Holistic Chemotherapy --
Combining Holistic Methods with Conventional Treatment Plans

Information and advice given by Tami Dickerson, M.H., Herbal Outpost,1 or this book is not intended to replace the professional advice given by your licensed physician(s). You are strongly advised to discuss all changes in your health care plan with your licensed physician(s) and seek professional guidance before making any changes.

All therapies and recommendations discussed in this book are based on current medical science available at the time of writing.

If you are already seeking the advice of holistic health practitioners you must be sure all of your practitioners, as well as your physicians, are informed of all the treatments, supplements, and therapies that you are currently using. This greatly reduces the risk of side effects and other adverse reactions that may occur with combined treatments. Remember: Your conventional health professionals and your holistic health practitioners are all a part of your health care team working to help you fight and survive cancer's assault.

1 Herbal Outpost is an independent, privately owned entity.




Chapter 1

Finding a Good Holistic Practitioner

Page 5

Chapter 2

Holistic Overview on Cancer

Page 11

Chapter 3

Chemotherapy Drug Classes

Page 22

Chapter 4

Holistic Overview of Chemotherapy

Page 30

Chapter 5

Holistic Ways to Reduce Side Effects

Page 37

Chapter 6

Herbs, Nutrients, and Supplements

Page 54

Chapter 7

CYP3A4 Enzymes & Chemotherapy

Page 109

Chapter 8

Holistic Dietary Guidelines

Page 114

Chapter 9

Holistic Hormone Therapy

Page 127

Chapter 10

Heat Therapy

Page 133

Chapter 11

Hydrazine Sulfate

Page 136

Chapter 12

Medicinal Mushrooms

page 141

Chapter 13

Spiritual Guidance

page 149

Appendix 1

CYP3A4 Inducers

page 155

Appendix 2

CYP3A4 Inhibitors

page 157

Appendix 3

Timing of Chemotherapy Agents

page 158

Appendix 4


page 161

Appendix 5


page 163

Appendix 6

Guided Imagery

page 165

Appendix 7

Music Therapy

page 167

Chapter 10


Heat therapy (also known as thermal therapy, hyperthermia, or thermotherapy) is a treatment which uses heat to promote health and healing. Although this type of therapy has many applications this chapter will focus on its applications in cancer treatment.

Research shows that cancer cells are much more susceptible to destruction from heat than healthy cells are, 1 2 and some studies have found that heat therapy significantly increases the effectiveness of alkylating agents, platinums, taxanes, vinca alkaloids, and other chemotherapy agents.3 In 2006 a German study was published which showed heat therapy helped reduce metastatic tumors in breast cancer patients, even to the point of actual remission in some cases.4 An Italian study published in 2010 stated that heat therapy should be viewed as the fourth pillar in the treatment of cancer alongside surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.5

Heat therapy can be performed using controlled microwaves, radio waves, infrared light, magnetic waves, heated water, or sound waves depending upon the location(s) of the tumor(s). According to the Italian study mentioned above, heat treatment boosts the effectiveness of chemotherapy medications because it increases the absorption of the medications directly into the cancer cells themselves; this is good information for a patient whose cancer is becoming resistant to chemotherapy medications. Another study supports this, showing that breast cancer patients who were treated with heat therapy along with chemotherapy had significantly better responses to the chemotherapy agents used.6

Heat therapy is best given either immediately before or immediately after radiation therapy and chemotherapy in order to amplify sensitization of the tumor(s). Since heat therapy has been shown to be a very effective weapon against cancer, let's take a closer look at the different ways this treatment is administered:

LOCAL HYPERTHERMIA, a.k.a. “thermal ablation,”7 uses very high temperatures (up to 212°F or 100°C) directly aimed at the tumor itself and is usually intended for tumors that are no larger than 2 inches across (5cm). Local hyperthermia works by heating the tumor cells to death while also destroying the tumor's associated blood vessels. If the targeted tumor is near the surface of the skin the oncologist may use a specialized heat machine aimed at the location. If the tumor is deeper in the tissues he or she will likely opt for using a specialized probe, called a thermocouple, which features a tip that can be inserted directly into the tumor and heated – you will be given a local anesthetic before the thermocouple is inserted. During treatment the technologist will continually monitor the temperatures in and around the tumor to ensure safe, effective treatment. Because it can take as long as one hour to complete treatment from set-up to finish you should be sure to use the restroom before starting. Heating methods usually use radio-frequency, ultrasound, or microwaves as the source. Some patients may feel mildly uncomfortable heat sensations during treatment; do not be shy about telling the technologist if this happens to you as he or she can adjust the treatment if necessary. There is a likelihood that some scarring may result after treatment dependent upon the size of the tumor, but this is a small price to pay. Remember, few warriors win a battle without sustaining a few battle scars.

REGIONAL HYPERTHERMIA uses lower heat temperatures (up to 113°F or 45°C) aimed at a region of the body instead of narrowing down to just the tumor itself. This may involve an entire organ, limb, or body cavity. This is usually applied toward cancers which have produced a large tumor. Because of the broad area it covers it is not feasible to use the higher temperatures that are employed in local hyperthermia. Due to the temperatures being lower the cancer cells are not directly destroyed, however they are weakened enough to become significantly vulnerable to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Because there are many variables regarding location and size of tumors there are several ways in which to perform this treatment which runs the gamut from specialized heat treating machines to surgery under general anesthesia. Because each patient's situation is unique I strongly advise you to speak with your oncologist regarding the method of treatment that will work best for you.

WHOLE BODY HYPERTHERMIA also uses low heat similar to regional hyperthermia, only in this kind of treatment your entire body is being treated, not just parts of it. This type of treatment is commonly used when metastasis has occurred and many different body parts need to be treated simultaneously. Patients undergoing this type of hyperthermia will often be treated through the use of warming blankets, warm water immersion, or a thermal chamber. The general effect is to give the body an artificial fever in order to weaken the cancerous cells to increase their vulnerability.

Although heat therapy is a proven, effective treatment, patients need to receive this treatment only under the care of a licensed physician or a properly trained holistic practitioner in order to reduce the risk of patient injury. Although heat is a natural form of energy this treatment is not without risks. Before starting heat therapy you must be sure your oncologist or practitioner is aware of any of the following:

Aside from the above-mentioned contraindications, you should also be aware of the possible side effects you may experience during your course of heat treatments. Let your oncologist know if you experience any of the following:

You should also know that, on occasion, you may have an underlying health condition that you weren't already aware of; in such cases heat therapy may intensify those conditions. These conditions may include emphysema, COPD, asthma, circulatory issues, and more. Please be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before making any decisions for heat treatment.

One more thing that should be mentioned is the fact that heat-treated cancer cells can become heat resistant in some cases if the heat treatment sessions are scheduled too close together. This means that if you want hyperthermia to work for you, then you will need to go according to the schedule of the person(s) responsible for your treatment. Demanding extra sessions of treatments through either your cancer center or your holistic practitioner may actually hurt you instead of help you. This risk of heat resistance is also another reason why your oncologist and holistic practitioners need to know all of your treatments: If one does not know that the other is performing heat therapy treatments on you he or she may unknowingly recommend further heat treatments which could lead to your cancer's resistance.



Chapter 11


Hydrazine sulfate (a.k.a. Sehydrin) is a low-cost nutritional supplement found in locations which sell vitamins, herbs, and supplements. It is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), which means it must not be taken concurrently with other MAOI's, tranquilizers, benzodiazepines, barbituates, alcohol, or other central nervous system depressant medications as these will block its effectiveness. Check with your prescribing physicians if you are unsure whether any of your medications fall into those categories. Individuals using hydrazine sulfate must also avoid foods which contain tyramine, a natural substance in some foods8 which can interact with MAOI's, resulting in dangerously increased blood pressure.

Many holistic practitioners regard hydrazine sulfate as a powerful agent to reverse cachexia and reduce the size of cancerous tumors. It is thought that hydrazine sulfate works by blocking the liver enzymes needed for synthesizing glucose, a form of sugar preferred by cancer cells to create energy. Blocking this production of glucose essentially starves the tumor and decreases its size as well as reducing the tumor-induced cachexia. The problem is that, due to conflicts in clinical trial results there seems to be a lot of confusion as to whether hydrazine sulfate actually works. Therefore, in the interest of putting the confusion to rest this chapter will discuss the clinical trials and what it means to cancer patients.

Hydrazine sulfate as a cancer treatment came to light in the 1960's when Dr. Joseph Gold, director of the Syracuse Cancer Research Center in Syracuse, NY, pioneered its use for cancer treatment. His ideas came from the work of Nobel prize winner Dr. Otto Warburg who posited that cancer cells obtained their energy through the metabolism of glucose; subsequent research supported Warburg's ideas.9 10 According to Dr. Gold, hydrazine sulfate treatment works best when patients avoid the use of alcohol (including alcohol in cooking, over-the-counter medications, home remedies, etc.), barbituates, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants during treatment due to the fact that those medications interfere with its efficacy. He also noted that dosage is also important, as too high a dose of hydrazine sulfate can create a toxicity that shortens patients' life spans. Dr. Gold performed in vivo testing with laboratory rats which seemed to indicate that treatment with the substance inhibited tumor growth.11 This encouraged him to move on to human clinical trials, in which he found that 70% of the test subjects in one trial experienced increased appetite, weight gain, and strength with a decrease in pain, while 17% of the test subjects in the trial also experienced tumor regression.12 Due to these results Dr. Gold recommended that hydrazine sulfate be used as a concurrent treatment with conventional cancer therapies. This idea is supported by the following clinical trial published by a different team of researchers:

This clinical trial involved 65 non-small-cell lung cancer patients in advanced stages of the disease. The purpose was to evaluate the effects of hydrazine sulfate on the progression of the disease. This trial was performed as a randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Both the control group and the experimental group received six cycles of chemotherapy – radiotherapy was not permitted. Patients were evaluated at the start of each chemotherapy cycle by clinical examination and chest x-ray imaging. Monthly dietary counseling was also incorporated in order to promote weight maintenance – all dietary intake was oral (i.e. no tube feedings or parenteral feedings). This study found that patients who received the hydrazine sulfate treatments had a higher survival rate and increase in weight gain than those who received the placebo. However, the study also found that, although tumor size did decrease somewhat during treatment, the decrease in the hydrazine sulfate treated patients was not significantly different from the placebo treated patients.13

In a different clinical trial, performed by the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 38 advanced-stage cancer patients with cachexia symptoms were studied. Types of cancer in this study included non-small-cell lung cancers, gastric cancers, and breast cancers, among others. This was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study to evaluate hydrazine sulfate's effect on cachexia. Patients were given metabolic evaluations before commencing the study; chemotherapy patients had been at least four weeks since their last chemotherapy treatments (though 25 of the participants began chemotherapy treatments once the study was started). Evaluations were repeated 30 days after the start of hydrazine sulfate treatment and assessed. Participants who were using the hydrazine sulfate were gradually increased in dosage until reaching 60mg three times daily before meals. Compared to the placebo group, those using the test drug were shown to experience significant improvement in glucose tolerance and a significant decrease in total glucose production.14

Later, a Russian review regarding the efficacy of hydrazine sulfate in clinical trials looked at a total of 740 patients gleaned from research studies involving many different kinds of cancers. This pool of patients included those who had a history of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and/or hormone therapy. Treatment regimens in these studies were performed from 30-45 days per cycle with 2-6 weeks break in between cycles, depending upon the individual studies. Patients' use of alcohol and barbituates was prohibited during the cycles of hydrazine sulfate treatment during these studies. Out of the 740 patients involved, 374 of them (50%) achieved moderate to significant reduction in cachexia, with the best results showing in patients with recurrent desmosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, neuroblastoma, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, and Hodgkin's disease. 15

A single case study16 published by the Syracuse Cancer Research Center in 1999 also showed positive results: A 65 year old male diagnosed with large cell cancer of the lung was found to have residual cancer one month after a prior round of chemotherapy treatment. He began treatment with radiation, carboplatin, and hydrazine sulfate at 60mg three times daily. Within three months the patient gained 40 lbs (18kg) and was able to return to his place of employment. Although no sign of disease was found in his lung at the three month mark tests revealed metastasis in on of his adrenal glands, which was removed. At the time the case study was published the patient was still alive more than 8 years after removing the metastasis, meaning he achieved complete response (“CR” in cancer language).

These are not the only clinical trials and case studies showing positive results; there are plenty more, but I think the point is clear: Hydrazine sulfate has shown very encouraging results over the past few decades. In spite of this, however, there are many who believe that hydrazine sulfate doesn't really work at all. This is primarily due to a trio of clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the largest organization in the world funding cancer research with a budget set by the United States Congress.

The NCI sponsored three clinical trials which studied the effects of hydrazine sulfate on cancer patients. Each of these trials were randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies, and the results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in June, 1994. One of these studies, involving 127 advanced-stage colorectal cancer patients, showed a lower survival rate, lower quality of life, and no difference in appetite or weight gain among the hydrazine sulfate users.17 The second study, involving 266 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer, showed a negligible difference in survival rates, and no differences in appetite or weight changes. It also noted an increase in sensory and motor neuropathy in the hydrazine sulfate users.18 In the third study, involving 243 non-small-cell lung cancer patients, results showed the hydrazine sulfate users experiencing worsening disease progression and decreased survival times compared to the placebo users.19 These three studies are in complete contrast to the aforementioned studies – what happened?

When these NCI-sponsored studies became public proponents in favor of hydrazine sulfate heavily objected, resulting in a government investigation into the matter. Although the final report decided the NCI-sponsored studies “were not flawed”, the actual contents of the report confirm the truth of the matter. Part of the report states “In testing hydrazine sulfate, NCI permitted study patients to use tranquilizing agents, barbituates, and alcohol in one NCI-sponsored clinical trial. In the other two trials, NCI prohibited the use of barbituates and alcohol, but patients were permitted to use tranquilizing agents as antiemetics to control nausea and vomiting.” This is important because, as mentioned earlier, patients using hydrazine sulfate should not be using tranquilizers, barbituates, or alcohol. The report also goes on to state that there were lapses in record-keeping and that the NCI did not require the completion of accurate records in at least one of the trials. The report also reveals that the NCI ignored cautions from the FDA regarding recommendations to avoid the use of tranquilizers and other contraindicated substances. How extensive was patient use of these contraindicated substances during these trials? According to the report, one of the studies allowed 88% of the test subjects to use benzodiazepine while 71% were allowed to use other tranquilizing agents, and another one of the studies showed that 78% of the test subjects used serotonin antagonist medications.20 Although the report stopped short of defining the NCI-sponsored studies as “flawed”, it is clear the studies were compromised by the inclusion of substances that are contraindicated.

As you can see, the perceived contradiction in studies is really a matter of which studies adhered to the proper recommendations. However, this does not mean you should go out and buy yourself some hydrazine sulfate and start consuming it. As with all other medications, there are some serious considerations to discuss with your health care team before using this treatment:

  1. Although hydrazine sulfate is an over-the-counter substance, do not take it without the supervision of your oncologist due to several possible contraindications and risk of side effects. You need to keep in mind that just because it works for many doesn't mean it works for all. Not only are certain medications incompatible with the substance, but certain health conditions are also contraindicated. The following health issues must be considered if you are deciding whether to take hydrazine sulfate: Pregnancy, breastfeeding, liver disease, diabetes, impending surgery, and use of certain other medications. Side effects can include nausea and vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, nerve damage, behavioral changes, restlessness, seizures, confusion, breathing irregularities, blood sugar changes, rash, kidney damage, and coma.

  2. If your oncologist agrees that this may be a good treatment for you, do not take more than the amount he or she recommends as it can be toxic in too-large doses. Be sure to inform your oncologist of any side effects that may develop. Be sure your oncologist is also aware of any alternative treatments you are currently using.

  3. Do not be discouraged if your results do not match someone else's; there are plenty of other therapies to help you get through your fight against cancer – many patients have done it, and so can you.

  4. Be sure that your doctors and your practitioners are all aware that you are using this treatment.. They need to be informed so they can adjust your therapies, note any changes in your health, and keep in proper communication.

  5. If, after careful consideration you choose to start using hydrazine sulfate, do not suddenly stop any medications or supplements you are already taking. Always seek the advice of your prescribing physicians and practitioners before starting treatment and before discontinuing use.

1 Physical principles of local heat therapy for cancer. (Babbs, 1981)
2 Book: Cancer Treatment – Conventional and Innovative ApproachesChapter 12: Hyperthermia – Cancer Treatment and Beyond” pp.257-283 Ahmed Bettaieb, et al [Book edited by Leticia Rangel] This is an “open access” book available online.
3 Hyperthermia in Combined Treatment of Cancer. (Wust, 2002 )
4 23rd Annual Meeting of the European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology, May 27, 2006 “Whole Body Hyperthermia in Patients With Breast Cancer and Painful Metastasis” A Herzog et al
5 The Role of Hyperthermia in the Battle Against Cancer (Palazzi, 2010)
6 Clinical Cancer Research, Feb.2002, Vol.8, pp.374-382 “Liposomal Doxorubicin in Conjunction with Re-irradiation and Local Hyperthermia Treatment in Recurrent Breast Cancer, A Phase I/II Trial” Vassilios E. Kouloulias, et al
7 Ablation: Surgical destruction of diseased tissue usually through heating, abrading, evaporating, or freezing.
8 Foods which contain tyramine include aged meats, almonds, Asian sauces, avocados, bananas, beef or chicken liver, beer, broad beans, cheese (including cottage cheese), chocolate, coffee, cured meats, dried fruits, fermented or pickled foods, herring, meat tenderizers, monosodium glutamate (MSG), peanuts, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, raisins, sesame seeds, smoked foods, snow peas, sour cream, soy products, wine, yeast extracts (including brewer’s yeast), yogurt, and other foods. Consult with your physician or a registered dietitian for a complete list.
9 Oxygen Consumption and Glycolysis of Human Malignant and Normal Tissue ( MacBeth, 1962)
10 Metabolic Profiles in Human Solid Tumors. 1. A New Technic for the Utilization of Human Solid Tumors in Cancer Research and Its Application to the Anaerobic Glycolysis of Isologous Benign and Malignant Colon Tissues (Gold, 1966)
11 Inhibition of Walker 256 Intramuscular Carcinoma in Rats by Administration of Hydrazine Sulfate (Gold, 1971)
12 Use of hydrazine sulfate in terminal and preterminal cancer patients: results of investigational new drug (IND) study in 84 evaluable patients (Gold, 1975)
13 Hydrazine Sulfate Influence on Nutritional Status and Survival in Non-small-cell Lung Cancer (Chlebowski, 1990)
14 Influence of Hydrazine Sulfate on Abnormal Carbohydrate Metabolism In Cancer Patients With Weight Loss (Chlebowski, 1984)
15 Results of Clinical Evaluation of Hydrazine Sulfate (Filov, 1990) (Using the English translation; original article written in Russian)
16 Long Term Complete Response in Patient with Advanced Localized NSCLC with Hydrazine Sulfate, Radiation and Carboplatin, Refractory to Combination Chemotherapy (Gold, 1999)
17Randomized Placebo-controlled Evaluation of Hydrazine Sulfate in Patients With Advanced Colorectal Cancer (Loprinzi, 1994)
18 Cisplatin, Vinblastine, and Hydrazine Sulfate in Advanced Non-small-cell Lung Cancer: A Randomized Placebo-controlled, Double-bling Phase III Study of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (Kosty, 1994)
19 Placebo-controlled Trial of Hydrazine Sulfate in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Non-small-cell Lung Cancer (Loprinzi, 1994)
20 United States General Accounting Office, September 1995, GAO/HEHS-95-141 Hydrazine Sulfate “Cancer Drug Research: Contrary to Allegation NIH Hydrazine Sulfate Studies Were Not Flawed