I recently spoke with a nurse who was
diagnosed, as an adult, with leukemia. She endured the chemotherapy
regimen her doctors prescribed, only to suffer from a secondary fungal
infection during that time. The intensity and duration of the antifungal
treatment rivaled that of the chemotherapy. At any rate, she recovered
from both afflictions and went back to work.
Later, as a result of another workup --
which included a liver biopsy -- for some returning symptoms she had, bad
news was again brought up. "Your leukemia has returned," her oncologist
told her, and he proceeded to lay out the next line of chemotherapy drugs
she would have to take.
Given that her chances of dying were much
higher now that her cancer had returned, she opted to get a second opinion
on her biopsy before proceeding with her next round of chemotherapy. She
took her tissue sample to another hospital, and what she was told there
was absolutely stunning: "You don't have leukemia," remarked the
pathologist, "what you have is a fungal infection!"
The scenario that her doctors figured was
that her previous fungal infection had returned -- a total possibility.
But for this nurse, more questions were raised. She thought, for example,
"If they diagnosed my fungal infection as leukemia this time, is it
possible that they were wrong the FIRST time? Was my leukemia really a
fungal infection to begin with, and was my so-called 'secondary' fungal
infection I had earlier really a full-blown manifestation of what
originally might have looked like leukemia?"
Of course, she would never get answers to
these questions, for to fully investigate thoughts like these might imply
that a diagnostic error was made on the part of either her initial
oncologist or pathologist.
Nevertheless, an intense six months later --
some of it spent in the hospital -- of high-dose, powerful antifungals
finally achieved a cure for her fungal infection. Today, she is again back
at work, exuding more than ever with compassion for her patients. It
really struck me when she told me where she works, because in her case,
her occupation may very well relate to what she had suffered over the past
two years. It turns out that she works at a bone-marrow transplant center,
and is in daily contact with children with leukemia.
Now, the thought of her "acquiring"
something as grave as leukemia would almost be preposterous to some. But
the temptation to scratch our heads and wonder about this is unbearable.
What if she really did have a fungal infection -- and NOT leukemia -- her
first time around? And if so, did she "catch" this from her precious
Fungal infections not only can be extremely
contagious, but they also go hand in hand with leukemia -- every
oncologist knows this. And these infections are devastating: once a child
who has become a bone marrow transplant recipient gets a "secondary"
fungal infection, his chances of living, despite all the antifungals in
the world, are only 20%, at best.
And then the unthinkable thought arises:
what if all of these children didn't even have leukemia, but rather a
fungal infection, just as this nurse did? If doctors, in the 21st century,
could mistake a fungal infection for leukemia in this nurse, could the
same fate have fallen upon these children?
Doctors in general are not very good at
diagnosing fungal infections because their medical school training is
based so heavily on the role of bacteria and viruses in the area of
infectious diseases. Fungi have been a forgotten foe ever since the advent
of antibiotics. Once we had a drug that could kill bacteria, the interest
in and the study of fungi fell to the wayside.
Laboratories display the same difficulty in
diagnosing fungal infections: current tests for detecting the presence of
fungi are both terribly scant and sorely antiquated.
Despite these training and technical
inadequacies, there have been at least a few good reports that implicate
the role of fungi in causing leukemia.
For example, in 1999 Meinolf Karthaus, MD,
watched three different children with leukemia suddenly go into remission
upon receiving a triple antifungal drug cocktail for their "secondary"
Pre-dating that, Mark Bielski stated back in
1997 that leukemia, whether acute or chronic, is intimately associated
with the yeast, Candida albicans. (2)
Finally, almost 50 years ago, Dr. J. Walter
Wilson, in his textbook of clinical mycology, said that "it has been
established that histoplasmosis and such reticuloendothelioses as
leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, lymphosarcoma, and sarcoidosis are found to
be coexistent much more frequently than is statistically justifiable on
the basis of coincidence." (3)
Histoplasmosis is what we call an "endemic"
fungal infection. It is most commonly acquired in regions surrounding the
Ohio and Mississippi river
valleys in the United States. One becomes ill by merely inhaling the tiny
fungal spores of this fungus. (For more information on histoplasmosis and
other endemic fungi, you can visit:
http://www.doctorfungus.org/). Three similar reports like this over
the span of 40 years should convince us to at least study the role of
fungi in cancers like leukemia a little more thoroughly.
The late Milton White, MD., did exactly this. He fully believed that
cancer is a "chronic, intracellular, infectious, biologically induced
spore (fungus) transformation disease." (4) Using the proper isolation
techniques (involving saline instead of formaldehyde as a tissue
transportation medium between the operating room and the pathology lab),
he was able to find fungal spores in every sample of cancer tissue he
studied. His lifetime work has been routinely dismissed as nothing more
than an unproven postulate.
Regardless, wouldn't you expect all of this
information to make front-page headlines in every newspaper across the
country, if not the world? Instead, every one of these findings was merely
a brief mention -- only curious thoughts that one might entertain but
never take seriously.
The fact is, if leukemia and fungal
infections "co-exist" so frequently, and if an antifungal drug cocktail
effectively cured at least these three children of their leukemia, then I
say we put the brakes on right there. Is there a need to go any farther,
except to more deeply investigate the need for antifungals in treating
leukemia and not just the secondary infections that arise in the course of
In his book, The Germ that Causes Cancer
(http://iknowthecause.com), author and television host Doug Kaufmann
asserts that not only fungi, but also foods play a role in the etiology of
cancer. He has seen children become free of their documented leukemia once
the child's parents simply changed the child's diet. Kaufmann's diet is
base on the widely-published problem of mycotoxin contamination of our
Grains such as corn, wheat, barley, sorghum,
and other foods such as peanuts, are commonly contaminated with
cancer-causing fungal poisons, or "mycotoxins." (5,6) One of them, called
aflatoxin, just happens to be the most carcinogenic substance on earth. If
this is indeed a problem, Kaufmann asserts, then cereal for breakfast and
soda pop for dinner may not be conducive to a cancer-free lifestyle.
A case in point: in a grain-based diet, we
consume, on average, from 0.15mg to 0.5mg of aflatoxin per day. (7)
Further, he states, it is not the sugar alone that is the problem in our
western diet, but the fungal toxins that are found in the sugary grains.
More than once has Kaufmann interviewed a caller (on his health talk show)
who absolutely craved peanut butter and popcorn just prior to their
diagnosis of cancer.
Fungi are such a nuisance in carbohydrate
foods in particular because fungi need carbohydrates to thrive. Therefore,
it is rarer to see fungal contamination problems in foods like vegetables
and high-protein foods.
Kaufmann goes on further to explain how even
antibiotics may play a role in the disease process. Antibiotics destroy
the normal, protective gut bacteria, allowing intestinal yeast and fungi
to grow unchecked. These internal, gut yeast make toxins, too. This can
lead to immune suppression, symptoms of any autoimmune disease, or even
cancer. "If the onset of any symptom or disease- cancer included- was
preceded by a course of antibiotics," he maintains, "then look for a
fungus to be at the root of your problem."
Doug and I will be talking more about the
role of fungi in cancer and other diseases, such as diabetes, in our
upcoming seminars. Check out our website (http://iknowthecause.com)
to find the location nearest you.