~Cancer Treatment: Critical Factors Summary

~Cancer Treatment: Critical Factors Summary
Reprinted with permission of Life Extension®.

This protocol has described therapies that a leading-edge oncologist can prescribe to improve the odds of long-term survival and possible cure.

The fundamental message is to have your oncologist thoroughly assess the individual characteristics of your tumor, your blood system, and available treatments. Based on this evaluation, patients can interact with their oncologists to determine what therapies may work synergistically with standard conventional treatments.

The objective of this multimodality approach is to attack tumor cells where they are most vulnerable. The primary determining factor in choosing the specific drugs is finding the various tumor cell and blood tests recommended in this protocol, along with historical statistical data that can help ascertain how your tumor will respond to specific therapies.

The following summary is a succinct reiteration of the eight approaches discussed.

Step One: Evaluating the Molecular Biology of the Tumor Cell Population

How to implement: Make certain your surgeon sends a specimen of your tumor to IMPATH (Telephone: (800) 447-5816, website: www.impath.com ) for immunohistochemistry testing, using the contact information just provided. You may have to pay out-of-pocket for this test.

Step Two: Analyzing the Patient's Living Tumor Cells to Determine Sensitivity or Resistance to Chemotherapy

How to implement: Get in touch with Rational Therapeutics (Telephone: (562) 989-6455, website: www.rationaltherapeutics.com ) using the contact information provided so that your surgeon can follow the precise instructions required to send a living specimen of your tumor for chemosensitivity testing. It is important that your surgeon carefully coordinate with Rational Therapeutics in order to ensure your cells arrive in a viable condition. You may have to pay for this test yourself because insurance may not reimburse you for it.

Step Three: Protecting Against Anemia

How to implement: If your hemoglobin or hematocrit levels are not in the optimal ranges described on the following chart, ask your physician to prescribe an individualized dose of Procrit.

Normal Laboratory Reference Range | Optimal Range for Cancer Patients

Men: 12.5-17 (g/dL) | 15.5-17 (g/dL)
Women: 11.5-15.0 (g/dL) | 13.83-15 (g/dL)

Men: 36-50% | 45-50%
Women: 34-44% | 41-44%

Please note that it will be difficult to convince most oncologists that cancer patients should be in the optimal ranges indicated on this chart. One reason is that even healthy people are often below the optimal ranges for cancer patients. The problem will be that insurance companies will not reimburse for a drug such as Procrit for the purposes of elevating hematocrit and hemoglobin to the high optimal ranges for cancer patients. Most insurance companies, in fact, will not pay for Procrit unless severe anemia is demonstrated.

In order for Procrit to effectively boost red blood cell production, it is essential that your body have adequate iron stores. Even if you have adequate iron stores prior to Procrit therapy, the rapid production of red blood cells induced by Procrit may deplete iron stores. Anyone using Procrit should have periodic assessment of their iron stores by means of a serum ferritin level. If less than 200, a soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) level should be obtained. If evidence of iron deficiency is found, your physician will consider iron supplementation after ruling out excessive blood loss due to a variety of causes.

Dietary supplements that can help protect against anemia due to other causes include: folic acid (800 mcg/day), vitamin B12 (500 mcg/day), and melatonin (3-10 mg/day, at night) (Vaziri et al. 1996; Herrera et al 2001).

Step Four: Inhibiting the COX-2 Enzyme

How to implement: Ask your physician to prescribe one of the following COX-2 inhibiting drugs:

  • Lodine XL, 1000 mg once daily, or
  • Celebrex, 100-200 mg every 12 hours, or
  • Vioxx, 12.5-25 mg once daily

Step Five: Suppressing Ras Oncogene Expression

How to implement: Ask your physician to prescribe one of the following statin drugs to inhibit the activity of Ras oncogenes:

  • Lovastatin, 40 mg twice daily, or
  • Zocor, 40 mg twice daily, or
  • Pravachol, 40 mg once daily

Note: These statin drugs can produce toxic effects in a minority of patients. Physician oversight and monthly blood tests to evaluate liver function are suggested.

In addition to statin drug therapy, consider supplementing with the following nutrients to further suppress the expression of Ras oncogenes:

  • Fish Oil Capsules: 2400 mg of EPA and 1800 mg of DHA a day (6 Mega EPA fish oil capsules provide this potency)
  • Green Tea Extract: 1500 mg of tea polyphenols a day (5 Super Green Tea Extract Caps provide this potency)
  • Aged Garlic Extract: 2000 mg a day (2 Kyolic One Per Day caplets provide this potency)

Step Six: Correcting Coagulation Abnormalities

How to implement: Ascertain if you are in a hypercoagulable (prethrombotic) state by having your blood tested for prothrombin (PT), partial thromboplastin time (PTT), and D-dimers. A prethrombotic state is indicated by a shortening of PT and/or PTT and an increase in D-dimers.

If there is any evidence of a prethrombotic state, ask your physician to prescribe the appropriate individualized dose of LMWH. If you cannot afford LMWH, ask that lower-cost Coumadin be prescribed instead. Anticoagulation requires significant patient education and monitoring of laboratory tests to minimize the risks of hemorrhage due to overanticoagulation. As in all biological systems, a balance must be established if health is to be restored.

Step Seven: Maintaining Bone Integrity

How to implement: If you have a type of cancer with a proclivity to metastasize to the bone (breast or prostate), ask your physician for a bisphosphonate drug before evidence of bony metastasis occurs. An oral bisphosphonate drug to consider is Actonel at a dose of 30 mg twice a week or Fosamax at a dose of 70 mg once a week. Either drug must be taken at least 1 hour before breakfast and with water only. Some people experience gastroesophageal side effects from oral bisphosphonate drug therapy and prefer administration directly into the vein. An IV-administered bisphosphonate drug such as Aredia may be administered monthly beginning at 30 mg the first month, 60 mg the second month, and working up to 90 mg for subsequent months.

A newer, more potent IV bisphosphonate, Zometa, can be used at a starting dose of 1-2 mg for the first dose and then 4 mg every 3-4 weeks thereafter. Zometa is routinely given as a 15-minute infusion. When taking a bisphosphonate drug, it is important to take a wide array of bone-protecting supplements such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and vitamin D3. Six capsules a day of a product called Bone Assure provide optimal potencies of bone protecting nutrients. Some physicians also prescribe a synthetic vitamin D such as Calcitriol (Rocaltrol) or Hectorol.

Since excessive bone breakdown releases growth factors into the bloodstream that can fuel cancer cell growth, the Pyrilinks-D urine test should be done every 60-90 days to detect bone loss. A QCT bone density scan should be done annually. If either of these tests reveals bone loss, ask your physician to initiate bisphosphonate drug therapy. Every cancer patient should take a bone-protecting supplement like Bone Assure to protect against excess bone deterioration.

Step Eight: Inhibiting Angiogenesis

How to implement: There are a number of clinical trials using antiangiogenesis agents such as Endostatin. Call (800) 422-7237 or log on to http://cancertrials.nci.nih.gov to find out if you are eligible to participate. There are nutrients that have demonstrated potential antiangiogenesis effects such as green tea extract and curcumin.

As can be seen from the eight-step list, a patient might be prescribed several treatments in addition to standard therapy for the purposes of inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme, suppressing the Ras oncogene, protecting against anemia/hypercoagulation, inhibiting blood vessel growth in the tumor (angiogenesis), maintaining bone integrity, and so forth.

While these therapies are substantiated in the published scientific literature and most are part of mainstream medicine, few cancer patients are benefiting from this knowledge.

If you are determined to wage modern warfare against your tumor, some or all of these therapies should be considered, depending on your individual situation.

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