Radical Remission: Why Some Terminal Cancer Patients Beat the Odds

Thursday, 01 May 2014 09:40 AM

By Nick Tate

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Every year, countless terminal cancer patients — some given only months to live — somehow survive to beat the odds, even after doctors have told them conventional treatments are not working. So how do they do it? Is it just a matter of luck or are there common characteristics of such remarkable, long-term cancer survivors?
 
Dr. Kelly Turner, a Harvard-educated cancer researcher who spent a year examining cases of "spontaneous remission," says there is much more to these recoveries than random chance and that scientists are only beginning to understand the physiological mechanisms at work. In her new best-selling book, "Radical Remission: 9 Key Factors That Can Make a Real Difference," she details her findings from interviews with more than 100 cancer patients in 10 countries who've experienced such recoveries. She also analyzed 1,000 other similar cases to identify commonalities in against-all-odds survivors.
 
"I was looking for the most common thing or the top common things amongst all of these radical remission survivors and I found over 75 different things that they were doing to try to get well," she tells Newsmax Health. "Not everyone did all 75, but almost everyone that I've studied did nine of these things."
 
Special: Suzanne Somers Found the Doctors Curing Cancer. Watch Video.
 
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According to Dr. Turner's findings, the following nine factors were common to all of the "radical remission" cases she examined:
 
Taking control of your health. The most dramatic recovery Dr. Turner recounts involved a Japanese kidney cancer patient who underwent unsuccessful surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. But once he started taking control of his health — drinking filtered water, eating healthy food, and watching the sunrise every day –— he went into remission. "He did all the nine factors in my research and, 25 years later and counting, he is completely cancer free and has grandchildren," she says.
 
Radically changing your diet. Not surprisingly, all of the long-term survivors had taken aggressive steps to boost the nutritional value of their diets — a factor Dr. Turner calls "the big one" among the patients she studied. "And that was a shift really into fruits and vegetables and way from things like meat, wheat, sweets, and dairy," she explains.
 
Using herbs and supplements. No single anti-cancer natural remedy was uncovered by Dr. Turner's research. But she says most survivors used three types of herbs and supplements — those that aid digestion and increase the body's absorption of nutrients, help detoxify the body of bacteria and viruses, and boost the immune system (such as probiotics, prebiotics, aloe vera, turmeric, and vitamin C). "I wish that I could say there was one magic bullet, that everyone was taking this one herb from Indonesia and — poof! — their cancer was gone," she notes. "[But] what I found … is there were three categories of herbs that almost everyone I studied was taking."
 
Embracing social support. A wide variety of research has found close connections with family and friends can boost cancer survival — something Dr. Turner's research confirmed in the individuals she studied. "They would say to me, 'You know, I don’t know how to explain it Dr. Turner, but I know that the love that just came pouring in helped me heal,' " she notes. "Well, scientifically we know that that's actually possible, because when you feel loved oxytocin is released in huge amounts form the master glands of your brain and that increases [the immune system's] natural killer cells and white blood cells."
 
Increasing positive emotions, releasing negative feelings, and having strong reasons for living. Three other characteristics of long-term survivors were inter-related: Embracing positive emotions, letting go of negative ones, and developing stronger reasons for living. Dr. Turner found the patients she studied made time every day to do these things, just as they made time to eat, sleep, and exercise. "Even if it was just for five minutes a day — so [they're] not trying to be happy positive all the time, 'cause that's just not possible — but making sure [to] get five minutes of joy every day," she says. "They [also] released suppressed emotions that they were holding onto from the past, such as stress or regret or sadness."
 
Following your intuition. Learning to trust your gut instincts was also a key factor Dr. Turner observed in the patients she studied. "They used their intuition to help make decisions," she says. "And intuition is interesting 'cause it actually can sense danger and paths to safety, long before the front of your brain — which is the thinking part of your brain — even knows what’s going on."
 
Deepening your spiritual connection. Dr. Turner found that faith itself was not necessarily a key factor in helping cancer patients live longer, but that the practice of some form of spirituality — praying, meditating, or interacting with the natural world — has measureable impacts on the immune system.
 
"Faith, according to my research, actually doesn't help them survive. What helps them survive, according to the people I studied, is not what they believe but how they practice their spirituality," she explains.

"So there are certain spiritual practices — such as prayer or meditation or even walking in nature — that will change … the physiology of your body and put you into the parasympathetic nervous system and that's when your immune system really lights up. So it actually becomes scientific — if you do these spiritual practices that calm your body down and sort of connect you to [what] some people would say [is] a divine energy … really you're just turning on your parasympathetic nervous system. If you do that every day you're really going to help your immune system."
 
She adds that this aspect of research challenges the notion that people with strong personalities who embody a "fighting spirit" in taking on their cancer have an advantage. In fact, such an approach may be counter-productive, she suggests.
 
"Research has shown that having a fighting spirit and fighting against your cancer actually doesn't lengthen survival time. And that's exactly what I found amongst my radical remission survivors, as well," she says.

"Many of them weren't fighting their cancer; many of them were just simply focused on enjoying life for as long as they had it. And so again that's moving them out of fear, and out of sort of this fight-or-flight mode and into the rest-and-repair mode, where you're enjoying life, you're relaxing, you're taking happiness when you can get it. And that is actually better for your immune system than being in a fight with something."

Special: Suzanne Somers Found the Doctors Curing Cancer. Watch Video.

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