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There is an Alternative to Conventional Chemotherapy: Scottsdale's Dr. Martha Grout describes IPT, a gentler form of chemotherapy

Dec 31, 2012 10:55AM ● By Martha M. Grout, MD, MD(H)

Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation—this is the mantra of current recommendations for cancer therapy. Treatment options on the website of the Mayo Clinic, the most innovative, progressive care anywhere, are the following: bone marrow transplantation, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and radio frequency ablation.

The incidence of cancer is projected to rise 75 percent by the year 2030. The National Cancer Institute describes the side effects of conventional chemotherapy as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss, mouth sores and pain; sometimes, even persistent long-term side effects, like damage to the heart, lungs, nerves, kidneys or reproductive organs. Some types of chemotherapy may cause a second cancer years later. Death from destruction of the immune system and systemic infection is not mentioned, but happens more often than we would like to think.

Why are we so quick to put chemotherapy first on the list for cancer treatment? Dr. Graeme Morgan, an Australian radiation oncologist, writes, “For most patients, the use of cytotoxic chemotherapy is for the palliation of symptoms and to improve quality of life.” However, Morgan concludes, “The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to five-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3 percent in Australia and 2.1 percent in the USA.” If conventional chemotherapy were less toxic, it might be worth it. But for a 2.5 percent benefit, it is hard to discern the advantages.

There is a gentler form of chemotherapy, known as insulin potentiation therapy, low dose (IPT). This therapy is just as effective as standard chemo, without all the painful and sometimes lethal side effects. Insulin is used to lower the blood sugar, resulting in relatively increased starvation of cancer cells, which require more sugar than normal body cells. Once the blood sugar is sufficiently low, sugar is given intravenously, along with a small dose of chemo (about 10-15 percent of the usual dose). The chemo is sucked into the cells, along with the sugar and concentrates in cancer cells, because they are so much hungrier for sugar than normal cells.

Most patients drive themselves home from treatment, although they may report a little fatigue on the day of treatment. Seldom do they lose any hair at all, and they hardly ever drop their white blood cell counts. They are able to lead normal lives during the course of their IPT therapy, with no wigs and no shots of neupogen to restore blood counts.

IPT, even low dose, is not enough to treat cancer, any more than chemotherapy by itself is a sufficient treatment. For truly integrative cancer therapy, many different modalities are brought into play. It is helpful to know which chemotherapy to use that actually kills cancer cells. It is equally helpful to know which complementary botanical and supplemental therapies could be therapeutic.

As with any medical therapy, it is unwise to rule out anything, because each form of therapy has its use. Chemotherapy does indeed kill many cancer cells. High dose vitamin C kills many others. Anti-inflammatory supplements and spices help to restore balance to the immune system. Nutrients help to sustain the body in its battle. Release of old stuff helps to restore the soul to a place of gratitude and love.

Standard chemotherapy is like an exploding bomb, creating collateral damage to the organism, while IPT, when combined with integrative and functional medicine therapy, is a lifeline to help restore physical function and enable the body to heal.

For more information about integrative cancer care, please visit the website,

Martha M. Grout, MD, MD(H), is medical director of the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-240-2600 or visit