Category Archives: Cancer

Conventional Cancer Research is in the Dark

02- diagnostics

Conventional research is often screwed up and here’s an example.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association evaluated factors related the survival of dogs with bone cancer. The study very carefully analyzed how the combination of surgery, various chemotherapies and radiation therapy related to how long the dogs lived.

As with any study, the authors ended with a discussion of their results and an acknowledgement of the limitations (things that could affect the results that were not addressed) of the study. The problem is that not only did the researchers not address the use of alternative medicine; they failed to even acknowledge that they did not factor it in.

In one study, 76% of owners of pets with cancer seeking care at a veterinary teaching hospital confessed to their use of some form of complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) therapy. This percentage most likely underestimates these treatments since the survey selected for pet owners who were seeking conventional cancer treatment (excluding the more committed CAVM-minded people who would never consider that option) and because some owners who use CAVM on their pets are reluctant to divulge this information to conventional veterinarians for fear of ridicule.

In the bone cancer study, the authors were surprised to find that “… 12 of the 90 (13%) dogs in this study did not receive chemotherapy and still would be considered to have prolonged survival time…” There is little doubt that most if not all of these animals were receiving herbs, supplements and/or other CAVM therapies. It is inconceivable that these owners would have done absolutely nothing to help their dogs fight this disease. CAVM therapies undoubtedly contributed to the unexpected, prolonged survival times of some of these dogs as well as other individuals in this study.

A medical literature search yields many high-quality studies demonstrating the effectiveness against cancer of such natural compounds as mushrooms, curcumin, melatonin, and many more. It is very likely that such therapies played a role in the positive treatment outcomes of many of the dogs in this study.

Unfortunately conventional veterinary oncologists are not up to date on CAVM therapies for cancer. The specialists I’ve talked to are not at all interested in it. This dismissive attitude will keep them in the dark about what is really happening to their patients and in their studies.

Including data about CAVM therapy use in future studies will make the information gathered more meaningful, will further the development of integrative oncology, and ultimately will improve the care of all cancer patients. (Good luck with that) Let’s face it, studies that look exclusively at conventional care will never result in a complete understanding of cancer treatment success and failure.

What is your experience using CAVM therapies on your pet?

Are You Promoting Cancer in Your Pet?

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Cancer is a terrible disease that is all too common in our beloved four-legged friends. Studies show that 1/3 of all dogs will die of cancer and half of all dogs that make it to 10 years of age will get cancer. For some specific breeds the odds are even worse. A staggering 3/4 of all golden retrievers will develop cancer. I actually heard one veterinary oncologist refer to this breed as “golden tumor dogs.”

Why so much cancer? Well, certainly genetics plays a role as can be seen by the increased incidence in goldens. However, it is estimated that only 15% of human cancer deaths are caused by faulty genetics. Studies also show that up to 1/3 of human cancer cases are preventable by diet alone. Factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and obesity are much more important than genetics when it comes to cancer.

In fact, cancer is considered a cultural disease. It turns out that the US has one of the highest rates of most cancers and there are more cases in urban areas. People who move here from countries with low cancer rates have the same risk by the second generation. Certainly their genes did not change that fast. Apparently, living in the USA causes cancer.

What is it about our culture that promotes cancer? My bet is that the high consumption of processed convenience foods is a major factor. Many Americans are also addicted to carbs – which are known to promote cancer.  Then we have cancer promoting toxins in our environment such as fire retardant chemicals in carpeting and furniture, lawn chemicals and polluted air and water.

Our pets are victims of these same cancer causing issues. Studies have found that processed pet foods contain carcinogens. They are also packed with carbohydrates which feed cancer. Even if you are feeding raw your pet cannot escape indoor and outdoor pollutants. That’s why I say that if you are not doing something to prevent cancer then you are promoting it. That is just a fact of life in the USA.

I have recently discovered a supplement that contains phytonutrients that help prevent cancer (and much more). It is made with 100% human grade ingredients and is standardized for quality. Nutrocept is a tasty powder that can be mixed into moist food or mixed with water to form a gravy to top off dry food.

Stop promoting cancer and start fighting it.

Does Your Pet’s Food Cause Cancer?

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Pet caregivers rely on government oversight to protect their four-legged family members from pet foods that contain potentially harmful ingredients. We assume pet foods are nutritious, and more importantly, safe. Unfortunately, neither of these assumptions is true.

I have already written about nutritional issues with processed pet foods. Here we will explore a safety issue – namely the potential for pet foods to contribute to the pet cancer epidemic.

A recent study done by the Consumer Council of Hong Kong found that some dry dog and cat foods sold in the USA contain aflatoxin B1. This pet food contaminant is produced by molds that are commonly found in poor quality grains – just the type that end up in pet food.

Grain is the perfect growth media for mold. (If you don’t believe me just check the loaf of bread that’s been in the drawer for a week). There have been several pet food recalls in the past few years because of high levels of aflatoxin. At these high levels, this poison causes liver failure and death. Even the pet food industry frowns on this blatant carnage.

However, low levels of aflatoxin are acceptable by the pet food industry even though these small amounts are known to be carcinogenic (cancer causing). In fact, a Purina representative told the South China Morning Post that aflatoxin B1 was an “unavoidable natural contaminant” found in grains such as corn, barley, and rice.

Hey, I know a way to avoid this carcinogen – DON’T FEED YOUR PET PROCESSED FOOD! Dogs and cats were not designed to eat grains or other sources of starch for that matter.

Aflatoxin is only a small part of the connection between pet food and cancer. It is well known that heating meat and carbohydrates at high temperatures (as happens with the processing of pet food) creates heterocyclic amines which are a type of carcinogen.

A 2003 study found carcinogenic activity in 24 out of 25 commercial pet foods. The authors concluded, “From these findings it is hypothesized that there is a connection between dietary heterocyclic amines and cancer in animals consuming these foods.”

A more recent study found carcinogenic compounds from processed foods (specifically one called PhIP) in the systems of 14 out of 16 healthy dogs. These researchers concluded, “A potential role for PhIP in the etiology of canine cancer should be considered.”

It is time for pet caregivers to wake up to the fact that processed diets are not healthy for our pets. As a pet vet, I see cancer all too frequently. Some would have us believe that the reason cancer is on the rise in pets is because they are living longer. The fact is that I’m seeing cancer in younger and younger animals. I believe, and research agrees, that processed pet food is a major factor in pet cancer.

I am not suggesting that you start feeding some outlandish anti-cancer diet. I’m simply asking that you stop feeding a cancer promoting diet. In other words, go RAW!

Raw feeders out there – help me encourage conventional-feeding pet caregivers. Comment on your experiences with your pets.