Colorectal cancer is the second most deadly cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates over 60,000 Americans will die from the disease each year. Most cases of colorectal cancer occur in individuals over fifty years old. The cancer develops over a time frame of 10-15 years and produces few symptoms until it is in an advanced stage. Colon cancer is sometimes referred to as adenocarcinoma, which originates in the epithelial cells and mucous membranes of the colon.
If the disease is detected at an early stage before metastasis occurs, the survival rate is quite high. Colorectal cancer is second only to lung cancer as a cancer that equally kills both men and women. Both men and women should be screened for polyp growth in the colon and rectum.
Patients with ulcerative colitis have an increased risk for developing colon cancer compared to the general population. This risk is the same for Crohn’s patients. Other risk factors include a family or individual history of colorectal cancer, adenomatous-colon polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, long-term constipation problems, chronic diarrhea, obesity, a diet high in saturated animal fat and low fiber; smoking, high alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, and cancer in other parts of the body.
Early-stage colon cancer is generally successfully treated with surgery. Colorectal cancer treatment in later stages also includes radiation and chemotherapy. As with most chemotherapy approaches, cancer cells are eventually capable of independent growth and metastasis rendering this approach ineffective. Clearly, there is a need for safe and effective alternative therapeutic approaches that can be concomitantly given with or without conventional therapy to control the process of metastasis as well as to prevent colon cancer.
Epidemiological studies and animal research has suggested an inverse relationship between colon cancer and the consumption of high-fiber foods. As with all cancer diets, try to eliminate the ‘white’ foods. Foods containing white flour and wheat gluten, excessive refined sugar, and dairy products should be avoided. Eating meat, particularly red and white meat, can increase cancer risk. There are protease inhibitors in beans, rice, potatoes, and seeds that may invert cancerous cells to normal. Other high fibrous foods include raw cabbage juice, pineapple, whole-grain bran fiber, chickpeas, and broccoli.
Numerous studies indicate the probability that butyrate is a major cancer-inhibiting metabolite. Butyrate has been shown to suppress neoplasticity in hamsters. Foods rich in butyric acid include cottage cheese, butter, organic yogurt, and Parmesan cheese. When fiber is exposed to colonic flora, butyrate is a major metabolite. Dr. Jonathan Wright has found that colon cancer risk is high when butyrate is low.
A recent study published in Alternative Medicine Review shows a strong increased risk of developing adenomas in the colorectal area with high meat intake. It appears critical that a patient avoid continual constipation. The connection between life-long constipation (slow metabolism), the high intake of meat (high in toxins and difficult to digest, resulting in food putrefaction and toxicity accumulation), and the increased incidence of colon cancer cannot be logically reputed
- WIDE RANGE OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Supplementing with higher doses of common antioxidant vitamins has shown proven results in both conventional and alternative treatments of colon cancer. The current standard treatment of colorectal cancer includes the drugs 5-fluororacil (5FU) and Leucovorin, which are effective in treating approximately 20 percent of advanced tumors. A major reason the remaining 80 percent of advanced tumors are resistant to chemotherapy appears to be that these tumors harbor a disabled gene. Antioxidant therapy bypasses this disabled gene and, in combination with chemotherapy, leads to arrested tumor growth. (Vanderbilt University Medical Center). Studies indicate that individuals taking vitamins A, C, E and selenium show a decreased (5.7 percent) recurrence rate of colon polyp cancer, compared with 14.7 percent for placebo, and a 35.9% percent polyp recurrence rate in untreated controls.
- VITAMIN A (Beta-carotene, Retinols) is widely distributed in fruits and vegetables and is important for normal cell growth. It demonstrates high anti-carcinogenic activity and a protective role in the etiology of colorectal adenomas. Beta-carotene may also prevent neoplastic transformation in humans. This vitamin helps to rebuild the adrenal glands. Dosage: 5,000-50,000 IU daily only under the supervision of an experienced practitioner. WARNING: High doses of vitamin A over a period of time may increase the risk of liver damage. Smokers should not take high doses of vitamin A.
- VITAMIN E (Tocotriensols) is a fat-soluble antioxidant shown to induce cancer cell cycle arrest and increase T-helper cells. Dosage: 400-2,000 IU daily.
- VITAMIN C has a potent antioxidant effect that can quench free-radicals that may be a leading inducer of cancer. Adding bioflavonoids such as Quercetin can increase the antioxidant effect. Dosage: can range from 2,000-10,000 mg daily.
- SELENIUM – studies show decreased cancer incidence and decreased new adenoma formation. Dosage: 200 mcg daily.
- ESSIAC TEA
Essiac tea has been used for 80 years as an authentic anti-cancer herbal agent. A minimal protocol calls for one cup twice a day for 12 consecutive weeks. Dosage: See an experienced practitioner.
- IP-6 CELL FORTE (INOSITOL HEXAPHOSPHATE)
IP-6 has been proven to boost Natural Killer (NK) activity in humans. The greatest value of supplementing with IP-6 may not be its ability to segment the immune system, rather its ability to directly affect the physiology of cancerous cells. While most research focuses on killing cancer, cells, IP-6 has an ability to control conditions where normality can be restored. This fiber component is found in highest concentrations in cereals and legumes, especially the bran part of wheat. IP-6 has antioxidant activity, Dosage: 1,600-4,800 mg daily.
- VITAMIN D3 (CHOLECALCIFEROL)
Scientists first found a link between Vitamin D lowering colon cancer risk a quarter century ago. People who live in sunny areas (Vitamin D from sunlight) have lower rates of colon cancer. Vitamin D protects against colon cancer by helping to detoxify cancer-triggering chemicals that are released during the digestion of high-fat foods. In 2001, researchers at Boston University found that colon can cells can activate Vitamin D, turning calcidiol into calcitriol. Their findings clearly implied that patients with colon cancer might be helped by optimizing the amount of calcidiol in their blood. The author also mentioned that Vitamin D deficiency could accelerate colon cancer growth. Dosage: As directed by a qualified practitioner.
- NATURAL ORGANIC GREEN FOODS CONSTITUENTS
Green foods have an immune-boosting capacity and are extremely alkalizing to the body (cancer thrives in an acidic environment). Examples include chlorella, blue green algae, spirulina, barley, carrots, leafy green vegetables, kamut, and many other green nutrients. They may promote the activation of natural cancer-fighting substances in the body. Dosage: As directed on package.
- FOLATE and PYRIDOXINE (VITAMIN B6)
There is strong evidence that Folic acid (folate) supplementation may contribute to the regulation of rectal cell proliferation, which is promising in preventing colorectal cancer. Folic acid has also been found to be necessary in promoting DNA replication and cell division. Supplementation may cut the risk of colon cancer by 75 percent. Recent research showed that patients with the highest levels of dietary Vitamin B6 intake had the lowest risks of colorectal cancer, and this relationship was especially strong among woman who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol. Women who had higher levels of Pyridoxine had a 34 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Dosage: 100-200 mg daily. Foods high in vitamin B6 include bananas, fruits, vegetables, legumes, fortified cereals, and fish. Folic acid 800-5,000 mcg daily as directed.
- MILK THISTLE (SILYMARIN)
Milk thistle is an herb that bolsters the immune system while protecting the liver, kidney, and colon from the side effects of chemotherapy. The active ingredient in Milk Thistle is thought to bind to the outside of liver cells and slow the entry of liver-damaging toxins and other free radicals. Milk thistle also prevents the depletion of Glutathione, a major antioxidant enzyme system in the body that is often depleted in cancer patients. Dosage: 1-3 capsules daily. See a qualified practitioner.
- CONJUGATED LINOLEIC ACID (CLA)
CLA is a term referring to a collection of isomers of linoleic acid. CLA is a unique anti-carcinogenic because it is present in foods from animal sources. However, be advised that today a large percentage of meat and dairy products are polluted with chemicals, steroids, and antibiotics. Supplementing with CLA or eating organic meat and dairy foods is preferable. Dosage: As directed by practitioner.
- GRAVIOLA (ANNONA MURICATA)
Graviola is a tree that grows in the Amazon. It has been tested by the National Cancer Institute and has been found to show active cytotoxicity against cancer cells. Graviola is a potent antioxidant. One study found Graviola many times more effective than the commonly used chemotherapy drug Adiramycin. Dosage: See package label and as directed by a qualified health practitioner.
- ADDITIONAL FIBER
Consuming additional bulk fiber keeps the stool soft and decreases the incidence of constipation (a dangerous contributing factor in colon cancer). Keep in mind that fiber only exists in plant foods (there is no fiber in meat, poultry, dairy, fish and eggs), so if one cannot eat sufficient quantities of plant foods high in fiber (brown rice, cereals, whole grains, Chia seeds, vegetables) or try supplementing with additional fiber powder. Dosage: As directed on label.
- TURMERIC (CURCUMIN)
An active ingredient in the East Indian spice Turmeric is recognized as a natural chemotherapy agent. It reduces circulating Prostaglandin E2 (which has a role in inflammation). It also reduces estrogenic activity of certain environmental toxins. A recent study strongly suggests that Turmeric may have a protective effect against adriamycin-induced myocardial toxicity. Recent studies suggest Turmeric may ease radiation side effects such as burns and inflammation. Health proponents say that Turmeric may prevent colorectal cancer, prostate, stomach, and other cancers, and could help destroy early-stage tumors. It appears to inhibit tumor-promoting enzymes and interferes with the growth of cancerous tumors. Dosage: 500 mg 2-3 times a day. Do not take if pregnant, or if gastrointestinal ulcers or gallstones are present.
- SHARK CARTILAGE
Researchers at the Schachter Center (Suffern, NY 914-368-4700) have investigated the use of shark cartilage for colon cancer patients. In some cases shark cartilage was responsible for dramatic positive improvements. Dosage: 60-200 mg daily in divided doses.
Lecithin is an important dietary source of Phosphatidylcholine and has been shown to disrupt the mucosal barrier due to colon cancer and/or colon or bile injury. Many chemotherapy drugs, including Methotrexate, cause disruption in certain metabolisms of essential fatty acids. Lecithin may enhance proper utilization of EFAs. Dosage: As directed by a qualified practitioner.
- LYCOPENE and GARLIC
Lycopene is a carotenoid (found in tomatoes) that has been shown to reduce DNA damage in human lymphocytes by 50 percent. Garlic has been regarded as powerful medicine for centuries. Garlic lowers cholesterol, has anti-cancer qualities and has been shown to reduce the size of colon polyps. Dosage: Lycopene 10-30 mg daily; Garlic 1-2 capsules daily.
- CALCIUM CITRATE
Calcium citrate helps to precipitate oxalic acid in the intestines before oxalic absorption brings about kidney stones; it may also normalize colorectal cellular division. Low dietary intake of calcium has been associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer. Dosage: 500-1,500 mg daily.
Acidophilus is a probiotic that helps to regulate bowel flora and prevent dysbiosis (see REFLUX DISEASE). Supplementation of probiotics during chemotherapy and/or radiation will decrease the risk of diarrhea, which can worsen the patients’ condition by exuding needed electrolytes from the body. Dosage: As directed on package.
- B-COMPLEX VITAMINS
B-complex vitamins are basic nutrients for the formation of T cells to fight cancer. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the metabolism and elimination of many hormones and xenobiotics. Vitamin B6 may suppress a certain hormone that stimulates the growth of certain tumors. Dosage: 50-150 mg daily of B complex; Vitamin B6: 50-150 mg daily.
Alternative Medicine Review-Monographs, Volume One. Thorne Research, Inc. Dover, ID. 2002.
Balach, PA, Balch, JF. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Third edition. Penguin-Putman, NY. 2000.
Blaylock, RL. A Review of Conventional Cancer Prevention and Therapy and the Adjunctive Use of Nutraceutical Supplements and Antioxidants. JANA. Fall 2000. 3(3): 17-35.
Block, JB, Evans, S. Clinical Evidence Supporting Cancer Risk Reduction with Antioxidants and Implications for Diet and Supplementation. JANA. Fall, 2000. 3(3): 6-14.
Breuer, B., Marr, A., Nemes, K. Colorectal Ademomas and Diet. Alternative Medicine Review, June, 2001. 6(3): 337.
Graviola. Information from Raintree Nutrition. www.raintreenutrition.com
Inositol Hexaphosphate. Alternative Medicine Review (Monograph), June 2002, 7(3): 244-46.
Goldberg, B, Diamond, WJ, Cowden, WL. Definitive Guide to Cancer. Future Medicine Publishing. Tiburon, CA. 1997.
Graviola Cancer Studies. www.graviolacancer.com
Mangledorf, D, Evans, R. Vitamin D May Be Crucial in preventing Colon Cancer. Science, May 17, 2002.
Marion, JB. Anti Aging Manual. Information Pioneers, S. Woodstock, CT. 1996.
Minton. B. IP6 Shines as a Bright Alternative to Cancer Treatment. www.naturalnews.com 024635.
Morrison, S. Notes from Mukilteo Natural Health Clinic, Mukilteo, WA.
Mouzas, IA, Papavassiliou, E, Koutroubakis, I, Italian Journal of Gastroenterology Hepatol, 1998. (30): 421-425.
Peterson, M. Prevent Cancer with Turmeric. Natural Health, Aug 2003. P. 28.
Singh, PN, Fraser, GE. Dietary Risk Factors for Colon Cancer in a Low-risk Population. Am. Journal Epidem. 1998. (148): 761-774.
Thorne Research. Cancer Risk Management and Support Program- Caregiver’s Guide, 2000.
Yance, DR. Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer. Keats Publishing, Chicago, IL. 1999.
Zeolla, MM. Pyridoxine: Protective against Colorectal Cancer? APha Drug Info Line, July 2005. 8.