Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy
Non-Toxic Biological Approaches to the Theories,
Treatments and Prevention of Cancer

Our 52nd Year

Q&A? By Ruth Sackman

Here’s a sampling of questions posed in years past to Ruth Sackman (1915-2008), FACT co-founder and former President. Given the incredible deluge of information and misinformation available today – in the conventional, as well as alternative realms – these questions remain as relevant as ever!

Q. Would it help the cancer patient to take megadoses of vitamins and minerals to improve host resistance? Health publications have been so contradictory that the more I read, the more confused I get.

A. The aim of a good metabolic program designed to enhance host resistance is to rebalance body chemistry. The indiscriminate use of megadoses of vitamins and minerals will do just the opposite. Supplements should only be used when a deficiency is first determined and in amounts that the system is capable of metabolizing. The body can discard the excess, but this puts an undue strain on the eliminatory system which has a lot of important work to do to maintain homeostasis. It is also important to use only good quality supplements from food sources and without coloring, preservatives or synthetics. There are junk vitamins in the health food stores, just as there is junk food in the supermarket. Consumer beware!

Q. You’ve had many articles in your magazine critical of the use of soy products. Is it possible to get the genestein, claimed to be a deterrent to breast cancer, in a form other than soy?

A. Yes, genestein is found in nearly all the dried beans (legumes) and whole grains. Such sources would eliminate the troublesome aspect of soy – the inhibition of enzymatic function. Enzymatic function is so absolutely essential for competent metabolism of all food. Without enzyme competence, food cannot be broken down to its microscopic components and available for cell production.

Q. Could you explain why taking calcium in supplement form is so bad for people who have had cancer? I got breast cancer and am menopausal. Every doctor – and in fact every health book and article I have come across – recommends eating calcium-rich foods, but also says that one cannot get enough from food, therefore, women in my position should take a calcium supplement.

I always remember that at the FACT convention, one of the speakers said categorically that cancer survivors should not take calcium in supplement form. I have kept to this, but my bones are deteriorating badly. This, in spite of very careful eating calcium-rich foods and daily exercise.

Obviously, vitamin and minerals from food are the most accessible to the body and therefore preferable. What is so dangerous about taking a calcium supplement in addition to eating well? I got the impression that if I took calcium tablets I would be risking a recurrence of cancer, but I don’t really understand why.

A. Calcium from food or a food source is balanced with other essential synergistic elements. Most supplements are manufactured from inorganic or synthetic calcium, which is missing these elements. In order to be able to metabolize the calcium, the body will have to drain the missing material from other areas. If the calcium is not synergistically sound, in time it can create a calcium deficiency. I have had more than one person come up to me after a lecture to say that they developed a calcium deficiency after taking calcium supplements even though they had had no osteoporosis problem.

Max Gerson, M.D., renowned pioneer in metabolic therapy for cancer and other chronic conditions who ran a natural cancer clinic in Nanuet, NY, was opposed to calcium supplements. His conclusion came from many years of clinic experience.

From my experience with many cancer patients, I do not think that the problem is necessarily insufficient calcium intake because Nature has wisely provided an abundance of calcium in the food supply. Indeed, calcium is one of the most plentiful of all the minerals. More likely, the problem is the inability to metabolize calcium because of limited thyroid function. If the problem is incompetent calcium metabolism, taking exaggerated amounts of calcium supplements will not correct calcium absorption. Dr. Gerson used Armour’s Thyroid (not Thyroxin or Synthroid, typically prescribed pharmaceuticals) in his protocol. Also, I understand from a number of doctors we work with that breast cancer patients in particular tend to need thyroid support. A simple test can determine thyroid competence. If that is the problem, it’s easy to boost thyroid function with natural thyroid supplementation.