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Boosting Your Immune System

cancer survivor x 4's picture
cancer survivor x 4
Posts: 183
Joined: Sep 2009

Good Morning,
It makes sense to me, that the stronger your immune system is, the better it can fight off cancer cells. I want to know what things different people are doing to really boost their immune systems. Nancy707, please weigh in on this, because I know you are doing some different things and I would be interested in hearing about them. I just have serious doubts about second line chemo's. Paula

cancer survivor x 4's picture
cancer survivor x 4
Posts: 183
Joined: Sep 2009

Hello Nancy,
thank-you for responding to my post. Let's see, you were a Stage 3C, clear cell and you have been NED for almost 4 years? It sounds like all of the different things that you are doing to boost your immune system may be working. I am looking into the high dose vitamin treatments and I am really, really, overhauling the food that I buy at the grocery store. Tonight, I am having mushrooms stuffed with spinach and fish. What do you think? Luv Ya, Paula

VictoriaSF
Posts: 165
Joined: Dec 2010

hi,
i am pretty new and i am about to start chemo soon, so i have evidence that it is helping, but i know that eating healthy can not be bad for sure..
i eat lots of green veggies - collard greens, kale, dandelion, cabbage,spinach,etc...
it is great as quick sautee, with some tofu, or over side dish.Shitake mushrooms good too.
also - soups are great too.
same as Nancy - i am avoiding white bread, rice, potatoes, etc...
i eat brown and wild rice, legumes, quinoa- my vavorite - it is great super food, easy to make, can be made as pilaf, easy to digest. i buy both yellow and red and mix together - just for the look.Also - i use seaweed - as addition to soups and stews. can be bought dry at health food stores. not too much meat, more fish. Suppliments - i take reservatrol, CoQ10, A,C,D,E and liquid iron. i do dring hermal teas - but i did that even before cancer, as i can not tolerate cafeine. i dring dendalion tea - it is mils diuretic and cleansing well - liver and kidney.
as for sweets that i like soooo much - i eat little bit of dark chocolate with 80-90% of cocoa.
i hope it will help me to go thrue chemo easier and not gain too much weight
hugs

Victoria

VictoriaSF
Posts: 165
Joined: Dec 2010

i made typo - I have NO evidence that it is helping

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sep 2010

Victoria,
It sounds as if you are on the right track. I work with a naturopath who had stage IV ovarian cancer 20 years ago. She treated herself and is healthy today, but still carries around the tumors, so is very careful about what she eats and does. I am doing what she does to keep me from having a recurrance. A few things you may want to consider:

We don't eat any soy that isn't fermented (including no tofu). Too much like hormones which can aggravate some cancers.

No iron supplements. Iron can aggravate cancer.

No gluten. My naturopath believes that there is a link between gluten intolerance (which she beleives most of the population has to some degree) and cancer.

No grains except millet, quinoa, and buckwheat. Rice has too much sugar and is acidic.

I was advised not to take resveratrol for two days before and two days after chemo, and to discontinue CQ-10 for the whole time I was having treatments.

Also, no using plastic food containers (glass only); no plastic water bottles; no plastic wrap; no non-stick cookware.

Reduce stress and do what it takes to get a good nights sleep every night, take 20 mg melatonin before bed. Get regular exercise.

No alcohol or caffeine, except for green tea. She also recommends Tulsi tea.

I received (an am still receiving) IV C throughout my chemo treatments (60 - 75grams each). Also nutirional IVs. On days I don't receive IVC, I take 1,000mg of liposomal vitamin C or liposheric vitamin C or a supplement called BIOfizz, which tastes better than the other two.

2 grams of curcumin daily.

5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.

4 grams of fish oil daily.

Eat cruciferous vegetables 5 times per week.

Eat a lot of raspberries.

Dark chocolate (80% or more) is actually okay.

Cinnamon with meals helps keep the blood sugar under control, which is important.

The "Cancer Fighting Kitchen Cookbook" is a great resource.

It sounds like a lot, but it is all doable. With my naturopath as my example, I want to keep doing what she is doing.

Good luck.

VictoriaSF
Posts: 165
Joined: Dec 2010

Thank you Kate for such detailed list
i would love to consult with your naturopath , what state she is in?
i too believe food and vitamins can help greatly
hugs
v

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sep 2010

My naturopath is located in Durango Colorado. Her clinic is named Namaste Health Center. Her policy is that she needs to meet a new patient face-to-face on the first visit, but subsequent visits can be by phone.

I am so glad you are looking at things other than chemo to help you. You deserve the best approach.

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sep 2010

I should mention, no curcumin two days before and after chemo. MD Anderson has tested curcumin and found it to be amazingly effective. It reduces inflammation which is huge. They say, however, that no one is pursuing it as a cancer treatment becasue it can't be patented and therefore no one will make money on it. The more you look into these things, the more evident that relying solely on what the FDA approves is not really what is best in fighting this disease. Lifestyle changes are a must. We got sick while living like we did. It makes sense that continuing to live like that is a factor in recurrence.

Disneynutt's picture
Disneynutt
Posts: 135
Joined: Aug 2009

What dosage of curcumin do you take? How many mg? Oh never mind, I see now.

But what is DIM?

Thanks

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sep 2010

Dim is Diindolylmethane, which is the ingredient in cruciferous vegetables that helps regulate the metabolism of estrogens. It's the great thing we get from eating cruciferous vegetables. It is my understanding, however, that prior to taking it as a supplement, you should have your 2:16 ratio tested. This ratio shows how well your body is metabolizng estrogens, and if the ratio is off, taking DIM can cause problems.

I don't recall the specifics about the ratio and taking the supplement, but I read about it in an article which was an interview between Suzanne Sommers and Dr. Wright. The interview may appear in her book.

Cheers,
Kate
P.S. Eats lots of brussel sprouts!

jerickso
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2011

Nancy,
I am interested in your experience with vit C IV. My wife is ovca 3c, optimal debulk 5/5, just finishing last of 18 dose dense (6 cycles) carbo/taxol. Her CA 125 started at 2400+ and was 70 after cycle 5. We are getting a couple of other opinions from doctors to try to decide what to do next. She gets CT scan on 10/5. Meeting with gyn/onc at UW in Dr Goff group (we are currently at Virginia Mason Seattle with Dr Brockmeyer). We met with Dr Chen at CTCA (Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center). He was concerned that my wife's CA125 did not drop faster and still is not normal. He is suggesting weekly low dose carbo/taxol/avastin until in normal range for 2 months. He also is suggesting vitamin C IV in low dose with this. I have read that vitamin C may actually interfere with chemo? But I believe vitamin C in IV form actually turns into hydrogen peroxide and can help kill cancer. Do you know where I can research this more? What is your experience with vitamin C IV - are you still doing it?
Thanks!!
John

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sep 2010

John,
One resource regarding vitamin C is: http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/
I know that some doctors claim that vitamin C can interfere with chemotherapies. I really can't tell you what research they are referring to, but I know a lot of doctors refer back to the Mayo Clinic study that set out to disprove Linus Pauling's research that indicated vitamin C is an effective treatment for cancer patients. The Mayo Clinic used a different treatment schedule and used oral vitamin C in their study. The necessary dosages for cancer treatment cannot be administered orally, so Mayo did not get the same results. My medical oncologist also told me there was research indicating it can interfere with chemo, but I've not seen any negative press, only extensive research indicating just the opposite. I later heard, through the grapevine, that my medical oncologist was treating a recurrent patient, who was refusing chemo, with IVC. I spoke to an integrative oncology nurse who said that the vitamin C IVs sensitize the cancer to chemotherapy. I also went to a hospital in Mexico after my first chemo treatment to receive treatment to boost my immune system and to receive treatment to sensitize the tumor to chemo. IVC was a integral part of their protocol.
I was also stage IIIc, but my debulking was suboptimal. I did vitamin C treatments throughout chemo, but did not do the IVs on the weeks I received chemo. My body really disliked the taxol, but with the IVC I managed to hold my own throughout treatment (8 cycles of carboplatin/taxol/avastin) and never had to delay a treatment. I am 19 months out from chemo, 11 months out from maintenance Avastin, and I still do IVC every other week. When doing these IVs, you also need to have a nutritional IV for every two IVCs, as the high dose vitamin C can strip the body of necessary vitamins and minerals.
I am a huge advocate for this therapy. I hope you can find research that helps you with your decision.
Take care

mom2greatkids's picture
mom2greatkids
Posts: 511
Joined: Jun 2011

Nancy,

When you said you got rid of sugar, do you still eat fruit? I know there are mixed reviews on that. I've always thought that a "God-given" food was healthy. Just interested in knowing. thanks, Carla

anicca's picture
anicca
Posts: 324
Joined: Dec 2010

I think getting enough sleep is very important. I have a chronic sinus infection that started right after I was awake all night (before my dx) and any time I am sleep deprived, it gets worse.

I recently read a short article in the NY Times that a study had shown Swedish deep massage boosted the number of white cells. It was compared to "regular" massage, which did not have as big an effect.

mopar
Posts: 1948
Joined: May 2003

Although I followed a healthy diet before, I'm extra attentive now - sugar VERY sparingly, like holidays, or my special once a day piece of dark chocolate! Lean proteins, veges, berries, whole grains, pure water, I think you get the idea. I do take supplements, especially Vitamin C, DIM, and AHCC mushroom (helps your body produce killer cells). If you have a rebounder (mini trampoline), 1 minute light bounces maybe every couple of hours or so will boost the T-Cells. I continue my weight training which is also cardio, but the resistive training helps to maintain bone mass, build muscle, burn fat, good overall strengthening.

Hope this all helps! (I know I'll think of something else after I post this!)

(((HUGS)))
Monika

Cler
Posts: 26
Joined: Jan 2011

Has anyone tried Biobran? It's a nutritional supplement which is supposed to boost the immune system hugely. (350%!!) Check this link out: http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=1021

It's pretty expensive but seems to work for some people. Although there doesn't seem to be any clinical trials for it. I'm going to try it. It is supposed to boost your immune in just a few weeks. With a Pet Scan coming up I'm hoping it will help kill off some of those nasty cells before! Not sure if it works but you never know.

I too have an organic, mostly vegan diet - occasionally some fish but never meat or dairy. I also think yoga and meditation help to lower stress and boost your immune function and physical activity for at least 30 mins every day without fail - even in chemo!! Visualization is also a new thing I'm trying - who knows, it's free, why not try it!

Cler X

VictoriaSF
Posts: 165
Joined: Dec 2010

Nancy!
bee pollen is great, i used to take for a while, even before cancer.
i had to travel on business a lot and was tired, spend most of my time in china and to support my immune system was taking bee pollen - it had good results
at that time i was buying from local farmers market,
where do you buy? do you by specific brand?
as for DIM and mushrooms - what brand do you buy?
thank you
victoria

Mum2bellaandwilliam's picture
Mum2bellaandwilliam
Posts: 414
Joined: Oct 2010

Not long after mum was diagnosed , I joined ovarian cancer awareness page on Facebook , a lady on there had been taking this and had been in remission for several years , still taking it to this day. Who knows did it help or would she have had her long remission anyway?
I insisted that we got some for mum and she is taking two capsules a day, she never picked up a cold during chemo, depite being around all the grandchildren!
There have also been studies done , and it has been proven to have benefits for cancer patients, although I believe the trial was small and it was carried out in china.
Make of it what you will, I hope it has helped mum.

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Hissy_Fitz
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

I was advised to stay away from raw honey while on chemo becuase of my compromised immune system.

Botulinum spores are found widely in soil, dust, and honey. Adults who swallow botulinum spores are almost never affected, as long as their immune systems are not compromised.
Botulinum toxin is the most poisonous natural substance known to man. The lethal dose is only 0.0000001 mg per kg of body weight -- an amount that would be invisible to the naked eye. This tiny amount in the blood stream can cause death within minutes through paralysis of the muscles used in breathing.

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Hissy_Fitz
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

I wouldn't eat sushi anyway. Where I come from, they call it "bait." ...LOL

Carlene

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sep 2010

Honey equals sugar which we all need to stay away from.

EnglishGal's picture
EnglishGal
Posts: 101
Joined: Jul 2011

I pretty well do what all your other ladies are doing but probably should be doing more, I don't know. I get lots of sleep and nap during the day as well (or try to as my life is pretty busy). I see a naturopath and he has me on two formulas which have really enhanced my well-being (omega 3 fish oil pills and a preparation from Germany called Galium). This is supposed to enhance your enzymes which in turn supports one's immune system. I try and exercise as much as possible and I know improvement is needed here. I try not to worry (hard to do when you've had this disease)! In that vein I will be checking out meditation at our local cancer support centre. I eat well and have given up drinking (although I do miss my wine)! You do as much as you can given your lifestyle. I have printed off this thread as there are some good suggestions here.

EnglishGal's picture
EnglishGal
Posts: 101
Joined: Jul 2011

I also take two vitamin D(3) pills, 1000 mg each every morning.

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sep 2010

We can all use 5,000 IU daily, and more in the winter when we get less sunshine. The emulsified type is better absorbed. Mine is emulsified in olive oil.

Susan777's picture
Susan777
Posts: 97
Joined: Jun 2011

Your immune system is measured by your White count correct? If that is the case my white count never really drops. It started out close to 10,000 and the lowest it has ever dropped is to 3500. After 5 treatments it is at 6700. Everyone in my house has been sick with the flu or sinus infections and I just dont get sick (knock on wood). I at BRCA 1 positive so my cancer was inherited....i wonder how hard my body fought to keep the cancer at bay? Well just one treatment to go for me.....i will be so happy to have this behind me and hope that the chemo doesnt have any long term effects on me.

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sep 2010

White blood cells are a portion of the immune system, and keeping those counts up help your body fight off diseases. But there are other parts and processes that work together to complete the immunity picture. Keeping these other parts and processes tuned up will help your body to stay strong:
•Thymus
•Spleen
•Lymph system
•Bone marrow
•White blood cells
•Antibodies
•Complement system
•Hormones

carolenk's picture
carolenk
Posts: 909
Joined: Feb 2011

I suppose you are including the adrenal glands under the category of "hormones"--adrenal gland function is essential for healthy immune system.

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

hi sisters:

i'm from the uterine cancer board, have upsc, finished two complete cycles of chemo, and now am on high dose vitamin c three infusions a week, then on a machine for 20 minutes 3x week that enhances your own oxygen process, but does not deliver any. plus a long schedule of supplements every day upon arising, then breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime--it's a process just to get the supplements straight and take them when indicated.: tumeric, ivcmax--enhances the vit c), ester c, liposomal c, chaga mushrooms, naltrexone, yes-efa, black walnut hulls in liquid form. i don't even know yet what they're all for, since i just started, plus a shot in the abdoman of iscar 3x week (which is mistletoe). also made major changes in my diet, no sugar, lots of vegetables, raw aged cheeses, coconut oil, cream fraiche, raw kefir (very hard to get because of the fda crackdown on raw dairy, at least in california), raw cultured milk, not much of this, a few eggs since milk and eggs are growth producing, fish, a little grass fed meat, lots of good fats: like coconut butter, ghee, etc. it's a challenge. a

i had a blood test before i started this regime, and will have another in 6 weeks, to see if there is any difference. there are also other processes which have been tried years ago and are still in some use, which is heating my body to a fever of 104, to activate the immune system, plus some other ideas, but not there yet. i do feel a little hopeful about this regime, certainly can't hurt, and frankly i don't think i can face chemo again.

kate, hope you're doing well. i'm going to make a print of your response here, since it's so clear and detailed and helpful.

sisterhood, maggie

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

kate,

i've been blown away by something you said re: your naturalpath: that she's had ovarian cancer for 20 years with tumors and she's been able to control them by diet and supplements? anything else?--probably exercises, meditatation, etc. as well. i've never heard of anyone being able to control the growth of their cancer that long by natural means, yet i'm sure she's not the only one. if i lived near her, i'd be doing exactly what you've been doing, and following her lead, plus whatever else you've found helpful.

can you say anymore about your naturalpath that would be ok for you to share with us? e.g., have her tumors stayed the same, shrunk? are there many? and roughly how big? of course, you may not know all this, or she may not want to share this info. mostly i'm in awe, and would like to know as much as possible about how's she's done this. who knows, hopefully this regime i'm on will show some success, but i'd be tempted to fly out to meet her once in any case. do you think she's knowledegale about upsc as well?

glad you're doing well, kate. i always check out your posts.

sisterhood,
maggie

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi Maggie,
I'm so glad you found someone to work with to give you integrative treatments. It sounds as if you are doing more than I am at this point. Are you considered in remission? Frankly, with the plan you are on, I can't see how any cancer could grow in your body. I am also taking a lot of supplements, as well as Iscador. It changes regularly because I am addressing issues beyond trying to keep cancer away. I've learned, through various tests, that I have Hashimoto's (autoimmunity involving the thyroid), insulin resistance, and it appears I have borderline pernicious anemia. These are all things that may have resulted from the chemo, so my body is still in repair mode. With all these things, and the cancer prevention plan, I take about 60 capsules per day. I might wonder about the sheer amount, but when I was at the hospital in Mexico, they had me on a plan that involved about 50 per day. So, I guess it goes with the plan.
My naturopath is my ray of hope. Although I have been doing integrative therapies all along, it wasn't until I met her, near the end of my chemo, that I really believed there was hope that I could stay healthy. Although I knew the integraive treatments were helping, and I couldn't imagine not taking an integrative approach, I really didn't know that there were ways to keep this disease under control, other than chemo. I don't know the answers to all of your questions. I know that when she was diagnosed, she was stage 4. I don't know the size of her remaining tumors, but I know she has at least one on her liver. She has followed a comprehensive plan for most of the 20 years since her original diagnosis. The five things she focuses on are:
inflammation
hormones
stress
blood availability to the tumor
blood glucose
Most of what she does is aimed at controlling these issues. She is very dedicated to her plan these days. She said, in the past, she has fallen off the wagon at times. As a result, she said she had watched her CA-125 go up. But when she got back on the plan, it would come down again. Just recently, she started following the Paleo Diet, and she says her CA-125 is lower now than it has ever been. She is pretty committed these days to the idea that gluten contributes to cancer. She told me she suspected this when I first started seeing her, but since then, many of the conferences she has attended seem to support this.
I know she is going to see a woman who lives in another part of the state, and has agreed to collaborate with her integrative doctor after having a face-to-face appointment with her. So, if you were inclined to see her, you could probably work something out like that where you see her once in person and then work over the phone. Since you have someone to work with, if that practitioner was agreeable, perhaps they could collaborate. She works with cancer patients facing a variety of cancers, so I am sure she could handle uterine cancer issues.
One test she had me do was a blood test sent to a lab in Germany, where they extract the cancer cells from your blood and then they test them for effectiveness of a variety of treatments including various chemo drugs as well as integrative options like vitamin C. If you find your current treatments overwhelming, this test could identify the ones that would best address the cancer. It is a pricey test, $2,100, but in the long run it might save you momey if it eliminates the ineffective treatments. http://www.biofocus.de/PDF/Onkologie/BF_111_Brochure_M-Oncology.pdf
Many things to consider. Hope you're doing well and the therapies are doing their stuff.
Take care
Kate

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

sister, it's always good to hear from you!. since i just started with this doctor, i'll stick with him for the prescribed 6 weeks, get more lab tests and see where we are, if all this has made a difference. while my chemo doctor at this point does not know whether there has been a progression of disease, my ca 125 went down fast for first 4 chemo cycles, then after 5th, went up 9 points. i stopped before taking 6th. this rise was inexplicable to me. my doctor is not so concerned about it unless it becomes a trend. i had an ultrasound, but they couldn't really tell much from it, so i decided to try this new doctor and regime and go from there. i doubt i'm considered in remission, however i'll probably have a pet scan sometime after the 6 weeks of treatment with my current doctor are finished. certainly another ca 125 and other lab tests..( the ultra sound was to look at a stent i have, which needs to be replaced. it's a minor procedure.)

i think your natural path is quite amazing, and depending on results of this work, i would consider seeing her. i bet my doctor's and your natural path's perspectives aren't all that different. no gluten for sure. i must say it's certainly pricey to try to stay healthy in what are considered unconventional ways.

i'm sorry to hear about your probable side effects from chemo and hope they all become repaired. i did have an assay done on fresh tissue to determine which chemo would be most effective, which was very pricey $3500, and my doctor, though is skeptical of these assays since they haven't been proven on real people, just in petrie jars, did actually give me close to what the assay said would work.

because upsc acts so much like ovc, i'm sure your natural path would be knowledgeble about it, even though it's a rarer form of uterine cancer.

i just read on the uterine post that taking advil and tumeric are counterindicated, i think because they both tend to clog blood. do you know anything about this? i take advil every day for pain and discomfort from the small intestinal surgery i had in april, plus lots of tumeric. who knows?

thanx for the info on your natural path.

sisterhood and hugs to you,
maggie

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

the post on uterine cancer site said advil was counter indicated with tumeric, ginger, etc., because they tend to slow down the clotting of blood. anyone know anything about this?
sisterhood,
maggie

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1053
Joined: Sep 2010

Maggie,
Yes, Curcumin is an anticoagulant, and I would guess that one should not take too many of these together. Whether the combination of Turmeric and Advil is contraindicated would be something I would check with your doctor about. I know that my naturopath got me off of NSAIDs as soon as she could, as she said they weren't good for me. That was partly a result of some genetic testing results I got back. She also said that if I was to have surgery, for whatever reason, to discontinue the Curcumin two weeks prior.
By the way, Maggie, is one of the IVs you are receiving each week a nutritional IV with glutathione, or are they all three vitamin C IVs?
Also, after my third chemo treatment, my CA-125 went up a bit, from 33 to 60. The infusion nurse said it could be due to tumor die off and not necessarily disease progression. A couple of weeks later, my CA-125 was down to 17.

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

all three ivs are vitamin c. my doctor knows i'm taking advil, but didn't seem to be an issue for him. i can email him specifically about it. i do want to wean off nsaids, and have lowered my dose to 2 advil every 6 hours, also take ativan --eases my stomach! as well as nerves

. my ca 125 went up from 33 to 42, several weeks ago, don't know what it is now. in a way, i don't want to know at this point. that was so interesting what your infusion nurse said re: why your ca 125 may have gone up. hope it's down now and stays down. i figure i'll know a lot more at the end of 6 weeks. btw, the procedure i'm having isn't surgery, and the nurse who called me only told me not to eat or drink 8 hours beforehand; didn't say anything about not taking nsaids, just wanted a list of all the supplements i take--which was exhausting.

sisterhood,
maggie

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