“Metabolic” therapies for treatment and prevention of cancer

For those who may have been tempted by some of the more extreme forms of “metabolic” or “nutritional” therapies as a means to treat or prevent prostate cancer, we recommend reading a brief (and patient friendly) article in this month’s issue of Oncology.

The article, by Cassileth, summarizes available, peer-reviewed data on the use of “metabolic” therapies that are designed to remove “toxins” from the body through bowel purging and a healthy diet, thereby allowing the body to “heal naturally.” Such treatment is based on the idea that cancer and other diseases result from an accumulation of toxins that disrupt the immune system and cell metabolism.

These forms of treatment go by many different names. Among the more common are “nutritional” therapies, the Gerson regimen, Kelley therapy, the Gonzalez regimen, Contreras therapy, and Manner therapy. Such therapies may include very strict dietary recommendations (which can cause nutritional deficiencies), potentially toxic doses of supplements or other agents, and extreme use of coffee enemas.

Basically, Cassileth states that there are no sound data to support the efffectiveness of such treatments, and plenty of data about the potential side effects (up to and including death).

One might expect such a review from a traditional physician. We therefore point out that Dr. Cassileth is actually a specialist in integrative medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Cancer, and a member of the scientific advisory board to The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink.

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