Dr. James Belanger: The Naturopathic Treatment of Cancer
Posted Sep 14 2008 4:06pm
In this extremely exciting and informative interview, Julia Schopick talks with Naturopathic Physician, Dr. James Belanger, co-founder of the Lexington Natural Health Center in Lexington, MA about his innovative work with cancer patients. Dr. Belanger performs comprehensive blood tests, which give him vital information about the state of his patients’ immune systems and cancer growth factors. Based on the results of these tests, he treats them with natural medicines. His results have been stunning, and Dr. Belanger’s work is known throughout the country.
To listen to this interview, please click on the link directly below:
SHOW NOTES: The numbers on the left refer to minutes. So “0:00 to 3:22” means that this segment occurs for 3.22 minutes, from the beginning of the mp3.
0:00 to 3:22 – introduction of Dr. Belanger.
3:22 to 7:53 – Dr. Belanger defines naturopathic medicine, and how it differs from, and can work in conjunction with, conventional medicine. He also talks about the training that is necessary to become a naturopathic physician, his own naturopathic education, including the courses he took. He answers the question: “When you should consider going to a naturopathic physician?”
7:53 to 13:00 – Dr. Belanger tells about his own experience when he was diagnosed with cancer as a college student, and how this influenced his already serious interest in becoming a doctor to (among others) cancer patients.
13:20 to 20:00 -- A very clear explanation of Dr. Belanger’s scientific approach to treating cancer by testing a patient’s blood to check the status of the immune system and cancer growth factors; then giving natural products based on the research; followed by more testing to make sure the products are working. Also discussed: the difference between the various blood cells that affect immunity and how labs check the status of these cells.
20:00 to 21:50 – the office trial Dr. Belanger conducted to find out how natural killer cell activity was affected by 4 supplements that are often used by natural doctors. He found that three out of the four supplements -- all advertised as natural killer cell activators -- did not activate the killer cells at all. Only one of the supplements, AHCC, did its job as advertised. But even that one supplement doesn't always work, so patients shouldn't take supplements based on their advertisements.
21:50 to 25:50 – Dr. Belanger’s research/testing approach and how it has worked to help patients keep their cancers from coming back. More on the immune system, and how the different kinds of cells -- T helper cells, killer cells (killer T cells and natural killer cells) -- play their own unique roles in the functioning of the immune system. Each kind of cell can be scientifically checked to see which are – and are not – working the way they should.
25:50 to 27:00 – The importance of treatment during remission, and why this may be the most important time to concentrate on keeping the immune system working. (Unfortunately, it is usually the time that most doctors adopt a “wait and see” attitude.)
27:00 to 29:00 – why oncologists believe that immune therapy doesn't work, and why Dr. Belanger feels that they’re wrong. He points out that most of the drugs that are being used for immune therapy just target one component of the immune system. For instance, interleukin 2 just affects killer cells. But suppose the problem is lymphocytes? Unfortunately, these doctors are giving Interleukin 2, hoping it will work on all aspects of the immune system and it just won’t. That’s why conventional immune therapies often don’t work.
29:00 to 33:00 – Howchemotherapies affect the immune system. The interaction between herbs and chemo, and the fact that oncologists are most often wrong when they tell their patients not to take herbs during chemo. The truth is that many – but not all -- herbs actually help the chemo do its job better, and some herbs can actually make a minimally effective chemo become maximally effective! But, if you are going to take herbs when you are undergoing chemo, you MUST do it under the guidance of a practitioner who really KNOWS what he or she is doing. Unfortunately, as a rule, oncologists simply do not know about herbs.
33:00 to 35:40 – chemos work only on cells that are dividing, but the majority of cancer cells are dormant much of the time. A study done in England in the late 1990s showed that the natural substance, arginine, can help cancer cells to go into a dividing state so that the chemo will work better. Dr. Belanger uses arginine very effectively with some patients.
35:40 to 36:00 – Dr. Belanger does not use the word “cure” to describe his treatments. The idea is to help cancer patients to live longer until real cures come along.
36:00 to 38:00 – How his patients’ oncologists react to Dr. Belanger’s work. Although he communicates with them – sends them letters and all the studies – most of these oncologists don’t seem very interested in these natural treatments. Those oncologists who are interested just tell their patients: “You’re doing great! Stay on those things!” But they hardly ever ask what “those things” actually are!
38:00 to 42:00 – Cancer growth factors, such as VEGF, IGF, etc. and angiogenesis. How these growth factors can also be measured by lab tests and then lowered through the use of natural supplements. IP6 is one natural substance that has been found to work in an animal study – but there was no study on how, or if, it works in people. Dr. Belanger has been using it and has found that it often works dramatically to lower VEGF.
Different natural remedies work on different aspects of the immune system. For instance, he gives the herb, convolvulus, if lymphocytes are low; AHCC, to activate natural killer cells; IP6 and certain enzymes to lower cancer growth factors.
42:20 to 43:00 – keeping the costs of treatment down. Dr. Belanger tries very hard to get these laboratory tests to be covered by insurance for his patients. But, very important, if you do these tests, the patient will not be taking EVERY supplement that is SUPPOSED to work. He or she will be taking only supplements that are really working, so they are actually saving money.
43:00 to 44:25 – All of Dr. Belanger’s research has been done totally without funding. He would like to someday be able to set up a fund so that people will be able to use this approach, if they want to – even if they don’t have the money. Otherwise, all some people have available to them is conventional treatment and clinical trials, which are often very toxic, with lots of side effects.
44:25 to 48:00 – Oncologists usually warn people against using natural medicine, saying that there are dangerous side effects. This is mainly true when the natural medicines are mixed with chemo or seizure meds.
48:00 + Providing the scientific data in natural medicine is the only way conventional doctors will be convinced of its efficacy. This is what Dr. Belanger is trying to do, even though it is very difficult to put natural medicine in a scientific format. The research model needs to be a holistic approach, which is not the case now.