I recently saw a news story about how Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are crisscrossing the globe, meeting with fellow billionaires in an attempt to get them to commit part of their fortunes to help solve the world’s problems.
Wonderful! I have a suggestion—and it wouldn’t take billions: Finance independent research studies about the effectiveness of natural supplements in preventing or slowing cancer.
A specific example of this applies directly to multiple myeloma patients. As many of you know, curcumin, a natural occurring compound made from the spice, turmeric, has been long touted as a beneficial supplement—and possibly even a cure—for multiple myeloma.
Trouble is, most research studies are funded by drug companies. Since there isn’t any money in it for the large pharmaceuticals, most helpful curcumin studies—like many other natural alternatives to more expensive drugs—are never completed due to lack of funding.
What about anti-oxidants? Most of us have read about how great they are for us. Do they really help prevent cancer? Can using them help slow our multiple myeloma down after we are diagnosed?
Once we have some verifiable results about our nutritional options, wouldn’t it be helpful to have more information about how these supplements interact with our chemotherapy?
I understand why many oncologists hesitate to recommend nutritional supplements while a patient is undergoing chemotherapy—there isn’t any research confirming or debunking the theory that some supplements reduce the effectiveness of chemo. Everyone is just guessing.
Asking a patient to stay off supplements during chemotherapy may make sense while treating some other cancers. Although not ideal, not using nutritional supplements during a three to six month treatment window is understandable. Better safe than sorry.
But multiple myeloma isn’t like a lot of other cancers. Our treatments can be ongoing and often continue for many months or years. To deny our bodies vital nutrients when we need them most is not acceptable! Researchers need to help determine which interactions are harmful, and which might actually enhance the effectiveness of our treatment.
Maybe the FDA should require this type of data before they approve a new cancer drug.
Or maybe Bill and Warren could step-in and fund more of these studies, so doctors and their patients aren’t just guessing about which supplements work best and at which dose. Wouldn’t that be helpful?
Let me make a call. Does anyone have Bill or Warren’s phone number handy?
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat