An Integrated Approach to Cancer Treatment

The purpose of this article is threefold. First, I hope to give you practical information on what you can do to help prevent the development of cancer in you or your loved ones. Second, I shall suggest a treatment approach to those of you who already have cancer. Finally, for those of you whose cancer is in remission, I’ll stress a plan to help prevent recurrence.

Conventional medicine’s approach to cancer is to regard it as a foreign body which needs to be anhilated and removed from the body. Hence, the primary treatments are surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, this therapeutic approach has been largely unsuccessful for the vast majority of malignancies, and the so-called “war on cancer” has been almost a complete failure.

An alternative view of cancer is to see it as a total body disease right from the beginning, rather than only after the disease has spread throughout the body. Cancer is symptomatic of a failure of the body’s defenses, including the immune system. It represents an imbalance in the body’s ability to adapt to adverse external or internal conditions.

By intelligent choices, we can drastically reduce our risk of developing cancer, improve our chances of survival if we already have cancer, and prevent recurrence of cancer in remission. We need to eliminate as many negative factors in our environment and within ourselves as possible, while trying to maximize the factors that will enhance our defenses. We must examine and be willing to change our lifestyle, beliefs and environment.

Specific recommendations include: (1) dietary changes-what to avoid and what to include; (2) oral supplementation, including vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, enzymes, herbs, accessory food factors and others; (3) detoxification procedures; (4) injectable programs when necessary; (5) exercise programs; and (6) psychosocial support measures. In subsequent medical updates, I will discuss some specifics of such a program.

The best and most up-to-date book that I have seen on preventing and treating cancer is Dr. Patrick Quillin’s Beating Cancer with Nutrition. An excellent full length video on this subject is What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Cancer, which is narrated by actor Eddie Albert.

Positive Step for Prevention, Improving Chances of Surviving Cancer and Preventing Recurrence

What can you do to prevent cancer, improve your chances of survival if you have cancer, or prevent recurrence if your cancer is in remission? You must improve the quality of air, water and food that you take into your body. Smoking contributes to lung cancer and other cancers. Avoid smoking and areas in which others are smoking. As much as possible avoid polluted air. Pollution within the home can be reduced with air purifiers.

Pure Water

Drink only pure water. Consider spring water, filtered water or distilled water. Lead from old pipes contaminates much of our drinking water, as does organic chemicals, which are not removed by many of our current public water purification systems. Chlorine, added to purify water, may actually increase cancer risk, especially when it combines with organic chemicals.

Fluoride, added to half of the nation’s water supplies to fight tooth decay, contributes to cancer risk, according to a variety of studies, in spite of US Public Health Service protestations. Most water purifcation systems do not remove fluoride unless the system includes a reverse osmosis component. Remember that boiling water removes dissolved chlorine, but only concentrates fluoride. In my opinion, fluoride in all forms, including tooth paste, drops for babies, fluoride treatments by dentists and tablets should not be used. An excellent book on this subject is Fluoridation: The Aging Factor by John Yiamouyiannis, available from my office or possibly your local bookstore.

Whole Foods Diet

Diets should stress whole foods including whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and moderate amounts of animal products, such as eggs, yogurt, fish, poultry and meat. Some patients will do better with the elimination of most, if not all, animal products. By eating whole foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, you will insure sufficient dietary fiber.

Whenever possible, eat foods and drink beverages that have been grown without pesticides–so-called organic foods. Avoid foods that are highly processed and contain white sugar and starch (the refined carbohydrates), artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharine, artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, hydrogenated fats and other artificial chemicals. Alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea or soda, or should be drastically reduced or eliminated.


Exercise is essential for any prevention or treatment program. It must be individualized to the person’s level of health and fitness. Since oxygen is the single most important nutrient to survival, an aerobic exercise program, which improves oxygen usage, is recommended. Rapid walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, Nordic track activity, rowing, aerobic dancing and other activities are great. Ideally, you should build up to a minimum of 30 minutes, at least every other day. This is of course impossible for the advanced cancer patient until he or she is well on the way to recovery. Stretching and limbering up exercises are also helpful.

Natural Sunlight

Indirect sunlight entering the eyes benefits the immune system and some time should be spent outside in the fresh air, preferably without eyeglasses.

Coping with Stress

Developing strategies for coping with stress or even thriving in a stressful environment, is essential for the cancer patient since receiving such a diagnosis is probably as stressful an event as one could experience. Relaxation techniques, meditation and visualization exercises are all useful. Both individual and group counseling based on the work of Bernie Siegel, the Simontons, LeShan and others are helpful to cancer patients.

Oral Nutritional Supplements

Oral nutritional supplements can play a major role in both the prevention and treatment of cancer. For those cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation or those recovering from surgery, oral supplements can reduce side effects and speed the healing process. Anti-oxidant vitamins, such as vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E in moderate to high doses should be used by everyone, in my opinion. The B complex and especially folic acid play a role in improving energy and reducing cancer risk. Amygdalin, also known as Laetrile, is an extremely controversial nutrient that plays a role in both the prevention and treatment of cancer. The story of Laetrile can be found in the book and videocassette World Without Cancer and Ralph Moss’s book, The Cancer Industry.

Oral minerals that should be considered are selenium, zinc, copper, chromium, molybdenum, manganese, magnesium, germanium and calcium. Proteolytic enzymes, such as bromolain and pancreatic enzymes, help to digest food when given with meals. When taken on an empty stomach, they help to dissolve the protective coating of cancer cells, making them more vulnerable to the body’s attack. Flaxseed oil, a major source of omega-3 fatty acids, and primrose oil, a source of GLA, both have anti-cancer properties. Coenzyme Q10, benzaldehyde, choline and inositol and certain amino acids help to round out the program.

Shark Cartilage

Following the positive segment on CBS’s “Sixty Minutes,” shark cartilage has become one of the most talked about alternative cancer therapies. In order to grow, cancer requires the proliferation of new blood vessels. Cartilage contains substances that prevent the formation of new blood vessels. When cartilage is given to cancer patients, the blood supply to the cancer is cut off. At the same time, connective tissue surrounding the cancer increases its blood vessel supply and this helps the body to wall off the cancer. Cartilage also positively affects the immune system. Studies in both Mexico and Cuba indicate that even patients with advanced cancer may benefit from cartilage. In my practice, I have found cartilage to be quite beneficial. Large doses are necessary for advanced cancer patients in the range of 60 to 120 grams daily. It may be taken either orally or by rectal retention enemas.


Herbs have been used to treat cancer for centuries and many seem to be of considerable value. Many cancer patients have benefitted from the Hoxsey herbs, which are available from a Mexican clinic. Essiac is a preparation developed by a Canadian nurse Rene Caisse many years ago. Although no formal studies have been carried out, there are many case histories suggesting the benefits of both of these herbal remedies. In my practice, I have been using a little known preparation which seems to be quite beneficial. As more and more is learned about herbs, I suspect they will play a greater role in the non-toxic approach to cancer management.

Injectable Programs

Cancer patients are frequently helped by injectable programs, using nutrients or other non-toxic substances. Cancer patients frequently have problems absorbing nutrients from the intestine. Injectable programs ensure nutrient absorption and produce much higher therapeutic levels of nutrients in the tissues.

Vitamin C drips of 25 to 50 grams are almost always helpful in improving energy levels and stimulating the immune system. Therapeutic doses of minerals and other vitamins can also be given. When available, intravenous administration of amygdalin or Laetrile can help to check cancer progression.

Other Adjunctive Therapies

Many other adjunctive therapies can benefit the cancer patient. These include therapeutic massage, chiropractic manipulation, detoxification procedures, homeopathy, the therapeutic use of permanent magnets and many others.

A through discussion of a wide variety of alternative cancer treatments can be found in Ralph Moss’s book Cancer Therapy; The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Non-Toxic Treatment and Prevention and Richard Walters Options: The Alternative Cancer Therapy Book.

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Written by Michael Schachter MD FACAM

Explore Wellness in 2021