Cancer is not a single disease with a single cause and a single type of treatment. There are more than 200 different types of cancer, each with its own name and treatment. Although cells in different parts of the body may look and work differently, most repair and reproduce themselves in the same way. Normally, cells divide in an orderly and controlled way. But if for some reason the process gets out of control, the cells carry on dividing and develop into a lump called a tumour. Tumours are either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Doctors can tell if a tumour is benign or malignant by removing a piece of tissue (biopsy) and examining a small sample of cells under a microscope.
In a benign tumour the cells do not spread to other parts of the body and so are not cancerous. However, they may carry on growing at the original site, and may cause a problem by pressing on surrounding organs.
In a malignant tumour the cancer cells have the ability to spread beyond the original area of the body. If the tumour is left untreated, it may spread into surrounding tissue. Sometimes cells break away from the original (primary) cancer. They may spread to other organs in the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system – the body’s natural defence against infection and disease. It’s made up of organs such as bone marrow, the thymus, the spleen, and lymph nodes. The lymph nodes throughout the body are connected by a network of tiny lymphatic tubes (ducts). The lymphatic system has two main roles: it helps to protect the body from infection and it drains fluid from the tissues.
When the cancer cells reach a new area they may go on dividing and form a new tumour. This is known as a secondary cancer or a metastasis.
Primary liver cancer is a rare but serious type of cancer that begins in the liver. It mostly affects older people.
The liver is one of the most complex organs in the human body. It performs more than 500 functions. Some of the liver’s most important functions include:
- digesting proteins and fats
- removing toxins (poisons) from the body
- helping to control blood clotting (thickening)
- releasing bile, a liquid that breaks down fats and aids digestion
Liver cancer is a serious condition because it can disrupt these functions or cause them to fail completely.
Liver cancer is rare in England, but much more common in other parts of the world.
In the UK, almost 4000 new cases of liver cancer are diagnosed each year. Around 60% of cases affect men and 40% affect women. The number of people affected by liver cancer rises sharply with age, about 70% of cases involve people 65 years of age or older.
Over the past few decades, rates of liver cancer in the UK have risen sharply as a result of increased levels of alcohol misuse and obesity.
It is estimated there will be 30, 640 new cases and deaths from liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer in the United States in 2013.
Liver cancer is usually diagnosed after a consultation with a GP and a referral to a hospital specialist for further tests.
However, regular check-ups for liver cancer (known as ‘surveillance’) are recommended for people known to have a high risk of developing the condition, such as those with a confirmed hepatitis C infection or those who have had cirrhosis.
If you are in a high-risk group for developing liver cancer, having regular check-ups will help ensure the condition is diagnosed early. The earlier liver cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment is likely to be.
Cancer of the liver does not usually cause noticeable symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage.
These symptoms include:
- unexplained weight loss
- loss of appetite that lasts longer than a week
- feeling very full after eating, even if the meal was small
- feeling sick (nausea) and vomiting
- swelling of your abdomen (tummy)
- jaundice – yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes
- itchy skin
- feeling very tired and weak
Visit your GP if you are notice any of the symptoms listed above. Although they are more likely to be the result of a more common condition, such as an infection, rather than liver cancer, it’s best to have them checked.
Also, you should contact your GP if you have previously been diagnosed with a condition known to affect the liver, such as cirrhosis or a hepatitis C infection, and your health suddenly deteriorates.
Although the exact cause of liver cancer is unknown, it has been linked to damage and scarring of the liver (cirrhosis).
Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably, producing a lump of tissue known as a tumour.
In cases of liver cancer, it is uncertain why and how the cells of the liver are affected. However, it appears that damage to the liver, such as the condition cirrhosis, can increase the risk of liver cancer.
Cirrhosis is a medical term which means the tissue of the liver has become scarred and cannot perform many of its usual functions. However, it is important to point out most cases of cirrhosis do not lead to liver cancer.
In England, the main causes of cirrhosis are:
- prolonged alcohol misuse – usually over many years
- non-fatty alcoholic liver disease
- hepatitis C
The liver is a tough and resilient organ. It can endure a high level of damage that would destroy other organs. It is also capable of regenerating itself. But despite the liver’s resilience, prolonged alcohol misuse over many years can damage it.
Every time you drink alcohol, your liver filters out the poisonous alcohol from your blood and some of the liver cells die. The liver can regenerate new cells, but if you drink heavily for many years, your liver will lose the ability to do this.
It is estimated that one in three cases of liver cancer are related to alcohol misuse.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when small deposits of fat build up inside the tissue of the liver. It’s a common condition and causes no noticeable symptoms in most people. However, in some people high levels of fat can make the liver inflamed. Over time, the inflammation will scar the liver.
The exact cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is unclear, but it is associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
A long term infection of hepatitis C can cause inflammation and scarring of the liver. In England, most people infected by hepatitis C develop the infection by using contaminated needles or other drug equipment, such as mixing spoons when injecting drugs like heroin.
If you smoke and have hepatitis C, your risk of developing liver cancer further increases.
Other risk factors
Other risk factors for liver cancer include:
Hepatitis B is a virus that can be spread via contaminated blood and other types of bodily fluids, such as saliva, semen and vaginal fluids. Hepatitis B is uncommon in England and other western European countries.
A small number of people have severe symptoms similar to those of liver cancer, and can develop extensive scarring of their liver.
The risk of someone with a hepatitis B infection developing liver cancer appears to be influenced by ethnicity. People of Asian origin infected with hepatitis B have a higher-than-average chance of developing liver cancer, regardless of whether they have also developed cirrhosis of the liver.
People of other ethnic backgrounds only seem to have an increased risk of liver cancer if they also develop cirrhosis or another related liver condition, such as hepatitis C.
If you smoke and have hepatitis B, your risk of developing liver cancer further increases.
Haemochromatosis is a genetic condition where the body stores too much iron from food. The excess levels of iron have a poisonous effect on the liver and cause scarring.
People with haemochromatosis-related cirrhosis have a 1 in 10 chance of developing liver cancer. This risk decreases to 0.1 in 10 once treatment to remove the excess iron from the body begins.
Autoimmune hepatitis is a rare, genetic condition thought to affect 1 in every 7,150 people.
In autoimmune hepatitis, your immune system (the body’s natural defence against infection) attacks the cells of the liver as if they are a ‘foreign’ infection. Exactly what triggers the attack is unknown.
If you have autoimmune hepatitis, the risk of developing liver cancer is smaller than if you have cirrhosis from one of the other common causes. This may be because most cases of autoimmune hepatitis can be treated with immunosuppressant drugs that help prevent your immune system from damaging your liver.
Primary biliary cirrhosis
Primary biliary cirrhosis is a rare and poorly understood liver condition. In England, an estimated 1 in 4,150 people is affected.
One of the main functions of the liver is to create a fluid called bile, used by the body to help break down fat. The bile is transported to the digestive system via a series of tubes called bile ducts.
For reasons that are unclear, in cases of primary biliary cirrhosis, the bile ducts are gradually damaged. This eventually leads to a build-up of bile inside the liver, which damages the liver and causes cirrhosis.
People with advanced primary biliary cirrhosis are estimated to have a 1 in 20 chance of developing liver cancer in any given year.
If you do the Jeff McCombs Candida Protocol you will already be avoiding all of the foods that trigger cancer. However here are the foods to avoid at all costs so that you do not add further toxicity to your system:
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eliminate conventional dairy products. The best dairy products are raw, unpasteurised and homogenised dairy from grass fed cows. If this is unavailable, then buy organic dairy.
- Avoid conventional beef. The best beef is organic grass fed beef.
The second best is organic meat; this includes beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey.
The diet should be limited by quantity and quality. The cancer cells will absorb the nutrition from all of the food that you consume. That being said, it’s a safe assumption that following a small diet of anti-cancer foods may be very beneficial. Cancer cells reproduce faster than normal cells do. That means the cells will die faster too. Some guidelines and recommendations for a cancer-friendly diet include avoiding sugar, eating little to no meat (or, if you must eat meat, stick with fish), eat tofu, beans, eggs, nuts and mushrooms, avoid cold or bitter foods and do not eat foods that create damp cold or damp heat.
Avoid all foods that are high in unhealthy saturated and trans- fats, hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated fats and oils, margarine, and shortening. Eliminate refined white flour, which is found in the majority of foods found on a typical grocery store shelf, including bread, bagels, crackers, cakes, cookies, and other baked good, pasta. Also avoid alcohol, caffeine, simple carbohydrates, sugars and sugar products, foods that are overly spicy, and all processed and commercial “junk” food. Stay clear of all inorganic pasteurized milk and dairy products, including yogurt and cheese; best to eat only raw, organic dairy products.
Empower yourself, and choose a diet emphasizing organic whole foods, including plenty of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, oats, whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat. Include a variety of preferably soaked, nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Minimize your intake of red meat; though be sure to consume adequate amounts of organic, free-range poultry, bison and wild-caught fish. Eat generous quantities of both raw and lightly steamed organic vegetables and large fresh salads daily. Preferably, cook with virgin coconut butter/oil and use extra virgin olive oil, high lignin flax seed oil and hemp seed oil as condiments on veggies and as the base for your daily salad dressing. Throughout the day, drink plenty of pure, filtered water, and avoid drinking—as well as bathing, and showering in—unfiltered tap water, as tap water contains heavy metals and pesticide residues that can settle in high concentrations in the body.
The raw food diet is a food plan that can be of great benefit if you suffer from kidney cancer. Using the guidelines outlined above as a base camp for a clean and healthy diet, one can then transition into a raw food diet as desired. Raw food generates rapid results because of its ability to thoroughly detoxify and liberate your body’s previously untapped energy.
The diet mainly consists of raw fruits, vegetables, and soaked and sprouted nuts and seeds, supplemented with daily consumption of fresh green juices made from a variety of vegetables such as celery, romaine lettuce, spinach, carrot, kale, parsley, and an ever rotating seasonal selection of other organic veggies. Raw foodists enjoy salads, dehydrated flax crackers, seed and nut patés, blended soups, smoothies, and marinated veggies, often mixed with soaked sea vegetables. Since little to no cooked food is consumed, the raw diet has the advantage of instantly eliminating many common allergens. No cooked wheat or wheat by-products are consumed, and generally dairy is omitted, though some might choose to eat moderate quantities of raw goat or sheep milk products, often in the form of a fermented food, such as homemade raw kefir or yogurt.
An important note when choosing a raw food diet: there is an issue of trade-offs. You might miss cooked foods, though you will not miss cancer. More times than not the raw food diet presents itself as an incredible tool that can be used to quickly transition from a serious health challenge into a healing process, ultimately resulting in greater health and well-being.
Choline is often included in B vitamin complex supplements and, according to the A.P. John Cancer Research Institute, may help to fight cancer-related fatigue. Additionally, an early study into the relationship between liver cancer and choline, published in the October 1984 issue of “Carconogenesis” found that mice that were fed a diet deficient in choline were more likely to develop liver cancer. Choline is found in a number of foods including liver, fish, beans, spinach and eggs. It can also be taken as a dietary supplement. RxList notes that it is likely safe for most adults but high doses may cause side effects including sweating, vomiting and diarrhea.
Compounds found in green tea interfere with the supply of energy to cancer cells and help starve them to death, the A.P. John Cancer Research Institute notes. An article published in the October 2010 issue of “Nutrition and Cancer” also notes that extracts of green tea and chemicals found in green tea, known as polyphenols, may inhibit the formation and development of tumors. Green tea is usually consumed as a beverage, but it is also available in capsule and tablet form. It is likely safe for most adults, but high doses or long-term use may cause side effects including an upset stomach, irritability and anxiety. Do not take concentrated green tea extract as it may cause liver problems.
The trace mineral selenium may interfere with the activity of genes involved in cancer cell growth and may also induce cancer cell death, according to the A.P. John Cancer Research Institute. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center also notes that selenium can help to reduce treatment-related side effects. This mineral is found in a host of foods including whole grains, poultry and nuts. It can also be taken as a dietary supplement. Talk to your doctor before using selenium supplements as high doses may deplete vitamin C levels.
Research now shows that massage can be very beneficial to those with cancer, specifically for managing pain and depression. The gentle massage used during an aromatherapy massage promotes relaxation and helps to eliminate toxins from the body. Even a simple hand massage can have a positive effect.
Essential aromatherapy oils, which contain concentrated compounds from flowers, bark, leaves and seeds, promote healing and balancing. Essential oils from different sources have many physical, mental and emotional health benefits. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that benefits can increase relaxation, improve concentration, boost mood, strengthen the immune system, open and cleanse the respiratory passageways, aid digestion and improve liver function. Essential oils can be used through aromatherapy, diffusion, or inhalation, and they may be incorporated into foods and brewed into teas and tonics.
The site Health-Essentials.info lists Roman Chamomile essential oil as a cleanser for detoxification of the liver and body. Chamomile oil, which is pressed from the flowers of the plant with the same name, is used in aromatherapy and is made into a tea for relaxing and reducing stress. It is also used in lotions and creams to soothe itching skin caused by inflammation, allergies, eczema and dryness.
Rosemary, or Rosmarinus officinalis, is a common culinary herb, that is also a nutritious essential oil. The website TheHealthierLife.co.uk notes that rosemary aromatherapy oil is used for a range of medicinal ailments including an upset stomach, digestive conditions, headache pain and decreased immune function. The antiviral and antibacterial properties of this herbal essential oil also help improve liver function and health.
Liver Clearing Blend
Health-Essentials.info recommends a mixture of three essential oils called the “Liver Clearing Blend” for improving liver health and function. This essential blend helps cleanse the liver and protect it from disease.
[The components of this Blend are offered only for our patients.]
To ensure positive results, always check that the essential oil is a 100% pure plant distillation and that it comes from a reputable source.
Essential oils to avoid when you have cancer:
Useful herbs include:
Ginseng: ginseng, scientifically known as Panax quinquefolium. The content of ginsenoside and its various compounds, such as glycyrrhizin, is considerably greater in the root of American ginseng and may aid in the recover of liver-cancer tumors, according to the University of Maryland Medical center.
Garlic: Many cultures have used garlic for its medicinal and culinary properties for thousands of years. Scientists believe that sulfur-containing compounds from garlic, notably allicin and alliin, may inhibit the proliferation and migration of liver cancer cells, according to Rockefeller University. However, most of these claims aren’t well substantiated and are largely based on animal, rather than human, studies.
Cumin: Cumin, a seed-like fruit of a plant in the family Apiaceae, has been shown to suppress hepatoma, a malignant tumor of the liver, and metastasis in animal research models, but hasn’t yet shown effects in people, the Rockefeller University reports. This herb may aid in reducing liver cancer tumors by apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in hepatoma cell lines.