“For the past 50 years, cancer researchers have focused on targeting the genetic mutations of cancer. In the 1920s, the Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Otto Warburg proposed that cancer was essentially a disease of deranged cell metabolism. This inspired the idea of cancer as a metabolic disease, or the ‘metabolic theory’ of cancer.
As with all things, as science progresses, the technology allows deeper insights into these theories and the mechanisms they are built upon. One of the many such revelations is that the energy-producing parts of the cell (the mitochondria) are essentially damaged in cancer, which helps drive a different metabolism in a cancer cell versus a normal healthy cell. And while we can now ‘see’ the changes and differences between healthy and cancerous cells, we can also see what Warburg described is essentially still true.
Is there a crossover in the genomic theory of cancer and the metabolic theory? To simplify this very deep discussion (which is the topic of many oncology books and some excellent reviews), we will summarize the crossover. First, the fidelity of the nuclear genome (genetic material allowing an organism to develop and grow) is tightly linked to mitochondrial function, so if the mitochondria ‘go bad,’ they naturally affect the genome. Cancer activation may be a downstream consequence of changes in energy metabolism (via the damaged mitochondria and genetic changes), creating a cancer ‘snowball effect,’ all of which has significant implications for treatment and prevention.
As you can see, there are not really right or wrong ideas but rather multiple ways of examining the existence and persistence of cancer. The only time these ideas get in the way of preventing, treating, or curing cancer is when the approach to treatment relies on only one theory and ignores the others. Our goal is to honor the science and truth in these theories and describe methods of prevention, intervention, and synergy that will help you receive the very best treatment.”
That’s from Chapter 2 on “The Root Causes of Cancer.”
We’ve discussed the two primary theories of cancer in our prior Notes. (Check out Tripping over the Truth and Cancer As a Metabolic Disease for more.)
Stengler and Anderson describe a third theory: The Cancer Stem Cell / Trophoblastic Theory.
For our practical purposes today, let’s focus on this important point: “The only time these ideas get in the way of preventing, treating, or curing cancer is when the approach to treatment relies on only one theory and ignores the others.”
Again, we want to transcend and include and INTEGRATE.
Ultimately, the answer is: Yes.
And, most importantly, we want to make sure our approach accounts for both.
Which, unfortunately, is where our conventional approaches often fall short.
A sign you may need to expand your team’s theoretical and therapeutic perspective to include the metabolic approach? Your oncologist tells you things like, “Eat whatever you want. Nutrition doesn’t matter.” And/or: Your chemotherapy room is stocked with soda and Cheez Its. :0
P.S. For the record, I love the way Nasha addresses the theoretical discussion: “The genetic mutations considered by conventional medicine as the root causes of cancer are, in fact, modifiable by epigenetic factors. Indeed, it is well established that genetics is the cause of only 5-10 percent of cancers and most of these genes encode proteins that impact mitochondrial respiration. It is mitochondrial damage that causes cancer, not the genes. If the inherited cancer gene does not damage mitochondria, cancer will not occur.”