MYTH OF THE MONTH

 

 

 

 

 

JULY 2017

MYTH: Chemotherapy does not work 97% of the time.

TRUTH:

 

JUNE 2017

MYTH: Pharmaceutical companies suppress the cure for cancer because they want to keep making money from the current products instead.

TRUTH: First of all, a number of cancer research organizations are non-profit entities and many are well-known such as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the American Cancer Society, just to name a few big ones. These non-profits have nothing to gain and everything to lose if they were to suppress a known cure. Many advances in cancer care and treatment have come out of these non-profit organizations and it is a real possibility that one of these could find a cure in the future. Secondly, the scientists performing the research in the for-profit companies are as much at risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes as everyone else; to suppress a cure would be to sentence themselves to needless suffering and perhaps even death. Even the CEO's and other “big shots” owning the profits will want an actual cure when themselves or their loved ones develop cancer; it's ludicrous to believe they'd rather let themselves die than release a known cure. Third, since for-profit pharmaceutical companies are allowed to maintain sole patent and exclusivity rights on their newest products for several years1 then the discovery of a cure for cancer would make the pharmaceutical company richer than Mammon – it would actually improve the company's profits, not hurt them. Every pharmaceutical company wants this to happen to them ergo they are all competing to be the first to reach that pot of gold. Clearly, the alleged “suppression” of a cancer cure is nothing more than an unfounded conspiracy theory.

 

MAY 2017

MYTH: Cancer is caused by too much acid in the body.

TRUTH: The concept of an acid diet began in the late 1800's when Marcelin Berthelo, a French Chemist, conducted experiments to calculate the amount of calories in food. To do this he placed food in a pressurized device called a bomb calorimeter and incinerated his samples leaving nothing but ash behind. Note that when water is mixed with the ash one can measure the pH level of the substance to decide whether it is acid or base, subsequently in 1912 a paper was published by H. C. Sherman and A.O. Gettler1 which classified foods as acid or base according to the pH levels taken from ash in the bomb calorimeter. A copy of the paper can be read here. Generally speaking, it found that fruits and vegetables tended to leave a base ash while meats and grains tended to leave an acidic ash. The current beliefs regarding “acidic” diet are based primarily on this paper, which isn't scientifically sound. Several years later Nobel prize winner Dr. Otto Warburg noted that oftentimes cancer cells have lower respiration and tend to live in an acidic environment giving rise to the theory that low oxygen and acidic environments cause cancer. 2 Since fermentation of sugar results in the formation of lactic acid he thought that the presence of this acid caused the cancer to form. Modern science, though, has shown that in reality it works the other way around, the cancer cells actually cause the acidity to appear. Let me explain: Just like any other body cell, cancer cells need a constant supply of oxygen and the ability to metabolize sugar for energy to survive. This is why tumors create their own system of blood vessels in order to transport oxygen and sugars to the tumor cells – if they did not, they could not grow. Although the tumor does create its own network of blood vessels they oftentimes outgrow their network before they can build more vessels, creating the need for them to have an alternative way to metabolize sugars in the meantime: Fermentation. Although the process of fermentation is not as efficient, it is all they have while additional blood vessels are being built; and this fermentation process creates the acidic environment around them. Because there are not enough blood vessels yet formed to flush this acid out the tumor site remain rather acidic until it forms enough new vessels. Ergo, it is not acid that causes the cancer, it is the cancer that causes the acid. Later research showed that neither the presence nor the lack of acidity affects the growth of cancer cells.3 Therefore, the bottom line is that acids do not cause cancer and do not advance a cancer's growth.

1The Balance of Acid-forming and Base-forming Elements in Foods, and its Relation to Ammonia Metabolism (H. C. Sherman, A. O. Gettler, 1912)
2The Prime Cause and Prevention of Cancer by Otto Warburg. 1966 annual meeting of Nobelists at Lindau, Germany
3Early and Late Apoptosis Events in Human Transformed and Non-transformed Colonocytes are Independent on Intracellular Acidification. (Wenzel, et al, 2004)

 

APRIL 2017

MYTH: Cancer needs a low-oxygen environment to thrive, therefore you should be treated with oxygen-based therapies to help cure your cancer.

TRUTH: This idea is based on a theory originated from Nobel prize recipient Dr. Otto Warburg, M.D. which was published in the 1930's. Dr. Warburg noted that cancer cells have a lower respiration rate than healthy cells, thus he theorized that cancer cells would die when exposed to greater concentrations of oxygen. Later, however, Dr. Warburg's theory was shown to be in error: In 1971 Dr. Moses Judah Folkman discovered that cancer tumors are actually dependent on angiogenesis – the formation of blood vessels connecting the tumor to the body's regular circulatory system – in order to thrive.1 Research based on Dr. Folkman's discoveries has shown that cancer tumors do, indeed, create their own network of blood vessels and will only thrive if these blood vessels are allowed to remain. A tumor's vessels are always connected directly to the body's regular circulatory system, thus the growing tumor is receiving the same level of oxygenation as the healthy cells, ergo it is thriving in an oxygenated environment. As a matter of fact, cancer treatments which block the process of angiogenesis in tumors (thus cutting off their oxygen supply) is one of the most effective methods in destroying tumors. Although Dr. Warburg was a brilliant doctor and scientist, he was clearly wrong on this one particular theory.

1Tumor Angiogenesis: Therapeutic Implications” (Folkman, M.D. 1971)

 

 

MARCH 2017

MYTH: Shark cartilage can cure cancer, this is why sharks do not get cancer.

TRUTH: Although preliminary research observed that powdered shark cartilage, when applied directly to a tumor, suppresses blood vessel growth in tumors (“angiogenesis”), thus suppressing tumor growth,1 oral consumption of shark cartilage does not give the same results. Shark cartilage molecules are too large to be absorbed through the digestive system, therefore it cannot enter the bloodstream and affect tumors. Clinical trials have proven that oral supplementation of shark cartilage does not suppress tumors.2 3 4 Also, it is proven that sharks, do indeed, develop cancer. 5

1Shark Cartilage Contains Inhibitors of Tumor Angiogenesis [tumor blood vessel formation] (Lee, Langer, 1993)
2Phase I/II Trial of the Safety and Efficacy of Shark Cartilage in the Treatment of Advanced Cancer. (Miller, 1998)
3Evaluation of Shark Cartilage in Patients with Advanced Cancer: A North Central Cancer Treatment Group Trial (Loprinzi, 2005)
4Chemoradiotherapy With or Without AE-941 in Stage III Non-small Cell Lung Cancer: A Randomized Phase III Trial. (Lu, 2010)
5Shark Cartilage, Cancer, and the Growing Threat of Pseudoscience. (Ostrander, 2004)