Sunday, September 23, 2007

All Guns Blazing – Chemotherapy, Multivitamins, Vitamin C, and Niacin for the Treatment of Cancer

I decided to devote an entire column in response to Rusty’s last post about vitamins and cancer. I don’t like to write about cancer because I don’t like to hold out false hope. Living with cancer more often than not involves learning how to deal with disappointment. The probability of getting cancer rises steadily with age. Cancer is rare amongst children and young adults. Cancer has the highest incidence amongst senior citizens. Even when cancer is beaten, it is often followed by death from another cause. I’m afraid that overall, using vitamins to treat cancer lends more support to the view that vitamins in excess of the RDA are ineffective than it does to the view that vitamins are wonder drugs.

In a tiny minority of cancer cases, vitamins are wonder drugs. Stories like the one Rusty relates in his column have been appearing regularly for decades. Each case like Rusty relates probably inspires hundreds of other cancer patients to go to the same doctor to seek the same treatment. Doctors will continue to make a living providing IV vitamin C treatment as long as the occasional success keeps occurring.

To me, the available evidence suggests that curing cancer with vitamins is a long-shot. I also believe that the evidence suggests standard cancer treatment (chemotherapy, radiation, etc.) and vitamins are complementary treatments. I believe that by using chemotherapy and vitamins together, many cancer patients can dramatically slow the progression of their condition and make the resulting discomforts not so different from the inevitable expected discomforts of aging.

I doubt that many experts would disagree with the following assessment of cancer. There are two basic objectives:

1) Kill the cancer tissue
2) Heal any wounds caused by the cancer/treatments used to kill the cancer

Modern medicine is evolving highly effective methods for killing cancer tissue. I have little expertise in this area, but I know enough to know that my scientific colleagues are constantly finding cancer killing agents that are more active and selective than those in use today. The best way to kill cancer is to use your medical insurance and get treated by specialists in your particular cancer.

What distresses Rusty and I is that mainstream medicine has walked away from some of the best treatments known for wound healing – the vitamins. In subsequent columns I will provide references to scientific proof that for vitamin C this is factual information and not just my opinion. Vitamin C in high doses is a powerful tool that helps the body heal wounds. Healing is still slow. The healing that occurs doesn’t unheal if and when vitamin C is stopped. When vitamin C is taken, the facilitation of healing is imperceptible. Everyone expects to heal wonderfully so when vitamins are effective their healing effects are taken for granted.

The other vitamin that is most likely to help cancer patients is niacin. Like vitamin C, niacin has also been scientifically proven to treat diseases when used in astonishingly high doses. Niacin is the only vitamin that has been embraced by the medical community for use at high doses. It is prescribed at 1000 to 3000 mg/day (the RDA is 20 mg/day) to treat heart disease. In future columns I will point to the science again and make the argument that the underlying mechanism of action is at least partially explained by an acceleration of healing of the tissues of the vascular system (veins and arteries).

Rusty refers to Abram Hoffer in his column. Dr. Hoffer has by far the most experience using vitamins to help cancer patients survive. High doses of vitamin C and niacin are central to his treatment strategy. Dr. Hoffer is pretty specific about his dosage recommendations. My view is to follow his advice if possible, but to be aware that vitamin C and especially niacin can have uncomfortable side effects at high doses. The emergence of side effects is no reason to quit taking vitamin C and niacin. It only provides a reason to lower the doses in order to find the right balance between benefits and manageable side effects. I also believe that the emergence of side effects is a reason to search for better methods. I’ve already suggested in an earlier column that patients and specialists interested in vitamins and cancer should consider exploring localized vitamin C and/or niacin injections when taking these vitamins by mouth isn’t achieving the desired effects.

Vitamin C and niacin by mouth are extremely low risk. Toxic effects caused by combining cancer killing treatments with high doses of these vitamins are rare. Cancer patients have a lot to gain and almost nothing to lose by taking vitamin C and niacin before, during, and after chemotherapy. Again, they have a lot to lose if they take vitamin C and/or niacin and/or other vitamins instead of chemotherapy. Cancer is a deadly disease.

Vitamin C is so safe that it has relatively low toxicity even when it is injected in high concentrations (hundreds of grams/day) by IV. Injecting anything into the bloodstream by IV or syringe is dangerous. Injections should be carried out only by experienced professionals as a treatment of last resort. Safety is of primary importance. Logic suggests that IV vitamin C can be practiced safely. Dr. Robert Cathcart has been practicing IV vitamin C treatments for decades and advertises his methods on the internet. If his practices weren’t safe, his activities should have been stopped by now by legal action. I believe Dr. Cathcart’s procedure should be readily available to anyone suffering from cancer and interested in this option.

When I searched Google and a database of the scientific literature for niacin injections, I didn’t find any useful information. Using IV treatment to elevate blood levels of niacin isn’t practiced because the same effect is achieved safely by swallowing niacin supplements.

Using injections to focus the delivery of high doses of vitamin C or of niacin to specific tissues is uncommon if it is practiced at all. I don’t really understand this since, personally, if I had a localized cancer, I’d rather have only the tissues surrounding the tumors injected with vitamin solutions than be hooked to an IV. I’d also rather have the unusually high doses of vitamins targeted at the problem area rather than distributed evenly throughout my entire body.

In summary, the objective of cancer treatment is to kill the cancer and then heal the wounds caused by the cancer and the treatments used to kill the cancer. There is strong scientific evidence backing the hypothesis that vitamin C and niacin in high doses can both increase the effectiveness of the killing strategies (by boosting immune function) and/or increase the effectiveness of the healing process. Vitamin C and niacin, even in high doses, are safe. They are much safer than the obviously toxic treatments used to kill cancers. Cancer patients have much to gain and little to lose by adding high potency vitamin C, high potency niacin, and a multivitamin to their cancer treatment plan.

6 Comments:

At 12:04 AM, Anonymous charles said...

Cancer is such a terrible disease that doctors should be willing to try mega doses of Vitamin C and Niacin. It will not become general procedure in a hundred years. The attitude of most doctors has poisoned the possiblity of these vitamins being used as an adjunct to drugs. Their attitude spreads to most of their patients. I am not a doctor but I have seen several of my relatives die from cancer. They firmly beleive their oncologist right until they die. I truly wish that it was not this way but I have seen happen several times.

 
At 6:06 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Thanks for your comment.

I am more optimistic than you. That's what keeps me going. When oncologists really understand that high dosage vitamin C and high dosage niacin have proven healing powers, I think they will give it a try. When they get good results, I believe they will be thrilled. I believe oncologists want the best results for their patients.

I agree with you that patients are not going to make the decision. The oncologists will. The purpose of these blog entries is to educate oncologists (hopefully some cancer patients will bring these columns to the attention of their oncologists).

 
At 6:55 AM, Anonymous charles said...

Maybe in 50 years the opinion of oncologists will change. Basically opinions formed during medical school remain with doctors forever. First the medical jounals will have to publish article that are favorable. It will take a Doctor who has cancer and uses it to cure his disease before the medical journals might accept it.

Look at uclers and the treatment with anitbiotics. The turning point occurred when a doctor infected himself with Helicobacter pylori and cured the ulcer with antibiotics. Australian gastroenterologist Barry Marshall, M.D. and pathologist J. Robbin Warren proposed their theory for the bacterial cause of peptic ulcers in 1983. The bacterial cause of gastric ulcers in pigs was known in 1952 (55 years ago).

 
At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure if oncologists in general have the best interests of their patients in mind. Remember, we are talking about HUGE amounts of money here in regards to conventional cancer treatments. Over $100,000,000,000 dollars per year is spent on conventional cancer treatments and research. Most oncologists don't have much training in nutrition or nutritional therapies. They have the typical allopathic dogma and don't have time to study the huge subject of nutrition.

 
At 5:46 PM, Blogger Biotunes said...

Vitamin C is an antioxidant. We don't know nearly enough about most vitamins to say whether they help certain diseases, but people should realize that chemotherapy works by killing cancer (and unfortunately other) cells by oxidization. (One study showed a clear interference of the proper, natural body's response to exercise when antioxidant supplements were taken:

http://bioblog.biotunes.org/bioblog/2009/05/13/bring-on-the-free-radicals/)

The definitive studies about cancer have yet to be done, but in this case erring on the side of caution means *don't* take (mega) doses of antioxidants because they could interfere with the effectiveness of chemotherapy. And as long as you are being made miserable, it at least ought to be for some positive effect.

http://bioblog.biotunes.org/bioblog/2009/06/16/dont-take-multivitamins-during-chemotherapy/

 
At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading the report, too. It′s easy to understand that a journey like this is the biggest event in ones

life.

 

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