elynjacobs

Cancer Stem Cells and Progression of Disease: What You Need to Know Now

In Cancer on July 8, 2015 at 10:22 am

Could it be that oncologists are missing the key to cancer recurrence and progression?  Could this be why there are so many repeat customers?

For over forty years oncologists have considered tumor reduction and remission as measures of successful treatment.  Are they misguided in placing so much emphasis on this parameter?

During a recent episode of my radio show, Survive and Live Well, Dr Michael Schachter shared his views on Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs)–Cancer Stem Cells are at the forefront of the theory behind the reason conventional treatment often fails.  The following is a summary of the show. To replay the podcast, please click here.

Dr Schachter explained that the issue of cancer stem cells goes way back to around 1910, though the term wasn’t used then. John Beard MD, PhD, a brilliant Scottish embryologist, proposed the Trophoblastic Theory of Cancer at that time. According to Dr. Beard, during embryological development, 80% of the cells destined to become germ cells migrate to the gonads (male testes and female ovaries). About 20% of these totipotent (immature) germ cells migrate to different areas of the body and remain dormant. These are today’s modern day stem cells that are mobilized to repair damaged tissue.  However, when stem cells become dysregulated (impaired), they can become modern day cancer stem cells. This concept was further developed and brought up to date by cancer clinician and researcher, Nicholas Gonzalez MD, in his brilliant book, The Trophoblast and the Origins of Cancer, which was published in 2010.

Recent research on cancer stem cells has established some amazing facts. Although CSC’s constitute only 1 to 5% of the cancer cells within a tumor, they are the only cancer cells that metastasize to other parts of the body. CSC’s are resistant to radiation and chemotherapy and actually stimulated to grow faster and more vehemently when radiation and/or chemotherapy are used. It is believed that cancer mortality is directly related to cancer stem cell activity (proliferative and metastatic).

Don’t be misled into thinking that tumor reduction guarantees that you are making progress with respect to overcoming the disease, as you may not be. Shrinking a tumor by killing the less damaging cancer cells (the non-stem cells) with chemo and/or radiation may NOT improve long term survival and may increase the likelihood that these cancer stem cells will metastasize, allowing them to regenerate tumors elsewhere in the body. So although you may get an 80% reduction in tumor bulk, you are not targeting the most dangerous of the cells.

Another very important point covered was that CSCs are stimulated to grow by inflammatory factors related to various stressors on the body:

  • Various  psychological losses result in secretion of Interleukin 6, which stimulates the growth of CSCs
  • Trapped emotions can stimulate cancer stem cells to regroup, which is yet another reason emotional stress are undoubtedly major causes of cancer and it recurrence (see below for remedies)
  • Dying cancer cells emit the cytokines, Interleukin 6 and Interleukin 8, which stimulates cancer stem cells to proliferate. They stimulate normal stem cells to repair tissue damage, but stimulate cancer stem cells to grow

Releasing trapped emotions and eliminating the bonds you have with events and people so you can leave such negative emotions in the past can play a major role in healing.  There are many ways to do this:

  • EFT tapping: a form of psychological acupressure that helps resolve emotional issues, cleaning out past traumas that contribute to dis-ease
  • Psychotherapy: an approach to wellness that recognizes the interconnection between mind, body and spirit
  • Energy work such as Qi Gong, Reiki, meditation, and distant energy healing such as the Oracle Method
  • Emotion Code: an energy technique that helps facilitate the release of trapped negative emotions

While the drug Celebrex, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (or NSAID), inhibits inflammation and reduces stimulation to cancer stem cells, it has many dangerous adverse side effects associated with its use. A similar drug, Vioxx, was taken off the market after causing thousands of heart attacks. Fortunately many relatively non-toxic natural substances block inflammatory stimulation of CSC’s and Dr. Schachter advocates the use of many of these substances for cancer patients. Some examples of anti-inflammatory substances which can be found in capsule or liquid extract form are:

  • Curcumin
  • Thymoquinone from black cumin seed
  • Sulforaphane and other glucosinolates and isothiocyanates from cruciferous vegetables
  • Vitamin D
  • Boswellia or Frankincense
  • Parent Essential Fatty Acids (Linoleic Acid and Alpha Linolenic Acid)
  • Stabilized Aloe Vera extract

For more natural substances that target cancer stem cells, Please read my article Cancer Stem Cells—Could They Be the Key to Metastasis 

 What Other Experts Have To Say

The interesting thing about the recent introduction of the modern Cancer Stem Cell Theory into an understanding of cancer is that it was not developed by the ‘alternative’ world, but by very traditional conventional cancer researchers.  For example, establishment oncologist and researcher Max Wicha MD (a former National Cancer Institute (NCI) researcher and the Founding Director Emeritus of the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Cancer Center) is a pioneer in research on why cancers recur and spread to other parts of the body and has been a leader in the CSC theory. Dr Wicha has been doing research and conducting clinical trials that specifically target breast cancer stem cells, but he also has an interest in colon cancer and lung cancer as well. He has been Involved in cancer research for 30 years and is currently involved with eight clinical trial involving CSCs.  Some of Dr. Wicha’s lectures can be found on YouTube and can be found by searching this site and via the links below. Some of the points made during his lectures are:

  • Standard cancer treatments not only often fail to eradicate cancer, but can sometimes make it worse
  • 30% of breast and prostate CA patients have bone marrow metastases at the time of diagnosis
  • Breast cancer is driven by cancer stem cells
  • Only certain breast cancer cells (CSCs) would develop into cancer in immune suppressed mice
  • Cancer stem cells are dysregulated adult stem cells
  • One approach he has taken in his research with breast cancer stem cells is to develop patentable drugs that block the Interleukin 8 receptors on stromal and cancer stem cells; he thus remains very much in the mainstream of conventional oncology, which is not particularly interested in researching non-patentable natural substances that my play a role in inhibiting cancer stem cells

In at least one newspaper article, the reporter said that Dr Wicha indicated that he hoped breast cancer could be treated without chemotherapy– just making use of medications that target the stem cells. However, he quickly retracted this view and said that breast cancer patients and all cancer patients should follow the conventional standard of care for conventional cancer treatment and then if necessary, look for clinical trials that target cancer stem cells.

At this point in time, Dr. Schachter has not heard much from his cancer patients regarding any discussion about cancer stem cells with their conventional oncologists, many of whom believe this area is at best considered experimental.

With my clients I have also found there to have been a complete omission of the discussion of cancer stem cells with respective oncologists.  I am always amazed that something so vital to successful outcome is not discussed along with a proposed treatment plan.

A few other researchers are doing research in cancer stem cells. One example is Maximilian Diehn MD, PhD of the Stanford University Medical Center who is an acclaimed researcher studying normal and cancer stem cell biology and its implications for cancer therapy.

Brad Weeks MD, who teaches other physicians about insulin potentiation therapy (IPT), a controversial treatment involving the use of insulin and low doses of chemotherapy, believes that no cancer patient should be treated without addressing cancer stem cells. He advocates the use of relatively non-toxic medications, such as Metformin and other anti-inflammatory strategies, such as non-inflammatory diets that avoid sugar and artificial chemicals in food. He also recommends various herbal supplements that are anti-inflammatory and that inhibit cancer stem cells.

Dr. Schachter is not an advocate of IPT at this time, but does utilize many of the anti-inflammatory strategies to inhibit cancer stem cells. He incorporates many relatively non-toxic substances to help the patient prevent and manage cancer without the use of toxic agents. During previous interviews on this program Dr. Schachter has discussed the use of Salvestrols, the use of  fat soluble vitamins (like vitamins D, A and K2 (MK4), a therapeutic diet, stress management, exercise and various other factors that a cancer patient should incorporate into his/her comprehensive program. Please visit the Radio Show Archives for past shows with Dr. Schachter.

Learn more:

  • Cancer stem cells are resistant to radiation (Baker, M Stem cells: Nature. 2009 Apr 23;458(7241):962-5.
  • For more information on energy healers, please visit Alternative and Complementary Therapies

Elyn

             ~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

 MEDICAL DISCLAIMER:  Reading the information in this post does not constitute a physician-patient relationship. The information included in this post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider regarding a medical condition or any treatments.

Dr. Michael B. Schachter is a magna cum laude graduate of Columbia College and Columbia P&S Medical School in NYC. He is also a Board Certified Psychiatrist and a Certified Nutrition Specialist. Dr. Schachter has been involved with nutritional and integrative health care for 40 years. A leader in alternative cancer therapies, EDTA chelation and orthomolecular psychiatry, he is a past president of the American College of Advancement in Medicine (ACAM). He has authored numerous articles and was a major contributor to the large chapter about him in Burton Goldberg’s classic “Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Cancer”. His published 2010 paper “Integrative Oncology for Clinicians and Cancer Patients” helps to guide patients in developing a cancer treatment program. His latest article published in 2013 entitled “Integrating Nutrition and Selected Controversial Nutritional Supplements into a Cancer Treatment” is an abridged and updated version of his 2010 article. In 2010, Dr. Schachter received the Humanitarian Award from the Cancer Control Society in California. Dr. Schachter is the director of the Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine in Suffern, NY, which is located in Rockland County, about 45 minutes from New York City.

 More information about Dr. Schachter and the Center are available at the Schachter Center Website. Many articles by Dr Schachter can be accessed from this site, including the two articles mentioned above.

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and well-being. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health, and Breast Cancer Answers, is a contributor to The Truth About Cancer, and has written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, Surviving Beautifully, Body Local, Natural Health-Natural Wellness, and more. Elyn hosts the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. She is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys. http://elynjacobs.com/about/.

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Food Fatigue: The Perils of Eating Too Healthy

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2015 at 8:41 am

What could be wrong with trying to eat healthy?  Eating a healthy diet will go a long way to improve quality and quantity of life, right?

Yes, it certainly will.  However, sometimes when people try to eat super well, they end eating the same things, day after day because they feel compelled to get in all their daily anti-cancer foods.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a super healthy eater, and encourage my family and clients to take an active role in choosing nutrient-dense foods. But when you just can’t stomach one more smoothie, salad, soup or stew; when you open the refrigerator and NOTHING interests you, you have food fatigue.

Some uber-healthy eaters develop an eating disorder referred to as orthorexia, an obsession with eating healthy foods and avoiding ‘unhealthy’ foods.  While that might not seem like something to be worried about, in extremes it causes people to eliminate entire food groups from their diets and makes them over-analyze everything in their food.  People with orthorexia are often afraid to eat in restaurants for fear of unhealthy ingredients and preparation, or avoid social engagements and thus often become depressed and lonely.

But short of becoming orthorexia, food fatigue can create a loss of desire to eat.  While calorie restriction has anticancer benefits, the body needs sufficient nutrients to fortify the immune system and support the body against cancer.  Coupled with an already rigid diet, being too bored by our food choices to eat will limit the range and extent of nutrients ingested. We are constantly bombarded with ‘eat this and not that’.

Beyond the obvious–eat organic and avoid GMOs, processed, fast and fried foods whenever possible; don’t stress about every little thing that goes into your mouth.  Apart from food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances, entire food groups need not be eliminated—unless by choice.  (Junk food is not a food group, just in case this gave you a license to grab some fries–at least not often). And even if one chooses to eliminate certain foods, it is still not a good idea to eat the same foods day in and day out. Eating a balanced but varied diet will serve us better in the long-run.There is often a there is a fine line between eating healthy and becoming either bored with dining or being boring to dine with.

Do you suffer from Food Fatigue? Pick up a cookbook, browse a cooking magazine or dig into a pizza!

Whoa, before you think I have lost my mind, pizza can be super healthy and a delicious way to pack in a significant amount of nutrients.

gustorganics chickpea pizzaI had dinner in the city with a good friend, Tami Boehmer.  We went to Gustorganics in New York City and I had a delicious chickpea crust pizza with garlicky kale, herbed tofu feta and creamy basil pesto.  I was hooked. I have since then replicated that meal at home and expanded my toppings (and okay, I tend to go heavy on the toppings, but Gustorganics had just the right amount). You can put most anything on a pizza. Pestos and sprouts are an easy way to add flavor and pack in a lot of vegetables. Grow your own sprouts and herbs, make your own pestos or visit your local farmer’s market. Oh the places you can go with really healthy foods.

For the pizza: (serves one or two)

  1. Mix ½ cup garbanzo bean/ chickpea flour with ¼ cup filtered water, ½ tsp olive oil, dash of salt and  herbs, if using (¼ tsp dried or ½ tsp fresh). For a thinner crust, add a bit more water
  2. Spread mixture in oval, round or rectangular shape on parchment paper—crust should be about ¼” thick
  3. Bake at 375 degrees about 20 minutes until just browning on the edges. Carefully peel from paper and flip
  4. Spread sauce and/or pesto onto crust
  5. Add additional toppings and return to the oven for 5 minutes
  6. Serve with sprouts (microgreens) of choice for sprinkling on top

Notes:

  • Add fresh or dried herbs to the crust mixture—I like oregano or rosemary in mine
  • 1 Tbs ground or partially ground flax seed may be added to the crust
  • When using salt, consider Celtic sea, Pink Himalayan or Redmonds Real Salt
  • When choosing olive oil, look for organic, extra virgin, and skip the supermarket brands.
  • Utilize the power of food-synergy.  When certain foods are combined, the nutritional benefits are phenomenal

pizza with oilTopping choices are endless.  Consider tomatoes, tomato sauce, pestos, thick cashew cream, olives, caramelized onions, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, kale, broccoli, roasted or grilled eggplant, organic cheese (vegan or dairy, or nutritional yeast), fresh herbs and sprouts (basil sprouts are excellent if you can find them—they can be added with the toppings and they add a huge boost of flavor)

Serve with salad or sprouts such as broccoli, kale, watercress, alfalfa or whatever you can find or grow. Sprouts are loaded with valuable health-boosting, anti-cancer phytochemicals in highly concentrated forms, so a little goes a long way.

Here are some of the variations I tried:

Kale (chopped fine and tossed with olive oil and salt) tomato bruschetta, and artichoke and basil pesto, with watercress sprouts kale artichoke pizza (right)

 caulf pizzaCurried cauliflower with mustard seeds and kale (roasted for dinner the night before), nutritional yeast and cheese; broccoli and watercress microgreens on the side.

olive pizzaKalamata olives, sundried tomato pesto, basil pesto, chopped kale (you may want to use chopped kale sautéed with olive oil and garlic), with watercress sprouts

brie pizzaBrie with Kalamata olives, sundried tomato, artichoke and basil pesto, with watercress migrogreens

basil sprout pizza Basil and artichoke pesto,basil sprouts, tomato bruschetta, with broccoli spouts 

Some people eat to live and some live to eat; I say eat good food that makes you happy.  Deprivation is never a good thing and will not nourish the soul, just don’t forget the sprouts!

For more recipes: Cancer Fighting Farm-Stand Recipes

Some of my favorite anti-cancer toppings:

Tomatoes are a powerful anti-cancer fruit, particularly due the synergistic effects of lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamin C, phenols and other nutrients and antioxidants in the tomato working together to offer cancer protection

Basil has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It contains flavonoids that help shield cell structures from radiation and oxidative damage. Both fresh basil and basil oil have strong antibacterial capabilities, so by adding the herb or oil to your salad, you can help ensure your vegetables are safe to eat.

Eggplant is rich in dietary fiber, loaded with vitamins and minerals, and contains powerful cancer fighting antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid, which fights free radicals and helps protect cells from mutating into cancer cells, and nasuin, which helps cut off the blood supply to cancer cells.

Rosemary is a powerful anti-cancer herb.  The two key ingredients in Rosemary-caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid-are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents, which help protect the body’s cells from damage by free radicals. Rich in carnosol, Rosemary has been found to detoxify substances that can initiate the breast-cancer process. It’s widely known that an imbalance of estrogen hormones in women can contribute to breast cancer. Rosemary stimulates liver enzymes which inactivate estrogen hormones. Rosemary, along with thyme, oregano, basil and mint promote apoptosis in cancer cells and reduce their speed by blocking the enzymes they need to invade neighboring tissues. Rosemary can inhibit the formation of HCAS, the carcinogenic compounds that form when you cook protein, by 75% (so use chopped rosemary in your marinade if you choose to grill proteins)

Oregano possesses anti-bacterial as well as anti-inflammatory properties, and encourages cell death making it a powerful anti-cancer herb; but what is really exciting is that may be particularly effective against prostate cancer and may even become part of the treatment for this cancer.   

Watercress is rich in  beta-carotene and other carotenoids including lutein, calcium as well as trace amounts of omega-3’s. Watercress also contains a high amount of PEITC (phenylethylisothiocyanate) which has been shown to protect DNA from damage. Studies show that a regular intake of watercress has been associated with protection against colon cancer

Red cabbage  not only contains isothiocyanates but  also contains anthocyanins, a class of flavonids that provides as many as 36 different varieties of anticancer chemicals. Cabbage also contains a significant amount of glutamine, an amino acid that has anti-inflammatory properties. Red Cabbage boosts the immune system’s ability to produce more antibodies. Red cabbage contains large quantities of sulfur and other minerals that work as cleansing agents for the digestive system. Raw red cabbage cleans the bowels, thus helping to prevent indigestion and constipation.

Artichokes contain three amazing anticancer properties (polyphenols, antioxidants such as vitamin C and flavonoids) that protect the body against free radicals, encourage apoptosis (cell death) and cell proliferation, which means they can which means they can slow down, stop, or even completely reverse the effects of cancer.

Crucifers (kale, broccoli, broccoli rabe, watercress, arugula, etc) have numerous anti-cancer, detoxifying benefits that help prevent toxic buildup and DNA damage. Crucifers promote healthy estrogen metabolism.

gust organics photoGustOrganics is the only 100% certified organic restaurant and bar in NYC. 519 Avenue of the Americas @ 14th street – New York, NY

Elyn

~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~
Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and well-being. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health, and Breast Cancer Answers, is a contributor to The Truth About Cancer, and has written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, Surviving Beautifully, Body Local and more; she writes the Options for Life column for the Natural Healing-Natural Wellness Magazine. Elyn hosts the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. She is on the Medical Advisory Board for BeatCancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys. http://elynjacobs.com/about/

Tune in to the Survive and Live Well Show

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Cancer Isolation: There’s An App For That

In Cancer on May 29, 2015 at 9:39 am

Cancer is lonely.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had a full support group, filled with family, friends, doctors and even strangers who held my hand telling me of the road ahead.  Sadly, for millions of cancer patients and survivors, this is not the case.  Cancer isolation affects too many cancer patients and survivors, young and old alike.

Years after my own diagnosis, I began following one of the more popular forums, attempting to share stories and information.  Very quickly I found this forum to be the sounding board for hot-headed people with very little compassion for others, a place where too many people feel that they and only they have the answer to cancer.

Online forums can be very intimidating, full of pushy attitudes and misplaced anger.  Between the competition to ‘have it worse’ and the aggressiveness of health recommendations, these communities are anything but a safe haven for support and advice.

Stupid Cancer AppWell the folks at Stupid Cancer have come up with a solution, a really good one.  Instapeer is a mobile app that brings peer support to patients and caregivers. It is safe place to discuss issues people might not want to talk about with family, friends or even doctors. What makes it super cool?  The interactions are anonymous.

Cancer is lonely. No one should go it along with cancer.

Instapeer℠ is a free program of Stupid Cancer, Inc, the largest charity that comprehensively addresses young adult cancer through advocacy, research, support, outreach, awareness, mobile health and social media.

Elyn

~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~
Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist, speaker, and host of the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and well-being. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health, and Breast Cancer Answers. She writes for The Truth About Cancer,  and has written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, Surviving Beautifully, Body Local and more, and writes the Options for Life column for the Natural Healing-Natural Wellness Magazine. She is on the Medical Advisory Board for Beat Cancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys. http://elynjacobs.com/about/

If you are interested in working with Elyn to navigate your way through cancer, help protect the body during treatment, and regain your health, please sign up HERE.

Tune in to the Survive and Live Well Show

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