Integrative Oncology

The information that follows summarizes our complementary approach to cancer. These forms of intervention are fully compatible with conventional treatments. It has now been many years since the art of marrying the two approaches was well established. Please keep in mind the fact that conventional cancer education does not touch on any of this. The all-too-common response of a conventional oncologist is one of fear that these modalities will sabotage the effectiveness of conventional treatments. Not only is that absolutely false, but these forms of intervention will likely have the effects of improving both patient tolerance of conventional treatments, as well as actual patient outcomes.


Dietary Changes

Dietary Considerations begin with the understanding that human physiology is most specifically designed to utilize plant foods over those of animal origin. This is especially true in modern society since animals are highest in the food chain and would concentrate more toxicity, just as do the large ocean fish. In optimizing our health these days, the one exception to the advice to eliminate animal products is a good quality fish oil supplement. Given its wide range of impressive benefits, it fits well into our current environment of so much stress and depleted food. 


We generally recommend a low-glycemic diet, primarily of organic, unrefined plant foods. In a few cases we might advise adding some wild-caught fish, and in rarer cases, some organic, pasture-raised eggs. Of those plant foods, we recommend avoiding wheat, corn, peanut, and soy products. Two soy products that are not only allowable but quite beneficial are miso and edamame. Cashews are not among the best nuts, though they are acceptable in limited quantities. 


All other nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains are good. However, due to the carbohydrate content of legumes, grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables, they must be eaten in limited quantities and combined such that the fat and protein content is greater than the starch. This serves to slow the metabolism of the natural sugars and thereby prevent blood sugar spikes. 


The first link below is to an article on the problems of animal protein consumption, while the second is to a rather extensive vegan keto food list, though the peanut and processed soy products are best avoided.


Nutritional Supplements

Nutrient supplements are an invaluable part of a comprehensive cancer treatment protocol, as they help greatly to starve cancer cells and restore immune integrity. The list of these substances is virtually countless; one with unusual potency is as follows.

High-Dose Melatonin is a fairly recent discovery in cancer treatment. The research is very impressive as will become instantly clear upon viewing this comprehensive medical presentation by Dr. Frank Shallenberger:

Repurposed Prescription Drugs

Repurposed Drugs are a valuable tool in treating cancer. Over the past decade or so, research experiments performed in so many different laboratories around the world have demonstrated that many of the well-tolerated drugs in use for decades have the capacities to selectively starve cancer cells. Certain drugs that have been used for diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation, high cholesterol, bacterial infections, parasites, and other conditions have all shown anti-cancer effects. Each class of drug targets a different aspect of the cancer cells’ efforts to feed themselves. These medications are effective precisely because they impact our metabolism, our general body chemistry. As mentioned above, the key to effectively treating cancer is seeing it not as genetic, but as metabolic, in origin. By clicking on this title, Tripping Over The Truth by Travis Christofferson, you can read a review of this excellent book that elucidates this essential wisdom.

While there are so many repurposed drugs currently in use, three of particular interest are discussed as follows.

Naltrexone is a drug that has been used for decades to treat those addicted to opiates, such as morphine, hydrocodone, heroin, and others. It was later discovered that when used in very small amounts, known specifically as Low-Dose Naltrexone, or LDN, it causes the brain to produce endorphins, the substances that have a relaxing and balancing effect. That effect is also felt by the immune system, which then becomes more balanced and more effective. It has been demonstrated that LDN has anti-inflammatory effects. It specifically targets cells in the brain called microglia, which are scavenger cells. So it may turn out that the reduction in inflammation is through scavenging toxic elements that are at the root of inflammation in the central nervous system. Not surprisingly, LDN is helpful not only in cancer but also in autoimmune illness. Below is a link to a preliminary study of LDN.

Ivermectin was discovered after the brilliant researcher Satoshi Ōmura found an unusual bacteria on the coast of Japan. He sent it to William Campbell, who found that the bacteria cured mice of a parasite and then identified the curative substance in the bacteria. The two researchers shared in the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2015 for the discovery. Ivermectin has been in widespread use since 1981 and has since been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties. Below is a link to a study of this exemplary drug.

Hydroxychloroquine, abbreviated as HCQ here, is a well known drug used in malaria and autoimmune illness. Its anti-inflammatory effect is achieved through modulating the immune system. It also prevents unwanted blood clotting within veins and arteries, and it reduces total and LDL cholesterol levels. As stated in the first article linked below, HCQ, like Ivermectin, is a “low-cost and widely available medication, whose safety profile is well known and acceptable.” The second article linked below is an extensive review of mechanisms by which HCQ acts. Two of those mechanisms are the blocking of iron’s entry into cells and the facilitating of zinc’s entry into them. Zinc has known benefits to immune system function, while iron is known to be a promoter of cancer.


Intravenous (IV) Infusions

Amygdalin, also known as Vitamin B-17 or Laetrile, was researched many years ago at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The report said it had been found to be ineffective, but the brave man Ralph Moss then exposed the truth that the results had been falsified. The FDA has now made it illegal for doctors to buy it. However, doctors may legally administer to patients anything they bring to the doctor. Our patients purchase boxes of vials of amygdalin from and bring them to us to give them by IV. 


Sodium Bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, is a strong alkalinizing agent. It gained a lot of attention as an anti-cancer agent when Dr. Tullio Simoncini in Italy was reporting some impressive results using it. Unfortunately, he was also claiming the nature of cancer to be a fungus. In 2018 he was tried and convicted of manslaughter, no doubt because of one or more cancer patients dying under his unusual care. Nonetheless, intravenous bicarbonate certainly helps to change the biochemical environment of the body towards being one that is resistant to cancer. Below is a link to an excellent study supporting the use of intravenous sodium bicarbonate.


Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has a solid reputation as an anti-cancer agent when used in large amounts intravenously. The current theory is that in the bloodstream it is converted into hydrogen peroxide, which has an oxidizing effect that destroys cancer cells. Unfortunately, many oncologists are familiar only with the low doses of vitamin C taken by mouth. Used in that way, it is a well known anti-oxidant. So those uninformed doctors fear that it will protect cancer cells from the oxidizing effect of chemotherapy and radiation, when in fact it mimics that very effect.


DMSO, or dimethyl sulfoxide, is a product derived from wood. It is well known to veterinarians as a treatment for arthritis in horses. This is due to its effectiveness as an anti-inflammatory agent. DMSO is also a powerful penetrant; anything that is mixed with it will be carried deep into tissues. So it is valuable in cancer treatment, both because cancer is an inflammatory disease and because other agents used intravenously will reach tissues more effectively.


Alpha-Lipoic Acid is well known as a highly effective liver detoxifier. Dr. Burton Berkson in New Mexico has done impressive research using intravenous alpha-lipoic acid for advanced liver diseases. He has published case reports of curing pancreatic cancer using it and other natural agents. In addition to its role in cancer treatment, alpha-lipoic acid has been found to help reverse the neuropathy caused by chemotherapy. One of the many important roles played by this essential molecule is to restore the function of T-cells, the white blood cells most important for battling cancer. Below is a link to the sequence of slides Dr. Berkson used in his presentation on alpha-lipoic acid.


Ozone is a super oxygen molecule. Whereas the oxygen we need to breathe is O2, ozone is O3. Ozone gas is used extensively as a disinfectant in industries. While it is dangerous both to breathe it in and to expose plants to it, it is a powerful healing agent in many other applications. Used intravenously, ozone is infused into a quantity of blood withdrawn from the patient. Then, the ozonated blood is infused back into the patient. Of the many factors that contribute to the formation of cancer, chronic infections would likely be one. In fact, some cancers are believed to be directly caused by certain viruses. So the disinfecting impact of ozone therapy may help in that way. And there is no doubt that its oxygenation is an anti-cancer effect. Just as intravenous sodium bicarbonate treats the acidic environment, ozone treats the low oxygen environment. Below is a link to a study demonstrating that.


Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation, or UBI, involves removing a small quantity of the patient’s blood and running it through a machine that blasts it with ultraviolet light. Then that purified, energized blood sample is infused back into the patient’s bloodstream. Before the age of antibiotics, UBI was an effective treatment for pneumonia and countless other infections. And it was discovered that the killing of the bacteria or viruses alone could not account for the benefits seen in the patients treated. It was learned that UBI is a powerful stimulator of the immune system. This is achieved using only a tiny fraction of the patient’s blood volume. Using a much greater amount of blood is not only unnecessary, but actually detrimental. Below is a link to a study of this valuable treatment.


Miscellaneous Detoxification Modalities

Cancer Stem Cells are a critically important consideration in cancer treatment. As their name implies, they are the “mother” cells that produce all the other cancer cells. It has been estimated that one in every ten thousand cancer cells is a cancer stem cell. Radiation and chemotherapy have no effect on cancer stem cells. In fact, cancer stem cells are quite invulnerable to any attempts to kill them. The important fact is that they ARE vulnerable, along with all other cancer cells, to being starved to death. This has been brought to light largely by Jane McLelland in her book How To Starve Cancer. Below is a link to a review of this ground-breaking contribution.

Genetics, in stark contrast to the issue of cancer stem cells, is a relatively insignificant factor in the great majority of cancers. This applies to all chronic diseases, not just cancer. The key discovery is that in the great majority of us, the likelihood of a serious chronic illness is primarily dependent not upon which genes we have, but upon which genes are expressed. Dormant genes that code for serious illnesses are harmless. In contrast, and much to our potential for self-empowerment is the fact that it is the environment around our cells that determines which genes are expressed. All factors relating to the health of the mind and body contribute to determining which genes are expressed.

Non-Physical Aspects are generally not taken into consideration often enough. Emotional stress stems not only from knowing you have cancer but much more importantly from deeper psychological issues that have remained unresolved for decades. The negative impact of such issues on our physiology and their compromising effect on the immune system is well established. 

To our great good fortune, there are also well-established forms of intervention for this essential part of getting well. In addition to the value of talk therapy with a professionally trained therapist, there are the techniques of Brain Spotting and EMDR, both of which help to locate sources of stress that remain hidden in the mind. 

Acupuncture addresses energy flow, which benefits both mental and physical wellness. Another valuable resource for impacting our energy flow is the group of healing modalities that address our vibrational structure. Reiki is perhaps the most well-known of these, but there are a number of approaches in this category. All of them serve by adjusting imbalances in the energetic foundation of everything we are. 

Below is a link to a review of Scared Sick, an excellent book by authors Meredith S. Wiley and Robin Karr-Morse. It extensively discusses how our childhood challenges, if left unaddressed, may set us up for chronic illness later on.

If you or a loved one are interested to learn more about Integrative Oncology with Dr. Stephen Reisman M.D., please call our office at (615)373-0555.