Do any alternative cancer treatments really work? If you are like me and was presented with a cancer diagnosis, you are left scrambling for solutions. Researching the internet yields hundreds of sites claiming to have alternative cancer treatments. Legally they can’t claim they have a cure but it’s implied. And until now nowhere can you find even one patient online that claims to be cured from their cancer or to have lived longer than expected by using an alternative cancer treatment. Therefore I’m creating this site in the hopes that patients that have tried alternative treatments will document their experiences and will give other cancer patients a repository of information when they are researching.
Naturally I have my story to tell to get this rolling. I am a registered nurse, however, I am telling you about my journey from my role as cancer patient. I also cannot legally claim that I have cured my cancer with this alternative cancer treatment. However, I can give you the facts of my journey and let you decide for yourself if there is a potential benefit. And all of these facts can be 100% substantiated with copies of my scans, the radiologist’s readings, and lab results. I can also prove that I was not under any other cancer treatment at the time. I sincerely feel that this alternative cancer treatment worked for me!
When I began my alternative cancer treatment, I was not currently being treated for cancer. I was fortunate enough to be in a position that they needed it to get bigger before I could have my next round of traditional medical treatment. And likewise I would never advise that anyone avoid traditional medicine. I would never forgive myself if someone chose alternative medicine over traditional medicine, it didn’t work, and they lost valuable time being treated traditionally. There are no guarantees that what apparently worked for me, will work for you, or for your type of cancer. However if you are ever in a situation where you need to wait before starting treatment, or if you’ve been told by traditional medical doctors that there is no chance of cure or nothing more they can do for you, there still may be options.
Throughout my cancer treatment, I had the best care imaginable. All of the physicians and nurses were wonderful, caring, thorough, etc. I know they did everything right with the tools they had available, but despite their best efforts, my stage III colon cancer seemed to progress… But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Briefly this is how it all started. In October 2008 I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I had a laparoscopic assisted sigmoid colectomy in November. Biopsies showed 4 of 32 positive lymph nodes so I underwent 6 months of chemo that ended June ’09. During my first annual follow-up testing in October ‘09 they found an 11 mm spot in my liver that was confirmed not to have been on the preoperative CT or MRI in ’08. This new lesion was read as “suspicious of metastasis”. I was referred to a liver specialist who recommended waiting 3 months to see if more lesions developed before undergoing more surgery (to the liver this time), then following up with more chemo.
I had been keeping a blog on the Caring Bridge site (www.caringbridge.com) to keep my family informed of my current health status. However I didn’t want them to worry about the recent developments until I knew for sure what the plan was. Here is the information I documented for them when I finally informed them of the lesion:
So.. it’s been awhile since I have updated you on what’s going on with my health. So I have a little catching up to do…
As you know the last chemo treatment was June 17th. I had a tough road ahead of me just to even start feeling normal. I was weak, pale, blood work out of whack, had ½ my hair and numb hands and feet, but I was alive. I quit taking the powerful antioxidant I was on because it was too difficult to take and I figured after 9 months and with the chemotherapy, I should be good. Plus I was sort of angry about something I had read on the internet that said during chemotherapy you should not take any antioxidants because they protect the cancer cells from the chemotherapy the same way they protect your healthy cells from it. I may have gone through chemotherapy all for nothing. However the other school of thought was that by protecting your healthy cells taking antioxidants the patient was more likely to complete the course of treatment at the optimum dose and duration. To stay sane I kept that thought in my mind. I stayed on another antioxidant alternative treatment because it was easier to take and since my chemo was completed it couldn’t hurt anything.
I had an appointment with my oncologist in July. Everything looked good. My CEA was still the lowest it could be… <0.5, same as before surgery. But my oncologist and my surgeon both had said it didn’t look like the CEA would ever be an accurate indicator of tumor growth for me because it was always well within normal limits (0-3.0) even when I still had my colon tumor.
The end of September 2009 I celebrated the one year anniversary of my diagnosis with a colonoscopy. After all I’ve been through in the last year, it was a cakewalk! He did find one small polyp that was benign and removed it. Yippee! He still recommended a follow up colonoscopy in a year.
Also for follow-up, October 1st I had a CT Scan of the abdomen and pelvis. Everything looked good except that there was one small 11 mm mass in my liver that was not there before. The Radiologist read it as suspected metastasis and recommended an MRI since MRI is better for a differential diagnosis. The MRI was done October 6th and was also suspicious of malignancy. The radiologists scoured through my scans from October ’08 and couldn’t find any sign of a growth back then, so it was definitely something new. This was VERY worrisome to me as you might imagine!
I contacted my colon surgeon to see what my options were short of throwing in the towel. He said considering my age and general health, that this would be still treatable. He recommended and made an appointment for me with a liver transplant surgeon. Even though I wouldn’t need a liver transplant, I would need a liver transplant caliber surgeon. I had an appointment with my oncologist October 8th. He also told me it could still be curable at this stage. The future looked like more surgery and more chemotherapy. And this time he would recommend a different chemo. The side effects for the recommended chemo would be complete hair loss but not so much on the neuralgia in the hands and feet. He ordered my routine lab which included a CEA. This time is was 0.5. Now as you remember, while this is still very much within normal limits of 0-3.0, now it was registering something above the <0.5 for the first time ever. This was not normal for me! This added to my concern, but I thought maybe the <0.5 was close to 0.49999999 and it just fluctuated enough to register something more. I stopped taking the other alternative cancer treatment I was on because obviously it wasn’t working. Nevertheless I was determined to fight.
I gathered up my scans and took them to my appointment with the liver surgeon October 12th 2009. He looked at my scans and said he didn’t think it was cancerous but he wanted to confer with a radiologist who does nothing but read CT and MRIs of the abdomen. He also ordered lab work and wanted to see me in a week. He said even if it was cancerous, it was still too small to operate on because unless it was visible by intraoperative ultrasound he wouldn’t be sure he could find it. He didn’t want to just take out a piece of liver hoping he would get it. Also, he didn’t want to operate for such a small lesion, and then possibly have more show up in 3 to 6 months requiring more surgery.
I returned in a week for the analysis of the scans and lab work. The radiologist agreed that it wasn’t the typical looking metastatic lesion. They thought it could be an AV fistula. In researching this possibility, this really didn’t seem right to me. AV fistulas don’t just come out of nowhere; usually they are due to trauma, which I have not had. The CEA drawn at this facility (just four days after the CEA at my local lab that was 0.5) was 2.0. Now… since this was drawn so close to the one at the regular lab I had been going to and there was that much difference, I knew it was only explainable by the difference in the labs, but at least now there was a baseline at both hospitals. The decision was to wait, get another CT in 3 months and make a decision then. I accepted that but I knew it would be a tough 3 months trying to go on with my life while waiting for a mass to grow in my liver. But at least it would postpone things until after the holidays. I hoped no one would notice the stress I was under.
November 4th I had another appointment with my oncologist. While he understood and agreed with the decision for the CT in 3 months, he agreed with me that it was most likely a metastatic lesion. He drew another CEA for my regular lab and it was 0.6 (still climbing). Again, while still within normal limits for the general population, this was abnormal for me. When I got that result November 5th, I just knew it had to be steadily growing.
So now… I’m sitting and waiting for a tumor to grow. How big will it be when the three months are up? If the CEA is going up steadily; so is the tumor size. And I’m only 1/3rd of the way through the 3 month wait. All I knew was it was getting larger and I still had 2 months to go of growing before I could find out how much. Plus, whether it’s my imagination or not, I’m starting to have short periods of jabs of pain in my liver area. But the most painful is the waiting not doing anything!
And you are probably all wondering… why didn’t she tell us? Well the answer to that is, I wanted everyone to think I was cured at least until I knew FOR SURE I wasn’t. It was so horrible having to tell everyone when I was first diagnosed. I just couldn’t put my family through that again if there was the least chance that it wasn’t metastasis. I was even thinking and wondering if there was a way I could even go through surgery and chemo without anyone knowing, but it would have to be a damn good wig for that to happen!
So what can I do? I was really down on the alternative cancer hogwash because at this point I thought those antioxidant alternatives could have stopped the chemotherapy from working. And I also kept thinking about when the verdict comes in on the mass, how horrible it would be to have to tell everyone. I could just hear my dad say “You should have been taking that hydrogen peroxide therapy!” I thought, what would I tell him? “Dad, I didn’t tell you but I DID take the crap and it didn’t do any good, ’cause look where I am today, looking at liver resection surgery and more chemotherapy!” Then it hit me. I was not doing any traditional medical treatment right then. I could be using this time to run my own ‘clinical trial’. I had a baseline CT, MRI and CEA (even at two hospitals) and I knew I’d be getting a follow-up CT for comparison. What did I have to lose? The worst thing that could happen is that it would do no good; the best thing is that it does.
So even though I was really down on alterative cancer treatments, I started to research the hydrogen peroxide therapy. What I read was peroxide H2O2 breaks down into water H2O and a free oxygen radical (or oxidant) which supposedly kills cancer cells. This piqued my interest a little because it was the opposite of the antioxidants I was taking before. But to my knowledge at the time, you don’t absorb oxygen through your gut, we have lungs for that and its called breathing. However, I ordered the 35% food grade peroxide (not to be confused with the drug store version which is 3.5% and has preservatives in it, therefore cannot be used for this purpose) for $31.85 including shipping and handling. While I waited for it to come, I continued my research online. One valuable clue I found was that fresh fruit contains natural hydrogen peroxide. This might explain the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. And I never was much of a fresh fruit eater. The peroxide arrived the weekend before Thanksgiving and I started taking the lowest dose. It took 2 ½ weeks to get up to a recommended dose. I fully expected this not to work, but what did I have to lose?
I also read that it’s contraindicated for people that have had transplants since it can cause them to reject their organs. But all my parts were still factory originals so this was not a factor for me.
I had an appointment with my colon surgeon on December 3rd 2009 and told him about my CEAs from my local lab, what the liver surgeon had said, and the plan to wait and get the CT (now in less than one month). He understood my concerns about the CEA but was cautiously optimistic since the liver surgeon and the radiologist he conferred with are rarely wrong. The CT was scheduled for December 28th.
While I waited, I noticed those jabbing pains I was having seemed to have gone away. But I assumed maybe they were only gas pains and didn’t think much of it.
I went to have my CT with my old October ’09 scans in hand. At the time of the scan I asked who would be reading it. I didn’t tell them so, but I was hoping the doctor that the liver surgeon conferred with would read it since he was supposed to be so good. They said the doctor reading would be the doctor working that day at this outpatient imaging center. I was disappointed, but I knew at least they had a digital imaging system so my preferred doctor would look at it if the liver surgeon needed him to. When the scan was over they handed me back my old scans and said “this one would be going downtown to be read” and they didn’t need my old scans, but told me hang on to them because someone sometime will probably want to see them. I didn’t ask why because the tech wouldn’t be able to tell me anyway. But it left me playing different scenarios over in my mind. I knew there was a change but what kind? Good or bad? I knew I’d have to wait until my appointment with the liver specialist in a week. It was a grueling week playing every imaginable scenario over and over in my mind. And also a lot of praying! My whole future, if I had one, hinged on what they told me at that appointment!
Finally the day arrived. The weather was terrible but no one or nothing was going to prolong the not knowing. I sat in the office chair waiting for the verdict as they looked through my records. After a few addendums (he didn’t even see the lesion the first time around), the scan result showed that the lesion was slightly smaller but they still weren’t sure what it was. The (still a different) radiologist suspected possibly another benign hemangioma. I couldn’t believe my ears! I asked “well what types of things get smaller?”! They said quietly… nothing. There was a somewhat confused look on their faces. He asked me to send copies of my ’08 scans because if this was an AV fistula or hemangioma, they should have been present in ’08. (But as I said, I spoke with the radiologist that read the scans in October ’09 and they scoured the ‘08s then looking for something and couldn’t find anything in that area.) He ordered another CEA and the plan was to do an MRI in 3 more months. I held off getting too excited until I got the CEA results. The CEA came back the next day at 1.5 (which is 25% less than their previous 2.0 drawn in October!) a few days later I had another CEA drawn at my regular lab on January 6th and it was back down to <0.5!
So how did this happen? To me… with the CEAs back to my normal and the size of the lesion in the scan both going down, this had to be a metastatic lesion. And the only thing that I changed in the 3 months was taking the hydrogen peroxide therapy! Plus theoretically it was still growing beyond the October size evidenced by the CEAs still climbing in those two months before I started the peroxide. So to see ANY reduction in the size of the October scans is a big thing. It was only three weeks after I achieved the recommended dose on the peroxide that I had the CT scan. The real proof would be in the scan coming up in April. But I fully expected it to be GONE by then. At the risk of creating a monster :-) I had very different news to tell my dad. I feel like I owe my life to my dad! I’m sure the prayers (mine and all of yours) played a huge part, possibly by making my dad nag me so much about the peroxide. And believe me, I was reluctant and didn’t believe it would work so there’s no placebo effect. And how can a smaller lesion be placebo effect anyway? I’m not trying to convince anyone they need to take this. Just because I’m seeing improvement with my type of cancer doesn’t mean this will help another type or even someone with the same type of cancer, but apparently it’s working for me!
I’ll update you on my April scan (which as I said I fully believe it will be gone by then), but in the mean time, I’m living my life!
Since then I’ve been continuing to have scans every 3 – 6 months and CEAs every 3 months, the lesion has been stable in size since March 2010 when it was measured at 5 mm. I honestly believe that since I’m decreasing my hydrogen peroxide dose (I’ve only been taking it twice a week for the last 6 months) and the spot is consistently 5 mm since March 2010, that what they are seeing now is just the leftover vasculature of what was there, but I believe the cancer cells are gone. Somewhere I read online that liver lesions that have been treated successfully with chemo, look like hemangiomas on MRI. So maybe the same is true if treated with hydrogen peroxide. With one exception, my CEAs are all still <0.5 at my local lab. The exception occurred when my blood was drawn four days after I had my colonoscopy (which was clean by the way) in August 2010. My CEA popped up to it’s highest ever, 1.4. I was able to find evidence online that manipulation during the colonoscopy can elevate CEAs even on patients that do not have colon cancer, much the same way a man’s PSA result can be falsely elevated after a rectal exam. And my CEA has been <0.5 ever since.
Of course since I have not had a liver biopsy, there is no real proof that it was a metastatic lesion. However, like the doctor told me when I asked him what types of liver lesions can develop after colon cancer then get smaller without medical treatment, all he could say was “nothing”.
So as I said, my alternative treatment was 35% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide. Please, please, please research this or any alternate treatment thoroughly before taking it. My mission is not to tell you how it works, how to take it, when not to take it, etc. That is not my area of expertise. There are plenty of sites and reams of information available out there just by searching on “hydrogen peroxide therapy” or “oxygen therapy” that provides the mechanism of action, dosage, and precautions, etc. I have provided a couple links to get you started. All I can say is this is what I tried in desperation and it apparently worked for me. Prayer and peroxide were the only treatments I was taking.
Should you decide to try hydrogen peroxide therapy, you may want to consider including flaxseed oil. I’ve read two different resources that claim flaxseed oil enhances the effectiveness of peroxide. Coincidently I had been taking flaxseed oil capsules during and after my chemotherapy to help my nails grow. This might also explain why the hydrogen peroxide therapy seemed to be so effective for me.
For those that are here looking for answers and decide to try the peroxide, I would love to hear from you and follow your progress if you don’t mind. Please either leave a comment, or email me at email@example.com if you would rather remain anonymous.
And for those that have already tried alternative cancer treatments whether it was peroxide therapy or another treatment, now it’s your turn. Please share your experiences so others may benefit. We need to get the word out that, in the event traditional medical treatment fails, there may still be options… and we are living (and thriving) proof!
UPDATE (6/25/2011): Follow this link for the latest update on my health. But if you look closely at the URL it will give you a clue!