Book Review: The Hidden Story of Cancer by R. Scott Peskin and A. Habib

2009, 626 pp., Pinnacle Press

Review by Wm Olkowski, PhD

This is a proposed preventative program based on scientific papers in a relatively novel format that convinces me that “cancer” can be prevented, and if not too far along treated successfully outside conventional medicine.  I am already leaning that way so what’s new?  Well, this book presents some of the scientific background papers and their studied consequences that could convince you too.  And it shows that the war on cancer has failed.  This could be a prophetic argument one expects before a paradigm shift occurs.  I got my copy from Dr. Mathis our personal MD but I won’t give it back.  I must digest it further.

Causes of Cancer – Not Genetic, Not Toxicants, Not Microbes Peskin and Habib say the cause of cancer is low oxygen to the cells, which triggers cancerous growth.  It is not due to an invader, like a virus or other microbe, and not due to genetics, and not to toxins, although all of these could make things worse.  This low oxygen cause was discovered many decades ago and was forgotten, probably because it was written in German (by Dr. Otto Warburg, M.D., Ph.D., a Nobel prize winner) and awaited translation in recent times.  Cancer is produced when the oxygen level of the cell drops by 35%.  Then the cell tries to survive by switching to a fermentation process compared to a respiration process to produce energy.  The cells that don’t die from this oxygen drop turn cancerous and depend upon a fermentation system to generate energy. These can exist on 20% of the normal cells’ oxygen and subsequent energy production. This later process is also called anaerobic glycolysis.  This is therefore a primitive defense mechanism to aid in cell survival.  The trouble is that these surviving cells have no way to differentiate into tissues, but remain an undifferentiated mass we call a tumor.

What causes low oxygen is not directly explained but one assumes it to be due to dietary factors – particularly faulty fats (hydrogenated, = transfats), and improper ratios between essential fats in the diet.

Once a cancer starts and the immune system fails to eliminate these cells we get tumors, but in each case there is an unknown lag time until detection, if ever.  Cancer is not due to the many secondary sources commonly indicated such as genetic or developmental mutations, microbes or toxicants (smoking, pesticides, air pollution, etc), but a physiological syndrome, which lowers the oxygen to the cells, a sort of starvation.  This does not mean these secondary causes have no influence, but to solve the cancer problem one must work on the cause and these authors say that is why the “War on Cancer” has failed.  There is no cure for cancer and even the purported life extension from traditional treatments does only add a few years at best.  Thus the choices are poor for someone diagnosed with a cancer that is growing and spreading.  The basic question is: Is it worthwhile to treat the cancer or tolerate it and what does the cost/benefit equation look like?  Costs for people who have medical insurance are really about what the treatments are like and whether they are tolerable.  These questions are not discussed.

Pesticides and Cancer? My own favorite cause was pesticide toxicants, but this is challenged by these authors.  Secondary sources do not help but they are not the cause.  They may stimulate a cancerous process already set in motion, however.  This physiological cause can be treated with the proper supplements (essential fatty acids and 6 minerals, and low carbohydrate, high protein diets).  This is not a cure but a preventative strategy.  Once a cell turns cancerous it must be killed, ideally by our immune system.  The following is their argument summarized: 1) medicine has a long history of denial, obfuscation, wrongness and obstinacy in the face of evidence, and this cancer story is another one; 2) There is no support for many of the cancer recommendations from the professional medical community and even for many of the cherished recommendations by national bodies, and certainly most physicians, and 3) the cause is known to be a lack of oxygen to cells which can be treated preventatively and curatively with supplements (depending upon the stage.  A late stage cancer is difficult at best to treat successfully enough to improve quality and quantity of life).

The cause was discovered years ago by a famous physiologist (a Nobel prize winner), who wrote in German.  Now his work has been translated into English.  At the time of his discovery there were no good ways to treat cancers, and even now there are no cures, nor easy and cheap ways to treat the maladies under the cancer label. The authors certainly make a convincing, strong case, but without clinical studies of their recommendation, their mostly-prevention strategy is easy to implement.

The War on Cancer How we love that term, “war”.  The war on cancer, now on-going for over 30 years, has been a colossal waste – in lives, money and materials.  [Add this war to the wars in Iraq and the war on drugs.]  All cancer rates are going up, costs of treatment are skyrocketing, no cures are evidenced, and early detection does not significantly extend life expectancies beyond what was observed in 1973.  Compared to 1900 we have now only increased life expectancy of adults moderately (5-10 years) overall.  The major change in life expectancy between 1900 and now is due to increasing the survival of the young, certainly not due to cancer treatments, where 2-5 yrs. at most are gained by surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy – all with their problems and stresses.

To begin to support their argument the authors cite the following mistakes made by conventional medicine in the past (and even now). {This is a good starter list so I abstract it here with an addition or two.] Note also that corrections eventually occurred but with a variable lag time.

Conventional Medicine has Been Wrong Before – Repeatedly. Some Case Histories.

  1. Ulcers are caused by bacteria, easily and effectively treated.  Acidic secretions do not cause them.  The cause was found in 1983 but the information was rejected as being a preposterous hypothesis.  It took 19 years before Marshall and associates were awarded a Nobel Prize for their discovery and proof.  In the mean time a great deal of suffering and unsuccessful diet recommendations failed.
  2. Penicillin use was delayed for decades after discovery.  Discovered in 1928 it languished until WWII.  Alexander Fleming finally got the Nobel (with two others) in 1945, a delay of 27 years during which untold numbers died.
  3. Washing Hands before surgery.  Discovered in 1848 by the Dr. Sammelweise, a Vienna Physician who was fired from his Obstetrical clinic for going against the zeitgeist.  Doctors would go from autopsy to childbirth and give infections to healthy mothers who died from childbed fever.  Sammelweise was hounded out of the profession for his evidenced supported beliefs and practices.  It took another 25 years to get doctors to wash before surgery.  The delay costs are just hard to fathom. [For a dramatization of these types of experiences see the BBC series called Bramwell, and the movie Wives and Daughters, and the books by Ann Perry.]  There were neither anesthetics nor antiseptics in the 1800’s.  Morphine was available back in the 1800’s however.
  4. Vaccine delays.  Jenner’s first reports of the use of the smallpox vaccine he tested was rejected by the Royal Society of London, the US equivalent now is the National Academy of Sciences.  This delay caused unknown amount of pain and suffering.
  5. Fruits and vegetables are good for you and prevent cancer.  Right? No!! Maybe? There is no solid scientific evidence to support this recommendation.  In fact one of the basic medical texts (Basic Medical Biochemistry, by Marks and Marks 1995, states that many people don’t like vegetables and prefer fruit, but about 50% can’t use the fruit sugar (fructose) over 50 grams per serving.  That’s about 2 pieces of fruit or 16 grapes.  And note that high fructose corn syrup so evident in fruit juices is now being exposed as a metabolic poison.  Fruits have been selected for high sugar content so beware recommendations for too much fruit.
  6. Fiber prevents colon cancer.  NO!! Fiber turns out to be a fiction after 25 years of recommendations.  And further, it makes colon cancer worse by irritating the colon.  Those who eat the most fiber get the most cancer (see N. Eng. J. of Medicine 340, no. 3).
  7. Regular Mammograms are essential.  Wrong!  In addition to the many false positives it takes 8 years for a tumor to grow until it can be detected by a mammogram.  Taking the mammogram actually helps spread the cancerous tissue; this is known from 1928.  This is caused by the tight and sometimes painful compression of the breasts required to take the x-ray.  Although the fact that this ineffective procedure is a profit-driven technology posing risks compounded by unreliability, just never got to the popular press.  The authors go into greater details, which any women worried about breast cancer should read.  The detected cancers will remain quiescent until the patient dies from another cause.  Meanwhile the patient lives with the idea of cancer in their bodies.  Early detection may only raise the stress level.  And these cancers do not need to be treated, many of which have been discovered from the emphasis on early detection.
  8. Heart Attacks and Cholesterol.  75% of patients have normal levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol yet physicians continue to proscribe cholesterol-lowering medications, even in the face of evidence that these medications cause more problems then they help.  Statins are a good example.  My wife was forced to take statins (2 of them) after her stroke, which seems really stupid when one knows that muscle weakness is both a major consequence of stroke and that the major side effect of statin use is muscle weakness.  Statins are now the number one medicine proscribed in the world (26 million prescriptions is a lot of money).  If the majority of the patients who are proscribed a medicine to lower cholesterol don’t need it to prevent heart attacks why are they being used?  [See the book by Taubes, Good Calories, Bad Calories for a detailed well studied refutation of the low fat hypothesis.]
  9. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). The use of biochemically foreign hormones has led to no benefit to post menopausal women but increases risks of heart problems, stroke, breast cancer, and thromboembolic events.  Large-scale studies show these problems but bioidentical hormones are different.  [This controversy is still on-going even though bioidentical hormones do not show this pattern, nor should they.  But studies of bioidentical hormones are not available, nor any comparisons.  One can only argue that since the bioidenticals mimic the natural hormones and they do not cause cancer, the compounded “naturals” should not compared to the synthetic hormones, the molecular structures of which have been changed for patent purposes.  So one should add to this list of failures t the use of patented sex hormones (not the bioidentical formulations). ] See the book Sex, Lies and Menopause.
  10. Hemoglobin has now been discovered to carry nitric oxide to the surprise of everyone concerned.  This was one of the most studied molecules in history.  The transport of nitric oxide was discovered in 1996.  This is an example of a new major discovery in a subfield where all seemed already resolved.   It is an example, both of how little we really know about the body and how science can increase awareness, sometimes in surprising ways, seldom anticipated.  A little humility can go along way to dispel the know it all attitude of many doctors.
  11. The discovery of Essential Fatty Acids having anticancer effects was known in 1929.  This is another example of forgotten science, rediscovered significantly adding to what is known.  The use of EFA’ is discussed further below.
  12. Older diuretics are superior to other modern blood pressure medicines.  To support this conclusion the authors cite an 8 years study of over 42,000 patients from 600 centers in the US showing that older diuretics are more effective in lowering BPs and heart attacks than the newer drugs (ACE inhibitors, and calcium channel blockers).  The citation is not provided but I think it’s the ALLHAT study (see Houston, Handbook of Hypertension for an update on conventional treatments).
  13. Avoid Nitrates in Prepared Foods?  Nitrate is a preservative in hot dogs and many other prepared meats.  Nitrates have long believed to be linked to stomach cancer from mice and rat studies.  Human studies have never provided any causal link.  In contrast newer information indicates nitrates as being beneficial.
  14. Fish Oil is worthless or at worst dangerous.  The authors cite specific papers going back into the early 1990s showing no effect and even deleterious effects on the immune system, and brain.
  15. [The low fat hypothesis.  Eat low fat usually means eating high carbohydrates since protein is too costly and after reducing fats what is left is carbohydrates, which are the cheapest items in the diet. The authors do not directly mention this aspect but this is probably the worst case of current medical recommendations being false and dangerous.]  For a thorough exploration of this hypothesis see Taubes the investigative reporter who wrote the expose on the low fat hypothesis Good Calories, Bad Calories, see review on my blog).

A Perspective on the Scientific Process The authors build their case about cancer prevention and treatment by carefully and interestingly providing scientific documents along with their interpretation.  This is a very useful format for presenting science-based protocols for treatment and prevention.  A few of the quotes they use I have collected below, high lighting the authors comments are so useful in understanding where these authors are coming from.

“We are suffering from a wealth of information, but a poverty of understanding what that information means.” B. Peskin.

This refers to the long discussions these authors provide about the extensive current research, which supports their statements.  Clearly doctors are behind in accessing the research, sometimes many decades.  The general physician has little time to read the literature, even if they could sort through the maze of statistics and conclusions.  And why read up on recent work when the drug companies send reps to educate the doctors.  Also, a lack of critical thinking skills is widespread in the industry.  And the use of elaborate statistical procedures adds to the confusion, as do the interpretations of combining studies in “meta-analyses” with different time periods and treatment protocols.  And then there are the insurance companies, which add or remove drugs from their lists without much input from patients and their doctors.

“The definition of madness is to do the same thing and expect a different outcome.”     Einstein.

This refers to the war on cancer, which is a dismal failure, yet continues sucking up great amounts of money, time and equipment.  And the madness continues.

“Discovery consists of seeing what everyone has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought”  Szent-Gyorgyi (discoverer of vitamin C).

This refers to the discoverer of the cause of cancer, by Dr. Otto Warburg, who discovered the cause, but because he was so far ahead of his time, nobody paid attention.  And then there would be a fight to introduce something new, which seems to always be resisted.

“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponent eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”  Max Plank (Nobel Prize winner in physics)

This last quote is particularly relevant to this book as the common knowledge that eating lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and a minimum of red meat and fat is today’s unsupported zeitgeist.  There is no scientific support for this regime.  [A case in point: today we are waiting for the low-fat people to die.]  See the book reviews by Taubes and Bernstein (in my blog archive, WO).

The Treatment Program The program recommended by these authors has three parts, 1) Use of a proper ratio of parental Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), 2) supplementation with chelated minerals, and 3) a high protein, high fat low carbohydrate diet.

2) Supplementation with Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) from parent sources, not from derivatives.

Use of EFA’s (The word “essential” means the body cannot make them, and must get them in the diet):  The two EFA’s needed by the body are linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).  The main sources are meats, seeds, but less so from seafood. Although these parent EFA’s are widely distributed in plant oils, the amounts are so small that one needs to eat an impossible number of plants to get an adequate amount. The human body has a limited ability to convert ALA into the longer-chain n-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which can also be obtained from fish, (but in low levels).  (From Wikipedia, essential fatty acids, 6/2011).

Further, buying supplements that are labeled as DHA or EPA commonly means they are not “parent” sources, being somewhat processed (labels can be confusing).  The best source is parent, but if the best is not possible, take the derivative supplements but these need to be in the proper proportion and not too old.  The optimal ratio between the two EFA’s is within the range of 1 to 1 (expressed as 1:1) up to 2:1 parent Omega-6 to parent Omega 3.  A deficiency in these two EFA’s is what produces the oxygen shortage and cancers.  Store these oils in the frig and be sure to buy the smallest bottles which are opaque to exclude sunlight which degrades oils.

Biochemistry Background These fatty acids (AL, ALA) form the bulk of the fat portion of the cell wall, which is about half fat and half protein.  The body is composed if about 100 trillion cells.  This is the main membrane across which all nutrients in the body must pass to get into the cell where the energy and structural molecules are made.  This membrane has no carbohydrate structural components.  The fat component is divided into saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.  [Polyunsaturated fatty acids are also called PUFA’s].  The saturated fat protects the highly reactive unsaturated fats in the membrane.  The PUFA’s in the proper ratio absorb oxygen from the blood stream like a magnet.  Low oxygen causes cancerous reproduction of the cell. The gas (O2) diffuses readily thru the hydrophobic (fat) membrane portion, but not through a transfat or saturated fat part.  Inside the cell these fats are also incorporated into the mitochondrial membrane, which also becomes dysfunctional.  The mitochondria are the energy producers of the cell, which is the basic source for the body’s energy.  Membrane dysfunction leads to oxygen depletion, which leads to cancer, which kills you slowly and miserably.  Gross fatigue is a major symptom of cancer.

Avoid any derivatives but get these EFAs from foods unless you cannot get adequate amounts on a daily basis.  With the right ratio of EFA’s 1:1 to 2:1 omega 6 to omega 3 EFAs. Food sources of EFA’s are primarily meats, less so from seeds and even less so in seafood.

1) Supplementation with chelated minerals (Cu, Fe, Se, Mg, Mn, Zn)(chelation means being attached to an amino acid which aids in absorption), and

2) High protein low carbohydrate diets (and no processed foods) with the proper ratio between parent EFAs.

Some Final Thoughts I continue to look into this book for further clarifications and I have started the regime they describe, as it is very close to what we were already doing with some minor changes. We already eat only grass fed meats (beef, buffalo, and lamb).

I went to the health food stores and studied their oils and found that there are only two oils I could use to meet the proper ratios: hemp oil and flax oil.  So I bought both and alternate them one day using hemp oil, the next day flax oil in our coffee and sour cream mixtures (as of 7-10-11).  This store is very busy so the restocking rates are favorable.  Both oils come in opaque containers, one in glass, which minimizes foreign substance ingestions.  The best foods come in glass, avoid plastics whenever possible so as to not take in the plasticizers.

Next I searched for a good supplement or more to get a steady supply of chelated minerals, but there was no single product at the local health food stores and chelated sources were not obvious, except for magnesium (Mg).  So now this regime hangs up temporarily until I find such sources for the reminder of the minerals.  Meanwhile I am added a mineral mix to our drinking water, and using a liquid multivitamin mix in our coffee and sour cream mixes.  I have ordered a product via the web called Mineral 650 from “pure encapsulations” which has a good range of minerals, but in low doses more like what one can get from a good multivitamin.  And we frequently use nuts in our munchie diet while watching loads of absorbing movies (see blog for recent list).

We eat little fruit because of the sugars they contain as we eat very little carbos (=sugar) in all forms and no food that quickly converts to sugars (like grains, pastas. bread, etc).  This is because of preventing type II diabetes (see Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetic Solution, reviewed on my blog).  So this new regime is no discomfort, little change and these authors confirms again my belief that sugars and bad fats are at the basis of reduced and painful death processes.

If these authors are wrong, I risk little since shifting to parent EFA’s from my previous EPA-DHA supplements in pill form is not risky.  Besides I like the idea of using hemp and flax oils, and they are easy to mix at low doses even though the taste is strange to our palettes.

2 Replies to “Book Review: The Hidden Story of Cancer by R. Scott Peskin and A. Habib”

    • William Olkowski

      Technically she died of a stroke. Such a brave person, after 4 yrs of struggle, she realized she was going down and chose to end it with Hospice help – morphene, last words were bye bye. We had a deal: when she wanted out she was to spit out her meds. One day she did just that. I was stunned, but called hospice and a nurse showed up within an hour, called for morphene from a doc, it was delivered within an hour, I gave her the liquid every 2 hours for 5 days until she was out. She never talked after the bye bye.
      It started suddenly, one night I could not find her after I got up to pee. She was unable to talk and was on the floor next to the bed. I carried her for 2-3 days until I took her to the emergency room in Flagstaff. Cat scan says stroke but docs unable to find clot or break. Lots to say about that. She was in good spirits for 4 years afterward, maintaining sense of humor, but half paralysed. I have started a new life, for that I thank her.


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