Your doctor utters those words that no one ever wants to hear. “You’ve got cancer.” Everything feels like it comes to a screeching halt. Suddenly you’re in a fight for your life.
Most conventional cancer doctors recommend one of three choices of treatment (or some combo of the three): surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Each could be the key to beating your cancer, and it’s important to discuss these options with your doctor to figure out what’s best for you.
But many folks, even those who opt for a mainstream medicine approach to treating their cancer, want to know if there’s more than can be doing. They wonder if there are things they can do to enhance their treatments. Ways to to raise their chances of beating this killer or reduce sickening side effects.
Certain antioxidants, vitamins and supplements could help give you an edge when it comes to cancer treatment.
These natural cancer fighters can help by…
- decreasing side effects from harsh conventional treatments,
- boosting immunities,
- helping to stop the spread of cancer,
- or even shrinking existing tumors.
Don’t be afraid to talk with your own medical team about using natural approaches. In the past most oncologists discouraged using any natural treatments. They told folks to stop taking any supplements. But a growing number of doctors are happy to consider complementary cancer treatments.
Following are four supplements that researchers say could work hand-in-hand with your current cancer treatment.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that’s shown great promise when it comes to fighting prostate cancer. You’ll find it in watermelon, tomatoes, pink grapefruit and papaya
A natural anti-inflammatory lycopene can help take some of the pressure off of a swollen prostate. But more importantly researchers say it’s linked to a lower prostate cancer risk and could help men already suffering with the disease.1,2
In a study published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine a group of men who were going to have prostate cancer surgery were given a daily 30 mg dose of lycopene for three weeks before going under the knife. The researchers reported the men’s tumors shrank, and their PSA scores plummeted 18 percent.3
Emerging research has found the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, called curcumin, could lend a hand in a fight against cancer. We still have a lot to learn, but lab and animal studies have already shown that a curcumin extract can help stop some tumors in their tracks.
The spice extract kills cancer cells while attacking the tumor’s ability to grow new blood vessels. In other words, it could help curb the growth and spread of tumors.
In a study published in the journal Cancer Prevention and Research a group of men with the kind of pre-cancerous colon lesions that often progress to colon cancer took a curcumin supplement for 30 days. At the end of the month the lesions in the guys who took four grams of curcumin had been slashed by 40 percent.4
And curcumin has also shown some modest benefits for some folks suffering from often deadly pancreatic cancer. In one case the supplement was even associated with a brief 73 percent reduction in tumors, according to a small study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research.5
3. Maritime Pine Bark Extract:
Experts say Maritime Pine Bark Extract, a powerful antioxidant found in the bark of the French maritime pine tree, kills cancer cells in the lab. Plus the extract could help relieve the sickening side effects of radiation or chemotherapy.
In a study published in the journal Anticancer Research French Maritime Pine Bark Extract was shown to effectively trigger the death of human breast cancer cells,. At the same time it left healthy breast cells alone.6 And several studies have shown the extract can reduce inflammation and inhibit tumor necrosis factor, which can contribute to the growth and spread of tumors.7,8,9
In an Italian trial a daily dose of 150 mg of Maritime Pine Bark Extract effectively slashed some of the worst symptoms of conventional cancer treatments.10
French Maritime Pine Bark Extract can help slash chemotherapy and radiation side effects in half including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, edema (swelling) and weakness. And some patients receiving radiation has less soreness and ulceration in their mouths and throats, as well as less dryness of their mouths and eyes.
4. Vitamin C:
High doses of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, have been shown to have significant cancer fighting benefits.
Researchers from the University of Iowa say intravenous vitamin C (IVC) therapy can target and kill cancer cells, while leaving health cells unharmed. When they added IVC to the conventional treatments of lung and pancreatic cancer patients they had significantly better outcomes than folks in the control groups who didn’t get the high doses of vitamin C, according to the study published in the journal Redox Biology. 11
Experts say ascorbic acid breaks down into hydrogen peroxide in the body. To keep the hydrogen peroxide from harming healthy cells the body produces an enzyme called catalase which breaks down the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen.
But it turns out tumor cells don’t produce much catalase and as a result do a terrible job of neutralizing the hydrogen peroxide. This allows it to accumulate so it can go to work attacking and killing off the cancerous cells.12,13,14
These four natural cancer fighters are far from the only ones that could make a difference in your fight against cancer. For example fish oil, vitamin E, modified citrus pectin, quercetin and medicinal mushrooms have all been successfully used to either boost immunity, increase the effectiveness of conventional treatments or fight side effects.
If you or a loved one is facing cancer treatment you should never try a new natural treatment on your own. But don’t be shy about discussing them with your doctor. When combined with your conventional treatments one of them could turn out to be what tips the scale to your favor. We suggest you seek out an integrative medicine doctor for the best results.
1. “Lycopene and apo-12′-lycopenal reduce cell proliferation and alter cell cycle progression in human prostate cancer cells,” Nutr Cancer. 2011;63(2):256-63
2. “Lycopene inhibits the growth of human androgen-independent prostate cancer cells in vitro and in BALB/c nude mice,” J Nutr. 2005 Feb;135(2):287-90
3. “Effects of lycopene supplementation in patients with localized prostate cancer,” Experimental Biology and Medicine (Maywood), 2002;227:881-885
4. “Phase IIa Clinical Trial of Curcumin for the Prevention of Colorectal Neoplasia,” Cancer Prevention Research, March 2011, Volume 4, Issue 3
5. “Phase II trial of curcumin in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer,” Clinical Cancer Research. 2008;14:4491-4499
6. “Selective induction of apoptosis in human mammary cancer cells (MCF-7) by pycnogenol,” Anticancer Res. 2000 Jul-Aug;20(4):2417-20
7. “French Maritime Pine Bark Extract inhibits tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced nuclear factor kappa B activation and adhesion molecule expression in human vascular endothelial cells,” Cell Mol Life Sci. 2000 May;57(5):834-41
8. “Selective induction of apoptosis in human mammary cancer cells (MCF-7) by French Maritime Pine Bark Extract,” Anticancer Res. 2000 Jul-Aug;20(4):2417-20
9. “Inhibitory Effect of a French Maritime Pine Bark Extract-Based Nutritional Supplement on TNF-α-Induced Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Human Coronary Artery Endothelial Cells,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 260530
10. “Maritime Pine Bark Extract may alleviate adverse effects in oncologic treatment,” Panminerva Med. 2008 Sep;50(3):227-34
11. “Tumor cells have decreased ability to metabolize H2O2: Implications for pharmacological ascorbate in cancer therapy,” Redox Biology, Volume 10, December 2016, Pages 274–284
12. “Metabolomic alterations in human cancer cells by vitamin C-induced oxidative stress,” Sci Rep. 2015; 5: 13896
13. “Supplemental ascorbate in the supportive treatment of cancer: Prolongation of survival times in terminal human cancer,” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1976 Oct;73(10):3685-9
14. “Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases,” CMAJ. 2006 Mar 28; 174(7): 937–942
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