How to ward off unintended consequences
In most discussions about cancer, the one area that doesn’t get enough attention is metastasis, the spread of the cancer from one organ or part of the body to another. The prognosis of most cancers becomes significantly less favorable once a cancer spreads. Metastases are the biggest threat from cancer and in most cases it is the metastases that are responsible for a patient’s death rather than the primary tumor.
Years ago, I reported on one of the major concerns involving the use of needle biopsies and laparoscopic cancer surgeries. If the tumor being inspected or removed is cancerous, the biopsy can spread the cancer. When the needle is pulled back through the skin after being inserted into the tumor, the needle deposits cancer cells along its path. Often, a tumor can form there as well. In other words, the cancer cells are spread either along the entrance wound or circulate via the blood and lymph systems where they can reach other parts of the body.
Cancer cells include proteins on their surfaces, called lectins, which attach to certain sugar molecules found on the surface of most normal cells. When several begin to attach in one area, a cluster is formed and the potential for a new cancer site is established. Research efforts have recently focused on the search for compounds that can attach to the lectins on the surface of cancer cells and keep them from clumping and/or attaching to normal cells.
One natural product that can go a long way to prevent the spread of cancer, through biopsies or otherwise, is modified citrus pectin (MCP). This is a form of pectin, a complex carbohydrate that is commonly used for gelling jams, jellies, yogurt, et cetera. If you’ve made homemade jams or jellies, the recipe most likely called for the addition of ordinary pectin.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, researchers began to experiment with MCP. This is pectin that’s processed to split the complex carbohydrates into smaller sugar units that can be absorbed into the bloodstream. MCP just happens to be rich in the same sugar molecule (galactose) that the proteins on cancer cells (lectins) attach to. Once the cancer cells are “locked on” to the MCP molecules, they lose their ability to clump or penetrate normal cells. They then circulate in the system until they either die or are destroyed by the immune system. And, by “locking up” or neutralizing these cancer cells, MCP also helps lighten the load of the body’s immune system.
In one of the earliest studies, researchers compared MCP to regular citrus pectin and examined their respective effects on lung tumors in mice. The MCP-injected mice had a significant reduction in lung tumor formation, while those given regular pectin had a significant increase.
Galectins (the type of cancer cell lectins that attach to the sugar galactose) are found on cancer cells of the prostate, breast, colon, and larynx, and on lymphomas, melanomas, and glioblastomas. By binding to the galectins of these various cancer cells, MCP can help inhibit the cancer from growing and developing into the more advanced stages—as well as help prevent it from metastasizing. MCP appears to exhibit an anti-angiogenic effect as well, though how it does so is not known at this time.
So far, most of the cancer research on MCP has been conducted on animals or with cells in the laboratory. The results, however, are impressive, and several human trials have demonstrated promising results for MCP’s cancer-fighting properties.
In a study looking at prostate cancer in men, MCP wasn’t tested to see how it would affect the cancer itself, but rather to see if it could lengthen the time it took for the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) to double in men who had failed previous conventional treatments (radiation, cryosurgery, or radical prostatectomy). An increasing PSA level is generally recognized as an indication that the cancer is progressing; the longer it takes for the level to double, the better the patient’s prognosis. In four of the seven patients the doubling time increased by over 30 percent. Three years later, all the patients were still alive. Based on the doubling times for these patients before they entered the study, it was expected that at least two of the men would have died during that time.
In another study to test for PSA doubling time, eight of ten patients responded to the MCP treatment. Their PSA doubling time more than doubled in half the patients, with increases ranging from 129 percent to 941 percent after 12 months of treatment.
Studies also show MCP has an absolute lack of toxicity. Repeated animal studies have shown it reduces the size and number of tumors, as well as the size and number of metastases. It should be an integral part of any therapeutic program to treat or even prevent cancer.
If you’re getting a biopsy, I recommend taking 15 grams a day of MCP (5 grams three times a day) for a week before the procedure and then for two to four weeks afterward. In practically all of the cancer studies that have been conducted with MCP, a dosage of 15 grams a day was used (5 grams taken three times during the day). This dosage for cancer is generally used as long as the cancer is active or present; a year is not unreasonable. After that period, a generally recommended maintenance dose is usually 3 to 5 grams daily. Again, it’s totally safe. There are no serious side effects, but it’s possible that some people might initially experience a little intestinal gas or mild stomach discomfort. This is temporary and not uncommon when increasing the amount of any type of fiber in the diet.
The studies I outlined above utilized a product called PectaSol, which is marketed in this country by EcoNugenics. This is the only MCP product I feel comfortable recommending. There’s no other product of this caliber on the market, and it has decades of research and use to support its claims of effectiveness.