The use of IV (intravenous) vitamin C to treat cancer is growing in popularity around the world as positive research continues to accumulate and build a strong case for its effectiveness. The latest cohort study out of Germany is one more example, showing that IV vitamin C markedly improves the quality of life for breast cancer patients. Such positive results are likely the reason why many thousands of patients worldwide elect to be treated with this therapy every year.
IV Vitamin C for Cancer: Current Status
It is now well established that by injecting vitamin C we can safely reach concentrations at which ascorbate generates hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in tissues, and it is the H2O2 that selectively kills cancer cells through oxidative stress. Laboratory studies have confirmed that high-dose vitamin C is cytotoxic to a wide variety of cancer cell lines, and that it also boosts the anti-cancer activity of several common chemotherapy drugs. In animal models (rats), IV vitamin C has been shown to significantly decrease growth rates of liver, ovarian, pancreatic, and glioblastoma tumors with dosages easily achievable in humans. The science behind IV vitamin C as a cancer therapy is now so advanced that there are six clinical trials testing it (alone or with chemo drugs) in human patients against lymphoma and cancers of the colon, breast, uterus, cervix, prostate, pancreas and others.
IV Vitamin C Helps Cancer Patients: Clinical Evidence
Clinical trials have not yet shown IV vitamin C to shrink tumours, but that’s no reason for an oncologist to reject this therapy. Improving quality of life is also an important goal of cancer treatment, and clinical experience shows IV vitamin C does exactly that. A prospective study from Korea (2007) showed that this therapy significantly improved quality of life for terminal cancer patients, bringing the global health/quality of life score from 36 to 55 and yielding improvements in physical, emotional, and cognitive functions. Disease symptom severity also decreased across the board, with patients showing significantly less fatigue, nausea/vomiting, pain, and appetite loss.
These results were echoed in a study just completed in late 2011 in Germany, which compared breast cancer patients receiving IV vitamin C and standard therapy together, versus standard therapy alone. Those receiving IV vitamin C experienced a marked reduction (nearly 50%) in unpleasant symptoms and chemo/radiotherapy side effects such as loss of appetite, fatigue, depression, sleep disorders, dizziness and haemorrhagic diathesis.
The Use of IV Vitamin C is More Widespread Than You Think
Experiences such as those above are bringing more patients to try IV vitamin C – as are high profile patients. For example, the celebrated New Zealand physicist Sir Paul Callaghan elected to treat his colon cancer with IV vitamin C, and his CEA level (a colon cancer marker) started to decrease after only six infusions. This therapy is already widespread in New Zealand: 30 clinics provide it, administering about 10,000 vitamin C injections annually. In the US, a recent survey showed that over 8800 patients were treated with IV vitamin C in 2008, using a total of 355,000 dosage vials.
But that was just for the health care practitioners taking part in the survey. For the same year, manufacturers reported sales of 855,000 vials of vitamin C. This implies that as many as 21,000 patients received IV vitamin C therapy in 2008.
Ongoing clinical trials using IV vitamin C to treat cancer won’t complete until 2013 to 2014. But until then, clinical evidence already shows that this therapy can – at the very least – significantly improve cancer patients’ quality of life. Oncologists should therefore strongly consider adding this therapy to their standard clinical practice.
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