It's been almost three weeks since my last post, and nobody is complaining too much. And there are a few out there that like to read this blog, so I shall continue for your benefit. Blog stats indicate that about 30 folks hit this blog each day on average, and about a quarter of them stay for more than a few seconds. Some are harvesting the images, and a significant number stick around and read several pages. So for the silent minority out there, this blog's for you!
I get a couple of cancer news items emailed to me weekly, and one recently told of the discovery by a local university that glutamine also has a role in the long-established medical model that CANCER LOVES SUGAR. Some of the background and findings are interesting, and it does highlight the simple (but apparently not well-known) fact that cancer has a serious lust for sugar. Not just any sugar, mind you, but specifically glucose. I may discuss the simple chemistry of common sugars and starches and how they contribute to blood glucose in a future post. Today's post will focus on how blood glucose feeds cancer directly, and how a clever technique can use this fact to target chemotherapy to kill cancer cells without causing widespread damage in your system. Why discuss this here, when BCG is the treatment protocol I am using? Because when BCG fails, we need to be ready with something besides radical surgery to remove bladder, prostate, and lymph nodes in "yard sale" fashion. HK in Toronto and Ed B. in Washington state have both had serious reactions to BCG, so even our little bladder cancer fraternity of blog readers here yields a significant sample who are interested in an alternative. HK is at the mercy of the Canadian doctors and their system, but he might choose to venture abroad for alternatives. Ed B is already looking, just in case.
In my last post I disclosed the ten things I recommend to battle cancer, and I showed a logic model to support the multi-pronged approach. Number one on the list is to follow medical advice - preferably with research and a support team to back you up. Most people I encounter do this, and for the majority that is ALL that they do. The few that do anything more usually skip down to #9 and take some vitamins and/or supplements. The exercise nuts do #10, but they were all doing that before their cancer. In my opinion the second priority after allopathic medicine is to STOP EATING SUGAR and simple starches. Ironically this is both the easiest and the hardest thing in the world to do. Easy because you just have to say "No!" Difficult because sugar is in everything and human beings love it almost as much as cancer does. Let's look at the article I referenced initially from the Salt Lake Tribune, found at this link and reprinted in its entirety below. Boldface type emphasis was added by me:
So here I am recommending something directly disputed by the last paragraph above. While it is true that the endocrine system "tightly regulates" blood glucose, Dr. Ayer is taking a very simplistic view of things. The endocrine system does indeed strive to keep blood glucose at a constant level, but it is not successful except when looking at the average. There are spikes in blood glucose (temporary hyperglycemia) as well as dips (temporary hypoglycemia). My approach #2 is to avoid eating things that make a your blood glucose spike, washing cancer in a bath of its favorite food. Sure there is enough blood glucose on average to allow cancer to survive, but why do anything to supercharge it by flooding your blood with glucose to be easily snagged by cancer cells?
Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT)
Perhaps something more could be done to exploit this trait of cancer cells. By using insulin a doctor can also regulate the blood sugar of a patient. Seems like we could just drop the blood sugar down until the cancer dies, and then all would be well. As simple and elegant as this approach might be, it will also kill the patient! The Utah researchers in the article above noted a connection with glutamine, and hope to devise a new treatment after more research. Some of us don't have that long to wait, and there is some good news. There is an existing treatment, permitted to be used in the United States (and nearly everywhere else), that exploits the cancer-sugar relationship by using insulin to regulate blood glucose along with low doses of conventional chemotherapy. This mechanism is called Insulin Potentiation Therapy, or IPT. Some prefer to call it by the slightly more familiar-feeling name of Low Dose Chemotherapy. The theory behind this protocol is to carefully lower a patient's blood sugar to induce starvation in cancer cells, which respond by sending out "wide open" feelers (aka insulin receptors) to take any glucose that comes along. This process is very short - maybe 10 minutes to lower the level to a minimum safe one, then maintain for five minutes - 15 minutes total. Then the doctor injects a low dose of chemotherapy drugs followed by an intravenous bag of glucose solution. The cancer in its greed for sugar also absorbs a disproportionate amount of the chemo drugs, causing the desired effect of cancer cell mortality. All with far fewer side effects than a full dose of chemo will give, preserving immune system function to deal with fighting cancer recurrences.
Many established medical organizations in the United States have denounced IPT, primarily because of the lack of rigorous, peer-reviewed studies to substantiate its effects. There are also some criticisms of the expense associated with the treatment, but to be fair, even the most egregious charges are smaller than the routine costs of conventional chemotherapy. In any case, one could try IPT for effect and follow with full dose chemo if needed. So there is little risk in trying IPT first. And it is very important, especially with Stage 3 and 4 cancers, that IPT be tried BEFORE conventional chemo, because the destructive effects of full dose chemo on the immune system makes it nearly impossible for the body to safeguard itself from a relapse of cancer.
Again, I am not doing IPT now. If the BCG continues to work (along with the other nine things I am doing), I never will need to try IPT. But if BCG fails, it will likely be the very next thing I investigate. If you are looking for an alternative to BCG for bladder cancer or full dose chemotherapy for any other cancer, take a hard look at IPT. More information and a list of practitioners worldwide can be found in the links below.
In the meantime, despite Dr. Ayer's fatalistic advice above to eat what you please, I shall continue to avoid sugar in all its forms to prevent glucose spikes. This is a real struggle, as sugar in some form is included as an ingredient in nearly everything, both prepackaged and prepared in restaurants. But if you take the attitude that sugar is deadly poison and work hard to avoid it, you can be successful. Sugar is beautiful, seductive, and addictive. And it tastes good, too! So tasty and so seductive. We have to ask ourselves, is sugar good enough to die for?