Mistletoe and Cancer
Mistletoe could be the next heavyweight in the fight against cancer, says Dr. Paul Stallone.
Now that the holidays are over, we may be looking at some mistletoe among the wrappings and decorations. Surprisingly, mistletoe could be the next heavyweight in the fight against cancer. Effective therapies to treat cancer are desperately needed as cancer rates are expected to double by the year 2030; that means one in two men will develop cancer and one in two-and-half women will have the same fate. Cancer isn't going anywhere, and if our society can't get better at preventing it, then we need better ways to treat it.
Showing such great promise that even John Hopkins recently published an article on it, mistletoe has been used since the time of Hippocrates and since 1917 to treat cancer. Cytotoxins are substances that are toxic to certain cells. Mistletoe contains a very important cytotoxin called viscumin. Viscum album extract (VAE) attacks the membrane and structure of cancer cells inducing apoptosis, or cell death. Tumors thrive by creating their own blood vessels. VAE is anti-angiogenic, meaning it limits the tumor's capacity to create its own blood supply.
The majority of European physicians use VAE in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Germany uses VAE the most, with 80 to 85 percent of physicians utilizing this integrative cancer therapy as it increases the long-term survival of cancer patients. A German study completed by Dr. Ronald Grossarth-Maticek, from the Institute for Preventative Medicine, showed that VAE increased survival time by as much as 40 percent with certain cancers.
Common side effects from conventional therapies like low white blood cells, low platelets, low red blood cells, nausea and liver toxicity may all be reduced by VAE therapy, which has also been shown to reduce pain and improve overall quality of life. Another invaluable benefit of using VAE is the protection of the DNA in normal cells during the use of chemotherapy.
Cancer becomes more problematic when it metastasizes, or spreads, to other parts of the body. VAE promotes platelet aggregation, which is the gathering of platelets like clots, which can help prevent the spread of cancer cells. A significant concern when surgically removing a tumor is leaving cancer cells behind that are likely to roam throughout the body. Some studies have shown a prevention of metastatic spread when VAE was used before and after surgery. VAE also promotes recovery post-surgery.
Studies have shown VAE targets cancer cells while stimulating the immune system; however, there's more to a person than just the physical aspect. VAE also helps regulate a person's emotional well-being by affecting symptoms like depression, fatigue, hopefulness and insomnia.
VAE is only available with a physician's prescription in the U.S., and with good reason. While side effects are very rare, they can occur, although they are usually minor allergic reactions. People with heart problems or that are on MAO inhibitor antidepressants should not use VAE because they will have a greater risk for serious reactions.
There are three types of mistletoe therapy. Factors such as age, gender and type of cancer will determine which type is appropriate. While VAE has been used safely by thousands of patients and physicians, it should only be administered under the supervision of a knowledgeable physician.
Paul Stallone, NMD, founded the Arizona Integrative Medical Center, located at 8144 E. Cactus Rd., Ste. 820, in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-214-3922 or visit DrStallone.com.