Skin carcinoma prevention and treatment alternatives

Skin cancer prevention and treatment strategies are presented that can be used against squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma lesions. These strategies target the traits of skin cancers identified in the natural cancer treatments overview. This continues with 22 more strategies to consider at your own risk. See the statement of caution and disclaimer.

sign of skin cancer prevention

Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment Strategies Part II

See the first 17 strategies for squamous and basal cell carcinoma

(18) Consider adding polyphenols to your diet or apply them topically. Polyphenols act as powerful antioxidants and seem to disrupt cancer by inhibiting estrogen from reacting with the cell. Polyphenols may also help activate cancer fighting enzymes. A widely studied polyphenol example is green tea. Applied topically, it has been shown to protect against skin cancers and may also be a treatment. A polyphenol in green tea called EGCG binds to a protein found on tumor cells and dramatically slows their growth. Skin cancer incidence is also less prevalent in tea drinkers.

Tea also contains caffeine, revealed in an animal study to provide protection against skin cancers when applied topically. Caffeine apparently promotes a natural self destruction mechanism of cells called apoptosis. This causes damaged cells to kill themselves, a type of programmed cell suicide that prevents development of abnormal growths. Caffeine acts selectively, causing the aberrant cells to die while not affecting normal cells. Inexpensive caffeine supplements (Enerjets®, NoDoz®, Snap-Back®, Stay-Alert®, Vivarin®) are available that could  be ground into a powder and added to a skin lotion, coconut oil, or aloe vera gel as a potential topical skin cancer home remedy.  It is interesting that caffeine is an alkaline chemical even though coffee and tea are acidic.

Despite doing some good things, tea is less than an ideal candidate for skin cancer treatments because it introduces other problems.  Tea has a high fluoride content so moderation in consumption levels is appropriate. Fluoride can cause genetic damage, interfere with enzyme reactions, and increase IGF-1 which seems to promote the rapid growth of cancers. EGCG in tea interferes with the function of folic acid and can lead to spina bifida birth defects. Folic acid inhibition is detrimental to some types of cancers but can also harm normal cells and increase sun sensitivity.

Another topical candidate is extra virgin olive oil, shown to inhibit cancers when applied to animals exposed to radiation. This is probably due to the polyphenols found in olive oil. Fruits, vegetables, and even chocolate are other polyphenol sources.  Topical application of cocoa butter, an ingredient of chocolate, may be helpful for skin cancer. Palmitic acid, a saturated fat found in high concentration in cocoa butter, is very toxic to damaged tissues and promotes their natural self destruction apoptosis mechanism. Cancer cells usually have a defective apoptosis mechanism and try to live indefinitely. Palmitic acid is the direct precursor of ceramide, a signaling molecule for regulating the differentiation (changeover from a cancer cell to a more normal cell), proliferation, and apoptosis of cells.  Ceramides are found in high concentrations within the cell membrane of cells.  They are released from the cell membrane by enzymes and then act as a signaling molecule. Topical application of palmitic acid on skin cancer could enhance the natural ceramide signaling function substantially.

(19) Consider topical pancreatin treatments. The fact that skin cancer is accessible for direct topical treatments is a unique opportunity that does not exist for most cancers. Topical treatments are also probably less dependent on the protein fast to work. They can be expected to work faster than oral supplementation because the pancreatin delivered to the site is concentrated. I think it may be a mistake to use topical treatments alone because that is going back to treating symptoms instead of causes.

My first exposure to topical pancreatin treatments involved applying a commercial mosquito bite remedy called Cymilium. Cymilium costs around $8 but is now difficult to find. I have tried to isolate the active ingredients in Cymilium with components available at the supermarket that will cost around $15, but for a more adaptable supply that should last much longer.

I think the most important ingredients in Cymilium are pancreatin, aloe vera, ammonia, urea, and possibly stearic acid. The pancreatin source I used is a enzymatic cleaning solution to remove protein on contact lenses called Alcon Opti-free SupraClens. It comes as a liquid in a small dropper bottle. SupraClens is inexpensive (~$6), widely available, and should have excellent quality control. Others have used conventional enzyme supplements in topical preparations. The Super Enzymes by NOW product is easy to use because it is a powder in a gelatin capsule. Just pull apart the capsule to add the powder to the topical base such as a skin cream or aloe vera gel. Twinlabs also makes a gelatin capsule supplement. Aloe vera is easily spread and absorbed into the skin. It  contains amylase enzymes that provide better access for the protein dissolving enzymes to attack the cancer. Aloe vera also contains polysaccharides that enhance another cancer control mechanism involving special white blood cells known as natural killer cells.

Applying pancreatin topically seems be more effective using an alkaline agent, such as ammonia or baking soda to create a non-acidic environment. Ammonia is probably more effective but is potentially less safe to use. Ammonia by itself is a  topical treatment candidate because cancer cells have been shown to die in an alkaline (at pH greater than 8.5) environment. Household ammonia typically has a pH of about 11.5, making it about 1000 times more alkaline than baking soda that has a pH of about 8.5. Each change in the pH scale by one is a factor of ten different in concentration. Consider ammonia products cautiously because they can vary widely in strength and strong industrial solutions can cause burn-like wounds to the skin. Also, even dilute ammonia can cause permanent harm if it contacts the eyes.

Here is a link to the most recent topical skin cancer formulas.  Topical enzyme treatments are extremely powerful but little is known at this time regarding their safe and effective use. This web site has been active for several years.  Thankfully, many people have written regarding success with various topical preparations on skin cancers.  As a word of advice, no one has yet reported success without incorporating some topical strategies.  Providing occasional rest days without topical treatments to let the skin recover is also a good idea.  If you are considering topical application of pancreatin or ammonia, look first at their material safety data sheets.

(20) Reconsider the use of absorptive chemical sunscreens. The chemicals in sunscreens used to absorb sunlight are difficult to recommend as they have strong estrogenic properties. That is the body responds to them as if they were estrogen. Especially think carefully about cosmetics that are used on a daily basis such as make-up. Many cosmetic makers have added absorptive sunscreens to these products. I would choose a brand without these sunscreen chemicals. An indication these chemicals have been added is a high SPF noted on the label. Many sunscreen chemicals used in popular US products are banned in European countries for health concerns. Another risk is inadvertently feminizing developing children as they are routinely slathered with these hormone-like chemicals.

The Sunscreen Myth (comic)

The benefits of absorptive sunscreens in preventing cell damage perhaps outweigh the detriments for skin cancer, but it is a closer call than we are led to believe. If excessive sun exposure can not be avoided, common sense dictates that occasional sunscreen use is preferable to sunburns. But stimulating the growth of existing skin and other perhaps fledgling cancers with estrogenic chemicals is undesirable.

To prevent UV light from damaging a cell, a sunscreen will either reflect or absorb the radiation. Most popular sunscreens work by absorbing UV radiation.  There are safer alternatives to consider including reflective sunscreens based on titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.  Wear protective clothing and avoid the most intense sunlight of midday.

Easily sunburned skin may be related to deficiencies of folate. Consider supplementing  inexpensive folic acid which is a significant positive (good) risk factor for cancer. 

On the other hand,  vitamin B2 riboflavin is a cellular photosensitizer that worsens damage caused by solar radiation. The combination of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) with ultraviolet-A radiation has recently been shown to increase gene mutations by 7 times compared to UV-A radiation exposure alone. [Proceedings National Academy of Sciences 104: 5953-58, 2007]  Vitamin C was shown in the same study to inhibit the genetic mutations caused by the combination of UV-A radiation and riboflavin. Taking high doses of riboflavin (RDA=1.7mg) daily is not recommended.

Despite the intense campaign to promote the use of sunscreens, it is hard to see the progress in reducing skin cancer rates. Melanoma rates are highest in areas of the world where these chemicals are most widely applied, possibly because absorptive sunscreens do not prevent damage to the cell's DNA caused by ultraviolet-C. Since sunscreens are effective at preventing sunburn, the user may also be more inclined to spend much more time in the sun. 

Application of sunscreen with an SPF factor of 8 or greater reduces production of vitamin D by 95%. Because very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, the ultraviolet-B spectrum of sunlight supplies most of our requirement. Unfortunately, the same ultraviolet-B spectrum is responsible for sunburns.  But limiting sun exposure and applying sunscreen can result in a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays a key role in many body processes including maintaining calcium balance, inhibiting cell proliferation, stimulating cell differentiation, controlling blood glucose levels, and improving immune system function. Vitamin D3 stimulates the synthesis of binding proteins that block  IGF-1, a hormone that fuels cancer growth.  These are all good things for treating and preventing skin cancer.

A half hour of summer sun exposure wearing a T shirt and shorts can produce 10000 IU of natural vitamin D (current RDA=400 IU) that is absorbed through skin oils. Delay washing skin both before and after sun exposure to maximize vitamin D absorption. Consider vitamin D supplements especially if ultraviolet sun exposure is minimal.  The 400 IU RDA level for vitamin D is widely considered to be inadequate for optimal health.  Daily supplementation of vitamin D3 in the 1000 to 4000 IU range is probably a more desirable level for people that have minimal exposure to the sun.

(21) Aloe Vera is a mild immune system stimulant that is perhaps useful in topical treatments. Aloe vera gel is easily absorbed by the skin and supplies amylase enzymes that give protein dissolving enzymes better access to cancer cells. Aloe vera is also a source of polysaccharides that help the liver to detoxify wastes and enhance natural killer cell function. Aloe vera is one of the ingredients in the original Cymilium insect bite product I used topically on my skin cancer. I applied a glob of aloe vera gel to each of my legs once or twice each day to help detoxify the destroyed cancer cells in the blood and liver. I originally used Panama Jack Green Ice because it did not contain alcohol. It did seem to help any bruised looking surrounding skin to look and feel better within several minutes. There is controversy over aloe's effectiveness in healing cancer, but it does not seem to be harmful and may help synergistically with other treatment strategies. Aloe vera products vary widely in concentration and additives. Real aloe vera gel is not green.

(22) Saw Palmetto Extract is effective in slowing the undesired growth of male prostate gland in some cases. Such growth is sometimes due to or develops into slow growing cancers. It may work by deactivating female hormones or supplying weaker versions of these hormones. In that role it could help control skin cancer growth. Other plant sterol (phytosterol) products, typically marketed to improve cholesterol levels, may help as well.

(23) Reduce further cell damage. Avoid excessive sun exposure, ionizing radiation, or any toxins that may damage the skin, giving new cancers a place to start.  Avoid skin contact with used motor oil, herbicides, insecticides, or insect repellents.  The developer of the widely used Ames test for carcinogens discounts the importance of the role of insecticide residues on foods in cancer because the amounts are so tiny, countering a commonly held belief that they play a major role. He's probably right, but rinsing fruits and vegetables and buying organically grown food when possible still makes sense. Many insecticides have estrogenic properties that could potentially promote cancer growth.

Discontinue tobacco use. Smoking is the highest risk factor for cancer in general and probably is a significant risk factor for skin cancers.  Both sun exposure and tobacco use skin cancer risks are probably amplified by consuming polyunsaturated (omega 6) vegetable oils in the diet (margarine, salad dressings, fried and baked foods). This is because polyunsaturated fats in the diet become incorporated into unstable cell structures that are easily damaged by ultraviolet light or tobacco smoke.

(24) Lose body fat by consuming fewer calories each day and exercising more. This is known to reduce female hormone levels in the body. Examples at the extreme are very lean female athletes such as marathon runners whose intense training sometimes induces the cessation of menstrual cycles. Female hormones are one of the three necessary factors for cancer, and this at least partially explains the widely recognized obesity link to cancer. Female hormone replacement therapy seems like a bad idea concerning cancer treatment and prevention.

Calorie restricted diets (20% below normal) have been shown to reduce tumor development in animals administered carcinogens. One study found that calorie restricted diet reduced levels of the growth hormone factor IGF-1. The advantage of the calorie restricted diet disappeared when IGF-1 levels were restored to normal. Again, dairy products are a leading source of IGF-1 (cancer growth promoter) in the diet. Although growth hormone promoters are advertised as a fountain of youth, I would be very cautious about using them in the face of cancer.

One good way to eat less is to put the "fast" back in breakfast. I think the body may need regular and significant periods of time without food in order to optimally absorb enzymes into the blood to fight cancer. This may be true even if using enzyme supplements. Try to limit eating before sleeping. Get enough sleep. Consider extending your daily fast by skipping a meal occasionally. Incidentally, occasionally skipping meals has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and diabetes. The connection here is that natural diabetes control, like natural cancer control, depends on the health of the pancreas.

Another simple idea to eat less is to slow down the eating process. Take the time to chew food thoroughly. It takes a while for the signal that the stomach is filling up to reach the brain. Eating slowly gives this feedback a chance to happen with less food to digest. Also, chewing food thoroughly takes advantage of the digestive power of the mouth. This can greatly lessen the amount of digestive work that stomach acids and pancreatic enzymes must perform further downstream. This frees these digestive enzymes to be able to work on their other task of cancer eradication.

(25) Vitamin B3 Niacin In a recent study, a new drug that causes histamine release in the skin, supplied along with an antibody produced by the body, led to longer skin cancer (melanoma) survival rates. The histamine was said to enable free radicals to attack the cancer cells. This is an example of the two edged sword of inflammation. If the immune system is capable, inflammation is a good thing. But most people with cancer need to improve their immune system before inflammation and histamine release will be helpful. Histamine is generally undesirable because of its relationship with the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme that is integral to the growth of cancers.

Vitamin B3 niacin (nicotinic acid, but not niacinamide), which can improve blood lipid levels, causes histamine release in the skin. I think this form of niacin could work in ideal conditions by using the histamine flush it generates to transport pancreatin enzymes, oxygen, and natural killer cells to the cancer and to sweep away the very acidic wastes that surround cancer cells.  A version of niacin that retains its desirable properties including improving blood lipid levels but without the histamine flush is inositol hexanicotinate. It is usually labeled as no-flush niacin. Niacin is needed to transport zinc and other minerals throughout the body and for that purpose niacinamide is also useful.

Pellagra was a once a very common disease, discovered to be caused by niacin deficiency in 1926. The symptoms of pellagra include high sensitivity to sunlight, dermatitis, red skin lesions, diarrhea, dementia, and death. It is interesting that nicotine in tobacco is mistaken for niacin by the body, resulting in effective niacin deficiencies.  Pellagra can be common in persons who obtain most of their food energy from corn, since corn grown in acidic soil is a poor source of niacin. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation worsens pellagra, evidenced by increased symptoms in the summer. It is plausible that niacin deficiencies can be a aggravating factor in skin cancer development. The RDA for niacin is 20mg, but people routinely take several grams daily for cholesterol control.

(26) Inhibit the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) enzyme. Blocking or inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme can significantly disrupt the growth of cancer. For skin cancer treatments based on pancreatin enzymes, inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme is at the very least a way to buy time while improving the capabilities of the immune system. Over the counter medicines that block COX-2 enzymes include antihistamines, NSAIDs such aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil), and acid reducers such as cimetadine (Tagamet). Many of these medicines block both the Cox-1 and Cox-2 enzymes, an undesirable attribute if ingested orally. COX-1 enzymes aid the important function of protecting the lining of the stomach from the acids used in digestion.

The good side of the COX-2 enzyme is that it is involved in the production of stomach acid which ultimately aids pancreatin enzymes by helping to digest food. Inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme could potentially interfere with the function of pancreatin enzymes in eradicating cancer by compromising the function of stomach acid in digestion. I think taking cimetadine of an empty stomach a bedtime is potentially a good choice. Because cimetadine blocks production of stomach acid, its use at night could also be helpful to get pancreatin enzyme supplements through the acid stomach environment. Typical doses for Tagamet are 200-800mg. Prescription COX-2 blockers Lodine XL and Celebrex may be more effective still.

Perhaps the best way to administer COX-2 blockers such as ibuprofen is topically, which sidesteps any concerns about stomach problems and delivers a potent dose directly to the skin cancer. Topical ibuprofen stays in the tissues a long time so there is no need for frequent applications. Unfortunately, topical ibuprofen is not available as a product. There are a couple of ways to make an experimental topical ibuprofen gel. One way is to puncture an ibuprofen (Advil Liqui-Gel) gel cap and mix its contents with a glob of aloe vera gel. Mixing aloe vera and ibuprofen together results in a cloudy or milky substance that is quite acidic. Adding a few drops of household ammonia until the mixture becomes clear again neutralizes the acidity, but I am not sure if this affects the potency. Another way to make a topical ibuprofen gel is to grind regular ibuprofen caps and dissolve them in a small amount of alcohol (not isopropyl) overnight. The alcohol is then poured off and mixed with an equal volume of aloe vera gel. Orange peel extract can be added to aid absorption. These are general guidelines for home remedy ibuprofen gels to try at your own risk.

(27) Inositol hexaphosphate or IP6, a nonprescription nutritional supplement, has been used in studies to fight cancer very effectively. Derived from soluble fiber, IP6 is possibly the ingredient that accounts for fiber's known anticancer activity. Inositol hexaphosphate is a sugar, very much like glucose, except it has six phosphates attached to its molecules. IP-6 is very common: every animal and plant species tested had varying levels of IP-6. The highest amounts were found in rice, about 2% by weight. IP6 nutritional supplements have a real advantage over food sources in terms of absorption.

IP6 is a powerful weapon against cancer.  IP6 mops up excessive iron, needed by cancer to produce new DNA. Excess iron stored in tissues promotes insulin resistance, leading to high levels of both glucose and insulin, neither of which is beneficial for cancer control. IP6 also removes excessive copper, needed to produce new blood supplies for the cancer. IP6 also removes heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, and lead, while not removing beneficial minerals such as potassium and magnesium. It activates natural killer cells, promotes cell differentiation (turning cancer cells into more normal cells), reduces tumor sizes, and helps the tumor suppressor gene p53 that is often defective in cancers. IP-6 is nontoxic, although it is not recommended for pregnant women and growing children. To date, IP-6 has been effective against every cancer cell tested.

Typical doses of IP6 are 0.5 to 8 grams per day, taken on an empty stomach with water. IP6 interacts with vitamin C, so do not take it with fruit juices. Other studies show that IP6 combined with inositol (vitamin B11) in a 4 (IP6):1 (inositol) ratio may work the better than IP6 alone. This combination enables a conversion of IP6 to IP3, believed by some to be the real inhibitor of cancer and activator of so-called Natural Killer or NK cells. IP3 is also known to help regulate the calcium levels within cells throughout the body. Inositol helps establish healthy cell membranes, which facilitate proper nerve impulses. IP6 and inositol are available at most vitamin specialty stores for about $14 each for a bottle of 100 500mg capsules. I think this is money especially well spent.

(28) Vitamin B6 has dramatically slowed growth in laboratory cancer cultures by up to 85% compared to control cultures even in the presence of estrogen. The protective effect of vitamin B6 is increased as the dose is increased, but a person can take too much even though B6 is water soluble. A maximum tolerated limit of about 100-200 mg/day should not be exceeded to avoid neurological problems. The RDA is around 2 mg/day. People with cancer typically have very low serum levels of vitamin B6 compared to people without cancer. This vitamin is inexpensive and can be found in 50 and 100 mg tablets. Vitamin B6 is more well known for reducing levels of homocysteine associated with heart disease, along with vitamin B12 and folic acid. Long term multivitamin (containing folic acid) use is associated with reduced cancer risk.

This chart shows vitamin intake per person from food has generally increased since 1909. Several of these vitamins have known protective effects against cancers including vitamins B3, B6, C, E, and folate. Vitamin D (not shown) is normally obtained from sun exposure, and has a very strong positive influence on the immune system. Data source USDA.

(29) Coenzyme Q10 The body manufactures a substance called coenzyme Q10 that is used in the metabolism of every one of its cells. Like vitamin B6, cancer patients have very low levels of coenzyme Q10 compared to normal healthy people. Available as a relatively expensive nutritional supplement, large daily doses of 100 to 400 mg have completely eliminated terminal cancers in some instances over several months. One study showed that CoQ10 may increase the capacity of skin cells to produce vitamin D, a natural cancer inhibitor.

Coenzyme Q10 is also known for its role in retarding cardiovascular disease and its positive influence on hypertension.  Statin drugs used to control cholesterol diminish the body's ability to synthesize its own coenzyme q10. If you take a statin medication, you should be especially concerned about the need to supplement coenzyme q10. It is worth shopping for coenzyme Q10 as prices vary widely.

Take coenzyme q10 with some fat (with flax or fish oil or a meal) to improve absorption. If you are relying on your body to manufacture all its own coenzyme Q10, consider supplementing these vitamins which are its precursors: B6, C, B2, B12, folic acid, niacin (B3), and pantothenic acid (B5). Coenzyme Q10 can be applied at high concentrations to skin cancers by puncturing a softgel capsule and spreading the liquid. Some coenzyme Q10 supplements are in powder form. These could be mixed with aloe vera gel and spread topically.

(30) The mineral zinc is vital to cellular and immune system function. Zinc is a cofactor in over 100 known enzyme reactions in the body, including carboxypeptidase A, a zinc containing pancreatic enzyme that dissolves proteins. Zinc deficiencies are associated with certain cancers, especially of the prostate, head, and neck. Zinc deficiencies can arise from factors such as low dietary intakes (even with poorly absorbed supplements), excessive alcohol consumption, too much supplementary iron, regular use of ACE inhibitors, stress, illness, and cereal based protein diets. The RDA for zinc is 15mg, and supplementation above 50 mg is counterproductive to the immune system. 

Excessive zinc supplementation can result in a copper deficiency.  Actually, this copper to zinc relationship is a good reason to supplement zinc (in moderation) because copper is used by cancers to build new blood vessels. There are many types of zinc supplements available. Zinc oxide and zinc sulfate are poorly absorbed, zinc picolinate can lead to anemia, leaving zinc citrate, zinc gluconate, and zinc monomethionine as good choices for supplementing. I think zinc supplementation may help activate pancreatin enzymes and make them more effective. This possibly could reduce pancreatin enzyme dosage levels (and the associated cost) for the same effectiveness. Take supplements with meals because zinc taken on an empty stomach can produce nausea.

(31) The trace mineral selenium is also vital to cellular and immune system function. Selenium, like zinc, is a cofactor in many enzyme reactions in the body. Selenium also attacks cancer from two other flanks by directly causing cell death (necrosis) and turning off the immortality switch that gets stuck in the "on" position in cancer cells (apoptosis). A large study of the effect of selenium supplementation for cancer prevention in patients with skin cancer was published in 1996. The results were that selenium supplementation did not significantly affect the incidence of basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer, but did reduce the incidence by 37% and the mortality by 50% of other cancers. The dose in the study was 200 ug/day of selenium derived from yeast. Recent research with other types of selenium now offer hope for skin cancer effectiveness.

A major problem with using higher doses of selenium has been that it can accumulate in general body proteins. This accumulation, in addition to being toxic, actually has no anticancer benefit. Impressive research performed over the past 15 years has focused on a form of selenium that is much less likely to accumulate in the tissues but still has good anticancer activity. This form of selenium is called Se-methylselenocysteine. Se-methylselenocysteine is formed naturally in various plants, including garlic, wild leeks, onions and broccoli grown on high selenium soil. Se-methylselenocysteine is available as a somewhat hard to find supplement. First introduced as a dietary supplement in 2002, Se-methylselenocysteine is sometimes referred to as SeMC or MSC.

Supplementing selenium is one of the most significant ways to reduce overall cancer risk. Selenium appears to work synergistically with vitamin E, another cancer risk factor reducer. If supplementing vitamin E, choose 100% natural only and preferably a blend high in d-gamma tocopherols. The RDA for selenium is 55 micrograms a day. Most studies show an optimal benefit at a dosage rate of 200-400 micrograms per day while supplementing with commonly available selenomethionine (yeast based, least desirable because it is most likely to accumulate in tissues yet has lower anticancer effects), sodium selenite, or sodium selenate. Watch out for symptoms of too much selenium even at about 200 micrograms a day such as numb fingertips.

Because Se-methylselenocysteine is so much less toxic than other forms of selenium, it may be possible to safely supplement at much higher levels approaching 2000 micrograms per day for cancer treatment purposes. Toxicity data for Se-methylselenocysteine has not been established, and most sources recommend caution over doses exceeding 400ug per day.

Exposure to toxic heavy metals such as mercury may result in higher needs for zinc and selenium because mercury readily substitutes itself in place of these minerals. This results in the failure of the desired and necessary reactions. According to the World Health Organization, the greatest human exposure source of mercury is from silver amalgam fillings used to repair teeth. The mercury content of silver amalgam fillings is not trivial; they actually contain about 50% mercury. Amalagam fillings are stable mechanically but continuously release small amounts of mercury that is absorbed by the digestive system and the lungs. Even tiny amounts of mercury impair immune system function. Any disturbance (chewing, grinding teeth, hot beverages, dental work) of these fillings will result higher mercury exposure. Find a dentist trained in reducing your exposure to mercury. Choose non-metallic substitutes to amalgam fillings for future dental work.

Large predator fish such as shark and tuna tend to accumulate mercury and should be eaten in moderation if at all. Especially avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, tuna steaks, canned tuna (albacore has three times the mercury as chunk light), sea bass, Gulf Coast oysters, marlin, halibut, pike, walleye, white croaker, and largemouth bass. The best fish to eat in terms of mercury are mid-Atlantic blue crab, croaker, fish sticks, flounder, haddock, shrimp, wild Pacific salmon, and shrimp.

(32) Melatonin is a hormone released by the pineal gland in the brain at night during sleep. Its level in the body naturally declines dramatically during waking hours each day as part of the circadian rhythm. Melatonin plays a crucial role in the immune system including stimulating natural killer cell production.  Melatonin production is adversely affected by mercury exposure.  The pineal gland is located inches away from teeth that may expose it to mercury through amalgam fillings. Other detriments to its production are a lack of darkness when sleeping, a lack of sleep, and electromagnetic fields (EMF).

Melatonin supplements, often promoted as a sleep aid, are inexpensive and widely available. I find taking 3 mg before sleeping very beneficial in terms of feeling refreshed when I woke up. Melatonin supplementation increases the survival time of most advanced cancer patients. Melatonin is also a COX-2 inhibitor, an antioxidant, possibly reduces the number of estrogen receptors on cancer cells, and inhibits the secretion of estrogen in the body. A typical dose for a healthy individual is 300 mcg-6 mg each night. Cancer patients often take between 3-50 mg each night.  Especially interesting for skin cancer treatment, melatonin has been used successfully as part of a topical cocktail to kill cancer cells.

(33) Consider trying to overheat the skin cancer with local hyperthermia treatments. Hyperthermia research with internal tumors using microwave probes have been studied for years. No absolute standards have emerged to my knowledge, but a rule of thumb is to heat the tumor to 43C (109.4F) for 45 minutes. For skin cancer, potential self-treatment can be as simple as applying a hot beverage cup or a hot water bottle to the cancer site. Hyperthermia treatments are especially attractive if the skin cancer is located on an extremity such as a hand. One can also consider taking hot baths or showers. Cancer cells are less tolerant of heat than normal cells and are said to die at around 108 degrees F (42.2 degrees C). Also, the poor internal circulation in the tumor makes getting rid of heat difficult, potentially making the strategy more effective. Approach this strategy cautiously because this temperature is close to scalding and some people are more sensitive than others. If it seems too hot it probably is a good idea to back off as the pain threshold is around 106 (41.1C) to 108 degrees F. Buy a digital thermometer (an aquarium thermometer should work) and test the temperature to avoid a scalding injury. Regardless of the thermometer reading (they can be inaccurate), exceeding the pain threshold does not seem wise. A third degree burn will result from exposure to 110F (43.3C) water over ten hours, but only 5 minutes at 120 degrees F (48.9C). Limit the heat treatments to a few minutes a day at temperatures less than 110 F to avoid a scalding injury. If showering, pick a time of day when water pressure is constant (no flushing toilets, etc) to avoid temperature fluctuations. The fact that skin cancer is directly accessible for hyperthermia or heating treatments is a unique opportunity that does not exist for most cancers. Even if temperatures approaching 108 F can not be tolerated this strategy may still be useful. Heating stimulates the circulation to aid pancreatin transportation and eliminate acid buildups at the cancer site.

(34) Nitrilosides "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," but consider eating the seeds too. Apple and many other types of seeds contain nitrilosides, dubbed by proponents as vitamin B17 and the subject of considerable controversy in alternative cancer treatments for decades. Amygdalin is the best known nitriloside. It is the the active ingredient of Laetrile, obtained from the seed inside the apricot pit. Amygdalin is broken down in the body to yield dextrose and mandelonitrile, a compound containing cyanide. Cancer cells are said to contain more of the enzymes that make this conversion than normal cells and also fewer of the enzymes that disarm the cyanide. This enables cancer cells to be selectively poisoned, the object of chemotherapy. By itself, amygdalin has never been proven through studies to work effectively. But there are always two sides to every story, and low doses of amygdalin obtained from eating the large variety of foods that contain it may be beneficial in conjunction with other strategies. Foods that contain Amygdalin include the seeds of fruits (especially apricots, peaches, nectarines), macadamia nuts, almonds, sprouts of all types, berries of all types, most types of beans and peas, whole grains, and millet (birdseed). Nitrilosides are very stable substances and are reportedly not affected by cooking. Apples and onions are also a good sources of a flavanoid called quercetin with anticancer properties. Quercetin is also available as a supplement.

(35) Ellagic Acid: Bring on the berries! Fresh berries are available year round in many areas. But individual quick frozen berries capture optimal vine ripened fruit and are a convenient and inexpensive way to consume berries daily. Studies have consistently shown compounds in berries to be very effective against cancers. Studies have also shown that freezing and thawing berries does not affect the potency of cancer fighting substances in berries. Because cancer fighting ellagic acid and nitrilosides are concentrated in the seeds, chew the berry until a crunch is felt, or use a juicer. Black and red raspberries, blackberries, marionberries, loganberries, and strawberries appear to be especially good sources of both nitrilosides and ellagic acid. Consuming a pound (450g) of berries a week is a goal for me.

Ellagic acid can also be found in cranberries, pomegranates, walnuts, and  pecans.  Pomegranate extracts are widely available as nutritional supplements with high ellagic acid content. For topical application, consider combining pomegranate extract with aloe vera gel by opening the capsule and mixing them together. Topical ellagic acid is especially promising  because of studies that show it inhibits skin cancer in animals.  One attribute of cancer cells is that they do not die naturally after a certain period of time (apoptosis) like normal cells. Ellagic acid  causes apoptosis in cancer cells in the laboratory. It may also work by preventing the binding of carcinogens to DNA and by strengthening connective tissue which prevents cancer cells from spreading.  Other claims for ellagic acid are it reduces heart disease, reduces birth defects, promotes wound healing, and is an effective sunscreen. 

(36) Supplement Vitamin C and the amino acid L-Lysine. Vitamin C has a somewhat storied past with regard to cancer because of its longtime vocal proponent Linus Pauling. Although most animals make their own vitamin C, humans do not and must obtain their vitamin C from the diet. Vitamin C is important for proper immune system function. Research from Pauling and Matthias Rath regarding vitamin C that occurred in the early 1990's did not receive much recognition but was very important. Not only does it explain the mechanisms of cardiovascular disease, it also ties together many shared risk factors of cardiovascular health and cancer. These researchers found that collagen, the matrix that holds cells in place much like an egg carton holds eggs, is formed from the building blocks of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and the amino acids lysine and proline. Like vitamin C, lysine must be obtained from the diet. Proline can be synthesized from protein in the diet. When collagen suffers an injury, the body looks for these building blocks to make the repair. If these are unavailable, a variant of LDL cholesterol called Lp(a) is dispatched to make a temporary repair. When deposited in the arteries, the Lp(a) forms what is known as plaque.

There are several extensions to this theory. One says that if adequate lysine, proline, and ascorbic acid become available, the temporary plaque repair can be replaced by a permanent repair and the cardiovascular damage is removed. Another says that an alternative substance that the body uses for collagen repair is trans fatty acids (hydrogenated fat). Trans fatty acids also fit into the same spot in the collagen matrix but are impermeable to oxygen, so that a repair made with trans fatty acids can deprive the adjoining cells of adequate oxygen. Cancer cells metabolize glucose anaerobically, so they are less affected.

Healthy collagen is important because it locks cancerous cells in place, impeding the spread of cancer. Supplementing vitamin C and L-lysine can reportedly stop the spread of cancer by inhibiting the enzymes produced by cancer cells that are used to attack collagen. Typical doses are 500mg of vitamin C and 500 mg of L-lysine several times a day. Both are available as inexpensive dietary supplements.

Another supplement to consider is chondroitin sulfate, often used in conjunction with glucosamine to help with arthritis. Primate animal studies by Morrison in the 1960's showed chondroitin sulfate kept arteries completely clear of plaque even when the animals were fed a high fat diet. The same diet rapidly clogged the arteries of the control animals not given chondroitin sulfate.  Chondroitin sulfate  may also have benefits for cancer healing. Chondroitin sulfate is sold as a dietary supplement  extracted from shark cartilage or other animal sources. Bovine (cow) cartilage (Catrix) preparations have been used with some success in studies to treat a variety of human cancers, including topical preparations for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

(37) Keep a positive but realistic attitude. A positive attitude is useful to get through some of the difficult moments, but this is really helpful only if the rest of the cancer fighting plan is viable and working. Cancer does not respond to wishful thinking alone. Because healing is gradual, take photographs or video clips to objectively substantiate healing progress. One can even consider using a copy machine or scanner to do this on the cheap and easy. New cell phones often come with a convenient camera that can be used for this purpose. Measure the size of lesions with a ruler and record to compare with future measurements. I have found a tendency for lesions to "flare" for a few days before healing as the cancer immune system engages them. This requires a bit of patience and faith in the theory to get through. It may be difficult at the time to regard the flaring as a positive sign. But if healing progress is not being made, consider a different plan or choose standard treatments.

(38) Make an appointment to see a dermatologist. Their queue times for appointments are often 4-8 weeks. That should be enough time to assess whether these strategies are at least beginning to work. If not, this step provides the luxury of a safety net. This appointment can always be postponed or cancelled if progress is being made. This step is listed near the end but is one of the first that should be taken. I think that most if not all of these strategy ideas fall in the category of "it can not hurt to try", but if in doubt ask your doctor. A dermatologist's medical advice should be strongly weighed, but one can decline treatment or ask for a second opinion. Surgery may be the best option given individual circumstances. If the possibility of melanoma is a concern, be sure to insist on an immediate appointment. Although these strategies should be applicable to any skin cancer, I would not bet my life on it.

People with skin cancer should know that surgical removal of a primary tumor affects the growth rate of any metastatic lesions (if they exist). This is believed to caused by statin chemicals produced by the primary tumor that limit the ability of the distant tumors to produce new blood supplies. Once the primary tumor is gone, the other ones can more readily grow. This is probably less of a concern for basal cell carcinomas than for squamous cell carcinomas.

Ask your doctor about Aldara, a topical medicine for treatment of genital warts that was recently approved by the FDA for skin cancers. Aldara is said to work by stimulating local production of interferon and interleukins, enabling the body to use its own immune system to destroy the cancer. Side effects of Aldara include fatigue, aches, and a low grade fever as the immune system becomes engaged. Aldara is probably appropriate only for small skin cancer lesions, in part because it is expensive.

(39) Ask God for healing. He cares about us and knows exactly how to restore us to health. Despite who we are or what we might have done in the past, God wants to establish close relationships with each of us. He has provided a bridge named Jesus for us to use to reach Him. We need to find and cross this bridge in our lifetime or the opportunity for an eternal relationship with God will be gone forever. This personal relationship with the God of the Bible is the reason we were created and is the only way we can be truly satisfied in life. Seek God on His terms and He promises you will find Him. He is definitely worth finding.

I hope this information helps you. These are my thoughts based on my experiences. I doubt these strategies are the last word, but they worked for me. Do not consider these ideas as medical advice for your unique situation. Maybe this will at least give you new directions to explore and something to build on. May God bless and heal you!

.See the first 17 strategies for squamous and basal cell carcinoma

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Topicalinfo- The big picture

A review of established cancer risk factors

Fundamentals of natural cancer treatments

Squamous and basal cell carcinoma treatment strategies 1-17

One Answer to Cancer






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Stomach acidity

Drinking water


Basal and squamous cell strategies 18-39 (You are here)


Topical pancreatin

Problems with sunscreens

Aloe vera


Cell damage

Lose body fat


Inhibit the Cox-2 enzyme


Vitamin B6

Coenzyme Q10




Hyperthermia treatment


Ellagic acid

Vitamin C and lysine

See a dermatologist

Ask God for healing

Natural healing: What to expect

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My story using the original topical treatments

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