Archive for December, 2007|Monthly archive page

Anthracyclines Found Wanting

 This is taken from Dr. Ralph Moss’s website, he puts out a regular newsletter called The Moss Report which is full of interesting articles.

One of North America’s leading cancer researchers has delivered a major blow against a group of chemotherapy drugs that are widely used in the treatment of cancer. These drugs, known as anthracyclines, include epirubicin (Ellence, Pharmarubicin), idarubicin (Idamycin), and doxorubicin (Adriamycin).Adriamycin is currently a mainstay of breast cancer chemotherapy. However, earlier this year, at a private forum held at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting, Dennis Slamon, MD, PhD, director of the Revlon/UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program of the University of California at Los Angeles, revealed that his research had shown anthracyclines to be effective only in a small minority of women with breast cancer. For perhaps 90 percent of women, these drugs have little or no benefit – and carry the risk of some potentially very serious adverse effects, including cardiac damage.

For our previous reporting on Slamon’s work, see our newsletter at:

Slamon, whose research played a pivotal role in the development of the targeted anticancer drug Herceptin, presented dramatic new data on anthracyclines in mid-December 2007 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Speaking at the conference, he remarked that continued use of anthracyclines on a “one-size-fits-all approach is just crazy and it’s medically dangerous.” According to his presentation, both retrospective and prospective data show that the anthracyclines only benefit women who have a specific tumor profile that includes an amplification of both the HER2 receptor and the topoisomerase IIa gene (Topo IIa). Such dual gene amplifications occur together in only 8 percent of breast cancer patients. This means that 92 percent of women who receive this toxic drug derive no benefit from it whatsoever.

“When we didn’t have an alternative and when we didn’t know how to identify the women who would benefit, it made sense to use the drugs,” Slamon told the San Antonio gathering.

The anthracyclines – particularly Adriamycin – yield about a 5 percent improvement in overall survival, explained Slamon. But that is because they have a big effect in a small minority of patients, with no effect at all in 92 percent.

Some oncologists (such as Jerome Groopman, MD) have dubbed Adriamycin “the red death,” because of its striking rose-red color and its potentially fatal side effects. Adriamycin and the other anthracyclines are especially damaging to the heart. Adriamycin’s label contains this dire warning:

“Myocardial [i.e. heart muscle] toxicity manifested in its most severe form by potentially fatal congestive heart failure may occur either during therapy or months to years after termination of therapy. The probability of developing impaired myocardial function… is estimated to be up to 20 percent at the highest doses. This toxicity may occur at lower cumulative doses in patients with prior mediastinal irradiation or on concurrent cyclophosphamide therapy or with pre-existing heart disease.”

I think this FDA-sanctioned warning speaks for itself.

Slamon also discussed new data showing that when Herceptin was added to standard chemotherapy the results were as good as when Adriamycin was included. Essentially, the latter drug is unnecessary for all women who are candidates for Herceptin. Similar results have been seen in eight other studies.

Critics point to the fact that Slamon is a paid consultant for Genentech, the drug company which manufactures Herceptin. They also point out the fact that his data and conclusions have so far only been presented as an abstract, and as an informal discussion in the context of a meeting, rather than in the form of a paper published in the peer-reviewed medical literature. But given Slamon’s status in the world of breast cancer research and treatment, his work, preliminary though it is, should have a major impact on oncologists’ prescribing practices.

Eric Winer, MD, of Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Center, who moderated the San Antonio Breast Cancer Conference session at which Slamon presented his data, told the Associated Press: “We are backing off on chemotherapy and using chemotherapy more selectively” (Marchione 2007). He further remarked: “It will make me very happy if we can get rid of Adriamycin and its inherent cardiac toxicity.” But he stopped short of endorsing Slamon’s attack on the anthracyclines. “I’m not ready to say that this is an agent that doesn’t have a role – yet.” Dr. Winer also said the debate over Adriamycin doesn’t signal a “rift in the breast cancer community.” Right. It’s more like a chasm.

Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.


A Great Conversation About Liquid Zeolite From Another Blogg

This doesn’t exactly clear up whether Zeolite works or not, but its an incredibly interesting conversation and shows the difficulties out there in knowing what is good to buy or not.

Budwig Diet

 This is information I pasted from, an interesting site with alternative views, they email you info too.  I tried this mix of cottage cheese and flaxseed and it tasted good.  It has to be all organic and it seems to make sense.  Regardless I can’t see what harm organic cottage cheese and flaxseed everyday could do.

(NewsTarget) Do you think the cure for cancer is yet to be discovered? That’s what the pharmaceutical industry and the pink ribbon folks would like you to think. But this is far from the truth.

One of the least known well-documented cures for cancer was created by a German biochemist and physicist named Johanna Budwig in the 1950’s. Dr. Budwig was a leading authority on fats, oils and nutrition. She believed that cancer, as well as the vast majority of illnesses, was primarily caused by the improper processing of foods and oils, particularly the overheating or boiling of oils. Her patients were those so terminally ill that traditional medical practitioners had given up on them, with many having been given only days or hours to live. She treated these patients with a simple diet based on a combination of flaxseed oil and sulphurated protein.

While studying the blood samples of cancer patients and healthy persons, Dr. Budwig concluded that those with cancer had gross deficiencies of phosphatides and lipoproteins, while those without cancer did not. This deficiency resulted in a reduced oxygen level in the cells. It is well known that cancer cells can thrive only in an anaerobic environment. Her task was then to create a method by which cells could be re-oxygenated. Noting that saturated fats lacked the necessary pi-electron shells necessary to provide the high energy levels needed to effect oxygen transport, she discovered that unsaturated fats were the key in obtaining these pi-electrons. Flaxseed oil provides linoleic and linolenic fatty acids, both rich in high energy producing pi-electron. These fatty acids render the body able to assimilate and transfer immense amounts of oxygen into the cells, allowing for oxidation and detoxification of cellular waste. They also enable the restoration of the lipid membrane of cells so essential to intra and extra cellular balances.

Another significant aspect of Dr. Budwig’s work is her acknowledgement of the connection between the human body and the sun. She demonstrated that when the body is nourished with health giving oils and proteins, the pi-electrons serve as a resonance system for the sun’s energy.

As you can see, the Budwig diet is not really a method of curing cancer in and of itself. It simply helps correct an omega 3 deficiency that, when corrected, allows the body to heal itself. The benefits of this diet are not confined to those battling cancer, but extends to the healing of those with liver dysfunction, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, stomach ulcers, eczema, immune deficiencies, MS, IBS and other diseases. Its value as a preventative cannot be overstated.

There are thousands of documented cases of recovery from cancer with the Budwig diet. For her research and practice, Dr. Budwig was nominated for six Nobel Prizes. She was also subjected to endless vilification and harassment by the orthodox medical establishment, and the German pharmaceutical industry. Publication of her clinical studies and research papers was refused. However, her books are now widely available and can be purchased from and other book sellers. Johanna Budwig lived to be 95 years old.

Ironically, in 2001 Duke University announced a new pilot study they were conducting that suggested that flaxseed oil and a low fat diet can help those with cancer.

The Budwig Diet consists of a flaxseed spread; and a mayonnaise made from flaxseed oil, low fat cottage cheese or yogurt with perhaps the addition of honey, fruit, garlic, cayenne, herbs, fresh squeezed fruit juice, ground flaxseeds, or a little water. One of these mixtures is taken 2 or 3 times daily. Meals consist of nutritionally dense whole foods.

Sugar is forbidden on the diet. This is because the cell takes up glucose (sugar) and gives off lactic acid which creates an acidic environment in the body. Cancer needs an acidic environment to flourish and cannot survive in an alkaline environment. Also forbidden are animal fats, all salad oils including commercial mayonnaise, meats containing chemicals and hormones, margarine, and anything containing preservative (preservative blocks the metabolism of flaxseed oil). Sweetening may be accomplished through the use of fruit juice or honey. Warm tea made of peppermint or rose hips is recommended. Black tea may be taken in the form of one cup per day.

The specifics of the complete Budwig diet may be easily researched online. For people wishing to fit the Budwig approach into today’s lifestyle, particularly as a preventative, it may be easily done by blending ¼ to ½ cup of low fat organic cottage cheese with 2 to 3 tablespoons of high quality flaxseed oil. Stir this mixture quickly until the oil and cheese are well blended and no pools of oil can be seen. Blending is accomplished when you can hold a spoonful upside down for a few moments and the mixture does not fall out. Eat it once or twice a day. Although this may sound unappetizing, it is really easy to get used to. Addition of cumin or dillweed with cayenne pepper makes is yummy.

About the author

Barbara Minton is a school psychologist by trade, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using “alternative” treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.

A Lucky Day – Death Makes You Think

Well, no one else has stolen my identity today but thats not why it was lucky.  I started out by waking up around 7:30, late for me, especially as I had planned to go to Social Security Admin today, yuck!!   So, dressed, fed the pets and got into the car to drive to SSA, which is in Santa Rosa, opposite Pennys at the Cottington Mall.  Well, I found it without any trouble.  First sign of luck.  It was around 8:35 when I arrived and I approached the door only to see a sign saying “open 9-5” well, a government agency that doesn’t make you get there at 8, thats cool.  However cool required a wait, and I was second in line at that point and not about to lose my advantage.  So I stood there until 8:50 which is the magic time they can let people in at the SSA.  After declaring that I had no pocket knife or pepper spray or cell phones turned on I was free to wait until 9 when, being second in line, I was called right away.  This must be a dream I thought.

What Was That?

Well, I explained my problem (a letter from Medicare saying they were taking over my healthcare insurance from Medi-Cal but not giving me a card or number to ID me.)  At first the woman said that I didn’t need a card for Medicare, but she would send me a temporary one to my home address which was still not in the system, even though I had called in a change of address to SSA on the phone.  That was about six weeks ago so probably it was on its way to be corrected, can’t expect things to happen overnight.   She told me that Medi-Cal was now paying my Medicare (?) and that the $95 that medicare had taken out of my disability would be paid by the state instead.  She also told me that I didn’t have an ID number, but mine would be my social security number plus a certain letter of the alphabet.  How do government employees master this strange version of English where everything sounds like it makes sense, except when you think about it when it disintegrates into something else.  Well, its strange, but very lucky don’t you think?

Anyway I found out what I needed to know, I am covered, probably can still use my Medi-Cal card and should continue paying my $20 co-payment each month to Medi-Cal.  Good glad that is cleared up.  I tried to see if she knew anything about whether any of the providers for Medicare would be more likely to pay for alternative health care . . . you can try right?  She told me I would have to go to a Medicare office (didn’t know they had them, would have gone there first) because they hadn’t been trained in Medicare, lucky them, I visited the website and staring at it glassy eyed was about all I could do with the info provided.

Success, To Be Followed By . . .

 Hopefully more success.  I was already in Santa Rosa so I thought I would go to my oncologists office to get my medical records which were overdue.  I was anticipating a problem as no one had called to let me know they had been copied.

I arrived at the Clinic and asked first for the radiology department, so I could get copies of films (CTs PETScans, XRays) that had been taken recently.  The receptionist told me to go to the basement, which I did. 

It certainly did still look like a basement, I think it was about 7 feet tall and the building’s pipes hung overhead the worker’s heads, I can’t imagine working there and not banging your head on a pipe once a day.  Anyway they were a nice bunch of people there and all I had to do was ask and they put together a CD just for me.  Wow that was easy . . . this is when I thought perhaps I should drive over to Reno and put it all on red.  But, first I had to get those renegade medical records.  I took a deep breath and went upstairs.  I asked the office receptionist for my medical records and after she contacted the person responsible for this, lo and behold I received an apology for not getting them to me, and they were copied as I waited.  Took about ten minutes.

 See What I mean?

Surely this must be my lucky day.   But this was not all, I returned home to find an email from an old friend who had found my blogg and thus me.  That is lucky indeed.  This would be my friend Nancy Fox who was Dirk Dirksen’s secretary for years and one of his best friends too.  I met Nancy at the Mabuhay Gardens and we have many punk style memories and a few selling food at the Mab and a few more that can’t be gone into here.  Anyway it was wonderful to hear from her again, and Nancy once she contacted me and was certain that it was the Christine Lowry that she had known, then contacted another old friend of mine Charles Jackson.  Charles wrote and another bundle of memories poured out.

Death Makes You Think

Certainly a death sentence is a call to action, makes you think about what is important to you.  When I had my second diagnosis I narrowed down my values to: pets, friends and family (which should be one and the same word.)  There is little that provides more comfort, security, companionship and security than a pet or good friends don’t you think?  And when no one else will take you, your family is usually there.

Grapes to Cure Cancer

Well, another day, another piece of information comes my way.   This time from my sister in law Rita who sent along a link to

which give lots of information about alternative cancer cures. 

I was reading about a special cancer diet they have, there are plenty about, this one sounded strange, just organic concord grapes smashed together and consumed for 12 hours of the day and spring water for the rest of the 24 hours.  The grapes contain many ingredients that work to fight against the cancer.   Funnily enough, even though I despise grape juice (I have a bottle in the fridge that someone gave me – its been there over six weeks) this diet really resonated with me at some level.  I think that at my next doctors appointment (January 2) I will ask his OK about doing this – I’m asking because you cannot take ANY supplements while doing this diet and supplements were big with him.  Six weeks of grapes and nothing else?  Well, you read about it and see if it doesn’t sound possible as a ‘cure’ though.

Smelly Pore Puss

Yes, they said that during this diet you detox so heavily that hideous smells often emit from your pores, and everywhere else.   I know from the blood smear that Daniel Dunphy showed me (wow I’m still impressed by that) that the chemo looks pretty threatening (rough and jagged-looking, sort of like broken slate) and it made me sick enough going down, heres to it making others sick when it comes back out.  Tee hee.

That Darned Identity Theft Again

Well, darn and blast, today I got a call from my credit card company, I was listening and figuring out how to tell her I didn’t want whatever they were pitching when she offered to ‘patch in’ an officer Collins from the South San Francisco Police Department, well – I clued in.  This was not an ordinary sell-you-something-you-don’t-need call from the credit card company, they had gotten my attention now.

How Did This Happen?

Mostly, by my not paying attention I guess.  Last year I stayed at a friends house in San Francisco for about two months, I hadn’t bothered to give a new address to the credit card company, possibly because I didn’t want to see the damage I was causing, so my friend and I saw less of each other I got used to not checking my credit card bills. 

However, a couple of months ago common sense kicked in and I did call one credit card co. and gave them my new address.  This was the card which had been used.  By all accounts in August (which was before I did the change of address and didn’t see my bills regularly) someone used my card to stay in a nice hotel in South San Francisco (well, I presume at $275 or so a night it was nice), the charge was originally allowed but then someone from the credit card company called to cancel it. 

Its the end of December now and I am just hearing this?  And why would my c.c.c. (credit card company) think that was so unusual that they called to decline the charge?  They must know me way better than I think, its sort of creepy.  Anyway my card is now cancelled and another will be on its way in about a month I suspect (that 7 business days seems to always run over).  But I sure don’t understand how this happened, 1) how did they get to pay using my card number but not have to show ID or a card (via internet, but an ID would have been required at check-in?  2) why did the c.c.c. think this was a charge they should decline?  (I paid $800 for my doctors visit three months later so there was room on the card).  And 3) why are the detectives calling me in December about an August charge, did they find receipts with the imposters? – that sounds unlikely.  Lots of questions, but from now on I think I will be the uber conservative when it comes to my credit cards.   Perhaps no more ordering on the internet, ouch – I’m not sure I can function properly without ordering stuff on the internet. 

Anyone out there have any suggestions as to how this could have happened?


Well, this was one of the first supplements I tried, sounded like a miracle cure.  The description on the box tells it pretty simply: “The zeolite’s honeycomb-like framework of cavities and chanels (like cages) works at the cellular level trapping heavy metals and toxins, removing them safely and naturally from your system”.  It was pretty expensive for something that in another form can be bought for $4 to clean out aquariums.  It cost me around $260 a month for the volume which was suggested by the seller (not a doctor or even close).  

I was supposed to be able to be cured or notice a difference by the end of three months, but all I noticed was  a lighter wallet.  To their credit my kinesiologist said that it was doing me a lot of good (but maybe just to clean out my system).  My CEA levels (levels indicating the amount of active cancer in the blood) rose to very high levels while I was taking this so it didn’t work on my tumor, which is the reason I tried it.

Once I started ordering this zeolite I received the same promotional materials the sellers did, which said that if you ordered enough (didn’t say how much) you would be given a free trip to Las Vegas (well, not exactly free – paid for by the person ordering the Zeolite.)  This pretty much sickened me and really put me off Waiora, the company that produces the Zeolite I bought. 

However, maybe you have a different experience, let me know if you have tried this and noticed any difference, or just as importantly didn’t notice any difference


This is from the Moss Reports, you might want to google them


In another blow to the use of chemotherapy in the treatment of lung cancer, researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research have found that chemotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in people 65 and older has a minimal impact on survival.

Rebecca M. Woodward, PhD, a former research associate at Harvard University, used US government data to calculate the life expectancy of patients after they received a diagnosis of lung cancer. She and her colleagues combined survival data with information from the government’s Continuous Medicare History Sample File to calculate lifetime treatment costs.

Over the 15 year period between 1983 and 1997, the life expectancy for older NSCLC patients improved by an average of 0.6 months, or just 18 days. But the cost of treating such patients skyrocketed by $20,157 per patient. Medical economists judge the cost-effectiveness of a treatment by the standard yardstick of how much money it would take to increase survival by one year. The cost of treating lung cancer in this patient population comes to $403,142 per life-year. The more advanced the cancer, the more expensive each day or week of increased survival. Specifically, it costs $143,614 per life-year for localized lung cancer, $145,861 for regional lung cancer and a whopping $1,190,322 for metastatic NSCLC. Almost all the 18 days of extra survival achieved between 1983 and 1997 occurred in patients with localized cancer.

Cigarette smoking is of course the major cause of non-small cell lung cancer. Smoking cessation programs have an average price tag (in 1995 dollars) of $2,587 per life-year saved. Thus, preventing lung cancer is more than 100 times more cost effective than treating it! (Cromwell 1997)

Rebecca Woodward and her colleagues believe that the treatment of lung cancer should be reevaluated. “Given the number of patients affected and dollar values involved, a clear analysis and frank discussion of what has transpired in the big picture of cancer care is necessary to establish the background for our medical, political and economic discussions. Our results indicate that marked improvement has not occurred to date in the case of spending on non-small cell lung cancer treatment for those aged 65 and older,” Dr. Woodward said.

The researchers also said caution should be used before encouraging more intensive care for patients with lung cancer without considering the impact that such interventions might have in terms of the cost, and the potentially deleterious effect of treatment on patients’ quality of life.

Not everyone is ready for a frank discussion of chemotherapy’s failures, however. Some authors have commented that recent advances in treating lung cancer – particularly two FDA approved drugs, Iressa and Tarceva – have radically altered this picture by making the treatment of NSCLC more effective.

“Treatment and supportive care have dramatically improved, as witnessed by arriving at second- and third-line treatments,” Joseph Aisner, MD, chief medical officer at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey told the online journal, Hem/Onc Today (Brinson 2007).

But have these drugs really brought about a “dramatic improvement” in the treatment of lung cancer? In one clinical trial, the median survival in Tarceva-treated patients was 6.7 months compared with 4.7 months for patients in the placebo group; i.e., the actual gain in survival was 2 months. The time to pain progression was 2.79 months in the Tarceva-treated group vs. 1.91 months in the placebo group, a gain of about 3 weeks. And progression-free survival averaged 2.23 months in the Tarceva-treated group vs. 1.84 months in the placebo group, amounting to a gain of just 12 days. So at best we can expect that the addition of Tarceva may add an average of 2 months to the survival of patients with NSCLC, with a concomitant increase in adverse effects. (Whether the elderly population will respond in similar fashion remains to be seen.) As to Iressa, a 2004 clinical trial found “no added benefit” in survival when Iressa was compared to standard chemotherapy alone (Herbst 2004).

The failure of chemotherapy in NSCLC reminds us that there is still an urgent need for effective preventive strategies as well as for a vigorous exploration of non-conventional approaches to treating the disease.

Almost Christmas

Well, how time flies, I still am not ready for Christmas, but I guess it is going to happen regardless.  Eventually I went to Social Security to see about my Medicare card which never arrived.  I got there just as they opened and only waited about ten minutes to get seen.

The Wrong Place At The Right Time

Well, of course the first thing they said was that they only deal with Medi-Cal there, which turned out to be alright as I also needed to know whether I was still covered by Medi-Cal (until I get my medicare stuff taken care of).  It seems that the computer says I am so “yeah!” though at  the moment all that it would pay for would be the physical therapy I need for my neck.

Getting My Medical Records Straight

Well, my ploy to call the nurses at my oncologist’s office to help get the correct medical records to give to Dr. Slavin backfired.   I got a call from the office a few days after I left my message telling them I needed help getting the records together. 

I called the office and after a while realized that the nurses had just forwarded my message on to the medical records department.  I hadn’t wanted them to do that because the last time I asked medical records to send my records off to a doctor they said ‘sure’, asked for the fax number and then never sent anything off – so I paid $360 for an appointment with a doctor who had no idea what was wrong with me.  So now I have been left with the option of picking up a copy of my whole file and working out what I should copy and send to Dr. Slavin.   I will also have to go to the radiology department separately to get films to send to him. 

I really expected a bit more help, but my doctors office is just way overwhelmed with work and all I get are excuses (about a month ago I asked my nurse practitioner if she knew of alternatives to chemo, she said she would have the research nurse call me, I got one call saying she was overworked and would get back to me, never heard from her since). 

This I find sad and it upsets me; when you only have a life expectancy of a few months, for someone to blow you off like that is disheartening.  BUT the good thing is that this reinforces how right I was in my decision to stop the chemo.  I have been reading more and more negative articles about chemo and will start posting them on this site.  If anyone has any experience with chemo please comment – negative or positive or just a description of what happened.  I really would like to get a database going.

Back Home

Well, it seems like a long time, but I had to take a break, I went down to Southern California to see my parents at their 60th wedding anniversary, along with my aunts Gwynneth and Kathleen I rarely see and one uncle Tony whom I hadn’t seen for about ten years. 

I had a great time, went boating, ate way too much food (the Cheesecake Factory especially, their portions were immense), walked up and down malls and even spent some money. 

Desperately Seeking Christine

I am happy I went, however I messed up the arrangements somewhat . . . I arrived at LAX on time from my flight from Santa Rosa.  Things seemed to be going OK, although a little voice in my head was warning me about something.   I didn’t realize until I reached the outside of the terminal at LAX that I had forgotten to tell my aunt which airline I was flying on, or that I was flying from Santa Rosa (I had lived around San Francisco for decades so she naturally thought that that would be my departure airport).  

Anyway it tooks hours to get together, I felt like such a dufus for not giving more information.  But all ended up OK.  

Tangled Up In The Water

The next day we went out sailing by Dana Point and saw seals and sea lions sleeping on the contraptions (don’t know the correct name, but they are huge markers) about a mile out to sea, there were many pelicans too – we saw one get caught up in a fishermans line (but he became unhooked none the worse). 

It was a great trip and I even got to steer for a while. 

 Supersize Me

Later we did much malling and then the Cheesecake Factory where we probably put on 5 pounds between us.  We enjoyed it though. 

The Big Surprise

The next day was my parents 60th wedding anniversary and we all met at the Rusty Pelican, and the surprise was complete!  My parents opened many anniversary cards, I found out that my request for the White House to send a card had been granted, and they had liked the photo of the Bushs that had come with it. 

One day later I left which still gave me the chance to spend time with Mum, Dad and Aunty Kathleen. 

 Health Update

It was a great visit and I felt healthy thoughout, barely a twinge of pain.  Truly a good trip

Naltrexone – Have you tried this?

Naltrexone is a medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating heroin and opium addiction. In very low doses, it is proving to be amazingly effective in treating certain types of cancer–with minimal side effects and at a price anyone can afford.

For more information about Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) in the treatment of cancer, visit

http://www.webspawn ldnforcancer/ index.html

 This is the kind of thing I would like feedback on, has anyone tried this stuff, was the result positive?  What kind of side effects?  And how affordable is affordable?