Cancer is notorious for its ability to evade treatment. Even when one approach proves effective, ongoing mutations allow the disease to shield its vulnerabilities, resist drug protocols and continue growing. For this reason, conventional oncologists often attack cancer with a variety of aggressive approaches: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation. In alternative medicine, this is called the “cut, poison and burn approach.”
Sometimes this conventional approach works. In my clinical experience of seeing hundreds of cancer patients, however, what is most effective is a dynamic, individualized treatment program that works to fight the cancer and promote the patient’s health simultaneously. True integrative oncology combines modalities that work together synergistically on numerous therapeutic targets, through multiple mechanisms of action. The goal, of course, is to get ahead of the cancer and attack it from every possible angle.
As an integrative M.D., acupuncturist and cancer specialist, I have been treating cancer patients for more than 25 years using targeted therapies drawn from diverse medical modalities such as Western allopathic, traditional Chinese, homeopathic, naturopathic. This integrative approach can significantly enhance our ability to prevent and treat cancer.
Cancer does everything it can to survive, grow and invade healthy tissues. Therefore, we have to be highly strategic to overcome the disease. We need to combine the most powerful tactics at our disposal. Western medicine provides an impressive toolbox, but often has limits. For optimal clinical outcome, an individualized combination of targeted therapies that work together synergistically to fight cancer and support health is the wisest approach. It can work by enhancing the effectiveness of conventional treatments, limiting their toxicity and damaging effects, and supporting the patient’s overall health and vitality, a key component often ignored during conventional therapy.
Successful integrative oncology directs treatment to multiple therapeutic targets and combines a synergistic array of scientifically researched botanical, pharmacological and mind-body therapies. An integrated, multifaceted approach — tailored to the unique needs of each individual — helps doctors and patients stay ahead of the disease and greatly increases the likelihood of outsmarting the cancer altogether.
It’s true that there are many benefits to Western medicine. At the top of this list are advanced diagnostic tests that help us understand the nature of an individual’s cancer and shed light on possible pre-conditions that may contribute to cancer formation and metastasis. These cancer markers and oncogenetic tests are extremely valuable. They allow us, as practitioners, to refine highly individualized treatment protocols, so the more we know, the better.
The Role Of Galectin-3 And Modified Citrus Pectin
We have to be on guard against the protein made in the body known as galectin-3. It is a key cancer marker and therapeutic target that has been extensively researched for its role in promoting cancer and chronic disease. Galectin-3 aids tumor growth, metastasis and angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation that feeds the tumor). Galectin-3 also fuels inflammation and the progression of chronic inflammation to fibrosis of organs and tissues. What’s more, there is a direct relationship between elevated galectin-3 levels and poor outcomes for cancer patients.
Published research shows that modified citrus pectin (MCP), a natural supplement derived from citrus peels, inhibits the harmful effects of galectin-3 MCP — of the correct molecular weight and structure — has been proven to bind to galectin-3, block cancer cell aggregation, prevent angiogenesis and reduce metastasis. Equally important, MCP enhances chemotherapy, even against resistant cancers, and protects against cellular damage from radiation treatment. Published research also shows how MCP ramps up the immune system and eliminates heavy metals from the body, including lead and mercury, without affecting essential minerals. These benefits place critical importance on MCP as a leading integrative cancer therapy.
A number of scientific studies show that MCP can work synergistically with certain chemotherapy agents such as doxorubicin and paclitaxel. Data shows the ability of a specific form of MCP to increase the effectiveness of these drugs against aggressive cancers, possibly allowing for lower dosages with greater clinical benefits. One study showed that a form of MCP works synergistically with doxorubicin against aggressive prostate cancer cells. Another recent study showed that the same MCP enhanced the effects of paclitaxel against aggressive ovarian cancer cells, through the inhibition of galectin-3.
Synergistic Anti-Cancer Botanicals And Supplements
Numerous published studies have confirmed MCPs powerful anti-cancer effects. In addition, two poly-botanical formulas, one for breast and one for prostate cancer, showed significant synergistic enhancement in experimental studies, when combined with MCP. This means that the MCP and the poly-botanical formulas achieved greater anti-cancer and anti-metastatic effects when used together. In terms of cancer prevention, these same botanical formulas and MCP provide multi-targeted protection, helping to promote and maintain cellular health.
Another natural product, the botanical extract honokiol, has been extensively studied in preclinical cell and animal models and shown to fight cancer through numerous mechanisms of action. Honokiol is derived from Magnolia officinalis bark, and is highly regarded for its anti-tumor, anti-angiogenic and antioxidant effects. It has also been shown in preclinical studies to enhance the benefits of some chemotherapies and natural agents.
April is National Cancer Control Month. The most important thing to remember this month and all year long is that we now have more diagnostic and treatment choices for fighting cancer than we ever had access to in the past. Treatments are constantly evolving as scientific developments shed new light on therapeutic targets and approaches.
To stay current on this leading edge of medical advancement, we draw on the important body of integrative oncology research and clinical practice. Integrative oncology’s rapidly expanding materia medica incorporates the most effective of Western and complementary approaches to promote optimal clinical outcome in cancer and beyond.