Ovarian Cancer

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) is a pharmacologically active opioid antagonist, conventionally used to treat drug- and alcohol addiction -- normally at doses of 50mg to 300mg. As such, it's been an FDA-approved drug for over two decades.

However, researchers have found that at very low dosages (3 to 4.5 mg), naltrexone has immunomodulating properties that may be able to successfully treat cancer malignancies and a wide range of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's, fibromyalgia, and Crohn's disease, just to name a few. It is LDN's immune-supportive benefits that essentially allow you to harness your own body's chemistry to fight disease, including cancer.

Dramatic Improvements in Ovarian Cancer

Conventional cancer treatments have done little to improve outcomes in people with ovarian cancer. In fact, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, "the mortality rates for ovarian cancer have not improved in thirty years since the "War on Cancer" was declared." Yet, the latest animal study showed impressive results in using LDN to treat ovarian cancer, which is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in U.S. women.

The study found:

LDN administered for six hours every two days reduced DNA synthesis and cell replication in tissue culture
Exposure to LDN in combination with cancer drugs had enhanced anti-cancer action
Mice with established ovarian tumors treated with LDN had repressed tumor progression by reducing DNA synthesis and angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor) -- but not altering cell survival, indicating it is non-toxic
LDN combined with a chemotherapy drug, cisplatin, alleaviated the toxicity associated with cisplatin
LDN treatment upregulated the expression of the opioid growth factor, which is the only opioid peptide that tends to inhibit cell growth of ovarian cancer cells
Typically, LDN is taken at bedtime, which blocks your opioid receptors for a few hours in the middle of the night. It is believed to up-regulate vital elements of your immune system by increasing your body's production of metenkephalin and endorphins (your natural opioids), hence improving your immune function. As for LDN's anti-cancer mechanism, Dr. Bernard Bihari -- who discovered LDN as a therapeutic agent for AIDS in 1985 -- believes it is likely due to an increase in the:

Number and density of opiate receptors on the tumor cell membranes, making them more responsive to the growth-inhibiting effects of the already present levels of endorphins, which in turn induces apoptosis (cell death) in the cancer cells
Absolute numbers of circulating cytotoxic T cells and natural killer cells, as well as killer cell activity
Dr. Bihari has reportedly treated more than 450 cancer patients with LDN with promising results, including cancers of the bladder, breast, liver, lung, lymph nodes, colon, and rectum. According to Dr. Bihari, nearly a quarter of his patients had at least a 75 percent reduction in tumor size, and nearly 60 percent of his patients demonstrated disease stability.

You can also listen to my interview with Dr. Burton M. Berkson, MD, who has attested to achieving phenomenal results with low-dose naltrexone in both cancer patients and those with autoimmune diseases.

How Can You Get Low-Dose Naltrexone?

LDN is a prescription drug, so you will need a physician to prescribe it for you. Unfortunately, very few physicians are aware of LDN, and none of the pharmaceutical giants back it, meaning there are no friendly sales reps visiting your doctor talking about the potential benefits of this drug in very low doses.

And why would they?

At an average price of $15 to $40 for a month's supply, the income potential from LDN isn't very promising. It's completely insignificant. That said, there are a number of pharmacies and compounding pharmacies in the United States and Canada that are known to be reliable sources of the compound in low-dose form.

If your physician is not familiar with LDN, you will need to bring it up to him or her, or, alternatively, seek a health care provider who is already knowledgeable at using LDN as a form of treatment. You can find more information on the non-profit Web site LowDoseNaltrexone.org.

Are There Other Natural Treatments for Cancer?

LDN has very few side effects and may be a promising compound in the fight against cancer, but it is not the only one. The future of natural cancer treatment is bright, and appears to be going toward the strategic use of foods, herbs and other natural compounds.

One such strategy is a diet customized for your genome, which you can learn more about it in my recent interview with Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and his son, Dr. Gregory Burzynski. They employ novel gene-target therapies in the treatment of cancer, which includes studying the patient's entire cancerous genome, analyzing some 24,000 genes in each cancer patient, in order to identify the abnormal genes.

Once identified, medications and complementary strategies such as diet and supplements are selected to treat these corrupted genes.

This can be important, as some supplements and foods -- although generally accepted as beneficial -- can make some cancers worse. But with gene-targeted therapy, genetic analysis is used to customize every aspect of the treatment.

Food are increasingly being used therapeutically to target and treat specific cancers, such as the work of Dr. Nick Gonzalez, who uses three protocols -- diet, supplements and enzymes, and detoxification -- to treat cancer. For more information, I have also interviewed Dr. LaValley, Dr. Gonzalez, Donnie Yance and Dr. Burzynski. These are examples of experts who could help walk you through the process of understanding which natural cancer-fighting agents would be best for you.

Cancer-Prevention Tips Everyone Should Know

More than 21,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States each year, and 15,000 die from the disease. So by and large your best route is still prevention, and there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to help lower your risk.

If you're looking for a diet that can help you lower your chances of developing cancer, follow the steps in my nutrition plan and work your way up to the advanced level. This is an excellent strategy for cancer prevention as well as reaching high levels of health in all areas. Other important strategies to begin implementing immediately include:

Avoid sugar, especially fructose. All forms of sugar are detrimental to health in general and promote cancer. Fructose, however, is clearly one of the most harmful and should be avoided as much as possible.
Optimize your vitamin D. Vitamin D influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature's most potent cancer fighters.
Get appropriate amounts of high-quality animal-based omega-3 fats like krill oil.
Exercise. One of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down. Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks, and Peak 8 exercises are ideal for doing so.
Have a tool to permanently erase the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. My particular favorite tool for this purpose, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
Get enough high-quality sleep.
Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution.
Limit your exposure and provide protection for yourself from EMF produced by cell phone towers, base stations, cell phones and WiFi stations.
Avoid frying or charbroiling your food. Boil, poach or steam your foods instead, and eat at least one-third of your food raw.