Atrocious State of Cancer Treatment in the U.S.
April 09, 2016 by Dr. Mercola
View video “Surviving Terminal Cancer”
Being diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a type of brain tumor, is considered a death sentence by modern medicine.
Despite a decades-long war on cancer, and the “most advanced” treatments known to 21st century oncologists, people who develop this aggressive, fast-growing cancer are given a prognosis of about 15 months to live — if they’re lucky.
Aggressive treatment, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, is often started, even though oncologists know it won’t cure the disease. If you ever find yourself in this type of nightmarish scenario, you can imagine the desperation you would feel to find something, anything, that might offer hope.
Most people turn to their oncologists or neurosurgeons with such requests for possible experimental or outside-the-box treatments, but you’re unlikely to receive any help that deviates from the hospital’s standard protocol.
It’s not that such treatment options don’t exist; they do. The problem is that the oncologist can’t, or won’t, prescribe them. To do so would risk his or her reputation and even medical license, should you decide to sue.
The film interviews a number of oncologists that carefully describe their predicament. But the problem is even larger than this. Modern cancer care is not set up to treat you, an individual. Their primary goal is to validate experimental therapies for future cancer patients many years down the road.
Due to regulatory red tape, drug-company greed, failures in the scientific process and lack of a universal will to do what’s best for each and every patient, modern cancer care fails an unacceptable percentage of the time.
As Albert Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This describes modern cancer treatment in a nutshell.
How One Man Survived Terminal Cancer
Ben Williams, Ph.D., professor emeritus of Experimental Psychology at University of California, San Diego, shouldn’t be here today. He should be one of the statistics — 1 of the more than 15,000 people who die from glioblastoma multiforme in the U.S. every year.1
Yet, he’s alive — 19 years after his initial glioblastoma multiforme diagnosis. His survival was brushed off as a rare fluke by his doctors, but Williams believes otherwise.
In his book “Surviving Terminal Cancer: Clinical Trials, Drug Cocktails, and Other Treatments Your Oncologist Won’t Tell You About,” he details the multi-faceted strategy he used to overcome the disease. You can hear him tell his story first-hand in the film “Surviving Terminal Cancer,” above.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that in order to outsmart cancer, you’ve got to attack it from multiple angles, especially in the case of complex brain cancer. And that’s what Williams did.
He described a mushroom extract that’s used routinely to treat cancer in Japan. It has zero toxicity, but it’s not even mentioned in the U.S.
He did his own research, finding out about the potential to use existing non-cancer medications off label to treat the deadly disease. Once a patent expires on a drug, its potential to rake in major profits plummets. As such, drug companies typically abandon them in favor of newer, more profitable pursuits.
Abandoned Drugs Show Promise but Oncologists Won’t Prescribe Them
Some of these abandoned drugs have shown promise for glioblastoma multiforme, but they’re not offered to U.S. patients. While I’m not in favor of over-prescribing medications, if you’re facing a deadly prognosis you’re probably willing to risk the side effects if it gives you a chance for survival.
High-dose tamoxifen, a breast cancer drug, is one such medication that has shown some promise in treating glioblastoma multiforme.2
The anti-malaria drug chloroquine is another.3 There’s even a good chance your neuro-oncologist may be aware of the promising studies done with these drugs, but he or she won’t offer them as a potential treatment because they’re considered experimental. As Williams said:
“It made absolutely no sense to me not to use everything that might have a benefit as long as the toxicities were acceptable. Why wouldn’t anyone want to add them? It seemed to be totally irrational that people didn’t use everything that was available.”
When Modern Medicine Fails Them, Cancer Patients Turn to Self-Medication and the Black Market
In order to survive, Williams turned to self-medicating, a dangerous prospect by any account but, again, when your life is at stake you’re willing to take the risk. And his story is not unique.
Many have traveled to other countries, forged prescriptions, feigned illnesses to get access to different medications and even traded medications and nutraceuticals on the “black market” in order to have even a chance at survival.
In Williams’ case, his daily cocktail of off-label medications and natural products worked. In just six months, his brain tumor had disappeared and it hasn’t been back since.
There are more than a handful of others who have defied odds and lived long term with glioblastoma multiforme, and they’ve taken matters into their own hands too.
Williams now spends the bulk of his time trying to help others with terminal cancer, and he makes his book, which he updates annually, free to cancer patients in need.
Natural Cancer Fighters Overlooked by Modern Medicine
Nature is an invaluable resource for fighting cancer, yet natural products, even those that have been intensely studied, are also left out of cancer patients’ treatment plans. Curcumin — one of the most well-studied bioactive ingredients in turmeric — is one glaring example.
It exhibits over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, including anti-cancer properties.
As noted by Dr. William LaValley — a leading natural medicine cancer physician whom I’ve previously interviewed on this topic — curcumin is unique in that it appears to be universally useful for just about every type of cancer.
Superficially, this appears unusual considering the fact that cancer consists of a wide variety of different nuclear genetic defects. One reason for this universal anti-cancer proclivity is curcumin’s ability to decrease the primary mitochondrial dysfunction that is likely one of the foundational causes of cancer. Once it gets into a cell, it also affects more than 100 different molecular pathways.
And, as explained by LaValley, whether the curcumin molecule causes an increase in activity of a particular molecular target or decrease/inhibition of activity, studies repeatedly show that the end result is a potent anti-cancer activity. Moreover, curcumin is virtually non-toxic, and does not adversely affect healthy cells, suggesting it selectively targets cancer cells — all of which are clear benefits in cancer treatment.
Research has even shown that it works synergistically with certain chemotherapy drugs, enhancing the elimination of cancer cells. If you have cancer, curcumin is one substance you should be taking, but your oncologist won’t recommend it.
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Sources and References
Mercola, J. (2016). “Atrocious State of Cancer Treatment in the U.S.” Mercola.com. Joseph Mercola, published 9 April 2016. Accessed 1 May 2016. < http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/04/09/atrocious-state-cancer-treatment.aspx>
Image Credit: The Cancer Genome Atlas: Glioblastoma Multiforme. <http://cancergenome.nih.gov/cancersselected/glioblastomamultiforme>. Published 3 January 2014. Accessed 1 May 2016.
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