Pediatric cancer is on the rise. The incidence of cancer in children under the age of ten rose by 37 percent from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. The largest rise, 54 percent, was in children diagnosed before their first birthday.1 A third of the cases under the age of fifteen were of leukemia, a cancer of the blood that is now successfully treated in Europe and the U.S.,2 but not without side effects from the treatment.
So why the rise? Researchers point to the fact that detection has improved, thus more cases of cancer are diagnosed early. However, many scientists believe that modern living and its various factors are contributing to the growth in cancer among our youth. “When you look at cancers such as childhood leukemia there is no doubt that environmental factors are playing a big role,” said Dr. Denis Henshaw, professor of human radiation effects at Bristol University, the scientific adviser for Children with Cancer UK. “We were shocked to see the figures, and it’s modern lifestyle I’m afraid. Many items on the list of environmental causes are now known to be carcinogenic, such as air pollution and pesticides and solvents. There has been good research to suggest a mother’s diet can damage DNA in cord blood. Light at night we know is very disruptive for the body, which is why shift workers have such bad health. Burnt barbecues, the electric fields of power lines, the electricity supply in your home. Hairdryers. It’s all of these things coming together, and it seems to be teenagers and young people that are most affected.”3
Parents of children diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. are in most cases obliged to follow the conventional standard of care according to the American Medical Association4—refusal may mean social services takes the child away. Standard of care generally involves the use of chemotherapy agents, radiation and surgery. Often steroids are used and many children must take copious amounts of antibiotics due to their resulting very low immune function. Very little direction is typically given to extraneous support such as nutrition, lifestyle considerations and other supportive therapies.
In light of the well-established fact that chemotherapy and radiation are often accompanied by short- and long-term side effects,5,6 it is important to consider the numerous ways parents can provide support to pediatric cancer patients.
While chemotherapy does kill cancerous cells, it comes with tremendous side effects. Fortunately, a number of remedies can remediate chemo’s negative effects. To start, chemo agents kill beneficial gut flora. According to a recent study, disruption of the gut microbiome is significant. “In summary, we found a profound disruption of the intestinal microbiome in terms of both taxonomic composition and metabolic capacity that may partly explain the acute inflammation, known as GI mucositis, observed after chemotherapy. This dysbiosis is also characteristic of other acute and chronic inflammatory conditions in mice as well as in humans, suggesting a causal role for microbiome in chemotherapy-induced GI mucositis.”7
In order to minimize the dysbiosis that typically occurs, and to alleviate its ensuing discomfort, incorporating daily servings of probiotic-rich foods and tonics is key. These include cultured dairy products (with minimal sweeteners) and lacto-fermented vegetables and tonics such as sauerkraut, kimchi and beet kvass. These foods should be truly fermented, made without vinegar.
Moreover, daily supplemental beneficial bacteria can provide additional support. Keep in mind that not all probiotic (from the Latin and Greek meaning “for life”) products on the market are created equal. There are many variables to consider. It is critical that a therapeutic probiotic make its way into the small and/or large intestine. Therefore, it must be made in a way that it survives the harsh and necessary acid environment of the stomach. A probiotic product containing soil-based organisms, also known as “spore-forming bacteria,” is very beneficial during and after chemotherapy and antibiotic treatment. These forms of bacteria have the ability to flourish even in the presence of harsh agents that kill bacteria. Formulas, such as Just Thrive, containing Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus indicus, Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus clausii offer the following properties:
• Are antibacterial, offering protection against intestinal pathogens;
• Produce lactic acid, which stimulates immune function in the gut;
• Provide antioxidants, such as carotenoids and beta-carotene, including lutein and lycopene; and
• Support anti-inflammatory systems in the body.
Other probiotics to consider include CHAMP Pro Plus and HMF Natogen (for children one to four years of age) or HMF Powder (for children over four).
What about prebiotics? These are food ingredients such as complex carbohydrates that induce the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms. However, many prebiotics can feed pathogenic bacteria that may be acquired as a result of compromised immunity, so it is best to choose lower carbohydrate prebiotic foods such as green beans, asparagus, garlic and leeks.8 This is a gentle option for feeding gut flora rather than using formulas containing high amounts of inulin or chicory root, which are fine for those with an intact gut but can challenge those with dysbiosis.9
To further support gut health and hence immunity, chemo and antibiotic therapy can be followed by the inclusion of colostrum, amino acids and essential fatty acids. If you have access to raw colostrum from pastured cows, this is ideal. If not, Colostrum-LD by Sovereign Laboratories is an excellent option.
Meat stock or bone broth are the best sources of healing amino acids. Numerous companies offer amino acid supplements. Choose wisely under the guidance of an experienced health practitioner. Standard Process has two great amino acid products, Protefood and Nutrimere (Standard Process products are only available through trained authorized health practitioners. Internet purchases should be avoided as they are not supported by Standard Process and are generally more expensive.) Another excellent amino acid option is PerfectAminos by BodyHealth.
Essential fatty acids are provided by unrefined cod liver oil such as Green Pasture’s Blue Ice and Standard Process’. Other unprocessed cod liver oil products are available. (Please see the WAPF Shopping Guide.)
Another challenge presented by chemotherapy is its burden on the liver. The liver is the primary organ that breaks down and metabolizes chemicals and then directs the body’s elimination of these substances. If the liver becomes overburdened due to a high volume of toxins, secondary elimination organs attempt to share the load.10 As these organs become overwhelmed, toxicity symptoms appear. For this reason, it is imperative to incorporate therapies that will support the liver, kidneys and lymphatic system. These therapies include castor oil packs, hydrotherapy and gentle drainage, which are discussed below.
Steroids are routinely included in cancer therapy. One of the adverse effects of steroids is the weakening of bones. A high-mineral diet replete with fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2 are critical for strengthening bones. In addition, a gemmotherapy called Ribes Nigrum can be added to support and regenerate the adrenals, the glands most negatively affected by steroid therapy. Ribes Nigrum activates the reticulo-conjunctive support tissue of the gland, thus allowing glandular stimulation in patients who have had too much cortisone.11 Please note that Ribes Nigrum is not to be used if adrenal tumors or Cushing’s syndrome are present. Use under the guidance of a trained health practitioner knowledgeable about gemmotherapy.
Vitamin deficiencies commonly occur during chemotherapy. Substantial deficiencies in vitamins B1, B2, niacin, folate and vitamin K2 are often seen.12 As immune cells are knocked down, natural immunity wanes. Therefore a nutrient-dense diet and the avoidance of processed foods and sugar are critical to supporting immune status. This challenge is best addressed by following a more ketogenic version of the Wise Traditions diet, eliminating grains, fruits and sweeteners. The addition of a whole food concentrate supplement such as Catalyn from Standard Process can be supportive.
FEED YOUR CHILD, NOT THE CANCER CELLS
Thomas Seyfried, PhD, goes into great detail explaining the Warburg Effect. German biochemist Otto Warburg found that cancer cells have a strong appetite for and uptake of glucose, especially in the absence of oxygen. Consequently many types of tumors are detected based on their need for glucose as seen via PET scans (positron emission tomography). Labeled glucose analogs are used as a diagnostic tool in PET scans13—the sugars go right to the cancer cells. As a result of Warburg’s and Seyfried’s observations, many scientists acknowledge that cancer demands to be fed and its preferred fuel is glucose.14 As a result, a growing number of doctors are recommending a ketogenic diet for cancer patients.15
Most children thrive on a more ketogenic or fast-oxidizing diet. This would be a diet high in quality animal fats with small to moderate amounts of protein from pastured eggs, beef, lamb, poultry and wild fish and large amounts of organic vegetables (always served with plenty of pastured butter!). While a ketogenic diet is ideal, this does not mean a complete elimination of all carbohydrates. A couple of root and tuber vegetables should be included daily for most children. Soaked and dehydrated organic nuts and seeds will also be a beneficial addition to the diet.
Core foods should include the following:
• Generous servings of healthy fat at each meal such as ghee, butter, tallow, lard, duck fat and goose fat.
• Full-fat raw or cultured dairy products from pastured ruminants (goat, cow or sheep).
• Bone broth or meat stock.
• Small amounts of protein (half one’s weight converted to grams) such as wild fish, pastured meats, pastured eggs and pastured poultry, always eaten with generous amounts of fat from fish or animal sources.
• Small amounts of organ meats, especially liver, should be consumed twice weekly in order to provide the densest source of nutrition available.
• Generous servings of fresh organic vegetables at each meal.
• Probiotic foods two to three times daily including cultured vegetables such as beet kvass, sauerkraut and kimchi, as well as cultured dairy and fermented miso (ideally, fermented for twenty-four months or longer).
• Properly soaked and dehydrated tree nuts (avoid peanuts) and seeds.
In addition to feeding the child well, it is important to provide drainage therapy to help the child’s liver, kidneys and lymphatic system move toxins out of the body without interfering with the chemo agents’ role of killing cancer cells. Drainage (or biotherapeutic drainage) is often confused with detoxification. The two terms are closely related but do have specific differences. Detoxification refers to the process of cleansing a particular organ or gland or using therapeutic support to eliminate a toxin such as a toxic metal, parasite, chemical or pathogenic yeast. Detoxification tends to employ commonly used remedies without considering the individual’s elimination ability based on many factors.
Biotherapeutic drainage was developed in Europe at the turn of the twentieth century. It takes into account each person’s unique metabolic status and requires a knowledge of the individual’s health history, level of health, and elimination patterns and tendencies, among other factors. The several forms of drainage remedies include gemmotherapy or plant stem cell remedies, single remedy homeopathy and complex homeopathy (such as UNDA Numbered Compounds).
In order for the body to heal, toxins must be released and affected tissues regenerated. Gentle release of toxins, especially in pediatric cases, is ideal. Drainage therapies are designed to do just that. The therapeutic goal of drainage is the following:
• To encourage the body toward balance or homeostasis;
• To address underlying causes of imbalances, not just symptoms;
• To encourage physiological equilibrium and self-regulation;
• To be powerful and deep, yet gentle; and
• To restore health and vitality naturally and in a long-lasting way.
Gemmotherapy remedies are plant remedies. They are specifically derived from the most embryonic part of the various plants identified for their abilities to drain, regenerate and restore function to particular organs and glands. These remedies are made from young plant parts, including buds, rootlets, shoots or stems. The targeted portions of the plant are gently extracted and diluted using water, glycerin and alcohol.
Gemmotherapy was first discovered by a Belgian physician, Dr. Pol Henry in 1947. Dr. Henry found that the growth factors (such as the buds, rootlets, shoots and stems) of freshly harvested plants were much more potent than the dried mature part of the same plants.16
Examples of gemmotherapy remedies often prescribed as support during cancer treatment would include Juniperus Communis, Ulmus Campestre and Pinus Montana. These remedies should be taken only under the supervision of a well-trained health practitioner who will assess the individual in light of his disease state in addition to other factors.
Juniperus Communis (common juniper young shoot) has its biological action on the liver, and to a certain extent the kidneys. It is one of the gentler gemmotherapy remedies. It tonifies the liver and is very effective in clearing toxins from medications. However, it should never be given to those with kidney cancer.17
Ulmus Campestre, the English elm tree bud, is very effective in supporting kidney and skin drainage. In addition to supporting detoxification, Ulmus Campestre enhances remineralization of the tissues that are often depleted during chemical treatments.
Another very gentle remedy, Pinus Montana, supports lymphatic tissues, which transport toxins to the liver. Additionally, Pinus Montana encourages the regeneration of bone, cartilage, ligaments and tendons,18 making it an excellent consideration for those being treated for bone cancer.
CASTOR OIL PACKS
In addition to remedies, castor oil packs are a kind of drainage therapy that can be done easily at home. The castor bean (Oleum ricini) is known principally as a cathartic (strong laxative). With a pack placed over the abdomen, usually with heat applied, the oil is absorbed into the lymphatic circulation to provide a soothing, cleansing and nutritive treatment. A castor oil pack can be applied once or twice daily over the liver-gallbladder region or the entire abdomen. This will increase circulation in the gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) and thus improve detoxification.
The castor oil pack is specific for non-cancerous uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts. Other conditions that seem to respond well include headaches, liver disorders, constipation, intestinal disorders, gallbladder inflammation or stones, conditions with poor elimination, infertility, nighttime urinary frequency and inflamed joints. It is not to be used during pregnancy, heavy menstrual flow, if an IUD (intrauterine device) is present or in the presence of internal bleeding.
The materials needed include castor oil, a piece of cotton flannel and a hot water bottle (optional). The procedure is as follows:
1. Fold flannel into three layers to fit over entire abdomen.
2. Soak flannel with castor oil. Fold flannel in half and strip excess from pack. Unfold.
3. Lie on your back with your feet elevated (use of a pillow under your knees and feet works well), placing oil-soaked flannel over abdomen, cover with an old towel and place a hot water bottle on top.
4. Leave pack on for 45-60 minutes. Practice relaxation breathing by placing one hand on your diaphragm and the other hand on your lower abdomen. As you breathe in, force your lower abdomen to swell like a balloon. With each breath out, practice relaxing your jaw and shoulders. As you practice more, relax all muscles in your body.
5. Store the castor pack in the refrigerator in a large plastic bag. Add more oil only as needed to keep the pack saturated. Replace the pack after it begins to change color.
6. To remove the oil, wash with a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 quart water, using a non-toxic laundry soap.
For maximum effectiveness, apply the pack as often as possible—at least four consecutive days per week for at least four to six weeks. Daily use provides the most beneficial effects.
Drainage also includes simple therapies such as massage and hydrotherapy. These therapies can enhance homeopathy and gemmotherapy. Each of these therapies encourages the tissues of the body to release stored toxins. The result is reduced inflammation and enhanced detoxification processes.
The simplest form of hydrotherapy is an Epsom salt bath. Simply add one cup Epsom salt to a warm bath. Epsom salt, also known as hydrated magnesium sulfate, is high in magnesium and sulfate. These two minerals are absorbed through the skin. Together they help detoxify the body of chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs and environmental toxins. Magnesium is also very relaxing to the nervous system. To enhance the therapeutic process of the Epsom salt bath, add a couple of drops of a high-quality lavender essential oil to the water.
After a warm bath (or a warm shower), cool down with a cool water spray—another form of hydrotherapy. Use a cool water spray down the legs and arms and finish with the lower back for thirty seconds. This increases blood flow to the internal organs. This is a beneficial practice for anyone, with or without cancer.
Another form of hydrotherapy are hot and cold compresses. These can be especially soothing to inflammation anywhere in the body. This treatment may be used for headaches, earaches, sinus aches and any other form of inflammation. The entire procedure will take about ten minutes once all materials are organized.
Materials needed for application to the sinuses, outer ear and head include two face cloths or heat-cold packs, hot water and cold water. For the procedure:
1. Soak one face cloth in hot water. Wring it out so the water is not dripping. Place the face cloth over your nose and eyes and leave for three minutes.
2. Have the second face cloth soaking in cold water. Wring it out and place over the same area for thirty seconds.
3. Repeat this alternating technique two more times for three times in all—hot for three minutes followed by cold for thirty seconds.
In an effort to provide support to the immune challenge of cancer, supplementation using high-quality formulas should be considered. As stated above, Catalyn, a multiple whole food concentrate from Standard Process, is an excellent multi-vitamin, trace mineral and enzyme formula. Catalyn contains concentrates from organic alfalfa, carrot, beef and fish liver lipids, yeast, wheat germ, rice bran, liver, mushroom, green peas (whole plant) and organic corn.19 Synthetic multi-vitamin formulas are missing the cofactors that are found in nature alongside specific vitamins. Routine intake of synthetic vitamins can contribute to metabolic imbalances. As Philip Norman, MD, has stated, dietary excesses (such as those seen with high-dose synthetic vitamin formulas) aggravate dietary deficiency states.20 For this reason, long-term usage of synthetic vitamin formulas should be avoided, especially by children.
Additional immune boosters like Immuplex, a food-based product, and mushroom-based formulas such as Epimune Complex or Immune-Assist can be given in child-appropriate dosages. The therapeutic use of various mushrooms exists in many cultures around the world. Some mushrooms counter the side effects of both chemotherapy and radiation, such as nausea, bone marrow suppression, anemia and lowered immunity.21 Practitioners in the East value maitake mushrooms for their ability to activate a number of immune responses due to their high concentration of beta-glucan polysaccharides. These polysaccharides enhance phagocytosis as well as effector cell activation. Phagocytosis is an immune system process whereby immune cells, like neutrophils, B lymphocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells, ingest and engulf other cells. Effector cells are relatively short-lived activated cells whose job is to defend the body in an immune response. The inclusion of mushroom formulas is not contraindicated with chemotherapy or radiation.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS AND FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMINS
Next on the list are essential fatty acids along with fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2. Every cell in the body depends upon good fats in order to create and maintain structural stability. Most of the body’s necessary fatty acids are made within the body. Essential fatty acids are those that are not made by the body and, therefore, come from our food. The two essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6. From omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the body makes prostaglandins. Prostaglandins include both anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory series, which the body needs in varying degrees under different circumstances.
Beef, chicken, pork and eggs are often unduly villainized as sources of omega-6 arachidonic acid, said to be pro-inflammatory. However, arachidonic acid plays many important roles in the body, including in the bodies of cancer patients.
While it is true that conventional beef and poultry raised on unnatural diets high in soy, corn and other grains do have higher ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids,22 this is not the case when animals are raised outdoors on their natural diets. Such animals produce a balanced ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s. This is one reason the Weston A. Price Foundation has always promoted the use of pastured meats, poultry and eggs, as well as wild fish and seafood. Maintaining a balance of omega-3s to omega-6s is needed in order to keep inflammation from getting out of hand.
Fish oils and flaxseed oil are two of the most abundant sources for omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, due to vitamin B6 deficiencies (often as a result of not consuming organ meats), many people are unable to adequately utilize the polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in flaxseed oil and all fresh oils. Furthermore, fish oils and flaxseed oil can easily go rancid (most commercial fish oils are rancid from the beginning); they also can lead to overdosing on omega-3s—just as problematic as overdosing on omega-6s. The best way to provide omega-3 fatty acids is with small amounts of unrefined cod liver oil. Vitamin B6 is naturally occurring in cod liver oil and enhances the usability of the polyunsaturated fatty acids. In addition to vitamin B6, the body needs sufficient amounts of vitamins C, B3, magnesium, melatonin and zinc to produce the anti-inflammatory series 3 prostaglandins.23 This is why a widely varied diet and the inclusion of nutrient-packed liver is so vital.
An even more important reason to consume unrefined cod liver oil is its vitamin A and D content. Vitamin A is the key vitamin for fighting cancer, and vitamin D supports the actions of vitamin A. (Please see the WAPF Shopping Guide for the best brands of cod liver oil.) Remember that vitamins A and D work synergistically with vitamin K2, found in aged cheese, poultry fat and liver, lard, butter and egg yolks. These foods are essential for the cancer patient.
Algae-derived products, specifically BioSuperfood F1, is an excellent complement to a Wise Traditions diet. This formula was created by a Russian-born scientist, Michael Kiriac, PhD, in his quest to develop a product to help his family as they lived in an area of Russia that experiences high levels of cancer. During the Chernobyl disaster, Dr. Kiriac and his family lived three hundred miles from the epicenter. Despite significant exposure to the radiation from that incident, they all survived after consuming large amounts of what became BioSuperfood. This micro-algae supplement can normalize white blood cell counts in children with leukemia; in studies, the product regenerated bone marrow, spinal fluids, blood and liver and reduced radioactivity by 40 percent in less than twenty days.24
BioSuperfood F1 offers support for those with cancer,25 as well as nutritional support for all. It is comprised of four micro-algae, Dunaliella salina, Haematococcus pluvialis, Spirulina platenis and Spirulina pacifica. Dunaliella is a rich source of natural beta-carotene and other carotenoids such as alpha carotene and xanthophylls like zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin and lutein. Haematococcus plucialis is an excellent source of astaxanthin (a natural carotenoid pigment and powerful biological antioxidant). Current scientific literature shows that natural astaxanthin is a superior source of antioxidants as compared to other antioxidants such as beta carotene, zeaxanthin, vitamins E, C and D, and selenium. Additionally, astaxanthin never becomes a pro-oxidant in the body.26,27
Astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier and the central nervous system better than most other antioxidants. It is for this reason that BioSuperfood F1 provides protection when undergoing radiation therapy or CT/PT scans.28 For those persons having radiation therapy, a much higher dosage may be warranted. BioSuperfood F3 contains higher levels of the same micro-algae. BioSuperfood F1 can also be used to offer protection from radiofrequency and electromagnetic field pollution (cell phone usage, cell tower radiation, etc.) as well as for those taking long airline flights during the day, when radiation exposure is highest.
BioSuperfood F1 serves as an excellent source of all known vitamins, minerals and trace elements, as well as thousands of enzymes, protein and antioxidants. It contains essential fatty acids, including omega-3s, omega-6s and omega-9s, as well as gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that acts as a hormone precursor and supports tissue growth and regeneration. Additionally, certain micro-algae are effective in eliminating toxic metals, such as cadmium, mercury, lead and copper.29 The average dosage is one to three capsules for children and three to six capsules daily for adults.
In addition to BioSuperfood F1, miso soup should be used after radiation therapy. Studies indicate that miso prevents radiation injury.30 Use miso that has been fermented for a minimum of six months and ideally up to twenty-four months. Choose a miso that has been stored in a glass jar. (Please see the WAPF Shopping Guide for best choices.) For optimal nutritional benefit, miso should be made with homemade fish broth. (Please see the recipe in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.) When making miso soup, always add miso at the end once the heat has been turned off to avoid destroying enzymes. A cup of miso soup daily during radiation therapy is recommended.
Another excellent supportive home therapy is a bath of sea salt and baking soda. This is used by some radioactive isotope specialists to lower their body burden of radiation. Simply add one pound each of sea salt and baking soda to a warm bath. Then soak for 20 minutes or longer. Follow with a cool water rinse. Clay baths are also beneficial. One cup of bentonite clay may be added to a sea salt and baking soda bath or done separately.31 These baths can be done daily during radiation exposure.
HIGH-DOSE PANCREATIC ENZYMES
Pancreatic enzymes have two functions. The first is to digest foods that enter the small intestine from the stomach. For the purpose of food digestion, pancreatic enzymes are best taken with meals. Secondly, pancreatic enzymes digest abnormal cells, turning them into a liquid substance that can then be eaten up by the immune system via phagocytes. The body cooperates in eliminating this metabolic waste by moving it through the liver and then excreting the waste in one of three pathways: the colon through feces; kidneys and bladder through urine; or the skin by sweating. In this way, high-dose pancreatic enzymes assist the body in eliminating harmful toxic cells and toxins.
The need for high-dose pancreatic enzymes was first understood by embryologist John Beard, DSc. In 1906, Dr. Beard wrote a paper entitled “Trophoblastic Theory of Cancer.” In this paper, he expanded on the use of pancreatic proteolytic enzymes not only for digesting food but also digesting malignant tumors. His research indicated that cancer was connected to a deficiency of endogenous pancreatic enzymes and therefore could be addressed by the use of exogenous supplemental pancreatic enzymes. In a lecture, Dr. Beard explained “that since pancreatic enzymes such as trypsin ultimately suppress trophoblastic growth in the uterus, and since cancer was trophoblastic in origin, trypsin must represent the body’s main defense against cancer and would be useful as a cancer treatment.”32
William Kelley, DDS, Edward Howell, MD, Frank Shively, MD, and Nicholas Gonzalez, MD, went on to further his work and the use of high-dose pancreatic enzymes. The pancreatic enzymes should be derived from the highest quality pastured animals, with optimal levels of trypsin and chymotrypsin. Pan-Immune is an exceptional high-dose pancreatic enzyme product that is formulated according to Dr. Kelley’s original enzyme formula. The enzyme formula must be encapsulated and swallowed as such. Capsules should not be opened and taken directly as powder.
High-dose pancreatic enzymes are extremely detoxifying and, therefore liver function must be well supported in order to maintain gentle detoxification. Castor oil packs, coffee enemas, magnesium, dry near-infrared saunas as well as gemmotherapy are supportive means of assisting the body in gentle detoxification. Those persons diagnosed with cancer should be under the guidance of their allopathic oncologist and a qualified health practitioner experienced in the use of high-dose pancreatic enzymes to determine appropriate dosage. Each person’s needs are unique and extreme caution should be used in regards to children’s needs. Do not attempt to incorporate the use of these modalities on your own.
Hands-on osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) involves using the hands to diagnose, treat and prevent illness or injury. OMT can be used to promote healing, ease pain and increase overall health and mobility. Osteopathic physicians (known as DOs) go through the same medical training as a medical doctor (MD) with additional training in the science of osteopathy. After completing four years of osteopathic medical school, DOs complete internships, residencies and fellowships and become licensed and board certified.
While many DOs choose to practice allopathically after their residency, they all understand how the body’s systems are interconnected and how each system affects the others. In general, DOs obtain advanced skills in providing preventive and comprehensive care, with a keen understanding of the body’s interconnected systems of nerves, muscles and bones. With this in mind, DOs approach the body with a respect and sensitivity that allows the body to direct the order and way in which it is treated. This approach facilitates the body’s natural tendency toward self-healing. Regular osteopathic manipulative treatments encourage the person’s ability to better handle the often-taxing conventional cancer therapies.
OMT offers an excellent complement to any cancer treatment program. To locate a hands-on osteopathic physician near you, please go to osteopathic.org.
BOTANICAL SUPPORT AND ESSENTIAL OILS
Nature provides us with a bounty of support for all illnesses. Essiac tea is a great example of one such support for cancer. Essiac tea was introduced to a Canadian nurse, Rene Caisse, in 1922 by a woman who had cured her cancer using this herbal concoction passed on by a Native American medicine man. The English woman who shared the formula with Rene had used it in 1890 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Almost thirty years later, this breast cancer survivor was alive and well, thanks solely to what has come to be known as Essiac tea. Rene named the tea after her surname, spelled backwards.
In 1924, Rene gave Essiac tea to her aunt who was stricken with stomach cancer, and then later to her own seventy-two-year-old mother, who had been diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer. Both were healed and lived twenty-one and eighteen years longer.
What’s in this therapeutic tea? Essiac tea consists of four herbs: burdock, sheep sorrel, slippery elm and turkey rhubarb. Burdock root is known to be a potent blood purifier, which assists the body in eliminating toxins. It supports the kidneys, bladder and liver. It also contains a wide range of minerals, including iron. Burdock root can be added to bone broth, then gently simmered for hours to increase the therapeutic benefits of bone broth.
Sheep sorrel contains a natural substance with significant antioxidants and anti-leukemic factors. Slippery elm contains beta-sitosterol and a polysaccharide that both have demonstrated anti-cancer activity. Although Rene’s original formula may have included Indian rhubarb, today turkey rhubarb is used, perhaps due to its more pleasant taste. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It also encourages regular elimination.
Essiac tea can be obtained from numerous vendors online but use discernment and make certain the formula contains all four herbs. For those looking for the convenience of a tablet form, with very high-quality standards, Mediherb makes Burdock Complex, which is available through health care practitioners who carry Mediherb and Standard Process. (Do not buy Mediherb or Standard Process products online as vendors selling online are in violation of Standard Process’ policy and may not be trustworthy.) Essiac tea and Burdock Complex assist the body’s elimination processes and the overall cleansing activity of the body.
Astragalus is another favorite herb to use for those challenged by cancer. In Chinese medicine, use of astragalus encourages vitality and assists the body’s natural regeneration and repair functions. According to Michael Murray, ND, “Research in animals has shown that astragalus apparently works by stimulating several factors of the immune system, including enhancing phagocytic activity of monocytes and macrophages, increasing interferon production and natural killer cell activity, enhancing T-cell activity, and potentiating other antiviral mechanisms. Astragalus appears particularly useful in cases where the immune system has been damaged by chemicals or radiation. In immuno-depressed mice, astragalus has been found to reverse the T-cell abnormalities caused by cyclophosphamide, radiation, and aging.”33 Mediherb makes Astragalus Complex, which adds Echinacea purpurea and Eleutherococcus senticosus root.
Essential oils are powerful in affecting the physical, mental and emotional parts of the person. They offer a safe alternative to many synthetic and toxic over-the-counter products used for acute infections, inflammation, headaches, fever and more. Essential oils can be used for supporting the many challenges presented by cancer. Two favorite essential oils appropriate for cancer patients are frankincense and myrrh. Frankincense (Boswellia carterii or sacra) and myrrh (Commiphora molmol) have been revered since the time of Christ. In fact, both were given as gifts to Jesus. It is thought that the wise men from the East understood both the healing properties of these two powerful oils and their value as gifts to the child prophesied to change the course of human history.34
Frankincense has antitumor and strong immune-stimulant properties, with antidepressive effects.35 Research indicates that myrrh has antitumor and neuroprotective functions.36 It is often used to support those with brain cancer. These two essential oils can be safely incorporated into a child’s supportive care by diffusing or applying topically to the spine or the soles of the feet.
A number of other essential oils have antimutagenic actions. These include blue chamomile, lavender, nut grass, rosemary and Dalmatian sage.37 Please seek the advice of a trained expert in the field of aromatherapy for specific dosing and use appropriate for children. Not all essential oils should be used by children, especially under the age of two.38
Of key consideration is the quality of the essential oils chosen. As with all plant oils, old or oxidized oils should be avoided. Use only high-quality pure oils from companies that use gas chromatography and mass spectrometry tests (GC/MS). Essential oil vendors typically run these tests on every batch of oil they receive from a distiller. Most companies will make the GC/MS test results available online. If you can’t find them, just ask the company you are considering. Oils should be organic, unsprayed or wild-crafted. Essential oils should be purchased in dark glass bottles—amber or blue.39
According to Louisa Williams, DC, ND, essential oils can act as an antidote to homeopathic remedies, especially when used over a thirty-day period. Therefore, those on a constitutional remedy are advised to redose their constitutional homeopathic remedy after using essential oils.40
DETOXIFY YOUR HOME
Not to be overlooked is the importance of providing a non-toxic home environment for all, but especially for children challenged by cancer. Start by eliminating all chemical pesticides and cleaning products from your home and garden, and replacing them with non-toxic products or homemade alternatives. Debra Dadd offers two excellent resources for creating a non-toxic home. Toxic-Free and Home Safe Home are her most recent books. Both offer a plethora of information.
THE CANCER JOURNEY
A diagnosis of cancer challenges the individual and the family to look closely at their diet, their homes, their work and their lifestyles. Rather than a death sentence, we can face a diagnosis of cancer as a wake-up call for a more conscious and conscientious lifestyle. The strategies outlined above have helped many individuals, young and old, sail through conventional treatments with minimal side effects. These same strategies will support those who just say no to chemotherapy, radiation and even surgery, choosing alternative holistic therapies instead.
The therapies and remedies discussed in this article are not intended to be used as cures for cancer but rather to support the pediatric cancer patient who is in the care of a qualified oncologist. These suggestions should be given under the guidance of a trained health practitioner with the approval of the patient’s attending physician.
THE KICKcancER FOUNDATION
It is often out of adversity that positive movements begin. The KICKcancER Foundation is one such example. Josh and Season Johnson established the KICKcancER Foundation after their two-year-old son, Kicker, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Season Johnson, as a nutritional therapy practitioner, understood the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation and knew the vital role diet would play in their son’s ability to survive cancer and the conventional cancer treatment, which they were required to have for Kicker. She and Josh quickly enlisted the support and guidance of other health care physicians and experts to provide optimal support for their son.
As a result, Kicker thrived throughout his three years of treatment. During this time, the Johnsons’ passion to help others in the pediatric cancer community led them to found the KICKcancER Foundation. Their non-profit foundation exists to offer inspiration, education, annual retreats and resources to families of pediatric cancer patients. Support is critical for those navigating the challenge of cancer, which often requires parents to make profound changes in lifestyle. To learn how you can benefit from or support this movement, go to kickcancermovement.org. As the Johnsons say, “When you know better, you can live better!”
PROTECTIVE STEPS TO TAKE FOR BABIES IN THE WOMB AND AFTER BIRTH
• Follow the Wise Traditions diet for pregnant and nursing moms at least six months prior to conception and throughout pregnancy and lactation. Avoid soy products.
• Minimize or eliminate processed meat as well as fried, grilled or well-roasted foods which contain acrylamide, a known carcinogen.
• Avoid all caffeine while pregnant. Dr. Denis Henshaw said, “Women should avoid too much coffee during pregnancy as three to four cups has been shown to increase the risk of leukemia in offspring by three to four-fold.”40 Previous studies have found a link between alterations to DNA, which are sometimes found in newborn babies, and an increased risk of leukemia. Caffeine has been shown to cause these kinds of changes to DNA. Scientists know caffeine can pass back and forth across the placenta, meaning the unborn baby will come in contact with caffeine consumed by the mother.41
• Pregnant women should avoid X-rays and CT scans. Avoid giving your child X-rays and CT scans.
• Follow the Wise Traditions schedule for introducing foods to babies and toddlers and keep your child on the Wise Traditions diet.
• Avoid soy products and do not give them to your children.
• Avoid painting a nursery yourself if you’re pregnant and avoid exposing a newborn to a newly painted nursery. Avoid exposure to oil-based paints and solvents during the first few years of a child’s life.
• Pregnant mothers should avoid night shift schedules. Minimize exposure to white or blue lights in the evening. Working night shifts is considered a class 2 carcinogen. This means it’s a probable carcinogen.42
• Use only deep orange or red night lights in children’s bedrooms.
• Sleep with an air purifier, especially if you live in an urban area.
BONE MARROW FOR LEUKEMIA PATIENTS
Bone marrow is an excellent food for everyone, but especially for those with leukemia and other bone marrow diseases. Dr. Brohult, a Swedish oncologist working with leukemia patients in a children’s hospital, used bone marrow successfully to treat these conditions. According to an article in the Life Extension magazine, “In her effort to stimulate her patients’ bone marrow to resume normal function, Dr. Brohult administered calves’ marrow to the children in her care… Parents in Scandinavia have long served bone marrow soup to their children in winter, in the belief that it builds strength. Dr. Brohult reasoned that healthy bone marrow from calves might trigger a resumption of healthy function in humans.”
“Her hope… paid off. Although the results were inconsistent, some of her patients quickly experienced remarkable improvements, including a normalization of white blood cell counts and a striking return of energy” (www.lef.org/
The article continues with a description of alkylglycerols, long-lasting lipids that have immune-stimulating qualities, which have been isolated from shark oil. But why separate out a single compound to sell in an expensive pill when you can just eat bone marrow?
Unfortunately, modern Western people are not used to eating bone marrow, and its dark color can be unappetizing.
One simple solution is to spread marrow on toast and cover it up. If you are making beef broth using marrow bones, or beef shank stew or osso buco (Italian-style veal shanks), remove the marrow from the bones when the broth or stew is ready and spread on toasted sourdough bread—it spreads like butter; in fact, it is spreadable even when very hot (must be those alkylglycerols!). Then sprinkle generously with salt and cover with finely sliced onions and capers—you’ll be eating something very delicious while feasting your eyes on white (or red) onions and green capers. This can be served as an hors d’oeuvre before the main course. (Note: To prepare capers, rinse off all vinegar and then thoroughly pat dry.)
SLEEP, SWEET SLEEP
Restful sleep is one of our most important tools for promoting healing. As stress is reduced and metabolic balance restored, sleep will become more restful. Sleep is critical to optimal hormone function, a healthy metabolism, tissue and organ regeneration and overall good health. Consider the following sixteen lifestyle recommendations for promoting deep sleep for your child and yourself.
1. Establish a routine for bedtime by getting to bed at the same time every night.
2. Increase your child’s time outdoors in nature free of sunscreen. This, along with a diet high in cholesterol from animal fat, will enhance her production of vitamin D. This helps establish a normal circadian rhythm.
3. Give your child ample time each day in quiet.
4. Establish a routine for meal times by having breakfast within an hour of waking and finishing dinner at least three hours before bedtime. Always eat slowly in a relaxed environment.
5. Stabilize blood sugar throughout the day by eating three regular meals four to five hours apart and have a butter-honey mixture or a healthy fat-rich snack in between meals.
6. A pinch of sea salt taken at bedtime will support deep and restful sleep.
7. Throughout the day, consume adequate amounts of purified or spring water (roughly half your weight converted to ounces), including water-based liquids such as herbal teas, beet kvass, kombucha and bone broth.
8. Minimize external stressors, such as an over-committed schedule, unhealthy relationships and toxic chemical-ridden personal care products (sunscreen, lotions, makeup, etc.).
9. Shut down electronics a couple of hours before bedtime to avoid being overstimulated by the devices’ glaring blue light. Computer screens are designed to look like the sun, which is fine during the day but not conducive to sleepiness as the sun sets. If watching a movie or TV at night, use amber glasses.
10. Create an environment conducive for sleep. Sleep with a window cracked for fresh cool air. Use blackout window coverings in bedroom to secure darkness.
11. Eliminate electric clocks or devices near your bed. Replace electric clock in bedroom with a battery-powered one.
12. Use a white noise machine in bedroom.
13. Add flux to your computers, which will warm the screen lighting to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. This free app can be downloaded by going to justgetflux.com.
14. Turn off your cell phone or put it in airplane mode at bedtime.
15. If you live in a crowded city, sleep with an air purifier in your room.
16. If possible, position your bed so you sleep in a north-south position.
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This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2017.