy of blending conventional medicine with CAM is evident for anyone who visits a Chinese hospital or a biological medicine clinic in Europe or Japan.
Many patients often have difficulty understanding the types of health information required to make treatment decisions. Some lack the medical literacy needed to understand vocabulary that their doctors use when describing medical procedures. The plain truth is that many Americans read at a twelfth-grade level, so most medical and scientific studies become very hard to understand. This is part of the reason why health education materials, such as pamphlets doctors propagate, are often in a very simple format. It is important to make medical information accessible and understandable, but most information provided to patients is so “dumbed-down” that important information is not included. Patients need detailed and complete information to make informed decisions. This text is an attempt to bridge scientific terminology with plain language, without losing information or the reader. Admittedly, this text is rather technical throughout its contents, and is not written to be read from front to back. It is primarily designed as a reference text with chapters on many different topics. The goal is to make it more encyclopedic, referenced and authoritative for readers who desire in-depth researched medical science.
I began writing this text out of frustration that no one definitive reference source on breast cancer combining conventional wisdom with CAM was available in the bookstores that I could recommend to patients. Yes, many books with pink covers have been written describing conventional treatments, and there are hundreds of research articles on CAM approaches assessable from the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s web site. However, few comprehensive books exist that contain evidence-based data of both CAM approaches as well as conventional oncology protocols. I first created a pamphlet for patients interested in breast cancer ideas and information. However, this small pamphlet could not adequately address the many questions most patients had, nor was it replete with the basics of breast cancer causation, diagnosis and therapy. So, I then wrote a 25-page article, but found this still to be too limited to provide the information needed to make informed choices about therapy and preventing future recurrences. This text is the evolution of that article and is addressed to both the patient and professional. Overall, my aim is to assist the individual in searching for the most effective and comprehensive breast cancer prevention and treatment, and to empower the patient with current, and in-depth information from which to ask the most pertinent questions.
An ancient Chinese adage is “A book is like a garden carried in the pocket”. I hope this book will be your garden and bear you fruit and flowers in your quest to treat and/or prevent breast cancer.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. What is CAM? [Web Page] 2009 October 26; Available at http://nccam.nih.gov/health/whatiscam/overview.htm.