A report from the
Best Answer for Cancer Foundation's 2012 International IPT/IPTLD Integrative Cancer Care Conference in April
The standard of care for conventional cancer treatment hasn't changed much since 1946.1 Cancer death rates haven't budged significantly in 60 years.2 Patients and doctors are demanding different approaches and better outcomes. Integrative oncology seeks to deliver that.
"There is a misuse of the term integrative oncology," said Robert Eslinger, DO, HMD, of Nevada. "Some people think you do full-dose chemo and radiation, then toss in some mediation, yoga, and massage. That is a gross mischaracterization."
Eslinger is a member of the International Organization of Integrative Cancer Physicians, supported by the Best Answer for Cancer Foundation, a 501(c)(3) and the official certifying body for the use of insulin potentiation therapy (IPT).
Many integrative cancer physicians incorporate IPT, which uses insulin physiology to differentiate the cancer cell population from normal cells. Because cancer cells have more insulin receptors and more insulin growth factor receptors than healthy cells, cancer cells take in more chemo when the chemo is delivered with sugar (glucose). Insulin is so effective at targeting the chemo to the cancer cells that only about 1/10 as much chemo is typically used – hence the term insulin potentiation targeted low dose therapy (IPTLD). Insulin also has the positive effect of causing more cells to enter the vulnerable state of division, which makes the chemo better able to kill them.
Patients report that they experience far fewer side effects, since the targeted low dose of chemo mostly bypasses healthy cells. Traditional chemo has no way to distinguish a normal cell from a tumor cell.
But IPT is not what distinguishes the integrative cancer physician. It could be said that the distinction starts with an attitude.
Best Answer for Cancer Medical Advisory Board: Les Breitman, MD; Gus Kotsanis, MD; Sean Devlin, DO, MD(H), HMD; Martin Dayton, MD, DO; Eugene Pretorius, MD; Juergen Winkler, MD. (Not pictured: J. Donki, MD; Richard Linchitz, MD; Thomas Lodi, MD, MD(H); Robert Rowen, MD; Frank Shallenberger, MD, HMD; Bradford Weeks, MD.)
Integrative Oncology Does Not 'Fight' Cancer
"The war on cancer, the war on drugs, the war on terror, the war on alcohol we called Prohibition – all these failed," said Pieter DeWet, MD, of Texas. "The idea of not treating cancer as the enemy is where we have to start."
"The worst thing you can do is declare war on cancer," Eslinger agreed. "It triggers the sympathetic overdrive, that classic fight or flight reflex. When you declare war, your subconscious shuts down any systems in your body not needed for immediate survival. Your immune and digestive systems shut down when you are in sympathetic overdrive. You undercut your body's ability to fight any disease, especially cancer."
Integrative oncology treats more than just the disease – it treats the whole person. This approach to medicine means addressing the physical, mental, environmental, emotional, and spiritual elements that can essentially hang out the "welcome sign" for cancer. Eslinger and other members of the International Organization of Integrative Cancer Physicians (IOICP) approach oncology with the idea that the root of the problem is not the cancer; it is in the person.
"I never have a stomach tumor walk through my door," he stated. "I have a person who happens to have a tumor in their stomach. We are not fighting a tumor; we are treating a patient."
Annie Brandt agrees. She was told to get her affairs in order in 2001 when she got a diagnosis of end-stage breast cancer. "IPT allowed me to do chemo without damaging my immune system and other body systems," she said. "The beauty of IPT is that it can be delivered fairly often and it can sweep out all the random microscopic cancer cells wherever they may be. I was cancer clear, according to the scans, by 2003. Yet I still do one IPT a year for maintenance. I know, however, that IPT alone did not heal me; it was just the kicker."
Brandt credits what she calls a whole-body healing platform. "I wanted to harness the power of my mind over my body. I used Essiac tea and music to boost my immune system. I used diet to detox. I got rid of the negatives in my life and created a more serene lifestyle. I used anti-inflammatories and antivirals and probiotics and liver support supplements. I did everything I could to cleanse and support my body. I understood that my immune system was out of balance and allowed the cancer to come to the forefront. I used my healing platform to turn that around. We are own authors of disease in many ways. I tell cancer patients to look at the emotional things they don't want to look at and hold them up to the light. Cancer is a messenger; don't fight it, thank it." Brandt went on to establish Best Answer for Cancer Foundation.
Best Answer for Cancer Foundation board members (L to R): Beverly Kotsanis, Dr. Richard Linchitz, Annie Brandt, Dr. James Forsythe. (Not pictured: Connie Tamez.)
Look Beyond the Tumor
Ryke Hamer, a German physician, discovered in 1978 that cancers and most diseases are brought on by specific emotional conflicts and are resolved by resolving the conflict. Many doctors, however, find it intimidating to talk to patients about emotional traumas or spirituality.
Eslinger begins with music.
"I talk to patients about balancing the hemispheres of the brain with a special CD of rain or waves," he explained. "Embedded in the sound is a binaural note, a specific frequency for each ear, which prompts both hemispheres of the brain to vibrate at the same frequency. Research shows this pushes the person into parasympathetic overdrive which is the state in which the whole body will heal."
In particle physics, we are told that everything is vibration. Dr. Garry Gordon uses pulsed electromagnetic frequency (PEMF) as a tool to boost cellular metabolism, regenerate red blood cells, and increase the blood's oxygen-carrying capacity. "Each cell is a generator, running on electric current. Healthy cells have a membrane potential of about −60 to −100 millivolts. Cancer cells operate −10 to −30 mV. Tailored wave forms can treat cancer. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize in the 1930s for identifying cancer as the loss of aerobic metabolism; the things he said contributed to that – low oxygen, acidity, low ATP – are reversed by PEMF. IVs and such treat on a biochemical level but if you do not concurrently optimize the underlying physics, you are not treating the fundamentals of human physiology." Low voltage is the equivalent of low pH. And cancer loves an acid environment.
Bradford S. Weeks, MD, of Washington is in the forefront of developing protocols to address cancer stem cells. "Less than 1% of a tumor is the dangerous cancer stem cells," he said. "Cancer stem cells are not responsive to chemo and radiation, and are the only cells that metastasize. We have to correct the environment so those stem cells are addressed instead of being ignored and allowing recurrence."
Diet and Toxicity
Weeks also said that the simple concept "sugar feeds cancer" is typically overlooked by conventional oncologists. "Of the 4 million cancer patients being treated in America today, few are offered helpful nutritional support beyond being told 'just keep your weight up.' Most patients I work with tell me their oncologist gives them cookies and candy after chemotherapy! They lack adequate nutritional advice."
Diet is controversial, but most IOICP members have come to the same conclusion as Richard Linchitz, MD, of New York. "Any diet should be focused on lowering blood sugar levels and lowering insulin resistance. I usually recommend the hunter-gatherer diet because it makes sense to me that our genetics are adapted to that and puts the least stress on our genes. Nutrition also has to address the inability for many cancer patients to absorb nutrients." Cancer has consistently been reported to be rare among ancestral hunter-gatherer societies.
Conventional wisdom tells us that cancer is preventable primarily through smoking cessation and avoidance of obesity. IOICP doctors find this far too simplistic, and put additional focus on preventing a return of cancer. Rashid Buttar, DO, of North Carolina, for example, teaches "The 7 Toxicities":
- Heavy metals: mercury leads his list.
- Persistent organic pollutants: he uses saunas and ozone to flush these out.
- Opportunistics: bacteria, yeast, virus, and so on, that grow in a diseased body.
- Manmade electromagnetic frequencies: learn how to minimize exposure.
- Emotional, psychological: "If we can master our ability to control our emotions, we have just conquered the greatest enemy man has ever known."
- Food: too much of what we eat is toxic.
- Spiritual: "Religions have caused more bloodshed throughout history than any other cause of death in history. It's not about religion; it's only about God. Toxicity is the feeling that you should force your will on others."
Ajay Goel, PhD, of Baylor University Medical Center and an expert in the burgeoning field of epigenetics, said, "Drugs are designed for a single target, but cancer is not driven by a single thing. Most cancers are influenced by environmental and dietary factors – epigenetics. Ninety-five percent of cancers can be prevented. It requires major dietary and lifestyle changes."
To work with insulin physiology to differentiate the cancer cell population; to use chemosensitivity testing to create a customized protocol; to treat cancer stem cells; to balance hormones; to detox a patient; to use tools like proteolytic enzymes, Poly-MVA, Artemisia, fermented soy, curcumin, homeopathics, ultraviolet and ozone blood therapy, chelation, intravenous vitamin C, antiviral, antibacterials, anti-inflammatories … these activities are a far cry from the idea that integrative oncology merely tosses in some mediation and massage along with a traditional regimen of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
The face of integrative oncology is that of the patient.
1. Goodman LS, Wintrobe MM et al. Nitrogen mustard therapy. Use of methyl-bis(beta-chloroethyl)amine hydrochloride and tris(beta-chloroethyl)amine hydrochloride for Hodgkin's disease, lymphosarcoma, leukemia, and certain allied and miscellaneous disorders. J Am Med Assoc. 1946;105:475–476. Reprinted in JAMA 1984;251:2255–2261. doi:10.1001/jama.251.17.2255 PMID 6368885.
2. Kolata G. As other death rates fall, cancer's scarcely moves. New York Times. April 24, 2009.
Mary Budinger is an Emmy award-winning journalist in Phoenix, Arizona, who specializes in marketing services for integrative medicine. She may be contacted at 602-494-1999.