Dr. Weyrich's Naturopathic Functional Medicine Notebook is a collection of information on topics of interest to Dr. Weyrich that may be of interest to the world wide audience. Due to limitations of time, not all information that Dr. Weyrich knows or would like to further research is published here. Dr. Weyrich welcomes financial contributions to support specific research topics, as well as copies of non-free access journal articles for him to review on a topic. Constructive criticism is also welcome.

Overview of Cancer Overview

Dr. Weyrich is not an expert in the treatment of cancer, but does offer supportive therapies to reduce pain and nausea, mitigate the side effects, and to generally boost the immune system.

When talking to your oncologist, the three most important questions to ask are:

  1. What is the 5-year survival rate for people with my type and stage of cancer when untreated?
  2. What is the 5-year survival rate for people with my type and stage of cancer when treated according to the protocol you propose to use on me?
  3. Will you please give me the references to the primary literature that support your answers above?

Complimentary and alternative treatments for cancer that are considered below include:

  • Immune System Balancing
  • Low Dose Naltrexone

Etiology of Cancer Overview

According to [Friedman2013, pg 86], there are three steps that lead to the initiation of most cancers:

  1. Cell division rate in excess of cell apoptosis rate,
  2. Defective tumor-suppressor genes (e.g. p53),
  3. The lengthening of telomeres that allows cancer cells to become immortal and replicate indefinitely.
These steps may result from hormone imbalances, immune system failures, genetic mutations, metagenetic changes in gene expression, etc.

In a healthy individual, cells are constantly being "born" (by cell division or from adult stem cells), and "dying" (via a process called apoptosis), and after adolescence the rates of birth and death should be balanced. Cells become cancerous (immortal) when they mutate [ORWJr: or undergo metagenetic changes] that prevent normal cellular apoptosis. Apoptosis (also known as "programmed cell death") is a process that protects the body from defective or old cells, and is triggered by the immune system when a cell appears to be problematic.

Some authors contend that the body is constantly forming cancerous cells, but the vast majority of the cancer cells are detected by the immune system and destroyed before they can multiply to the point of becoming a problem.

Some practitioners have noted an association with inflammatory process mediated by homocysteine [Rogers2008, pg 9]. Note that the common diuretic hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) increases homocysteine levels [Westphal2003].

Hypothyroid conditions may be associated with low immune system activity, which compromises the body's defense against all forms of cancer.

Differential Diagnosis of Cancer Overview

Treatment of Cancer Overview

Please see conventional, complimentary and alternative medical treatments for important background information regarding the different types of medical treatments discussed below.

Conventional Treatments

Conventional treatments have been characterized by critics as consisting of "slash, burn, and poison" - that is surgical removal of cancerous tissue, radiation treatment to destroy cancerous tissue in situ, and using selective toxicity to kill cancerous cells (which typically have a different metabolism than healthy cells and thus are more sensitive to chemotherapeutic agents).

Some slow-growing cancers are not treated at all by conventional medicine. For example prostate cancer is often dealt with by "watchful waiting."

Naturopathic, Complimentary and Alternative Treatments

Immune System Balancing

[McCulley2018, pp 35, 89] reports that cancer is a TH2-dominant autoimmune disorder, and proposes an approach to treating this disease, which should be supervised by a properly trained medical professional. Dr. Weyrich has considerable interest in this topic, but has not treated any cases of cancer with Immune System Balancing.

Please see What is Immune System Balancing? for more information.

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

[Bihari2013], [Liu2016], [LDN_Cancer] have reported that Low Dose Naltrexone has anti-cancer activity, with a beneficial effect on effect on expression of genes involved with cell cycle regulation and immune modulation, including the pro-apoptotic genes BAD and BIK1. [LDN_Cancer] reports that the late Dr. Bernard Bihari treated approximately 450 patients with some form of cancer, with a 60% success rate, almost all of who had failed to respond to standard treatments. [LDN_Cancer] further reports "of the 354 patients with whom Dr. Bihari had regular follow-up, 86 have shown objective signs of significant tumor shrinkage, ... [and] 125 patients have stabilized and/or are moving toward remission." Dr. Weyrich has been trained in the use of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN). However, Dr. Weyrich has not treated any cases of cancer with LDN.

Please see What is Low Dose Naltrexone? for more information.

Please see monographs on specific types of cancer (links above) for information on specific cancers [LDN].

References for Cancer Overview