Gentle and Effective: Insulin Potentiation Chemotherapy
It’s a sad fact of life today, but you probably know someone who was diagnosed with cancer and treated with chemotherapy. You probably also know that chemotherapy produces many unwanted side effects, such as hair loss, severe nausea, skin rashes, etc. That’s because the highly toxic drugs that are used to kill cancer cells actually kill healthy cells, too.
A patient I’ll call Leslie came to me when she was diagnosed with breast cancer because she vividly recalled her husband’s first experience with conventional chemotherapy for lung cancer. “It was horrendous,” she told me. “He wasn’t just a little uncomfortable from the chemo drugs, like the doctor claimed. He was so sick, and there was nothing I could do for him, literally nothing. There were several times when I did not know how he would ever make it through the day, let alone the entire course of treatment. He did, but, of course, he was never the same after as he had been before.”
Leslie’s husband, Ben, was treated for lung cancer at a prestigious cancer center that advertises on national television. In spite of having surgery to remove cancerous tissue, as well as chemo and radiation, Ben’s cancer spread to his liver. A second round of chemo did not help. He died a little over a year later. And as Leslie describes it, Ben’s last year was not a pleasant experience for him, since he had to deal with complications from all the procedures he’d had done.
This scenario is far too common. What many people do not know is that “chemo,” as it is often called, is not very effective as a remedy. For example, a 2004 study revealed that, after cancer has metastasized (spread beyond the original site), as Leslie’s husband Ben’s had, adding chemotherapy to radiation and surgery increased a patient’s 5-year survival odds by just a fraction over 2%! Those are not promising statistics. Furthermore, research has shown that cancer patients who do nothing at all live longer than those who go with conventional treatment, a sad comment on the current state of affairs.
Where’s the Progress?
In spite of the nearly half-century long War on Cancer, the disease still claims millions of lives every year. Meanwhile, the number of cancer cases in the U.S. continues to grow. The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in every 2 men and 1 in every 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. If we’re going to win the war, those are not the sort of statistics that we should be seeing.
Obviously, the ideal situation is to avoid the problem by not getting cancer in the first place. One of my intentions with these e-letters is to provide you with plenty of information on how to stay healthy and avoid the disease entirely. We all know, however, that things happen, and unfortunately, cancer is one of those things. The world we live in is awash in toxic substances. They taint our air, water, food, homes, clothing, furniture, and much more. Is it any surprise so many people are being diagnosed with serious ailments like cancer?
Sorting Out the Options
So while the incidence of cancer continues to increase, cures remain elusive. In spite of that, integrative practitioners – myself included! — continue to search for safe, humane, effective treatments that preserve the patient’s health while targeting only the cancer cells. The goal is to allow the patient to lead as normal a life as possible, while managing the cancer the same as one would any chronic illness.
This approach may seem radical. But considering the disastrous side effects of conventional chemotherapy, many patients actually prefer to live with cancer, and use integrative medicine’s less harmful techniques to keep it under control. Doing so has another benefit that appeals to many patients. In addition to the possibility of avoiding dangerous, painful standard treatments, approaching cancer as a chronic illness allows physicians and patients to practice what’s known as “watchful waiting.” In other words, we keep an eye on small, non-aggressive cancers while leaving them in place. This practice eliminates the very real problem of cancer “seeding” – spreading cancerous cells into new areas of the body – which may occur during surgery, as well as biopsies and even some screening procedures, such as mammograms.
Watchful waiting is a practice that’s now even being embraced by mainstream medicine for some types of cancer. For example, in 2012 the New England Journal of Medicine reported that as many as 1.3 million cases of breast cancer during the last decade did not require treatment and could have been monitored safely while the patient lived a normal life. And, since prostate cancer often tends to be slow growing, patients are often counseled now to follow the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) recommendation to “Take Time To Decide,” before electing an aggressive treatment plan.
Of course, there are times when more aggressive treatments are necessary. And even then, integrative medicine is providing patients with options that aren’t available from many traditional oncologists. Conventional cancer treatment consists of three basic strategies – surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Typically, these are the only resources in their tool kits, and that’s truly a shame, because there are other, highly effective options for treating the disease.
Finding a Better Way
Fortunately, integrative physicians have taken cancer care to an entirely new level, with gentle, innovative, life-sparing treatments. One such treatment that I am having great success with is known as Insulin Potentiation Targeted Low Dose chemotherapy (IPTLD). Although few people are aware of IPTLD, it has been around since the 1940s. It is not voodoo or magical thinking; the practice is thoroughly backed by science. Here is how it works:
The first step in an IPTLD procedure involves the use of insulin to carefully lower a patient’s blood glucose (sugar) level. Cancer cells are particularly fond of sugar. In fact, that’s their favorite “food,” because it allows them to continue growing and spreading. When the patient’s blood sugar level reaches very low levels, the cancer cells become desperate for more. They open their insulin receptors wide, struggling to scarf up whatever remaining glucose they can find.
When the patient’s blood sugar hits rock bottom – a point known as “the therapeutic moment” – the physician administers a very low dose of chemotherapy, usually only about 10 percent of the standard amount, sometimes along with other substances, such as DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide), which enhances its effectiveness. Since the insulin has primed the cancer cells, they readily soak up the chemo. Meanwhile, the doctor administers glucose to bring the patient’s blood sugar levels back to normal. “The process was so painless,” Leslie recalled. “Nothing like what Ben went through when he had chemo. I literally went home afterward, spent some time gardening, and then went out to dinner that evening. It couldn’t have been easier.”
Since the chemo dosage is so small, it doesn’t damage healthy cells like conventional chemotherapy. Most patients go home, return to work and their families, and continue to lead normal lives. The infamous nausea, hair loss, and mouth sores caused by traditional chemotherapy rarely occur with IPTLD. That’s because chemo is designed to attack rapidly dividing cells, like cancer cells, first. Unfortunately, the cells in the intestines and mouth, as well as hair follicles, are among the fastest-dividing cells in the body, so these usually receive a hefty dose of ordinary chemo and patients suffer the consequences with debilitating nausea, mouth ulcers, and hair loss.
Although the reduced dose of chemo is one of the main attractions of IPTLD, there is another benefit from adding insulin to the equation. Chemotherapy is most powerful when it contacts a cancer cell during the process of cell division, when it is most vulnerable. And since insulin stimulates cell division, IPTLD basically gives cancer cells a one-two punch, hitting them at their weakest point.
In addition, there are other benefits to IPTLD. For one thing, using lower doses of chemo drugs costs far less than standard doses. Furthermore, insulin seems to enhance the effectiveness of certain drugs used in chemotherapy. For example, one study found that the effectiveness of the drug methotrexate was boosted by a factor of 10,000 with the addition of insulin!
IPTLD has been shown to be effective against a wide range of cancers, including prostate, lung, stomach, colon, and breast, as well as melanoma and lymphoma. Even some cancers that are more difficult to treat – ovarian, renal cell, and pancreatic cancers, for instance – have been shown to respond to IPTLD.
There are a number of other innovative cancer treatments being offered by integrative physicians these days. If you or someone you know has cancer, please take the time to seek out second and even third opinions from doctors who are open to alternative methods. Look for a physician who has been practicing for years and has developed a solid track record, has verified statistics, and offers patient testimonials to back up claims. It may take a little effort, but the benefits to your health are more than worth it. I think Leslie summed it up well when she told me, “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was a little worried about trying something unconventional. But I knew I couldn’t go through the same treatments Ben had to endure. Now I just wish more people knew that there are better options when treating cancer, especially for chemotherapy. I’m cancer-free now and plan to stay that way for a long time.”
Last Updated: August 16, 2018
Originally Published: April 8, 2014