Over a million people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer every year. Despite cancer being one of the most common causes of fatalities in the world, there are a striking number of cancer survivors who successfully manage their conditions with a range of treatments and lifestyle changes. According to statistics, the rate of cancer survivors is on the rise, with an estimated 17 million as of January 2019, and a projected rise of up to 22 million by 2030.  This is great news for a condition that is often met with much pessimism.
Many health professionals are often surprised by the rapid remission rates in their patients, especially in those who recovered using natural healing treatments, rather than conventional ones like chemotherapy or radiation. Unfortunately, science doesn’t provide much credibility to alternative healing routes, and many patients are met with intense pressure and pushback by doctors who try their best to deter patients from trying alternative healing therapies. Recovered patients are told that their cancer healed due to spontaneous remission, negating the work and dedication involved in their healing journey and hailing alternative therapies as lacking any scientific research or credibility.
Cancer: A Profit-Driven Disease?
The medical industry is heavily funded by pharmaceutical companies. Revenues received from selling cancer drugs increased by up to 96% in the last 10 years, with an estimated profit of 103 billion dollars in 2019.  Each year, the FDA approves novel cancer drugs however these treatments come with a hefty price tag, drug manufacturers are able to charge patients upwards of 100,000 dollars per year with high co-pays resulting in most Americans being in severe medical debt. Oncologists are also permitted to profit from prescribing chemotherapy drugs to patients. Reports state that while doctors in other specialties write prescriptions, oncologists buy cancer drugs wholesale at discounted rates and then make a profit by selling them at marked up prices. Insurance companies have also been found to be offering unfair incentives such as bonuses to get oncologists to prescribe more expensive treatments. 
The survival benefits of conventional therapies are relatively slim making doctors unable to provide patients with any solid guarantee of recovery. Studies have found that in patients suffering from stage one to three breast cancer, chemotherapy reduces breast cancer by an average of 30%. If the patient is under 50, treatment yields at least 10% absolute survival benefit, this number drops to 2% for patients over 50.  There is also the issue of developing side effects related to chemotherapy drugs, such as congestive heart failure or cognitive decline, which increases with age. These problems have led many patients to explore other treatment options to treat their cancer, like diet and lifestyle.
The most popular natural treatment option for cancer is the Gerson therapy which involves flooding the body with an abundance of organic fruits and vegetables to help the immune system fight off cancer from within.
Fighting Cancer with Nutrition
The treatment was developed by German doctor Max Gerson in the early 1900s. During this time, the doctor was suffering from consistent painful migraines which he sought to treat by implementing changes to his eating habits. After trying many food elimination strategies, he discovered a special plant-based diet that cured his migraines indefinitely. Amazed by his new discovery, he then attempted to use his treatment on 460 tuberculosis patients, of which 456 showed complete recovery. Doctor Gerson was also approached by many cancer patients who, like the tuberculosis patients, displayed complete recovery after undergoing his treatment. His numerous successes shook the medical community but there was much pushback from other medical and pharmaceutical professionals who rejected his claims.
Today, the treatment is still considered controversial and patients are often deterred by their doctors from trying these alternative therapies due to them lacking scientific evidence. According to the Gerson Clinic, the Gerson therapy is the first of its kind to treat cancer as a systemic disease. Doctor Gerson viewed cancer and other diseases as being caused by an accumulation of toxins in the whole body. The treatment aims to strengthen the body’s natural immune system to ward off disease while excreting harmful toxins. The therapy lasts a minimum of 2 years and consists of an organic, plant-based diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and juices every hour. The influx of nutrients in the diet claims to activate the immune system and facilitate healing and wellness. Salt, sugar, and processed food are prohibited. The diet is also free from oils, fats, meat, fish, and caffeine, other than in the form of coffee edemas. Nutritional supplements are encouraged to support the body’s metabolic processes. Coffee edemas also form an important part of a patient’s daily routine to detox the liver and increase its efficiency.
The Food Cure, a recent documentary made by Sarah Mabrouk, followed six patients who decided to use the Gerson Therapy to treat their cancer. The patients ranged from six months to 67 years of age with different types of cancer including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The documentary spanned over two years and followed the patients’ self-guided treatment progress, providing regular updates every six months. Throughout the documentary, the patients continued to be seen by their doctors to monitor the growth of their tumours and receive updates about any progress made. During their two years of self-guided treatment, the patients experienced many difficulties including financial hurdles to obtain up to 20 pounds of fresh, organic vegetables a day as well as other supplements. However, the improvement in their cancer prognosis motivated them to keep going. Of those six patients, four achieved complete recovery due to their strict adherence to the diet, proving that hard work and consistency are key.
According to the Gerson clinic, drinking fresh juice is one of the main components of the treatment. These juices include orange juice—which is full of vitamin C, and various green juices containing lettuce, escarole, endive, red cabbage, beet tops, swiss chard, green bell peppers, watercress, and green apples—especially the Granny Smith variety. Carrots are also an important vegetable in the Gerson treatment diet.
The Benefits of Juicing Fruits & Vegetables
Patients on the Gerson therapy are required to drink up to 13 glasses of freshly pressed juice per day. The goal is to provide the patient’s body with an influx of vitamins and nutrients to boost the immune system to its highest capacity in a bid to destroy cancer cells and remove toxins. The treatment method provides a clear message that consuming a high amount of fruits and vegetables has the potential to prevent and cure disease.
Orange juice is packed with vitamin C which is believed to help destroy cancer-causing cells. In 1970, Doctor Linus Pauling suggested that high doses of vitamin C could provide a cure for diseases, including viruses, heart disease, and even cancer. He hypothesized that increasing vitamin C consumption could strengthen the human body’s ability to fight off these diseases and allow patients to recover more quickly. A study he conducted in 1976 confirmed his hypothesis when he concluded that terminal cancer patients displayed increased survival times and symptomatic relief after receiving intravenous injections containing high doses of vitamin C compared to a control group. However, like Doctor Max Gerson, his claims were considered controversial and criticized by the rest of the medical community. Despite winning two Nobel Prizes, he was just viewed as a mere chemist by senior doctors in the medical field and his theories were quickly pushed aside.
Today, much research has been conducted on the effect of vitamin C on common diseases, including cancer. The majority of scientific studies highlight the positive effects of vitamin C, including improved quality of life, and a reduction in chemotherapy-related side effects in cancer patients.  Many studies have also attempted to display a link between higher survival rates in patients receiving IV vitamin C compared to control groups , however, it’s currently difficult to make conclusive statements as research in this field is still ongoing.
So Does Vitamin C Really Help Fight Disease?
There is much disparity in the realm of vitamin C effectiveness but the general consensus is that it can definitely provide some help. While most patients in the above studies received vitamin C intravenously in high doses, smaller doses of vitamin C consumed via fruits are also good. Health professionals typically recommend up to 100 milligrams of vitamin C per day, which can be easily obtained from eating a balanced, healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Just one 8-ounce glass of fresh orange juice can provide up to 67% of a person’s daily recommended intake of vitamin C.  Its rich source of antioxidants also helps repair damaged cells as well as boost the body’s natural defences against disease.
Oranges are also high in folates, also known as folic acid, an important vitamin for cell and DNA health. This important vitamin may also help prevent cancer as studies have found that individuals with an imbalance of folic acid may have a higher predisposition to cancer.  Dark green vegetables including spinach, kale, broccoli, and lettuce are also good sources of folic acid. Furthermore, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been associated with a lower risk of developing kidney disease.  The high amount of fiber present in vegetables is also great for preventing constipation and maintaining a healthy digestive tract. While individuals don’t necessarily need to consume 13 glasses of fresh juice a day, they can certainly benefit from incorporating a wide range of fruits and vegetables into their diet to ward off disease and maintain a strong immune system.
Avoid Cancer-Causing Food
Eating a diet high in processed food containing an abundance of sugar, salt, and saturated fat is detrimental to the human body. The human digestive system is incapable of breaking down ultra-processed food and the degree of processing involved in their manufacturing takes a significant toll on the body’s ability to successfully digest the food, leading to cancers like colorectal or stomach cancer. Processed meat is also known as a Grade 1 carcinogen identified by The International Agency for Research on Cancer. According to them, even consuming just 50 grams of processed red meat each day can increase the risk of cancer by 18%.  This risk increased to 20% in individuals who consumed processed red meat four or more times a week , indicating the harmful effect of processed meat on the body. Processed meat is considered anything that is modified to improve flavour, appearance, or shelf life. It includes packaged ham, bacon, hot dogs, canned meat, and fast food meat products. Many processed meat contains chemical preservatives like sodium nitrates, nitrites, and artificial sweeteners, amongst other things. These are all considered carcinogens that can harm the lining of the bowel during digestion, leading to bowel cancer. 
Other processed food such as chips, cookies, and common store-bought breakfast cereals are also very damaging to the body as they are full of additives and unnatural ingredients that the human body can’t digest. Consuming such food on a regular basis can severely harm your gut lining leading to digestive problems and chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
Have you heard of the saying sugar feeds cancer? Many studies have confirmed that cancer cells rely on an influx of glucose to rapidly grow and spread. This is said to happen because of insulin-glucose dysregulation and inflammation. One study found that the risk of cancer in individuals who regularly consumed sugary beverages increased by 58%.  Another found a link between artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, and increased cancer risk.  Aspartame is commonly found in diet sodas, zero-calorie sweeteners, certain chewing gums, cereals, jello, and other various sugar-free products. While some companies have opted into using more naturally-derived sweeteners, like sucralose, which is 600 times sweeter than simple sugar, it’s still considered a modified, processed type of sugar. Sucralose can damage the lining of the gut and alter its microbiome by destroying the good bacteria present in the gut, leading to inflammation, diabetes, and possibly cancer.  Currently, the FDA has issued no warnings against artificial sweeteners and sucralose continues to be used by diabetics due to its minimal effect on insulin levels. However, some studies have found that sucralose may disrupt hormone levels and inhibit proper metabolism leading to obesity in studies on mice.  Further studies are required on humans to make conclusive statements, however, obesity is commonly a risk factor for cancer. Experts recommend reducing or eliminating refined or processed sugar from your diet as many cancer cells use glucose as their primary fuel.
A vast number of individuals have cured their chronic diseases including cancer by adopting a healthy diet full of fresh greens, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. The Mediterranean diet is a popular choice among many individuals wishing to take more control of their health as it’s full of brain-boosting and low-glycemic food, making it perfect for everyone, including diabetics. Gastrointestinal oncologist Jeffrey Meyerhardt found that the Western diet significantly increased cancer survivors’ risk of cancer recurrence by up to 80% compared to those on a Mediterranean-style diet high in vegetables, fruits, poultry, and fish.  Meyerhardt found that those patients whose cancer returned regularly consumed a diet consisting of red and processed meat, saturated fat, refined grains, and an abundance of sugar—a typical example of the modern Western diet which provides the ideal breeding ground for cancer and other chronic diseases. This draws a clear picture that diet is partly to blame for many of the common diseases present in modern society.
While conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation remain the preferred treatment prescribed by medical professionals, it’s still a good idea to take your diet into consideration as many of the foods you consume could be contributing to your condition. Learning about the ways in which food can nourish and protect our bodies is the first step toward reducing chronic disease. Being more conscientious about the types of food we purchase has the power to change our health for the better, allowing us to live longer and enjoy life to the fullest.
-  Cancer Statistics
-  Sales Revenue from Cancer Drugs
-  Insurance Companies Offering Unfair Incentives to Encourage Sales of Cancer Drugs
-  Survival benefit needed to undergo chemotherapy: Patient and physician preferences
-  Therapeutic Use of Vitamin C in Cancer: Physiological Considerations
-  The synergy of Vitamin C with decitabine activates TET2 in leukemic cells and significantly improves overall survival in elderly patients with acute myeloid leukemia
-  5 Surprising Health Benefits of Orange Juice
-  Folate and Cancer
-  Dietary intake of fiber, fruit and vegetables decreases the risk of incident kidney stones in women: a Women’s Health Initiative report
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-  Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk: Results from the NutriNet-Santé population-based cohort study
-  Gut Microbiome Response to Sucralose and Its Potential Role in Inducing Liver Inflammation in Mice
-  Potential Mechanisms for NNS-Induced Metabolic Deviances: Satiety Hormone Secretion and Alterations in the Gut Microbiota
-  Study suggests low-GI diet may keep cancer away
This article was originally published by The Epoch Times.