What is not taught in medical schools about cancer

Cancer presents itself as a tumor which received its name already in ancient Greece. Cancer means crab. Hippocrates distinguished between two tumor types: A simple tumor treatable with cauterization, and an untreatable crab. Cancer and tumor are regarded as synonyms, which may not be so. Modern cancer research provides ample evidence that the disease cancer comprises more than a tumor. Nevertheless, researchers prefer to ignore the difference. We may distinguish in cancer between two components, or processes. Destructive, like tumor, and protective, represented here by the Cancer Yogi metaphor. Their interplay is represented by second metaphor, Wisdom of the Body (WOB). The metaphors provide intuitive insight into the interplay between processes in the organism. This narrative is intended to convince the patient that contrary to general belief, he can resist cancer and become a Cancer Yogi.

In the present discourse, the two metaphors acquire a broad meaning. WOB is the skill of any live form to control its processes. Yogi, is an ability of any live form to overcome hazard.

Coal tar induced cancer

Let's start with two distinguished Japanese scientists, Yamagiwa and Ichikawa, who discovered that coal tar induces cancer. Since Japanese are masters of the paintbrush, they decided to paint coal tar on rabbit ears. Every morning they met in the animal house, Yamagiwa held the animal and Ichikava painted his ears with coal tar. Soon the ears were covered with wounds, and tumors appeared along wound margins. Pleased with their findings, they rushed to publish them in a scientific journal.

When left alone, the rabbits continued chewing their food, Their tumors got smaller, and the wounds healed. After several weeks, when the two scientists returned, they were shocked to realize that tumors were gone. Obviously the experiment failed and had to be repeated. This time they treated rabbits for prolonged periods of time, and tumors got bigger. After treatment ended they continued to watch the rabbits, and tumors continued growing.

These experiments initiated an era of fruitful research of cancer inducing substances, or carcinogens; which may be chemicals, ionizing radiation, or biological substances. There remained however a theoretical difficulty that had to be resolved. How could it be that cancers induced by carcinogens regress? Genuine cancers never regress. The explanation was quite weird. When young, tumor needs poison to thrive. This "conditional tumor" regresses when treatment stops. Only when maturing, it becomes autonomous, and continues growing.

This folly is nurtured by the way medicine perceives cancer :
1. Tumor is an autonomous parasite, independent of the host.
2. Cancer starts as a local aberration (transformation), and gradually spreads.
3. Unless treated a tumor will kill its host.

After being initiated it depends on carcinogens to thrive. Later it becomes independent.

From our perspective the experiment sounds different. The poison that was applied to rabbit ears entered through the skin and its wounds, poisoning the entire organism. Initiating a disease that was taken care of by WOB. Since rabbits continued living and appeared healthy, they became Poison Yogis. Once treatment ended, WOB curtailed the tumors and the rabbits became Cancer Yogis. The experiment thus reveals a hidden aspect in cancer that is ignored by medicine:

1 Cancer is a systemic disease (something like a poisoning)
2 Tumor is only one cancer manifestation.
3 Tumor behavior depends on the potency of the WOB, which is strong enough to curtail a conditional tumor, and weaker when handling an autonomous tumor. Tumor size indicates WOB's strength.
4 Not all tumors are deadly!

Cosmic radiation

Carcinogens are everywhere, and yet from year to year, our life expectancy improves. Despite this, prophets of doom claim that since carcinogens are on the rise our future is bleak. Optimists embrace WOB. Ever since appearing on earth, life was exposed to the carcinogenic effect of cosmic radiation. Similar rays induce cancer in laboratory animals. Why don't we all get cancer? According to Darwin, throughout evolution only those who survived environmental hazard propagated, and their progeny inherited their ability, while the weak succumbed. From generation to generation WOB became better equipped to handle cosmic radiation, and our life expectancy rises.

Radiation Yogi

While strong radiation destroys life, weak radiation induces in laboratory animals unexpected qualities. Mice that were irradiated all their life with relatively strong radiation, either died, or got cancer. Yet when other mice were kept in a low level background radiation, they lived longer (!) than untreated animals. This phenomenon known as Hormesis, still puzzles scientists. Why not "blame" WOB for this achievement?

Astronauts are exposed to a more intense cosmic radiation than other earthlings, who are protected by the atmosphere. It is expected that during a prolonged voyage to distant stars, they all will get cancer. Once Space Agency discovers WOB's potential, it will train astronauts to be Radiation Yogis. Hopefully by then, also medicine will direct its attention to the WOB.

Antibiotics Yogi

Microbes are most successful yogis on earth. Recently they proved their superiority over medicine, by resisting antibiotics. Soon they will master the last, and become Antibiotics Yogis. An indiscriminate use of antibiotics by medicine and agriculture contributed to WOB's training in microbes. Why not outsmart them by becoming Microbe Yogis that resist even the most aggressive microbe? Given enough time and proper attitude, WOB can master even this difficult task.

Hereditary cancer

Elegant experiments in mice clarified how cancer is inherited. By cross-breading mice, traits with high cancer yield were obtained. Generally the experiments obeyed the laws of Genetics, but not always. Despite intensive effort, a 100% cancer yield was never achieved. Like in AKR mice, 80% of which get leukemia. Since being nearly perfect twins, the healthy 20% carry the same genes like their leukemic siblings, why are they healthy? "Penetration" is the buzz word that generally saves genetics from embarrassment. It is called to straighten up logical inconsistencies in genetics: "Since having low penetration, not all leukemia genes succeed in inducing cancer". Why not assume that WOB controls penetration? Should geneticists care to try ,they might transform even the sick 80% into leukemia-yogis. Medicine regards such arguments as non-scientific.


Apparently history is repeating itself. In ancient Mesopotamia, astrologers searched starts for answers. In modern times stars were replaced by genes. It's all in your genes! Your future diseases, your sexual preferences, your mood etc. Only yesterday you were told that you carry a breast cancer gene. The gene-astrologer computes scientifically your chances to get cancer and then die. He might even suggest to remove your breasts, since according to his logic, "No breasts, no breast cancer!" You escape in horror his sterile office ,blaming yourself for carrying this death warrant. But wait! The gene proclaims an important message. True, you may get breast cancer. Fortunately you got enough time to train yourself to become a Cancer Yogi.


A baby is born carrying a disseminated cancer, neuroblastoma. This cancer is the crown jewel of molecular genetics. Because here, a neuroblastoma-gene was discovered and its exact location known. When defective, the child gets cancer, otherwise it remains healthy. Here too ,medicine ignores an unusual observation. In many babies, if not in most, that are less than one year old, cancer regresses and disappears. They may still carry this defective gene, but who cares? Gene-astrologers do not like this sight, Here even Penetration is of no help. Why don’t they try to find out how WOB transformed a baby with defective genes into a cancer yogi.

After all the genome is only a blueprint directing processes in the body, while WOB controls them. Amplifying some and deleting others.

Cancer progression

Following carcinogen treatment, a tumor develops. Gradually encroaching on the animal until it dies. This sequence caught the attention of a British pathologist, Leslie Foulds. His two volumes on cancer progression in animals were a scientific best seller. Foulds searched in vain for a formula describing tumor progression in the same way as physicists do when launching a rocket. Ultimately he summarized his experience in a list of progression laws, which were somewhat confusing, and unpredictable. He found a poor correlation between tumor size and progression rate. Large tumors may progress slowly, while small tumors, rapidly. Some tumors even stopped growing and remained dormant for weeks and then proceeded to grow.

Foulds actually missed a hidden component of cancer, WOB. Preoccupied with tumors he ignored the host. And yet his studies provide interesting clues on WOB, since tumor behavior actually reflects WOB's vigor. For us the name of the game is tumor dormancy, and its induction for the benefit of the patient. This is the sense of the Cancer Yogi metaphor, which stands for a patient whose WOB induces tumor dormancy. Medicine, on the other hand ignores dormancy as non relevant.

Cancer progression according to Halsted

The American surgeon Halsted taught that a breast tumor starts as a small clump of cells, that gradually grows, invades axillary lymph nodes, ultimatelly enters the blood stream and spreads into other organs. This simple model dominated medicine for a century and was abandoned. Despite successful management of local tumors, patients kept dying with wide spread metastases. Obviously cells from very small tumors enter the blood stream, and local treatment fails. It was hoped that chemotherapy will hit cells that escaped local treatment. Unfortunately most metastases are dormant and develop a resistance to chemotherapy. Actually treatment fails since medicine ignores two important components of cancer besides tumor.

Three cancer manifestations
1. Weight loss ending in extreme wasting, called cachexia.
2. Hormonal and neural changes called para-neoplasia.
3. Tumor.

In the beginning of the previous century, clinicians were interested mainly in the first two, since in several cancers non-specific symptoms preceded tumor appearance. Already in the 19th century the French physician Trusseau, noticed that blood clotting disorders may precede pancreatic cancer. Others noticed that nerve conduction may precede various cancers, applying this feature for cancer screening. In ancient Rome, Galen, believed that depression causes cancer, implying that it precedes cancer. I favor a different explanation. Depression might be part of para-neoplasia.

Red Herring

These important studies are forgotten. They suggest that cancer may start as systemic disease with "non-specific" symptoms, while tumor appears at a later stage. Medicine refuses to see it that way, claiming that cancer starts as localized tumor. In a different context this approach is known in medicine as Red Herring.

It describes a patient who is brought to the emergency ward with prominent non life threatening manifestations for which he is promptly treated, while an undetected life threatening pathology leads to his demise. A similar red herring in cancer may account for the fact that treatment for the most obvious cancer manifestation, tumor, generally fails, while cachexia and para-neoplasia lead to the patient's demise.

Medicine maintains that the two manifestation are caused by tumor secretions. On the other hand, some patients with minute tumors are already cachectic. Also, tumor removal generally fails to alleviate cachexia. To which medicine responds: " Tumor was eliminated too late, leaving behind irreversible damage".

Now you understand why marvelous technological innovations that advanced medicine to its fantastic accomplishments, leave the cancer patient suffering. They are applied for treating a Red Herring, while in reality patients die from a systemic disease. This is a harsh statement but vital to you. Your mission is to keep the tumor dormant. There are many ways to achieve it. None in the realm of medicine. Go and seek cancer yogis and learn how it is done!

Patient Physician Philosopher
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