Is Cancer an Infection?

(excerpted from BEATING CANCER WITH NUTRITION by Patrick Quillin)

“I have been wrong.  The bacteria is nothing.  The terrain is everything.”                                       Louis Pasteur 1822-1895

Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-1865) was an Austrian physician who found that washing hands with a dilute chlorine solution before delivering a baby would cut down the incidence of infections (puerperal fever) and mortality in the mother and newborn infant.  His successes in his clinic in the 1840s were profoundly better than other physicians, who would go straight from the autopsy room without washing their hands to delivering an infant.  Dr. Semmelweis had a logical, non-toxic, inexpensive, clinically-proven solution to a horrible problem of that era.  His technique reduced mortality in mothers and newborns to 1.3% which was a 90% reduction from his colleagues’ results of 11% mortality.

Unfortunately, his simple solution was rejected because his critics asked: “So, Dr. Semmelweis, what is causing these women to die?”  “I don’t know.” replied Semmelweis.  “And are we to suspect that ‘spooks’ are involved?” they laughingly chided.  When Louis Pasteur peered into a microscope and cooked (pasteurized) bacteria to death, he presented his data to his colleagues: “I have found Dr. Semmelweis’s spooks.”

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Semmelweis died a broken man, yet many hospitals in Europe are named after this brilliant and courageous physician.  How many people died because critics of Semmelweis refused to accept his solution?  How many cancer patients die because we are stuck in a half-century battle with cancer using outdated methods and theories? Many cancers are probably infections, with the infectious organism (fungi, virus, bacteria) becoming an intracellular pathogen, creating a hybrid DNA from the weaving of the pathogen with host human DNA. 

What Causes Cancer

Let’s look at the facts.

  • The most conservative estimates show that 10% of all cancers are caused by infections.[i]
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with at least 80% of all cervical cancer.  Virus is a piece of DNA or RNA that is wrapped in protein and invisible to standard microscopes. (See sketch to right).
  • The bacteria Helicobacter pylori is a major risk factor for stomach cancer.[ii]
  • Infection with the AIDS virus often leads to the cancer lymphoma
  • Infection with Epstein-Barr virus often leads to Burkitt lymphoma.[iii]
  • Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus usually leads to liver cancer.[iv]
  • Any exposure to the fungal poison aflatoxin or extensive exposure to the fungal by-product alcohol will often cause liver cancer.[v]
  • Researchers have long known that C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker in the blood that detects heart disease and probably diabetes.  Now researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have found that CRP is a valuable marker for the progression of cancer.[vi] CRP measures inflammation as a by-product of infection.
  • A National Science Foundation grant winner, Professor David Hess, has written a fascinating book linking infections as the underlying cause of many cancers.[vii]
  • Ketoconazole is an anti-fungal drug that is commonly used to treat prostate cancer.[viii]  While researchers speculate that ketoconazole works against prostate cancer through a hormonal pathway, it may work by killing fungal cells disguised as cancer cells.[ix]
  • Researchers in Taiwan have found that Griseofulvin, an antifungal drug, killed human colon cancer cells in a culture dish by inducing apoptosis, or programmed cell death.[x]
  • Milton White, MD found evidence that cancer is a blend (hybrid) of human DNA with spores of plant bacterial conidia.[xi]
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Yeast Infection Symptoms

I have seen many an end-stage cancer patient with an opportunistic yeast infection, like a bully picking on a person who is already down on the pavement.  Many patients told me of their thrush (oral candidiasis, coating of white yeast on the tongue) and incredible bloating in the intestinal region, not unlike a brewery where yeast ferments any reasonable carbohydrate into gas and alcohol.

Patient Profile:

Lung Cancer or Fungal Infection

C.T. was diagnosed with lung cancer and scheduled for a lobectomy, or surgical removal of a lobe of her lung.  Another physician, who also held a doctorate in mycology (the study of fungi) examined the patient and found possibilities of a fungal infection in the lungs. The oncologist for C.T. was enraged that someone would have such a ludicrous idea that a board-certified oncologist did not know the difference between lung cancer and fungal infection in the lungs.  The patient felt more comfortable with the possibility of fungal infection and went on anti-fungal medication rather than going in for surgery the next day.  The patient recovered fully from her “lung cancer”.

The immune system is a collection of 20 trillion highly specialized warrior cells that patrol the human body looking for bad guys.  You are either with us or against us.  Recognize self from non-self.  This is truly an amazing feat.  When the immune system is suppressed, we get infections or cancer.  When the immune system is overstimulated, we get auto-immune diseases as the immune system begins to attack our own tissues. 

Fungal Infection Causes

When antibiotics were first discovered in the 1930s, there were no auto-immune diseases known to modern medicine.  Today there are 80 and counting.  Arthritis, juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus erythematosus, Crohn’s disease, and many others are growing exponentially in numbers.  Overuse of antibiotics may generate systemic fungal infections.  Fungi can either slow down the immune system to allow more infections and cancer[xxvii], or can upregulate the immune system to trigger an autoimmune attack.[xxviii]  Now the body is literally eating itself alive.

How do you get a yeast infection?

Why do we have so many Americans suffering from systemic fungal infections? Bacteria, yeast, virus, parasites are abundantly present all around us.  How do you get a yeast infection? What keeps you well is “your terrain”, or your “non-specific host defense mechanisms”.  How does anyone recover from the flu, a laceration of the skin, or a broken bone?  You recover through the miraculous healing properties within your body.

This could help reduce your inflammation

What is Your Vitality Score?

What is your “vitality score”?  How healthy are you?  If vitality exists as a continuum, with 0 meaning dead, 1 being very ill, and 10 being an Olympic athlete, then where are you on this scale?  If we drop below 7 or so on the scale, fungi become eager to perform their duties in us.  This is where the bubble bursts on the American dream of a “magic bullet” drug to kill all disease-causing organisms in our body, while we consume 140 pounds per year of sugar, tiny portions of our mercury fillings, routine antibiotics, the only exercise that we get is coughing, and an endless stream of stress hormones from unhappy spirits. 

Is cancer an infection

A malnourished, sugar-drenched, toxically-compromised, exhausted, and stressed-out person is an easy target for a fungal infection.  When we are well, the fungi live as “commensal” organisms, creating small amounts of uric acid as an antioxidant to slow down the aging process.  As our vitality score drops, yeast switch into saprophytic mode, or begin to decay any available fuel in our body.  When things really get ugly, the yeast becomes a parasite and can cause a slow torturous death with a bewildering assortment of medical labels. 

The typical American lifestyle generates a very low vitality score.  Fungi are there to do their job.  If you want to get well, then begin a healthy lifestyle that discourages the presence of fungal infections.

Getting well after a yeast infection

Stop taking indiscriminate antibiotics. Cut back on sugar intake dramatically. Eat lean and clean fish, chicken, poultry and wild game with plenty of fresh vegetables. Add reasonable amounts of fruit, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds in their natural state. Avoid processed foods. Detoxify the poisons from your body.

Conditions that encourage yeast infections

  • toxins (i.e. mercury, petrochemicals, pesticides, etc.)
  • stress
  • malnutrition (excess, deficiency, or imbalance or any nutrient)
  • chronically-elevated blood glucose
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • mold overload (working around mold, like autumn leaves, animal dung, moldy attics)
  • antibiotics

Natural remedies for yeast infections

Starve the Infection

Diet must be high in live whole food.  Meat, chicken, fish and colorful vegetables are the core.  Small amounts of nuts, seeds, beans, little whole grains.  Very little fresh fruit.  No sugar.  Reduce blood sugar to 60-90 mg%.  Buy and use a home blood glucose testing kit, available at your local pharmacy.  Avoid moldy food, i.e. blue cheese dressing.

Kill the Infection

  • prescription anti-fungals include diflucan, sporonox, ketoconazole, nystatin (only useful in the gut due to poor absorption).  May require 6-12 months on medication.  May initially feel worse with yeast die off (Herxheimer reaction).
  • garlic, oil of oregano, grapefruit seed extract, Essiac tea, castor oil, capryllic acid, medium chain triglycerides, olive oil
  • purge yeast sanctuaries (such as wherever it is dark, warm, wet, with a fuel source, and compromised host defenses): sinus, colon, vagina, ears, mouth, feet. Use tongue scraper, vaginal douche using dilute boric acid, maintain bowel regularity.

Change the conditions that allow yeast infection to thrive

Add probiotics (yogurt, lactobacillus), biotin (5 mg/day), detoxify heavy metals, endorphins (peace and happiness), exercise, immune stimulation, lots of greens (chlorella, spirulina, barley green), healthy prostaglandin mix through less omega 6 oils (corn, soy, safflower) and more omega 3 oils (fish), MSM (sulfur).

Colon Cancer Disappeared

PATIENT PROFILE: “Doc” Pennington was an oil magnate who developed end-stage non-resectable (cannot be surgically removed) colon cancer at the age of 70 in 1972.  His doctors told him to “get his affairs in order”. Pennington got his physician to write a prescription for Griseofulvin, an anti-fungal drug.  Three months later, his oncologist found that Doc Pennington had no more colon cancer.  Remember, Pennington had no medical therapy.  Pennington died at age 92 in 1994, but not before spending $125 million of his own money to found the Pennington Biomedical Center to study the link between yeast, nutrition, and cancer. Researchers in Taiwan have found that Griseofulvin induced suicide, or apoptosis, in human colon cancer cells in a culture dish.[xxxiv]

[i] . Dollinger, M., EVERYONE’S GUIDE TO CANCER THERAPY, p.8, Andrews McMeel, Kansas City, 2002

[ii] . Sugiyama, T, Med.Electron.Microsc., vol.37, no.3, p.149, Sep.2004

[iii] . Cheung, TW, Cancer Invest.vol.22no.5, p.787, 2004

[iv] . Brechot,C., Gastroenterology, vol.127,5 suppl.1, p. S56

[v] . Williams, JH, Am.J.Clin.Nutr., vol.80, no.5, p.1106, Nov.2004

[vi] . Mahmoud, FA, Curr.Oncol.Rep., vol.4, no.3, p.250, May 2002

[vii] . Hess, DJ, CAN BACTERIA CAUSE CANCER?, New York Univ.Press, 1997

[viii] . Peehl, DM, Urology, vol. 58, 2 suppl. 1, p.123, Aug.2001

[ix] . Bok, RA, Drug Saf., vol.20, no.5, p.451, May 1999

[x] . Yuan-Soon, H., Int.J.Cancer, vol.91, p.383, 2001

[xi] . White, MW, Medical Hypotheses, vol.55, no.4, p.302, 2000


[xiii] . Graybill, JR, PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES  CLINICAL MYCOLOGY, p.96, Wiley, NY, 1996

[xiv] . Ponikau, JU, Mayo Clin.Proc., vol.74, p.877, 1999

[xv] . Graybill, JR, ibid.

[xvi] . Mitchell, J. (ed.), RANDOM HOUSE ENCYCLOPEDIA, p.2191, Random House, NY, 1983

[xvii] . Mavrikakis, ME, et al., Exp.Clin.Endocrinol.Diabetes, vol.106, no.1, p.35, 1998

[xviii] . Levy, S., ANTIBIOTIC PARADOX,p. 149, Perseus Publ, Cambridge, MA, 2002

[xix] . Levy, SB, THE ANTIBIOTIC PARADOX, Perseus Publ, Cambridge, MA, 2002

[xx] . JAMA, vol.279, p.875, 1998

[xxi] . Brit.J.Gen.Practice, vol.51, p.998, 2001

[xxii] . Spiro, DM, et al., vol.157, no.1, p.54, Jan.2003

[xxiii] . Verduyn, L, Diagn.Microbiol.Infect.Dis., vol.34, no.3, p.213, Jul 1999

[xxiv] . Kibbler, CC, et al., PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES OF CLINICAL MYCOLOGY, Wiley, NY, 1996; see also Calderone, RA, CANDIDA AND CANDIDIASIS, ASM Press, Washington, 2002

[xxv] . Graybill, JR, p.97, ibid.

[xxvi] . Truss, O., THE MISSING DIAGNOSIS, Missing Diagnosis, Inc., Birmingham, AL, 1985

[xxvii] . Boutrif, E., et al., Global Significance of Mycotoxins, in MYCOTOXINS AND PHYCOTOXINS, p.3, deKoe, Netherlands, 2001

[xxviii] . Norred, WP, et al., Toxicology and mechanisms of action of selected mycotoxins, in MYCOTOXINS AND PHYCOTOXINS, deKoe, Netherlands, 2001

[xxix] . US Mortality Public Use Data Tape, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease control and Prevention 2003

[xxx] . Chester, AC, Arch.Intern.Med., vol.163, no.15, p.1832, Aug11, 2003

[xxxi] . Hunnisett, A., J.Nutritional Med., vol. 1, p.33, 1990

[xxxii] . Hudler, GW, MAGICAL MUSHROOMS, MISCHIEVOUS MOLDS, Princeton Press, 1998

[xxxiii] . Costantini, AV, PREVENTION OF BREAST CANCER,  Oberlin Verlag, Germany, 1996

[xxxiv] . Yuan-Soon, H., Int.J.Cancer, vol.91, p.383, 2001

Dr. Patrick Quillin

Dr. Patrick Quillin, PhD,RD,CNS is an internationally recognized expert in the area of nutrition and health. He has 30 years experience as a clinical nutritionist, of which 10 years were spent as the Vice President for a leading cancer hospital system where he worked with thousands of cancer patients in a hospital setting. He is a Best Selling Author with 18 books which have sold over 2,000,000 copies and also a Keynote Speaker.

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