By Ted Koren, DC
Recently, a participant in an online cancer discussion group asked, “Why did God create cancer?” It’s a valid question. Why would a truly benevolent Creator let cancer exist? Why do good men and women and innocent children get cancer—and sometimes die?
It makes no sense—unless cancer and tumors actually serve a purpose. You may be surprised to learn that all of us are genetically programmed to create tumors using oncogenes (genes that have the potential to induce cancer). Our ability to make tumors comes factory-installed, as it were. In addition to having a built-in mechanism to create tumors, our bodies nourish the tumors with a blood supply. Why does this occur? Why would an exquisite creation such as our wisdom-filled body have acquired the seemingly self-destructive ability to form and nourish tumors? Is it a mistake? Is the body stupid? What purpose could it possibly serve?
In point of fact, God, nature or the wisdom of the body have installed within us a marvelous self-protective mechanism. It is only when we foolish humans repeatedly poison ourselves (often unknowingly) and do things that interfere with our body’s natural ability to detoxify that this protective mechanism breaks down. Tumors are defense mechanisms designed to keep us alive. If we are able to recognize the fact that cancer is a symptom of a generalized, whole-body condition, then it is clear that tumors are the result rather than the cause of the problem. From a religious perspective, we can say that God has given us the ability to create tumors and cancers because He loves us.
ROLE OF THE TUMOR
Cancer and toxicity go together. The role of tumors is to store or sequester the toxins to a small circumscribed area to keep the poisons confined and prevent them from spreading. We know that tumors are highly toxic because when conventional cancer therapies break up a tumor very quickly and suddenly release cellular components into the bloodstream (a situation referred to as tumor lysis syndrome),1 this disturbance releases so much toxicity (or poison) that the person may die.
Researchers noted over twenty-five years ago that breast tissue stores toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). They observed elevated levels of PCBs and other chemical residues “in fat samples from women with cancer, compared with [women] who had benign breast disease.”2 Investigators concluded that “environmentally derived suspect carcinogens” likely play a role in the “genesis of mammary carcinoma.”2 Looking at the issue of cancer and toxicity from another perspective, an independent researcher examined root canals and oral infections in nearly four thousand women who had lung or breast cancer and found that in 100 percent of the cases—without a single exception—the oral health problems were on the same side of the mouth and body as the cancers.3
We have known for even longer—nearly a century—that populations exposed to toxic substances have higher cancer and tumor rates. This is especially the case for people living or working near, downwind or down river from chemical factories, oil refineries, toxic waste dumps and other entities that spew poisons. The observation is inescapable—people exposed to toxins get cancer.
One of the best books ever written on this subject is The Secret History of the War on Cancer by Devra Davis.4 Dr. Davis wrote that in the 1930s, researchers in countries around the world (including Argentina, Austria, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Scotland, and the U.S.) all came to the same conclusion: “Where people lived affected getting cancer.”4
Like these 1930s researchers, European doctors have understood the role of toxicity in causing cancer for a long time. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, popularizer of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) dietary protocol, went to medical school in Russia and says, “In Russia and Europe, it was always known that toxicity caused cancer; there was no question about it” (personal communication, May 2017). On the other hand, if you ask an American oncologist “Why did I get cancer?,” the oncologist will look at you like a deer in the headlights and mumble something about genetic mutations.
TUMORS COME AND GO
In most cases, tumors have a limited life span. In fact, tumors come and go throughout our lives. You may have many tumors today and none tomorrow— if your body is working as it should—because you have a natural ability to remove toxins. With effective detoxification, the tumors are no longer necessary, and your body can dissolve, neutralize and eliminate them. “Spontaneous remission” is the medical term that describes the body’s ability to dissolve and excrete tumors, even life-threatening ones. The tumors just disappear. Spontaneous remission is a well-documented phenomenon in the biomedical literature.5,6
Pathologists find far more tumors and cancers in autopsies (such as in victims of auto and other accidents) than doctors diagnose in living patients in their offices. A 1993 report noted that whereas 1 percent of living women between ages forty and fifty have “clinically apparent breast cancer,” almost two-fifths (39 percent) of autopsied women in the same age group show evidence of breast cancer.7
CHEMOTHERAPY HAS IT BACKWARD
Sadly, there is no guarantee of experiencing spontaneous remission. In the modern era, it is easy to become overly toxic from repeated exposure to internal toxins (endotoxins) and external toxins (exotoxins). When we cannot detoxify quickly enough, then tumors, although necessary, can grow out of control.
Josef Issels, MD, who recognized that tumors are “a late-stage symptom of a generalized illness affecting the whole body,” developed one of the most successful approaches to address cancer.8 He wrote that “a tumor can only develop in a diseased organism” and that “the tumor is a symptom of that illness.”8 Operating on the premise that “optimal” cancer treatments need to have a “causal” focus, Dr. Issels was able to restore many late-stage terminal cancer patients to good health.
The prevailing treatment model of the “War on Cancer”—kill the tumor—is completely backward. Attacking a tumor actually may cause a kickback effect wherein the body struggles harder to keep the tumor functioning. The body wants the tumors. Tumors are the answer, not the problem.
In this context, it should come as no surprise that studies have found that chemotherapy can make tumors more aggressive. In 2012, for example, news headlines announced the “shocking” and “completely unexpected” finding that chemotherapy can “backfire” and make cancer worse.9 Reporting on a prostate cancer study published in Nature Medicine about “treatment-induced damage to the tumor microenvironment,” 10 the news summary noted that “healthy cells damaged by chemotherapy secreted more of a protein called WNT16B, which boosts cancer cell survival.”9
A more recent report (July 2017) in Science Translational Medicine on breast cancer came to much the same conclusion, stating that chemotherapy promotes circulation of tumor cells in the bloodstream.11 In the researchers’ words
“chemotherapy, despite decreasing tumor size, increases the risk of metastatic dissemination.”11
It should be readily apparent that the answer to a toxic condition is not more toxicity. Chemotherapy is highly toxic. That is why courageous investigators have been sounding the alarm about chemotherapy for many years. A comprehensive review in 1992 of chemotherapy clinical trials and publications described the success rate of chemotherapy as “appalling,” with strong evidence pointing to “the absence of a positive effect.”12 In 2004, another major study reviewed fifteen years of chemotherapy treatments for the most common cancers causing the most deaths; the contribution of chemotherapy to five-year survival was minimal (about 2 percent).13
In 2015, researchers reporting on patients with end-stage cancer in JAMA Oncology concluded that “not only did chemotherapy not benefit patients…it appeared most harmful to those patients with good performance status.”14 The authors cautiously suggested that chemotherapy use in patients with terminal cancer “may need to be revised.”14 They also noted that an American Society of Clinical Oncology expert panel “identified chemotherapy use among patients for whom there was no evidence of clinical value as the most widespread, wasteful, and unnecessary practice in oncology.”14
For complete healing, we must address cancer’s causes. What a person diagnosed with cancer needs most is a health-promoting lifestyle that reduces toxicity, provides nourishment and minimizes stress. The goal of health care practitioners who want to support full recovery should be to locate the causes of the toxicity (both internal and external) and work with the patient to enhance detoxification, cleansing and purification.
There is a reason why we find evidence of detoxification practices such as hot baths, saunas, fasting, cleanses, herbs and many other practices in every culture throughout humanity’s history. If ancient Greeks and Romans and native peoples from all over the world could understand the need for detoxification—long before the advent of the twentieth-century chemical industry—shouldn’t modern-day Americans recognize its importance as well? As a culture, we are far more toxic than any other civilization, and we have the diseases to show for it.
In 2003, I developed a system of working with body biofeedback that I now call the Koren Specific Technique (KST).15 KST practitioners locate and release hidden areas of toxicity and stress that other health care professionals often miss. Practitioners can use KST with anyone, no matter their age or health challenges.
Nine years ago, when doctors diagnosed a close family member with life-threatening brain tumors, I used KST along with the detoxification and support principles mentioned above—and the tumors disappeared.
The most important thing to remember is that cancer is a disease of toxicity. The best way to achieve a true cure, therefore, is to address this underlying cause. Recognizing that a tumor is an ally, not an enemy, makes it possible to work to promote its function so it will no longer be needed.
DIETARY PRINCIPLES FOR CANCER PATIENTS
A diagnosis of cancer often serves as a wake-up call to make profound dietary changes. Obviously, the first step is to
eat nothing but clean food, including pasture-fed animal products, and to avoid all processed foods containing refined sweeteners and industrial seed oils. The following foods support detoxification while nourishing the body:
COD LIVER OIL: Unprocessed cod liver oil provides vitamins A and D in a range of forms. Vitamin A is the vitamin for
detoxification and the first requirement for cancer patients. Vitamin D supports the immune system and works synergistically with vitamin A.
RAW WHOLE MILK: Raw milk is our best source of glutathione, the body’s master detoxification compound. Plus, raw milk provides complete nourishment in a form that is easily digested.
GELATIN-RICH BONE BROTH: Glycine in bone broth supports the liver in detoxification.
POULTRY LIVER: Liver from chicken, ducks and geese is an excellent source of vitamin K, which provides strong protection against cancer. It works synergistically with vitamins A and D in cod liver oil. Plus, liver is a powerhouse of many other important nutrients.
BUTTER: Butter is the queen of fats and provides many compounds, specifically CLA, that help protect against cancer. Be sure to use butter from grass-fed cows.
LACTO-FERMENTED FOODS: Fermented foods provide vitamin C and good bacteria for healthy gut flora.
1. Hochberg J, Cairo MS. Tumor lysis syndrome: current perspective. Haematologica 2008;93:9-13.
2. Falck F Jr, Ricci A Jr, Wolff MS, Godbold J, Deckers P. Pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyl residues in human breast lipids and their relation to breast cancer. Arch Environ Health 1992;47(2):143-146.
3. Hughes F, with contributions from Dowling R. Am I Dead? Or Do I Just Feel Like It? Cancer Cured…the Coming Storm. Live Oak, FL: Hobbies for Health, 2007.
4. Davis D. The Secret History of the War on Cancer. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2007.
5. Potts DA, Fromm JR, Gopal AK, Cassaday RD. Spontaneous remission of an untreated, MYC and BCL2 coexpressing, high-grade B-cell lymphoma: a case report and literature review. Case Rep Hematol 2017; 2017: 2676254.
6. Ahmadi Moghaddam P, Cornejo KM, Hutchinson L, et al. Complete spontaneous regression of Merkel cell carcinoma after biopsy: a case report and review of the literature. Am J Dermatopathol 2016;38(11): e154-e158.
7. Black WC, Welch HG. Advances in diagnostic imaging and overestimations of disease prevalence and the benefits of therapy. N Engl J Med 1993;328: 1237-1243.
8. Issels J. Cancer: a Second Opinion, the Classic Book on Integrative Cancer Treatment. Garden City Park, NY: Square One Publishers, 2005.
9. AFP Relax News. Shock study: chemotherapy can backfire, make cancer worse by triggering tumor growth. Daily News, August 6, 2012. http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/shock-study-chemotherapy-backfire-cancer-worse-triggeringtumor-growth-article-1.1129897.
10. Sun Y, Campisi J, Higano C, et al. Treatment-induced damage to the tumor microenvironment promotes prostate cancer therapy resistance through WNT16B. Nat Med 2012;18(9):1359-1368.
11. Karagiannis GS, Pastoriza JM, Wang Y, et al. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy induces breast cancer metastasis through a TMEM-mediated mechanism. Sci Transl Med 2017;9(397): eaan0026.
12. Abel U. Chemotherapy of advanced epithelial cancer—a critical review. Biomed Pharmacother 1992;46(10): 439-452.
13. Morgan G, Ward R, Barton M. The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies. Clin Oncol 2004;16(8): 549-560.
14. Prigerson HG, Bao Y, Shah MA, et al. Chemotherapy use, performance status, and quality of life at the end of life. JAMA Oncol 2015;1(6): 778-784.
15. Koren Specific Technique. http://korenspecifictechnique.com/kst.asp.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2017.