5 Breakthrough Cancer Cures
In 2016, it's estimated that within the United States, there will be approximately 1,685,200 new cancer cases diagnosed, as well as nearly 600,000 deaths. For years, researchers have searched for possible cures, as they endeavour to unlock the complex nature of cancer and its ability to rapidly mutate.
Although there are still far too many premature deaths due to cancer, doctors now have the ability to treat certain forms. Considering there are more than 100 types of cancers, not all diagnoses are a death sentence. The following 5 breakthrough cures have made a significant difference in terms of overall mortality rates.
The population has differing opinions on chemotherapy, as many prefer a holistic approach if possible. In the early 20th century, the only cure available was surgery, however, this was only effective for cancer masses that were small and localized. Once radiation was introduced, chemotherapy soon followed.
Used after surgery took place chemo was able to destroy any remaining cancer cells in the body. This is known adjuvant therapy, which was first tested effectively in breast cancer, before being used for both colon and testicular cancer as well. Today, combination chemotherapy is often used for fast-growing cancers, such as leukemia.
Humans already have their own natural defense mechanism — the immune system. Naturally fighting diseases, such as cancer, immune function can be somewhat manipulated to work as an effective treatment. This can be done in a number of ways, including the stimulation of one's own immune system. When the immune system is stimulated, it works harder to attack cancer cells.
Another way is 'training' the immune system to attack cancer cells, by adding man-made immune system proteins – also known as monoclonal antibodies. Vaccines and 'immune checkpoint inhibitors' are also available which, over the past three decades, this form of treatment has been an important aspect of cancer research.
3. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Since cancer cells thrive in a low-oxygen environment, many are utilizing the effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). This therapy essentially increases blood oxygen levels, helping the body overcome the one of the key influences behind cancer growth. Originally developed for deep sea divers who suffer from the bends, this therapy has gained a lot of positive attention.
An added benefit, is the reduction of overall inflammation. If undergoing radiation therapy, for instance, HBOT can help reduce inflammation throughout one's joints and tissues. It is recommended this therapy be used in combination with other treatment options, such as chemotherapy drugs or more ideally, a Ketogenic Diet, which is discussed below.
2. Ketogenic Diet
A Ketogenic Diet eliminates all carbohydrates, except from non-starchy vegetables. In turn, individuals replace these foods with high-quality protein sources and healthy fats. This is done because cancer cells thrive on glucose, and since carbs turn into glucose within the human body, the source must be eliminated.
Low glucose levels in the blood, will essentially starve cancer cells. Also, it is believed low protein intake actually accelerates the rates in which cancer cells multiply. Controlling blood-glucose leptin levels has been shown to reduce tumor size. Intermittent fasting is also a key component of this treatment, which essentially trains the human body to use fat as a fuel source, without relying so much on glucose.
1. Personalized Medicine
Redefining cancer and available treatments, options are now moving towards a more personalized approach. Not only is the type and location of cancer important, but it is also specific to the molecular and genetic makeup of the patient. Although still in the early stages, this form of treatment is rapidly evolving.
This gave way to targeted therapy, which took off in the late 1990s. thus allowing doctors to customize treatment, based on individual patient needs. Since then, this approach has improved significantly, as genetic testing and genetic mutations become a key area of interest. New research has possibly uncovered the 'Achilles heel' of cancer cells, allowing researchers to focus on the core mutation within cancer cells.