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  • Cynthia Chin-Lee

The best way to prevent cancer recurrence

Updated: Nov 18


Image of ghostbusters
Who you gonna call when you have a recurrence?

The other day at a social gathering, an acquaintance asked me whether I was working on any writing projects. “Yes, I’m always working on something,” I said. Smiling, I added, “An anti-cancer book, not a children’s book.” Then I told her that I was able to reverse my cancer without surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy through diet, nutraceuticals, and hormone blockers.


She looked appalled. “Well, it might have worked for you. But it won’t work for everyone. And just imagine the guilt people would feel if it didn’t work for them,” she said. She looked at me as if I was trying to ruin someone’s life.


It was not the reaction I was hoping for. I agree that the non-invasive strategy I took might not work for everyone. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” model with cancer or health in general. As Dr. Robert M. Hoffman, founder and CEO of Anti-Cancer, Inc. says, “We don’t know enough about cancer to make guarantees.”


Many people choose the conventional, more invasive treatments for cancer that equate to surgery, radiation, and possibly chemo. I can’t say that I’m surprised. From the time I was born in the Washington Hospital Center, I’ve been raised to accept and believe in traditional, allopathic medicine. To tell someone not to follow the conventional treatments of cancer is like a 6-year old telling her best friend that there’s no Santa. She’ll refuse to believe it because those wonderful grown-ups who have been feeding, caring for, and cuddling her her entire life (her parents) have assured her there is a Santa and how do those presents appear under the tree every year if there were none?


Most of us just don’t question the wise people in white coats, who went to four years of undergraduate education, another four years of medical school and probably one to three years (or more) of internship and residency. And all of that with probably fewer than 8 hours of sleep per night, massive college and graduate school debt, and while competing with the cream of the crop comrades, who also want to be MDs.


My dad, William Chin-Lee, was a traditionally trained Western doctor who attended American University (Washington, DC) as an undergraduate and George Washington University (GWU) for medical school. In fact he was the first Chinese-American medical student at GWU. My brother, brother-in-law, cousins, and nephews are medical doctors, some retired, and many active. I don’t knock them at all and turn to them for medical advice with respect and admiration.


But if the conventional treatments of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy don’t work for you because they don’t control the cancer or because your body can’t tolerate the severe side effects of these treatments, then who you gonna call? Ghostbusters?


Or let’s say you have the conventional treatments and for a while you are blessed to be “in remission.” My friend and fellow author Angi Ma Wong (Feng Shui Do’s and Taboos) had breast cancer multiple times, starting in her late 20s, and eventually succumbed to the disease. My aunt had breast cancer treatments in her 60s and later had a recurrence in her early 80s, repeating some of the conventional treatments.


According to Cancer Therapy Advisor, “recurrence rates vary widely between cancer types, and within types according to stage, histology (what your cancer looks like under a microscope), genetic factors, patient-related factors, and treatments.” Because of these many variables, you need to look at recurrence rates with some healthy skepticism. Yet it was the threat of cancer recurrence that caused me to question conventional medicine. If cancer treatments were so effective, why does every cancer patient worry about recurrence? Are conventional treatments taking care of the symptoms of cancer, but not the root cause?


The cancers with the highest recurrence include glioblastoma (brain/spinal cord cancer), ovarian cancer, soft tissue sarcomas (cancers of the muscle, fat, blood vessels, for example), bladder cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In contrast the cancers with the lowest recurrence include cancers treated in earlier stages, estrogen-positive breast cancer, kidney cancer and osteosarcoma (bone cancer). Whatever cancer you look at, though, there‘s always a chance of recurrence. That’s because even if you surgically remove a tumor, radiate it, or poison the cancer through chemotherapy, tumor-initiating cells (TICs, also known as cancer stem cells) are probably lurking somewhere in your body. They’re microscopic and can’t be picked up by scans (ultrasound, MRIs, PET or CT) or blood marker tests.


Lab person injecting mouse with cancer
Thanks to this mouse for proving cancer is addicted to methionine. See the whole story at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9k-XOiIVDg

Thus, one of the best ways to protect yourself from recurrence is to learn to starve cancer of the thing it’s addicted to: methionine. An essential amino acid, methionine, is found in high amounts in seafood, dairy, and meat, especially fish, chicken and turkey. Like mature cancer cells, tumor initiating cells are addicted to methionine. Dr. Wai Leong Tam of the Genome Institute of Singapore reports that TICs “have highly elevated methionine cycle activity” and reducing methionine is an important therapeutic target for patients.


To learn more about starving cancer, join the free weekly Zoom meetings offered by the Nutritional Oncology Research Institute every Saturday at 8 am Pacific Time. For the link, see howtostarvecancernaturally.com.


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