Post #1: Maximizing chemo and minimizing side effects

Highlights from the International Integrative Oncology Conference – San Diego, April 2016

presentation by Sean Devlin, DO, HMD

Dr. Devlin presented an overview of cancer statistics. Relevant to this audience:

  • • 50% of new cancer cases occur in 55-74 age group
  • • 53% of cancer deaths in 65-84 age group
  • • lifetime probability of developing breast cancer in women is 1 in 8
  • • new cancer cases in US in 2015: Men 848,000, Women 810,000 (29% breast, 13% lung)
  • • cancer deaths in US in 2015: Men 312,000, Women 277,000 (26% lung, 15% breast)

He then presented a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology which shows that cytotoxic chemotherapy does not significantly contribute to the 5-year survival rates in adult malignancies (2.1-2.3%) and its continued use in the face of high costs and significant loss of quality of life should be re-evaluated. He presented another study from the American Cancer Society that showed that there was no significant change in the overall death rate from cancer from 1950 to 2002, which also seems to indicate that all that money and pain from cytotoxic chemo isn’t getting us anything. Meanwhile, there have been vast improvements in death rates by heart disease and cerebrovascular disease during that period.

Two methods that increase the efficacy of chemotherapy and minimize its side effects:

Fractionated Chemotherapy – Dr. Devlin presented evidence on fractionated or, low dose, chemotherapy to maximize effectiveness while reducing side effects and treatment costs. Working on the “fractional kill” hypothesis, more cells will eventually die if you use chemotherapy in lower doses and higher frequency and there is less chance of recurrence when you apply the same principles in a maintenance program. Evidence suggests that this method not only inhibits the cancer’s ability to make its own blood supply, but that is restores your immune system’s anti-cancer response and induces tumors to become dormant.

Insulin-potentiated therapy (IPT) – Human breast cancer cells have 6x more insulin receptors and 10x more IGF-1 receptors than normal tissue cells, giving cancer an advantage. But, this also makes it possible to deliver a “smart bomb”, using insulin and/or IGF-1 as a Trojan horse to search out and bind to the cancer cells and deliver a low dose (but deadly to the cancer), targeted dose of chemo to those cells only. This is similar to how Kadcyla works on HER2+ cancer. I get a perverse pleasure in imagining the look on cancer’s face when it realizes it just swallowed the bomb. : ) IPT was first used to treat cancer in 1946. That original patient survived and lived disease-free for another 30 years. Dr. Perez Garcia was the original doctor and his son and grandson have followed in his footsteps, and have continued to offer IPT with great success in their medical clinic in Tijuana. Dr. Devlin presented several peer-reviewed studies which demonstrated the success but I have to admit I did not catch the increase in survival rate. 81% of the 196 patients studied, however, reported a significant improvement in their quality of life after treatment.

Interesting food for thought to discuss with your oncologist, perhaps.


This post is part of a series covering the Highlights of the International Integrative Oncology Conference – San Diego, April 2016. Click for more posts.

I attended the 14th annual International Integrative Oncology Conference in San Diego as well as the accompanying Answers for Cancer Summit. The former is directed towards integrative oncologists and other cancer care professionals and the latter is for patients, caregivers, and other “laymen” interested in integrative therapies. It is put on by Annie Brandt, a 15-year cancer survivor and founder of the Best Answer for Cancer Foundation (www.thebestanswerforcancer.org) and I was truly impressed by the credentials of the presenters and the quality of the information presented. Truthfully I was a little over my head at times during the professionals conference as they bandied about acronyms faster than I could Google. Although they presented slide upon slide on medical research, I am not including the complete references for the most part because of the time required. I am only providing highlights, and only of subjects I deemed relevant to our day-to-day lives as cancer patients. I have tried to translate into laymen’s terms and provide just enough information so that you can research more fully on subjects that interest you. I encourage you to discuss these subjects with your oncologist. It was very comforting and refreshing to be surrounded by doctors and health professionals who absolutely understand the role of diet and lifestyle in fighting this devastating disease and incorporate this knowledge into their oncology practices.

Disclaimer: Nothing contained on this website should be construed as medical advice. I am not a doctor. I am a Stage IV breast cancer thriver who is currently NED/NAD and simply sharing what I did, and do, and why. Please research anything I share to determine if it is a good path for you. Bless you all on the path you choose.




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