Integrative Lung Cancer Treatments
Lung cancer is one of the leading forms of cancer in the United States and is mainly due to tobacco use. Patients who increased vitamin A intake from eating green and yellow vegetables had a 50% less risk of lung cancer. The drug Etoposide, derived from the May apple, is used to treat cancer of the testicles and certain types of lung cancer. It is sometimes used to treat some other kinds of cancer in both females and males. A cross-sectional study of post-operative non-small-cell lung-cancer patients who took vitamin supplements were more likely to survive longer than those who did not. A similar trend was seen among patients with higher circulating folate concentrations.
Lung cancer arises as a focal transformation of chronically injured epithelium (the layer of cells forming the surface layer of mucous membranes). Apart from well-recognized free radicals such as cigarette smoke, there are many other carcinogens that make a person susceptible to possible malignancy. Symptoms may include a persistent cough with or without sputum with blood. Others possible symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite, recurring bronchitis or pneumonia, fever of unknown origin, and swelling of the neck and face.
Unfortunately, conventional treatment for any form of lung cancer is fairly ineffective.Drugs such as cisplatin plus etoposide have response rates of 20-40 percent, and in some cases attained improved survival rates. A number of studies have observed that supplementation with antioxidants (including a diet rich in antioxidant nutrients) is associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer. A deficiency of vitamin A may be a possible factor in developing lung cancer.
Smoking is definitely the leading cause of lung cancer and may be responsible for up to 80 percent of all lung cancer cases. Other risk factors include those of the work environment (secondary smoke, asbestos exposure, heavy metal toxicity, radon, radioactive materials, and nickel exposure). Other toxins such as pesticides and pollutants are also contributors to lung cancer. Individuals with a history of chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, or tuberculosis may be at greater risk.
We know that high-fiber, low-fat fruits and vegetables are essential for good health. A recent look at lung-cancer incidence has demonstrated how effectively they shield cells from possible danger. The more fruits and vegetables consumed, the lower the incidence of lung cancer.
The importance of “alkalizing” the system cannot be overemphasized when speculating about dietary choices. A more vegetarian diet appears to be the wisest choice, if only because it contains more alkalizing foods (green-leafy organic vegetables, whole grains, legumes).
- VITAMIN A (BETA-CAROTENE)
This antioxidant vitamin is widely distributed in fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene in mega-doses has been used to decrease the incidence of lung cancer, but care must be taken because of side effects. ALPHA TOCOPHEROL has been shown to reduce the risk of asbestos-induced carcinoma. In one study it was reported to be responsible for a 19% reduction in lung cancer. LYCOPENE may significantly reduce lung-cancer risk in both smokers and non-smokers. Lycopene is found in fruits (especially tomatoes) and vegetables. Dosage: Vitamin A 25,000-200,000 IU daily; see a qualified practitioner before supplementing over 50,000 IU daily. Alpha tocopherol 50 mg daily. Lycopene 20-40 mg daily.
- ESSIAC TEA
Promoted as an Ojibway Indian cancer cure in Canada since 1922, essiac tea is a mixture of Indian rhubarb, sheep sorrel, slippery elm, and burdock root. A minimal protocol calls for one cup twice a day for 12 consecutive weeks. Dosage: As directed on package.
- CO-ENZYME Q10
CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant that enhances the immune system in a number of ways. Supplementation with CoQ10 increases the rate of phagocytosis and may prevent metastases. A British study showed that CoQ10 may reduce tumor mass in breast cancer. Deficiency of the coenzyme may aggravate or accelerate the development of cancer or other degenerative diseases. Dosages range from 90-380 mg daily.
- VITAMIN E (TOCOTRIENSOLS)
These have strong antioxidant effects, and when taken over long periods, do reduce the risk of lung cancer. Supplementing with mixed tocotrienes may be more effective than supplementing with vitamin E alone. There are four types: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. Dosage: 400-2,000 IU daily.
- VITAMIN C
Long-term use of vitamin C as an effective antioxidant has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer of the lung. QUERCETIN, a flavone found in onions, broccoli and colorful fruits, has cancer-inhibiting effects and may prevent a defect in the gene associated with lung cancer. Dosage: Vitamin C 5,000 mg daily or higher (to bowel tolerance). Quercetin 500-1,000 mg daily.
- N-ACETYLCYSTEINE (NAC)
NAC is a synthetic precursor to intracellular cysteine and glutathione. NAC is a safe and effective compound that has potent antioxidant activity and possesses anti-carcinogen properties. Dosage: 200-600 mg daily.
This antioxidant plays a crucial role in the detoxification of xenobiotics and other environmental toxins. Studies show that high glutathione levels have been associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer. Dosage: 150-300 mg daily.
- OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
There are cases where patients with multiple malignant lesions on the lungs in which supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids was found to bring about a slow and steady decrease in the size and number of bilateral nodules. Dosage was high, up to 15 grams a day of EPA/DHA, but no side effects occurred from the large dose.
- B-COMPLEX VITAMINS
B-complex vitamins have been associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer. One particular B vitamin, FOLATE, when taken at high levels was found to improve long-term survival among lung-cancer patients. Dosage: B-complex 50-150 mg daily. Folate 1-3 mg daily.
This antioxidant mineral helps to neutralize free radicals that lead to the development of cancer. Dosage: 200-400 mcg daily.
Melatonin supplemented with cisplatin in non-small-cell lung cancer also resulted in significantly higher survival rates. Dosage: 5-10 mg daily at night.
- MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS
These mushrooms (maitake, reishi), containing beta-1,6 glucan with beta 1,3 branched chains, exhibit strong anticancer activity by increasing immune-competent cell activity. There are cases where cisplatin and/or adriamycin given with about 6 grams of maitake tablets daily (for years) increased by 2-fold the production of T-cell helper cells. In some cases tumors were significantly reduced or disappeared.
- MANGOSTEEN FRUIT
Researchers at a general hospital in Taipei concluded that xanthones extracted from mangosteen rinds may be potentially useful in the treatment of lung, liver and stomach cancer. Dosage: As directed.
Extracts from mistletoe (Viscum album) have been used against a variety of diseases and cancers. Marketed in Europe under the name Iscador, its use in treating lung cancer has been spotty, but some articles report that it has significant anti-metastatic properties. Dosage: Only as directed by a qualified physician.
Genistein, the antioxidant found in soybeans, has been reported to have an inhibiting effect on lung-cancer cells. Dosage: As directed on label.
- COLEUS FORSKOHLII
Many cancer cells that metastasize induce platelet aggregation that release substances that promote tumor growth. Researchers have demonstrated forskohlii’s ability to block platelet aggregation and reduce tumor colonization in the lungs by 70 percent. Dosage: As directed by a qualified practitioner.
A study conducted on smokers found that D-glucaric acid levels were approximately 29 percent lower in smokers than in non-smokers. It has been hypothesized that D-glucaric acid deficiencies correlate to a higher risk for developing lung cancer. Dosage: As directed by a qualified health practitioner.
This versatile herb has been used for the prevention of radiation complications in lungs during radiotherapy. Dosage: As directed.
Alt Med News. Carotenes & Lycopene Protect Against Lung cancer. Natural Pharmacist. March, 5(3): 4.
Ancuceanu, RV, Istudor, V. Pharmacologically Active Natural Compounds for Lung Cancer. Alternative Medicine Review, December 2004. 9(4): 402-417.
Balch, JF, Balch PA. Prescription for Nutritional Healing- 3rd edition. Penguin Putman Inc. New York, NY. 2000.
Birdsall, TC. The Biological Effects and Clinical Uses of the Pineal Hormone Melatonin. Alternative Medicine Review. July 1996. 1(2): 94-102.
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.
Blumenthal, M. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs, Austin, TX. American Botanical Council. 2003.
Calcium-D-Glucarate. Alternative Medicine Review Monographs- Volume One. Thorne Research Inc., Dover, ID. 2002.
Coleus Forskohlii- Monograph. Alternative Medicine Review, March 2006. 11(1): P. 47.
Daly, BD, Kramer, G, Mason, JB, Jatoi, A. A Cross-sectional Study of Vitamin Intake in Postoperative Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Patients. Jrl. Surgical Oncology, 1998. (68): 231-236.
Kodama, N, Komuta, K, Nanba, H. Can Maitake MD-Fraction Aid Cancer Patients? Alternative Medicine Review, June 2002. 7(3): 236-239.
Marion, JB. Anti Aging Manual. Information Pioneers, S. Woodstock, CT. 1996.
Pardini, RS. Nutritional Intervention with Omega-3 Fatty Acids in a Case of Malignant Fibrous Histiocyoma of the Lungs. Nutritional Cancer, 2005. 52(2): 121-129.
Templeton, JF. An Asian Medical Secret. Alive #282, April 2006. Pp. 112-113.
Van Zandwijk, NAC and Glutathione in Lung Cancer, Alternative Medicine Review, Abstracts May, 1996. 1(1): P. 49.
Voorrips, I, Goldbohm, D, Verhoeven, D. Fruits, Vegetables, and Lung Cancer, Good Medicine, Spring 2001. P. 17.
Yance, DR, Valentine, A. Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer. Keats Publishing, Chicago, IL. 1999.
Up Next: Diverticular Disease