There’s been much hoopla in the press lately about a study which, according to the New York Times, turns standard medical practice of the last 100 years on its head! Researchers found that some women with early breast cancer (about 20% of all breast cancer patients) do not need a painful procedure that has long been routine: removal of cancerous lymph nodes from the armpit.
In our view, this is an advance from just routinely yanking out lymph nodes without regard for the severe and permanent side effects, but, sadly, the basic thinking about cancer and how to treat it has not fundamentally changed. Conventional medical thought goes something like this:
If we surgically remove a breast lump, we’d better also grab some arm lymph nodes to see if the cancer’s spread. That way we’ll know better how much post operative chemo or radiation to use. Okay, after this study, we won’t do this so much for some women, but we still may have to take out a node or two. Even though we know the cancer often returns, at least we’ll try to prevent or stave it off by chemically killing every cancer cell we can find.
First of all, the removal of any number of lymph nodes is no small matter. The lymphatics are organized into two separate drainage systems, right and left, and work in concert with other body systems to perform vital functions:
- Aid the immune system in destroying pathogens and filtering waste.
- Act as a holding system to remove excess fluid, waste, debris, dead blood cells, pathogens, cancer cells, toxins, etc. from cells, tissues and blood so that everything can function smoothly. As the body is able, this waste is gradually removed via the normal elimination channels.
- Also, work with the circulatory system to deliver nutrients, oxygen and hormones from the blood to the cells that make up all the tissues of the body.
These nodes can increase or decrease in size throughout life, but if damaged or destroyed, nodes do not regenerate and normal drainage is blocked. Excess lymph accumulates and causes swelling or lymphedema. Missing nodes under the arms can result in severe pain in the whole area. There is no cure for this, only palliative care such as massage or physical therapy to try to reduce the build up throughout the life of the patient. Patients also will need to work very hard at keeping the liver, blood, colon and kidneys clean in an effort to take some stress off the violated lymph system.
As long as conventional thinking holds that the tumor is, in effect, the disease, this kind of mutilation will go on. Treatment will continue to be focused on trying to eradicate every last cancer cell with combinations of protocols, such as chemotherapy and radiation, which can harm healthy cells as well. The patient can suffer devastating side effects and recurrence because the immune system becomes further suppressed by toxic treatments that may buy time, but have no intrinsic healing properties. The yardstick of success is the 5-year survival rate.
The biological or Biorepair approach, supported by FACT for 40 years, views the tumor as a symptom of a systemic problem. Therefore, there’s no point in trying to kill every last cancer cell because the body will just go on producing more if the underlying chemical imbalance is not corrected. A comprehensive non-toxic healing program (Biorepair) energizes the immune system to scout out and remove cancer cells wherever they may be in the body. It rebalances and strengthens all body functions in order to restore healthy cell production and well being. The tumor may linger, then gradually shrink or disappear, but the yardstick of success is long term recovery.
We’re waiting for the study that compares patients who underwent standard treatment with those who, after surgical removal of the tumor*, if surgery was called for (all lymph nodes intact!), were put on an individually-designed Biorepair program. Such a study would likely find that, in time, the vast majority of patients in the Biorepair cohort would test NED – “No Evidence of Disease,” going on to enjoy their full life expectancy. No need for follow up chemo or radiation – the body did the job. That will be a study over which to have a lot of hoopla!
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* In our view, the tumor is not the cause of cancer, but sometimes surgical removal may be called for if it’s blocking a natural function, causing pain or, perhaps, has become so psychologically debilitating that the patient can’t relax enough to actively participate in a comprehensive healing program. We suggest that such patients state in writing to their surgeon that they do not want removal of any lymph nodes or surrounding tissue during the operation. Instead of further weakening the body with post-operative chemo or radiation, our experience is that this would be the time to get on a good, individualized Biorepair program that will strengthen the immune system and repair whatever weak links, nutritional deficiencies, etc., caused the problem.