Respectful Insolence

The Vitamin C Empire Strikes Back

Well that didn’t take long, did it?

Three days ago, I described a study that I had noticed in the October 1 issue of Cancer Research that described an animal study that strongly suggested that vitamin C administered at sufficiently high doses may interfere with the action of multiple chemotherapeutic agents. You can read the link for full details of the study as discussed by yours truly. In fact, although I only blog sporadically about the exaggerated claims of advocates of vitamin C as a cancer cure, but when I do I like to think I hit the mark, starting two and a half years ago when I wrote about a couple of studies that were then making the rounds as “evidence” for the efficacy of vitamin C as a cancer treatment (one was weak evidence; one was hardly evidence at all); continuing to another study that claimed that mega-high dose vitamin C can cause tumor shrinkage in rodent models (it could, but the shrinkage was unimpressive and required enormous doses, the proverbial “long run for a short slide,” as I put it); and finally earlier this week the most recent study that demonstrated that vitamin C supplementation may not be such a good idea if you’re undergoing chemotherapy. Taken together, these posts constitute what I now dub my “Trilogy of Terror” with respect to vitamin C.

Not surprisingly, true believers in Linus Pauling’s view that vitamin C is some sort of panacea (or at least a cancer cure) were very quick to point to the studies encompassed by the first two posts in of my Vitamin C Trilogy of Terror as vindication of the great Nobel Prize winner turned crank, because, no matter how weak the evidence or results were, they still were seemingly positive results suggesting that vitamin C may actually have a beneficial effect against cancer, no matter how wimpy.

They aren’t at all pleased about the most recent study, though. No, they’re not happy at all that there is evidence in an animal model that vitamin C may interfere with chemotherapy. I just knew that sooner or later a vitamin C crank would attack the study. I just didn’t know it would be Linus Pauling’s bastard stepchild itself, Orthomolecular.org, and I failed to guess just how woo-filled the counterattack would be. It came in the form of a press release entitled Chemotherapy doesn’t work, so blame vitamin C.

My neurons are having to activate their cell survival pathways to fight off a massive wave of stupidity-induced apoptosis as we speak. Check out what I mean:

OMNS, October 7, 2008) When Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center announces that vitamin C may interfere with chemotherapy, the news media trumpet it far and wide. But before cancer patients throw away their vitamin C supplements, they need to know rest of the story.

Most of the media dutifully reported the researchers’ claim that the equivalent of 2,000 mg of vitamin C “blunted the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drugs.” But only some of the media included a study author’s incredible statement that “If you take an oral dose even as low as 100 milligrams a day” even “that could be harmful” during chemotherapy.

100 mg “could be harmful”? That’s the amount of vitamin C in a few glasses of orange juice. Something is very wrong here.

Heh. The outrage is palpable. Truly, the heirs of Linus Pauling are most unhappy. Of course, I actually questioned that statement as well as perhaps being a bit over the top when I read the Orthomolecular.org press release. However, I didn’t remember the statement that way; so I went back to news stories about this study. All I could find was this statement by Dr. Mark Heaney, the lead author of the study:

Given that our research was done in experimental model systems and was not a clinical trial, I am reluctant to predict a dose of supplemental vitamin C that could be extrapolated to our work. That said, oral vitamin C supplementation with doses as low as 250 mg over a 1-month period resulted in intracellular vitamin C concentrations in normal white blood cells that were close to those that we studied in white blood cell cancers.

That’s a far cry from what the Orthomolecular.org press release says. Then I found this article on WebMD:

“I think that patients should probably refrain from taking supplemental vitamin C during chemotherapy,” Heaney says.

“If you take an oral dose even as low as 100 milligrams a day you can get concentrations of vitamin C inside your white blood cells that are close to the concentrations that we used experimentally, and that could be harmful,” he says.

The recommended intake of vitamin C for healthy people is 75 milligrams daily for women and 90 milligrams daily for men.

Although a multivitamin with vitamin C “would probably be OK,” taking larger amounts should be avoided while on chemo, Heaney says.

Alright, I’ll concede that Dr. Heaney may have gone a bit too far with that quote, but the science behind his paper was sound. Not that that stops the vitamin C woo-meisters. First, they mention that mice can make their own vitamin C. I’ll get back to that in a minute, but first let’s look at this lovely bit of misdirection:

Secondly, previous research has demonstrated that mice with cancer respond well to high-dose vitamin C therapy. One study found, “With an increase in the amount of ascorbic acid there is a highly significant decrease in the first-order rate constant for appearance of the first spontaneous mammary tumor. . . Striking differences were observed between the 0.076% ascorbic acid and the control groups, which synthesize the vitamin.” (3) Another study concluded that: “A pronounced effect of vitamin C in decreasing the incidence and delaying the onset of malignant lesions was observed with high statistical significance. By 20 weeks, approximately five times as many mice had developed serious lesions in the zero-ascorbate as in the high-ascorbate group.” (4) Interestingly enough, when this research was first publicized, the media discounted these findings saying that mouse studies were not particularly applicable to people.

Why is this misdirection? Easy. The woo-meisters are invoking related but distinct processes. Although they share some molecular mechanisms, tumor initiation is not the same process as tumor progression, and preventing the initiation of tumors does not require the same sort of mechanism of action that killing an established tumor does. Killing an established tumor requires targeting a difference between normal cells and cancer cells in such a way that tumor cells are preferentially killed. The bludgeon of cytotoxic chemotherapy, for example, targets rapidly growing cells and kills them in preference to quiescent or more slowly growing cells. Newer, more finely targeted chemotherapeutics aim their fire at specific molecular changes in tumor cells. Preventing tumor initiation requires a much more gentle approach. One can quibble about details, but the two processes are sufficiently distinct to render the above studies, even if valid, nearly totally irrelevant to a critique of Dr. Heaney’s experiments. Nice try, though, woo-meisters, especially since the effects of vitamin C reported in the literature are maddeningly inconsistent, with some tumors apparently being stimulated and others inhibited.

Now let’s move on to the meat of the woo-meister whine:

However, there is a more subtle, and probably much more important factor they did not consider: all mice make their own vitamin C. Indeed, mice make quite a lot. Adjusted for body weight, mice synthesize the human body weight equivalent of approximately 10,000 milligrams of vitamin C each day. (2) Incredibly, sick mice make even more. Mice given transplanted tumors become sick mice.

[...]

Thirdly, a mouse’s ability to make vitamin C, and a great deal of it, is an overlooked confounding factor that may well render the entire experiment invalid. If the Sloan-Kettering team had tried their experiment on Guinea pigs, their results might have been very different. Guinea pigs are more like human beings in that they cannot make their own vitamin C. As controls for comparison, the researchers also treated “no-added-vitamin C” mouse cancers with chemotherapy. Chemo worked just fine on those mice, by the researchers own admission. And each of those mice was internally synthesizing a body weight equivalent of 10,000 mg/day of vitamin C, even though given none supplementally.

So how come 10,000 mg of vitamin C does not interfere with chemo treatment, and 2,000 mg – or even 100 mg – supposedly does?

Wow. Sounds devastating, doesn’t it? Here’s the deal, though. Dr. Heaney actually measured the intracellular concentration of the major metabolite of ascorbate during his experiments. He didn’t just give the mice vitamin C and not bother to follow how much vitamin C cells were being exposed to. Indeed, it doesn’t matter how much ascorbate mice make; what matters is what the concentration is at basal levels, and that’s low. More amusingly, this particular line of criticism can be turned right back around at the Pauling-ites. Let me make it explicit by rephrasing their question: “So how come 10,000 mg of vitamin C does not prevent the formation of tumors in mice, and 2,000 mg supposedly does?”

Yes, indeed. Two can definitely play that game. In fact, let’s rephrase another question from the press release: “You cannot have it both ways. If a synthesized 10,000 mg of C does not prevent cancer, there can be no real ‘interference’ or ‘blunting’ of cancer formation from a supplemental 2,000 mg. And most certainly not from 100 mg.”

Yes, I like it. The symmetry pleases me greatly.

More amusingly, let’s quote Linus Pauling himself in one of the two studies cited:

Unlike humans, mice produce endogenous ascorbic acid. Nonetheless, mice were chosen as the test animals in this study because high ascorbate intake has been shown to influence the development of certain tumors in mice (2, 3).

In other words, if using mice and similar levels of vitamin C to show that vitamin C prevents tumors is good enough for Linus Pauling, isn’t a bit inconsistent for the Pauling-ites to complain about it when other investigators use mice and it doesn’t show what they want to see? Or is it “heads-I-win-tails-you-lose”?

I think you know the answer to that one.

After utterly lame attacks on this study, the only one of which had some validity to it was the mention that mice studies often don’t translate to humans, what’s left? I think you know the answer to that one, too. Just read the title of the press release. When they can’t criticize this study on the science, attack chemotherapy itself as a treatment for cancer, just like all good cancer quacks do:

The Sloan-Kettering study team seems to have missed the essential point that vitamin C is not just an antioxidant. Inside cancer tumors, it also acts as a prooxidant, killing malignant cells. Comments Dr. Steve Hickey, of Manchester, UK: “Essentially, the paper seems to be rather misguided and shows a lack of understanding of the dual nature of vitamin C in tumors. Chemotherapy has been shown by over 40 years of clinical trials not to work in the majority of tumors, and its use is counterproductive.”

Chemotherapy drugs have come and gone; the five year survival rate for cancer treated with chemo has remained virtually unchanged for decades. Unfortunately, just over 2% of all cancers respond to chemotherapy. Specifically, one scientific review concluded, “The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA . . . chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required.” (6)

The paper that they cited as the source of the “2%” claim is an infamous study beloved of woo-meisters of all stripes. It turns out that it’s not such an impressive study. Indeed, it appears almost intentionally designed to have left out the very types of cancers for which chemotherapy provides the most benefit, and it uses 5 year survival exclusively, completely neglecting that chemotherapy can prevent late relapses. There were also a lot of inconsistencies and omissions in that leukemias were not included, while leukemia is one type of cancer against which chemotherapy is most efficacious. Indeed, the very technique of lumping all newly diagnosed adult cancers together is guaranteed to obscure benefits of chemotherapy among subgroups by lumping in patients for whom chemotherapy is not even indicated! A letter to the editor listed these problems and several really boneheaded errors and omissions, too:

The authors omitted leukaemias, which they curiously justify in part by citing the fact that it is usually treated by clinical haematologists rather than medical oncologists. They also wrongly state that only intermediate and high-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma of large-B cell type can be cured with chemotherapy, and ignore T-cell lymphomas and the highly curable Burkitt’s lymphoma. They neglect to mention the significant survival benefit achievable with high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem-cell transplantation to treat newly-diagnosed multiple myeloma [4]. In ovarian cancer, they quote a survival benefit from chemotherapy of 11% at 5 years, based on a single randomised-controlled trial (RCT), in which chemotherapy was given in both arms [5]; however, subsequent trials have reported higher 5-year survival rates. In cancers such as myeloma and ovarian cancer, in which chemotherapy has been used long before our current era of well-designed RCTs, the lack of RCT comparing chemotherapy to best supportive care should not be misconstrued to dismiss or minimise any survival benefit. In head and neck cancer, the authors erroneously claim the benefit from chemotherapy given concomitantly with radiotherapy in a meta-analysis to be 4%, when 8% was in fact reported [6].

The authors do not address the important benefits from chemotherapy to treat advanced cancer. Many patients with cancers such as lung and colon present or relapse with advanced incurable disease. For these conditions, chemotherapy significantly improves median survival rates, and may also improve quality of life by reducing symptoms and complications of cancer.

I love it when woo-meisters cite that article, because it’s so easy to rebut their overhyping of it. I also point out that a lot of the data included in the paper was for tumors and adjuvant chemotherapy, which is where the chemotherapy is used not as the primary treatment (usually the primary treatment is surgery) but as a treatment to decrease the risk of relapse. For such tumors, the contribution of chemotherapy to overall cancer survival is much smaller than that of the surgery.

But, hey, what tactic is left to a woo-meister when his back is against the wall, and the usual distortions are not flying? Yes, there’s only one thing left. That’s right, conspiracy theories and the pharma shill gambit:

Positive endorsements for vitamin C as a cancer fighter are not in the interests of any pharmaceutical company. Scaring the public away from vitamin C might be profitable. It appears that Sloan-Kettering is biased. So are media reports that attack vitamins.

If the Sloan-Kettering study authors’ recommendations to not take 2,000 mg, or even 100 mg, of vitamin C are followed, there will definitely be an increase in the number of people that need chemotherapy.

The stupid, it burns like the intracellular peroxide supposedly produced by large doses of vitamin C. Some things never change.

This attack on Heaney and his study was to be expected. Indeed, I’m surprised it took the Pauling-ites at Orthomolecular.org nearly a week to respond to the article. One thing this attack demonstrates more than anything else is the cult-like thinking of the followers of orthomolecular medicine, which, let me remind you, was championed by Linus Pauling himself. It has all the elements of pseudoscience: citing irrelevant studies; invoking related but mostly irrelevant physiological mechanisms; cherry picking studies; and, most of all, paranoid conspiracy-mongering. That the acolytes of Linus Pauling found this study threatening enough to merit a counterattack tells me that they’re worried. If they weren’t, they would have ignored it.

Personally, I still don’t understand why there remains such an abiding faith in vitamin C. Even the most optimistic studies that purport to show an anticancer effect due to high dose vitamin C report at best a modest ability to kill tumors and then only at ridiculously high doses and concentrations. Any other drug requiring such huge doses for such a modest effect would have been abandoned long ago, particularly if there were any evidence whatsoever from animal studies suggesting that it might interfere with the effectiveness of chemotherapy. That this overarching interest in a drug that by any objective criteria you care to name has such little promise to be made into an effective treatment continues is evidence that the vitamin C is the object of worship of a cult, and Linus Pauling is its prophet.

Comments

  1. #1 I am so wise
    October 9, 2008

    Has anyone tried pointing out that Pauling was a member of the Western Medicine establishment?

  2. #2 The Perky Skeptic
    October 9, 2008

    Vitamin-C woomeisters said:
    “If the Sloan-Kettering study authors’ recommendations to not take 2,000 mg, or even 100 mg, of vitamin C are followed, there will definitely be an increase in the number of people that need chemotherapy.”

    *LOL* It reads like a terrorist threat, doesn’t it!

  3. #3 Mario
    October 9, 2008

    Orac, you may remember a lady called Carole, from misc.health.alternative, the ‘old stomping grounds’ on Usenet. She is an utter woowoo, but she loved Heaney’s study. Because, according to her, it clearly showed that vitamin C prevents the harmful effects of chemotherapy. How’s that for burnin’ stupid!

  4. #4 DonZilla
    October 9, 2008

    “Use Ascorbic Acid, Luke . . .”

  5. #5 stavros
    October 9, 2008

    to “I am so wise” when you say: “Western Medicine establishment?” I assume you mean the science and evidence-based medical community?

    Unless you are being ironic, it is misleading and dishonest to make this kind of separation, Western and Eastern, in our times. There is simply medicine that works and medicine that does not work.

    And yes, Pauling was indeed a good scientist once but that doesn’t mean anything. ‘Nullius in verba’, remember?

  6. #6 Bryan
    October 9, 2008

    So I know we’re supposed to by making fun of the woo, but I don’t find the results of this study particularity astounding. Its been long established that vitC buggers up quite a few meds – most of the hospital I have worked at have warnings in their cafeterias, telling patients to not drink citrus juice unless OK’d by their doctor.

    So add a few more drugs onto the “not compatible with vitC list…

  7. #7 Dangerous Bacon
    October 9, 2008

    For more insight into Dr. Steve Hickey, who scoffs at chemotherapy, check out this review he wrote of a book called “Fire Your Doctor!”:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/AWJNFR5127DHS?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview

    It’s full of the usual doctors-don’t-want-to-prevent-illness-but-just-want-to-take-your-money tripe. One interesting thing is that while the review is posted by “Dr. Steve Hickey” and he casually refers to “a surgeon friend of mine” in a manner that suggests he’s also a physician, he is actually identified online as being a PhD in pharmacology (alternatively, an effusive article on cbn.com refers to him as a “biophysicist”.

    Nothing wrong with being a PhD pharmacologist, but if you’re slamming the medical profession in a book review, it’s deceptive to imply that you’re a physician too and therefore know whereof you speak.
    It’s a tactic I see used by chiropractors, who’ll write in to newspapers with goofy views on topics such as vaccination, and then sign off as “Dr.” So-and-So.

  8. #8 Save Your
    October 9, 2008

    Maybe it took these guys a week to respond to the study, but how could you have overlooked the response from Mike Adams? He was certainly faster on the draw (maybe that’s why you missed it). You’ll probably find his reaction to the study entertaining indeed. (But you should read his article on an empty stomach just the same.)

  9. #9 Orac
    October 9, 2008

    D’oh!

    How could I have forgotten to check NaturalNews.com? No one brings home the crazy quite like Mike Adams. Geez, it’s enough for a whole other post.

    I wonder if I should…

  10. #10 wolfwalker
    October 9, 2008

    Bryan wrote: “So I know we’re supposed to by making fun of the woo, but I don’t find the results of this study particularity astounding. Its been long established that vitC buggers up quite a few meds…”

    Um, perhaps an ignorant question, but isn’t this (that vitamin C mucks up the body’s response to drugs) exactly what we should expect? I mean, “Vitamin C” is ascorbic acid. Any acid, taken in large quantities, will screw up the body’s pH. And a screwed-up pH affects a great many biochemical reactions, right?

  11. #11 Kemist
    October 9, 2008

    Um, perhaps an ignorant question, but isn’t this (that vitamin C mucks up the body’s response to drugs) exactly what we should expect? I mean, “Vitamin C” is ascorbic acid. Any acid, taken in large quantities, will screw up the body’s pH. And a screwed-up pH affects a great many biochemical reactions, right?

    If it “screws up your body’s pH”, you yourself will be quite screwed. That’s why your body’s pH is very thighly regulated. A healthy person has a blood pH between 7.35 and 7.45. If it falls below 6.8 or goe past 7.8, there will be irreversible cell damage. So if you inject a shovelful of vitC into somebody and expect them to survive it, you will have to use a buffered solution (neutralized so that pH is within the healthy limits, and therefore does not modify body pH).

    So what is happening ? Antioxidants in general pretty much screw up the effect of most chemotherapy agents. Other effects on cell signaling (for example, an upregulation of antiapoptotic gene expression) could explain the effect.

    Localized acidity (due to hypoxia) in solid tumors has been evidenced to be a nuisance to some chemotherapy agents, especially carboplatin and cisplatin. But those are local intratumoral pHs, not overall body pHs.

  12. #12 MBA
    October 9, 2008

    Thanks for the article. I actually got into a bit of a discussion during my dissection lab today about Linus Pauling and Vitamin C. Other med students were unwilling to accept that their airborne was bogus and that Pauling’s “research” triggered the excretion of the bolus of chyme that is Mathias Rath onto the world (who studied and wrote numerous papers with Pauling, going so far as to be considered his heir apparent at the Pauling Institute). Having heard of Pauling’s early career in Chemistry class, they are completely unaware that he turned to cancer quackery in later life, and won’t believe it. Of course, most of them believe in vitamin C as well. What do they teach these kids?

  13. #13 Petri
    October 9, 2008

    most of the hospital I have worked at have warnings in their cafeterias, telling patients to not drink citrus juice unless OK’d by their doctor.

    This may be because of Grapefruit juice which is known to inactivate P-glycoprotein and CYP3A. These compounds pump drugs into the lumen of the intestine and degrade them in the liver through the cytochrome pathway, respectively. When patients consume grapefruit juice while taking drugs effected by these mechanisms they may get a Large Dose, even to the point of toxicity, because dosages take into account the bodies elimination mechanisms.

    Food interactions are incredibly common, from grapefruit juice to Vitamin K rich foods inactivating Coumadin therapy. I don’t see anything on Clinical Pharmacology about Orange Juice, but it would not shock me greatly if it affected the Cytochrome system either through inhibition or augmentation, either of which could have effects on chemotherapy drugs eliminated via similar pathways.

  14. #14 Shot_info
    October 9, 2008

    If Big pHarma doesn’t manufacturer vitamin C I wonder who does? Big cHemical?

  15. #15 HCN
    October 9, 2008

    How about “Big Farma” … orange you glad you asked?

  16. #16 I am so wise
    October 10, 2008

    Stavros,

    I find people who rail against “Western Medicine” rarely know what’s western and what’s not. Pointing out to them that their favorite treatment is either Western like homoeopathy or a commonly hated treatment like C-Section are from the Orient, usually , however brifely, throws them into disarry.

  17. #17 Kemist
    October 10, 2008

    If Big pHarma doesn’t manufacturer vitamin C I wonder who does? Big cHemical?

    Indeed.

    I has teh vitamin C. I is calling it ascorbate. Tremble before my power !

    It always makes me laugh and depresses me at the same time. That and those poor dopes who rub/inject themselves with DMSO when I usually wear gloves when manipulating the stuff (because it is very efficient at transporting whatever’s dissolved in it through your skin). Wait… I could start a fad of rubbing your skin with dichloromethane. After all, it tingles. That’s a clear sign that it does something to your energy levels or your aura or your whateveritis.

  18. #18 Brian Mitchell
    October 13, 2008

    No matter what your personal opinion of Dr.s Pauling and Rath some simple facts still remain. For instance, Animals make their own vitamin c and do not have heart attacks. They also synthesize vitamin c at a rate equivalent to 100’s of times more than the USRDA for humans.
    Dr. Pauling was a great man. He and his acolytes deserve more respect than they are receiving here.

  19. #19 Militant Agnostic
    October 13, 2008

    Animals don’t have heart attacks – tell that to a vet or any dog owner who has lost a pet due to a heart attack.

    But cranks are impervious to facts and evidence.

  20. #20 Brian Mitchell
    October 14, 2008

    @ Militant Agnostic,

    I am sorry for ‘cranking’, your right, animals do have heart attacks. Those animals like gorillas and guinea pigs that dont synthesize their own internal vitamin C. As for dogs, are you sure your not confusing heart attacks with heart failure? I dont know of any dog death’s by heart attack and I am confident that if they could be produced the per capita #’s of dog heart attacks compared to humans would be tiny by comparison. Extremely tiny in fact.

    I should choose my words more carefully, 1 in 1000 animals that make their own vitamin C still have a heart attacks in spie of their abundant C while humans die at a rate of 1 in 2.

    Heart attacks are extremely rare in animals that synthesize their own vitamin C. Better?

    Show me your evidence please.

  21. #21 Mark J. Elliott
    October 15, 2008

    Let me tell you a “Case Study” conducted on my body from August to this date October 14th 2008.
    I am a 53 year old white male, not a mouse. I was diqanosied with Esophigeal cancer in May of this year after complaing of difficulty swallowing. A 6.8 centimeter tumor was found at the base of my esophgus and (5) lymph nodes around the esphogus also were positive with cancer. Further study prior to surgery shows that the cancer had spread to the right lobe of my liver and I was advised that surgery was not possible at this time. My oncologist basically told me that at this time I was considered to be incurable I asked at this time if there were any studies being done that I could voulenteer for. A week later I was set up to be in a study conducted by a Harvard Professor who was going to add a third new chemo to three sets of basic chemo’s that are now being used. During this time I went for a second opinion at a well known Hospital in Baltimore and the Cancer Doctor agreed with my well known Philadelphia Hospital Doctor that Cisplatin, Irenatican and the third new chemo would be the best treatment for my cancer at this time. Approximately 240 subjects are being tested throughout the country and my hospital has 10 slots for this study.
    I spoke with the nurse who was conducting the test in Philadelphia and advised her that my doctor and the second opinion Doctor both spoke with each other and agreed on the course of action would be the cisplatin, irenatican and the new chemo.
    At this time she advised me that a computer would be picking which set of chemo’s I would be taking for the study and she could not place me in the set of chemos that were my best shot. “It would be unethical for the computer not to make the choice”. I then replied I would not be part of the study then, because to me it would be unethical to waste six months of my time when I’am fighting for my life.
    I then began to take chmo treatment which was cisplatin and irenatican. Just prior to starting chemo I began vitamin C infusions which was 100,000 mg of vitiman C and other vitamins twice a week. I received six 4 to 5 hour chemo treatments and continued my Vitamin C intravenous treatments.
    A PET scan was done September 28th 2008 and the results showed that the tumor in the esophgus was now 2.3 centimeters instead of 6.8 centimeters, the cancer was gone in the 5 lymph nodes and the down side was the 10 X 16 ml tumor in my liver was now 20 X 28ml in sizes.
    My Doctor in Philadelphia appeared to be pleasently surprised on the results and radiation treatment is a none issue now on my esphogus. I started a new chemo treatment October 14, 2008 for the next three months and will continue the Vitamin C treatments.
    Another “case study at this time is my sister-in-law who has been through breast cancer a couple years ago and has now been fighting colon cancer for the past 3 years. During this time she looked, felt and acted like a chemo patient with the loss of her hair, constant fatigue, diarrhia and lost of hope in saving her life. My wife and I insisted on taken her to try Vitamin C infusions and almost immediatly and I mean immediatly after a week and two 50,00mg treatments the color has returned from gray to normal, her attidue has change and she feels hope and she is living a almost normal life at this time. her appitite has returned the diarriha is a thing of the past and she is out of the house almost everyday playing cards with friends going to the beach and playing with her grandchildren.
    So I ask you medical professionals to start thinking outside the box once in a while and think of your patients who is fighting for their life that they are human beings and not mice.
    I have been a Police Officer for the past 29 years and I know of ethics and commitment to the people I serve. I know i will never be rich, but when I die (as we all will)I will take with me the satisfaction that I made a differnce in at least one persons life and its not for the money or the glory its for everyones first job to take care of each other on this short journey called LIFE.
    Maybe I’am 1 in a 100,000 fighting cancer at this time. All I ask you to do is open your eyes and look outside the box and inside your heart and maybe you can change someones life and I do not mean the Yahct salesman or Real Estate agent.
    Please contact me if anyone would like to talk more on this subject.

  22. #22 Orac
    October 15, 2008

    Two questions, and try not to take these the wrong way:

    1. Why do you attribute the shrinkage of your tumor to vitamin C infusions when you also received some pretty heavy duty chemotherapy with cisplatin and irinotecan and another chemotherapeutic agent?

    2. What was the timing of your sister-in-law’s improvement in symptoms compared to the chemotherapy she was taking?

  23. #23 Brian Mitchell
    October 16, 2008

    @Mark J. Elliot

    Kudos to you for being open minded enough to try unconventional treatments and sharing your story.

    Let me see if I can answer Orac’s questions to make sure I am understanding you as well.

    1) You were unable to administer the experimental third chemo agent because it was dependent on the luck of a computer selection and you withdrew yourself from participation in the experimental trial because of this. You did end up taking two chemo agents anyway(cisplatin and irinotecan)because you were fighting for your life and anything seemed better than nothing at the time. However, you attribute at least some of the tumor shrinkage to your high vitamin C intake because the two chemo agents you took were thought by the experts to be inadequate, so much so that your first medical doctor labeled you ‘incurable’ with only these two agents. And the other experts you consulted agreed that you would probably need the experimental third chemo agent to do yourself any good.

    So, you slapped some heavy doses of C on top of the ‘incurable’ chemo protocol offered up by the ‘experts’ and found yourself some results in spite of their opinions. All is not perfect though as your liver tumor grew while your esophageal tumor shrunk. I am sorry to read that.

    Orac and his crew will say that your story is anecdotal and unscientific, you are just one in a million who actually benefit from this chemo protocol and the C had nothing to do with it. Whatever, I believe there is no science without observation and I appreciate you sharing yours here.

    2) I dont fully understand the nature of Orac’s question here. After three years of chemo for colon cancer your sister in-law looked and felt like crap and that was that correct? Otherwise she would not have pursued other means right? No chemo-improvement to compare to C-improvement in the case of her colon cancer? She did take chemo for her breast cancer and it had helped? But if the timing of the benefit of chemo in the breast cancer compared to the timing of the benefit of the high dose vitamin C in the colon cancer is what Orac is asking for then Orac would be conceding a beneficial relationship between high dose vitamin C and relief of colon cancer symptoms and that is simply not his style. Or comparing benefit of C to chemo in the colon cancer still forces a concession on his part. So if he wants to compare the timing of improvements he has to concede improvement with C which confuses me.

    I want to understand your testimonial because it is a potent weapon for helping others who are willing to think outside the box as you suggest. Orac is probably beyond reach, but he can go ahead and poison, prescribe and irradiate himself all he wants to keep himself disease free, that is his choice. I am but one monkey, I can only reach so many people. I want to be able to use your story to compel others to trust their instincts and believe in their own minds and abilities to reason.

    In any case thank you so much for sharing your story. Contact me anytime and add it to my blog if you like, we would love to have it.

    Here is a testimonial from my blog by James Olsen regarding heart disease and vitamin C.

    “I had a heart attack back in 1999. Afterwards, when cold weather came around, I always had trouble with angina. Tried the Pauling Therapy and haven’t had a problem with angina in the past 3 years. I once stepped outside to get some firewood without wearing a coat when it was 2 below zero, no angina. That would have sent me to the Emergency Room in the past, not now.”

    “Thus far it’s worked for me.”

    Orac probably wants to know how this poor fool confused his angina/cold symptoms with an angina/lack-o-statin symptom.

  24. #24 Brian Mitchell
    October 22, 2008

    @ militant agnostic

    “It is very unusual to identify a myocardial infarction in a dog…The term “heart attack” is often misunderstood in relation to dogs and cats…When sudden death occurs in a pet, there are many different causes. A heart attack is actually a very unlikely cause.”

    These quotes are from an excellent article written by a veterinarian.
    http://www.petplace.com/dogs/heart-attack-in-dogs/page1.aspx

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