Cancer Alternative Therapies Site

Going through U.S. government sites is like going through spaghetti. Fortunately for you, I found some good information on this page of MedlinePlus about Cancer Alternative Therapies. The idea is there is so much information about alternative therapies, how does one sort out the useful from the quackery?

I decided to click on nutrition, my favorite first-try route for dealing with ailments. I end up on the American Cancer Society’s links on nutrition.

Here are some excerpts. On broccoli, one of my favorite vegetables that my kids will actually eat if freshly-steamed:

Some research has suggested that sulforaphane, which is present at much higher levels in broccoli sprouts than in the mature vegetable, may be a powerful cancer-preventing agent. The compound is thought to prompt the body to make higher levels of enzymes that protect against cancer-causing chemicals. One study showed that breast tumor development was significantly reduced in lab animals that were fed sulforaphane.

On garlic:

While some research on garlic is promising, it is very hard to determine the exact role a particular food may have against cancer. It is even more difficult when the food in question is often used in small amounts, as is garlic.

On Macrobiotic Diet:

The National Institutes of Health, Office of Alternative Medicine has funded a pilot study to determine if a macrobiotic diet may prevent cancer.

If someone is to try the macrobiotic diet, I would suggest a modified one, one that includes at least some animal products such as fish. And I question avoiding the tropical fruits.

From the ACS site, I found this article on Macrobiotics on a Univ. of Texas site. He mentions a book by Dr. Anthony Sattilaro called Recalled from Life. Another related book by Elaine Nussbaum: Recovery from Cancer.

On seaweed:

Despite claims that dried seaweed supplements, also called sea vegetables, are super nutrients that can prevent cancer and help numerous diseases, there is no reliable clinical evidence that this is true…Early studies of seaweed extracts, in the lab and on animals, suggest that certain compounds may one day be used in medicine.

 A past post on a book about cancer, including a quote about waiting for clinical trial proof before trying an alternative therapy

 Past post: What is a Colonoscopy? (thank you, Michelle, I should include this, too)

My mother died of colon cancer ten years ago. There is nothing I can do about that, but I can seek information that might help family and friends.

13 thoughts on “Cancer Alternative Therapies Site

  • What an excellent post!

    Yes, Leora, knowledge is power, and the more we are educated, the more we can help ourselves and our family members.

  • Thanks Marcos, ID, and Lorri. It is a horrible disease, but there are some options. More than one might one find in a routine doctor’s visit.

  • Back when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, someone very snottily told me I was stupid for not going on a Macrobiotic diet.

    Let me tell you something. I looked into it. That food is vile. And I couldn’t see making a lifestyle off it.

    Eating lots of broccoli, fish, fruit, berries etc.–we should all do that–but macrobiotics? I think only a very small percentage could tolerate that for the long term.

    My other worry is all the good food I do eat is probably poisoned by the environment anyway. (And I can’t afford to go fully organic).

    So as with all facets of my life, I do the best I can, and let G-d take care of the rest.

  • Baila,
    I’m sorry it was presented to you in that fashion. My mother didn’t like the diet, either. I found that when I went on it for a short time, it really agreed with my body. But then I got hungry for some animal products.

    There are many in-between approaches; just learning as much as you can about nutrition is the one I would suggest (and you mentioned as well). Find foods that are good for you, that you like, and try to eat those.

    Even the people who “invented” macrobiotics had a very difficult time sticking to their own diet. But for those who want to try it, it should be presented as an option.

    We all have to do the best we can, living on this limited planet.

    And it sounds like my writing about it brought back a painful period in your life. That is one thing I find lacking in some of the alternative practitioners (and some Western doctors, too): no sense of empathy, of feeling the patient’s pain.

  • As I was driving to work this morning, I was mulling over my comment here. I wasn’t being completely honest, when I said that I do the best I can. The truth is, I don’t. I eat way to much junk and should exercise more. But I do try to do my best for my family…..

    And I didn’t mean to come across as bitter about my experience; actually I feel very blessed. But I guess it was the memory of that specific conversation I had about macrobiotics that riled me up.

  • Baila,

    I am so so so sorry to hear of your experience. But many have been truly healed when doctors gave up on them through macrobiotics. I personally, thank G-d, have no medical issues, I just chanced upon mb and can’t tell you how much I love the food.

    When I first became religious, I read a book by Herman Wouk, called This is my God what I remember so clearly is that he compared Torah to a beautiful piece of music – but there could be poor musicians playing, that doesn’t make the music less beautiful.

    so I feel with lots of things in life – because one stupid person ruined it for you, I am so sorry. I’m on many mb discussion groups and that’s one of the topics we’ve been discussing lately, how some counselors come across so arrogantly and give mb a very bad image.

    What I LOVE about mb is that there is no ONE way fits all – it’s all about making it work for each individual – and also about how we change, so we also need to always be changing how we eat. What you are today can be different tomorrow – isn’t that also what these yomim noraim are all about – the possibility of change!!!!

    I see macrobiotics as differently – I see it as the way society used to eat, naturally, what suited that particular society, before industry came along and processed everything to death (almost literally) including all the chemicals in the ground. Now we’re so darned scientific that we get stymied at every fork (pun on purpose) of the road – when truthfully, just eat the foods whole and natural and you can’t go too wrong.

    tho macrobiotics is a lot more than that,(and the more I’m into it the more I love it) it’s a whole attitude towards life, of embracing it fully – using foods as a foundation to make you healthy enough so you can live a full healthy life.

    You can come over any time and I’d be happy to share some of my food with you :>)


  • Klara, just one comment: sometimes macrobiotics can become like a religion in itself. It gets dangerous there. I think people to need to put on their own thinking caps when it comes to health.

    I see it as the way society used to eat
    Except if one lives in Montana, then one should really be eating buffalo, and not brown rice. Sea vegetables in Montana?

    I have a book called Nourishing Traditions which is a pro-meat health book. It doesn’t solve the cancer issue, but it does address the anti-meatness. Lots of animal products in that book. It’s very anti-vegetable oils (which I believe is true of macrobiotics as well).

  • Hi again,

    Wanted to share another favorite line of mine from Fiddler on the roof: one person asks the Rabbi a question, and the Rabbi answers him “you’re right”, then another person says, but Rabbi what about…..?” and the Rabbi says you’re right, and a third person comes and says, but Rabbi they can’t both be right and he answers???? “you’re right, too”

    How desparately we’re all looking for The Truth – and if you go overboard, you truly can find an almost opposite view to everything. Which makes life much too complicated for me.

    I love the simplicity in mb, but it can also be quite fancy. On the many discussions groups I’m on, there’s always someone who says in their area they can’t find alot of the mb products. It’s ok, what I meant by the way society used to eat, I meant that in the olden times, meat was rare (had to go chase it down and kill it – not just pick it up in the local market)(and it wasn’t full of chemicals, also) but almost all societies had their main grain and local vegetables. Here in Israel we also don’t have the great selection that Americans have, but we do have local grains and vegetables (and these days alot more).

    About the religion part, that’s much more serious to me – that’s where lately I’ve been putting alot of my focus in my discussion group – because I’m also searching and don’t want to go off the derech because of food – yes, there are challenges as far as eating in today’s society, but when I go to a regular store knowing what I know about the foods, I’m amazed by how little I find appealing – and that together with realizing how prevalent so much “man-made” (I truly believe that!!) disease is everywhere, I will make that sacrifice, it’s worth it for me. otoh, even with the full belief, and the love of the food, I’m not saying it’s easy – you can’t get ready food and just toss it in the micro – you do need to plan and put time in, and in today’s society, that’s something people don’t do alot of in regards to food. So just like anything one feels strongly about, just got to put in the effort.

    ok, we’re about to eat – have an easy fast – and a very meaningful one


  • Klara, maybe if you can put your thoughts together coherently in a few paragraphs you can do ask guest post. Meanwhile, gmar chatima tova.

  • Hi L,
    I’m very sorry to read about your mom’s death.
    I, too, strongly believe in the power of good nutrition and specific foods to keep us healthy. Your paiting is gentle and lovely. Is it watercolor? I’m an artist, too, although I rarely paint still life.

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