Prevention and Complementary Treatment of Cancer
By Anne Chew, M.A., MSOM, L.Ac

Cancer caught my attention about twenty-five years ago when my then 29 year old sister–in-law, Linda was diagnosed with melanoma. At that time, Western Medicine really didn’t have many options for melanoma patients. So Linda enrolled in an experimental research program in San Francisco. Her parents went searching for a cure and took her to Mexico and the Anderson Clinic in San Diego. We learned a lot, but Linda died in less than two years. A year later my husband Gordon (Linda’s brother) was diagnosed with the same kind of cancer. He did only alternative treatments and lived an amazing six healthy years before succumbing to the same cancer. That experience was my boot camp. Since then I have studied nutrition and Oriental Medicine and have learned a great deal about the prevention and complementary treatment of cancer.

Oriental Medicine is the original holistic medicine. It is a medical system based on a theory of health and not disease. The medical theory is based on the Chi (or energy) that each organ system produces. If all the organs are working together there is a strong Chi (or life force) that flows through the body and nourishes every cell. Where the Chi is flowing, so flows the blood: bringing nutrients to the cells and getting rid of the waste products.

This is one of the keys to preventing cancer. After years of study it is my belief that one of the main contributing factors in the development of cancer is the build–up of toxins in the cells. Healthy cells are aerobic, that is, they use oxygen to make energy. Cancer cells have become so filled with waste products that they become anaerobic and begin a fermentation process that encourages rapid reproduction without the cells ever growing to maturity and differentiation.

From a Chinese point of view the liver is always congested and weak when there is cancer in the body. This does not necessarily mean the liver is diseased. The liver is the great filter of the body and when it cannot get rid of waste products as fast as we produce them, the body has to find a place to store the toxins. As a result, toxic build-up begins in the cells.

Diet and lifestyle play a very important part in the process. If we are eating foods that are full of pesticides, herbicides and food colorings, then the liver has to work harder than if we were eating organic foods. If we eat a diet that is low in fiber then the large intestine has a harder time getting waste out of the body. If we are not drinking enough water the body cannot produce enough bile and the kidneys have to work extra hard to get rid of waste.
Many drugs either prescription or recreational have to be processed through the liver. This also contributes to the congestion of the liver. And we all know that alcohol is very hard on the liver. Smoking directly clogs up the cells in the mouth, throat and lungs. On the other hand, rest, recreation and exercise all play a part in keeping the organs strong and the Chi flowing.

One specific nutrient that is often in low supply in the modern American diet is the Omega 3 fatty acid. Our ancestors got the nutrient by eating “stinky little fish” such as sardines, mackerel and herring. Other ancestors grew flax for the linen and used the seeds and oil as a mainstay in their diet. Our society has unknowingly thrown out this essential nutrient that helps the body fight inflammation and has been shown to be protective against breast cancer.

The essence of the complementary treatment of cancer is the same as prevention. Identify the organs that are not working up to par and strengthen them through acupuncture, nutrition and herbs. A detoxification program including a liver and kidney cleanse as well as colon cleansing would be the first line of treatment. Often this is done after chemotherapy or surgery. Acupuncture is often used on the same days as chemo to mitigate the side effects of the drug therapy.

Digestive support is usually needed in the form of digestive enzymes. Anti-oxidant support is best achieved by increasing the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed. I often suggest juicing for a while. This may mean purchasing a juicer and juicing fresh vegetables and fruits. Fresh juice gives you an abundance of phyto-nutrients and lots of enzymes and gives the digestive system a chance to rest and heal. Bottled juices have been pasteurized and all the enzymes are lost. Besides, most bottled juices are all fruit and the sugar content is too high. This high sugar content feeds the fermentation process of cancer.

Stress levels must be reduced. This may mean finding a new career. Toxic relationships must be resolved. Cancer is often a wake-up call to find joy in your life and follow your dream before it is too late. Research has shown that people who take responsibility for their treatment and seek out options and make informed decisions have a much higher cure rate than those who passively accept the first treatment that is offered them. All of these things support a strong immune system that will kill cancer cells before they can get out of control in the body.

Twenty years ago Chinese Medicine was not widely available in the USA. My husband used detoxification protocols from the Gearson Clinic and worked with both a homeopath and a naturopath and made lots of lifestyle changes including changing careers. If you make positive changes in your life, a diagnosis of cancer could be one of the best things that ever happened to you.