Monday, 16 September 2019

Trew Fields Festival - my long film

The amazing Trew Fields Festival Season 3; here is my film attempt to capture some of the wonderfulness. This is the 16 minute version - some have called it the 'Full Trew' - even with this one I had to cut out loads of great stuff. I'm hoping to produce a shorter version of this in the near future. Huge thanks to all who agreed to be in this film and of course extra big thanks to the team at Trew Fields especially Sophie and Will. See their website for more details (Early Bird bookings already available for 2020):

A great blog about some of the key talks at Trew Fields can be found at the Cancer Essential Education website run by Dr Mhairi (“Vari”) Morris. See here:
My quote re 2018

This cancer awareness and holistic health festival is a weekend of inspiring talks, workshops, music and play with world-renowned health professionals, researchers, wellbeing experts and those living well with & beyond cancer. It is all set on a beautiful farm where, as the website says, the atmosphere is ‘like walking into a giant hug’.

See my blog and film from 2018:

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Petition for cancer patients post Brexit

Please consider signing and share widely as these unprecedented times unfold.

Low white blood cell count?

Selenium in mushrooms helps white blood cells fight infection
Recently a blood test at the doctors showed that my white blood cell count is low. The reading was 3.4 and it is suggested it should be in the 3.6 to 11 range so not very low. The Eosinophil count was also 0.05 when ’normal’ is 0.1 to 0.4. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell produced in the bone marrow that makes up about 5 percent of the total number of white blood cells. Amazingly we make 50 billion new white blood cells every day and double that if we have an infection.

My low white blood cell count raised some concerns with a doctor; their argument was that I need to improve those readings before I undergo radiotherapy. I was concerned….at least I was until a friend in our local Wigwam support group pointed me to a couple of videos at Nutrition Facts (i). 

I know that a high white blood cell count is a sign of systemic inflammation, but hadn’t appreciated that that those with lower white blood cell counts live longer. Higher white blood cell counts are also associated with greater prostate enlargement, risks of heart attacks, second-hand cigarette smoke, increased risks of dying from cancer and lots more.

Screenshot from film (i)
Interestingly vegan and vegetarian diets lead to lower white blood cell counts (i); my diet until recently had no meat or fish and has only recently introduced a small amount. In the film it was noted that the ’normal’ range for white blood cells is based on the whole population including large numbers of people who are not very healthy. They suggest research shows that normal range should be revised down. In one paper the suggestion was 3.11 to 8.83 (i). In other words I am in the normal range.

However having said all that, my integrative doctor based on a series of other tests, has suggested two possible supplements in addition to diet and all the other actions in my protocol. These are short-term additions to my current supplement protocol based on some of the supplements listed here. I plan to update that list soon, but for now here are the two I have added to my protocol:

1. Modified Citrus Pectin or MCP; Chris Woollams of Canceractive lists this compound as one of his favourite anti-cancer supplements. He writes: "MCP, would appear to have anti-cancer, anti-metastases, strong immune boosting and heavy metal detoxification abilities. It has also been shown to help chemotherapy drugs work better. It also blocks an important inflammatory compound (ii).” MCP is expensive so I am hoping it will have an impact!

2. Lithium Orotate; is used as a natural treatment for a wide range of mental health problems and is different from lithium. People have apparently adapted to getting trace amounts of lithium from food and water, and it seems that getting a bit more might make people more friendly and peaceful. However crucially there is some evidence to show that many enzymes, vitamins, hormones, and growth factors need lithium to work. Lithium promotes the regeneration of cells, and possibly increases telomeres and extends lifespan. Crucially research has indicated that it supports the immune and nervous systems (iii).


I have been attempting daily meditations and/or visualisations for some months (more of that in another blog soon). I have used one that Sophie Trew (iv) gave me last year, which involves visualising the cancer cells gradually disappearing and instead filling my body with white healing light. I still like that one but recently came across David Hamilton’s visualisation for the immune system. 

David was at Trew Fields this year; you’ll be able to see a short clip of him in my film highlights that will be ready in a wee while. He was a wonderful, inspiring speaker that reiterated that "research shows that if we imagine increasing the numbers of particular immune cells or antibodies, we can actually increase these numbers. It has even been trialled in patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, where one group of patients, in addition to receiving their treatment as normal, also visualise their immune system destroying cancer cells. These studies show that patients visualising their immune systems working have higher numbers of T-cells and more active killer cells than those not visualising" (v).

To try out David's visualisation on 'Enhancing the Immune System' go to:

Saturday, 24 August 2019

The great news about epigenetics

"You can’t change your genetics but you are not a victim of your genetics. What you can change is the expression of your genetics and that’s what epigenetics is about”  Steve Ottersberg, Trew Fields 2019.

At Trew Fields this year (my film coming soon) one of the talks was by Steve Ottersberg and he helped me get a much greater grasp on the wonders and opportunities of epigenetics. This is all about looking at the heritable changes in gene expression that don't involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence or in other words a change in phenotype without a change in genotype. This affects how cells read the genes and can be influenced by many factors including our environment and our lifestyle - see also my blog on mind-body (i). Some of those epigenetic changes can have serious impacts that can result for example in cancer. What is exciting is that they are considered to be dynamic and modifiable by lifestyle choices and environmental influence.

Many including great chunks of the medical profession still hold to the belief that genetic mutations (a sequence change inside your DNA) cause cancer, but in reality these changes account for less than 7% of the population. Indeed the so-called ’Somatic Theory of Cancer’ seems to be quite wrong. 

Chris Woollams writes: 'What about the other 93 per cent of the population, who are also at risk? The truth about cancer is that the rest of us only very rarely develop a sequence change - a real mutation - in our DNA and thus produce a somatic cell' (ii). It is epigenetics that is now able to explain how cancer can develop. Critically four key factors seem to be at play; environmental toxins (eg smoking, drugs), poor diet, stress and hormones like oestrogen.

"Good diet, cutting stress and environmental toxins, balancing your hormones, taking exercise, oxygenating cells, having plenty of commensal (good) bacteria - these have all been shown capable of correcting the epigenetic damage. Indeed more than 65 natural bioactive compounds are known to be capable of correcting cancer cell structure. It’s not rocket science after all." Chris Woollams

The amazing Upraw organic and raw food
It seems we are more a product of your lifestyle and environment than our parents chromosomes. Indeed there is growing evidence about how diet and exercise affects how our genes express themselves; turning good genes on and bad genes off. A study by Barres et al in 2012 showed this with regards to exercise (iii). Another by Dusek et al showed how after eight weeks of meditation gene expression was affected (iv).

See also here my discussion blog about my impaired p53 gene here.

All this is very good news! As Chris Wark, author and cancer ‘thriver’ (v), writes; “If my body created cancer then maybe it can heal it”.

What are SNPs?

In Steve Ottersberg’s talk I also learnt about single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs (known as "snips”). When we make new cells, an existing cell copies its own DNA then divides into two. The two cells will both have a complete set of the DNA genetic instructions. However cells sometimes make mistakes during the copying and this can lead to variations in the DNA at particular locations and these are called SNPs. The differences created can influence a variety of traits such as appearance, disease susceptibility or response to drugs. We inherit our DNA from our parents and that includes our SNPs versions from our parents. SNPs occur almost once in every 1,000 nucleotides on average, which means there are roughly 4 to 5 million SNPs in a person's genome. Scientists are learning every day how these SNPs impact on our lives and indeed on cancer (vi). 

I understand SNPs are variations in a single position in the DNA sequence - this is different from epigenetics where there is no change in the DNA sequence. So SNP is not an epigenetic modification, it's a genetic modification or mutation. But I think I understood that there are many evidences where SNPs have led to epigenetic variations. So, rather SNPs can be considered to be a medium by which genetics talk with epigenetics.

From my various searches into SNPs my Facebook feed now has adverts for companies that will look at my SNPs. I’ve not gone down that route as a recent metabolic analysis of an urine sample (more of that soon) gives some indication that I might have a number of key SNPs for example around absorption of folic acid. I think as many as one in two people will find it difficult to metabolise folic acid, so a SNP might help explain why my folic acid levels and indeed other B Vitamins are so low (vii). 

Interestingly Dr Nasha, who also spoke at Trew Fields this year, notes in her excellent book 'The Metabolic Approach to Cancer' that she sees Vitamin D receptor SNPs in almost all her patients and these patients need large amounts of supplemental Vitamin D than those who do not have the SNPs. I have been low in Vitamin D even with high supplementation although it is now out of the very low zone. She writes: 'Vitamin D receptor polymorphisms are also associated with more severe forms of malignancies in many cancers including prostate.'  

A 2006 paper looking at studies into Vitamin D (viii) concluded: 'The majority of studies found a protective relationship between sufficient vitamin D status and lower risk of cancer. The evidence suggests that efforts to improve vitamin D status, for example by vitamin D supplementation, could reduce cancer incidence and mortality at low cost, with few or no adverse effects.'

Tumeric Hemp milk latte
Another example that Dr Nasha gives is that genetic SNPs in the cytochrome P450 system can either speed up or slow down the ability to detoxify compounds through the liver. Certain SNPs may show that a person is a slow metabolizer of coffee, for example, suggesting that person would be best to avoid coffee. I don't think I have this one!

The metabolic test is one way to look at some of this but testing my epigenetic profile could also provide cues as to why I am experiencing cancer - plus give useful information about what type of diet will best support my metabolism, any extra support my body might need for detoxification,  and more. But hey I need to prioritise where I invest in my health and at the moment I am working with the results of the metabolic test.

In short Western medicine seems to argue that faulty genetics and bad luck are the main factors to cause cancer.....that is slowly changing....and it is certainly far from the truth! Genetics and epigenetics are influenced by factors like diet - and genetic damage (like in my case; see here) occurs often from stuff like pesticides, radiation, stress and more. We now know that certain foods, for example, can help to protect and repair genes from that damage. We can change the destiny of our genetic health.


Tuesday, 6 August 2019

How to do a Rectal insufflation

Well a couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to attend a workshop organised  by Fiona Shakeela Burns of Back2Health Events and NatureWorx looking at ozone and rectal insufflation. Over 30 of us had the opportunity to hear about the benefits of ozone, some of the history and have a ‘demonstration' on how you could do a rectal insufflation. My blog looks more at ozone and my film below has some of the highlights from Fiona regarding the use of the equipment and includes tips from James Page of Pharmi-tech who sells the ozone machines.

Fiona is an Integrative natural health consultant practicing in Bristol but also has had cancer twice, leukemia and sarcoma at 11 years old and then 31 years later, in 2007, she was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer that had metastasized to her ovaries and brain. You can see her interview with Chris Wark here (i). Fiona has been on an amazing journey and is so passionate about bringing healing to more people - ozone is one of her passions and the workshop was a way to bring greater understanding to more people. 

Ozone (03) is like a close cousin to Oxygen (02); the extra molecule makes 03 highly reactive and considered by many to be a powerful healing substance. It is also a pollutant! It was some years ago that I heard that Native Americans preferred fishing after storms as the fish they caught would have an unusual but quite nice odour. I’m not sure how true that is, but before I get into the benefits of ozone here’s some background history, some of which Fiona shared at the workshop. Marcus Freudenmann gives a great summary on how ozone works here (ii).

Background history

Born in 1871, the Austrian surgeon, Edwin Payr, became acquainted with ozone when it was used on him by his dentist, E.A. Fisch. Dr Fisch then applied for a patent on an ozone generator called “Cytozon,” now used in medical ozone generators today. Dr Payr became so enthusiastic about medical ozone that he ultimately published a 290 page book entitled, “On Treatment with Ozone in Surgery,” which he presented to the German Surgical Society in Berlin. There is also evidence of the use of ozone as a disinfectant from 1881, mentioned by Dr. Kellogg in his book on diphtheria. Indeed in 1893, the world's first water treatment plant using ozone was installed in Ousbaden, Holland, and today there are now many municipalities around the world that use ozone to clean their water and sewage.

In 1896, electrical genius Nikola Tesla patented the first ozone generator in the United States later forming the “Tesla Ozone Company.” His machines were sold to doctors for medical use. During the First World War ozone was used to treat gangrenous wounds of German soldiers. Dr P. Aubourg, a French physician was the first to publish a paper in 1936 on infusion of ozone rectally in the treatment of chronic colitis and fistulae. In the 1940’s autohemotherapy, the administration of a small quantity of the patient’s ozonated blood began. In the late 1980s, German doctors successfully treated HIV patients with ozone. 

Medical ozone is still a well-respected therapy accepted in Germany by most physicians. Indeed there are over 3,000 references in the German medical literature referring to the use of medical ozone therapy and some have said that it is considered medical malpractice to not use ozone pre and post-surgery instead of antibiotics! Ozone is also mainstream medicine in Cuba and Russia. Ozone is tolerated in other countries like France, England, Italy, and Canada, and 14 states in the United States. 

Ozone machine
Benefits of ozone

Benefits of ozone discussed by Fiona include oxygenating the body, anti-fungal, anti-bacteria, virostatic, immune cell up-regulation and upgrading of red blood cell capacity to carry oxygen. But can it help with cancer? Well there are lots on the internet making incredible claims for ozone. I am more than wary of those, but I do like Marcus Freudenmann’s work on his website (iii) where he has a whole series of videos about ozone. He also summarises the benefits of ozone for people with cancer:

• Ozone increases oxygen in hypoxic cancer cells. We know that CANCER flourishes in oxygen deprived environments! This also helps in preventing metastatic growth and angiogenisis.
• Ozone reduces inflammation. Cancer can grow in a weakened inflamed body!
• Ozone assists in detoxification, leaving the body less likely to have diseases.
• Ozone boosts the immune system. Cancer's enemy is the immune system!
• Ozone kills all types of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Cancer loves a dirty fish tank! 

Many others also talk about the benefits of ozone. For example Dr. Frank Shallenberger, who has been offering Ozone Therapy to his patients in clinical practice for over 30 years, has been nicknamed the “Godfather of Ozone” in North America. He sees a clear difference between ozone and oxygen therapies - like for example hyperbaric oxygen chambers like the one I attend in Gloucester (blog soon on that) - and argues ozone is preferable as a treatment for cancer. His view is that rather than simply sending more oxygen to cells, ozone works deep within the cells, stimulating mitochondria to use the oxygen that's already available. In other words, he sees ozone as 'a strong metabolic stimulant’ that can tackle some of the causes of cancer, maximise immunity and play a role in controlling cancer cell growth. Ozone therapy is toxic to unhealthy cells but non-toxic to healthy cells so that it selectively kill cancer cells. 

So while many doctors use ozone and it is a widely established therapy, it is still challenged by some. Shallenberger himself has continued to face some controversy (iv), but I am persuaded by the benefits!

Oxygen and regulator for home use
Ozone great for radiotherapy and chemotherapy

Ozone is used in almost all German holistic clinics as a key treatment; these doctors prepare their patients with Ozone long before chemo and radiation to prevent tumour lysis syndrome and keep using Ozone to reduce the side effects of conventional therapies. See more here from Marcus Freudenmann on how ozone reduces the side effects of such treatments (ii).

Side effects of ozone?

As always this blog is about my views and folks reading need to decide for themselves. My understanding is that the only known side effect of ozone is what has been called 'a healing crisis’ or the 'Herxheimer effect.’ This is when there is a detoxification reaction in the body, sometimes with symptoms like flu. This response is often a sign that pathogenic entities are being killed. 

Research quoted in many articles say that the German Medical Society in 1980 examined results from over five million ozone therapy treatments spanning 644 therapists and 384,775 patients. Of these, there were only 0.000007%, (40 cases) of side effects noted. The report also stated "The majority of adverse effects were caused by ignorance about ozone therapy (operator error).” Most of the reports suggest that ozone is one of 'the safest medical therapy ever devised'.

Chart to calculate how much ozone
Rectal Insufflation - how to do it!

I have given myself a couple of treatments at home, following the instructions in my video from the workshop above. It gives some useful tips and along with a video made by Pharmi-Tech it helped me sort out the various bits of tubing, when to open valves and how to sort the dials. It all looks rather complicated but is much easier once you get going; next time will be a breeze! The Pharmi-tech video is here (vi). There is also a Facebook group run by Fiona that shares more tips about using ozone. 

(v) Some quote the side effect rate observed was only .000005 per application. I have been unable to find the original study, but there are many reports like this:

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Coffee; good or bad for prostate cancer

When I was first diagnosed with cancer it was suggested by a number of people that the coffee and caffeine caused jitters, insomnia and was generally bad for health and I should consider giving it up. Having changed so much in terms of diet since my cancer diagnosis this seemed like one step too far…..especially as I have Italian great-grandparents!

Of course on the internet you can pretty well find evidence to support anything you want, but despite my bias in favour of coffee, I hope I present here a fair overview of some of the research into coffee and cancer.  And of course, like all the blogs I write, this is not a recommendation to anyone else about the path they should choose.

Firstly it seems some effects of coffee depend very much on our own metabolism; if you have a fast metabolism coffee acts as a protective against heart attack but for slow metabolism four cups a day of coffee can quadruple your risk. The suggestion being that the efficient elimination of caffeine might unmask protective effects of other chemicals in coffee (i)? Is this the same for its impact on cancer? And how to best measure your metabolism? It seems not enough research has been done yet….

Certainly there are a number of aspects of coffee to be concerned about….caffeine for example has a well known diuretic effect - it can increase your urge to go to the loo. As it is already difficult for many men with an enlarged prostate to empty bladders caffeinated drinks may add to the problem? Coffee can also worsen symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
There are also aspects of temporary "caffeine withdrawal”, usually in the form of a headache, if regular coffee drinkers don’t get their ‘fix’. These symptoms rarely last more than 48 hours or after getting a new dose of caffeine.The 2019 DeVita cancer textbook raises concerns about caffeine’s effects on stomach acid, ulcers and heart rate. And my beloved coffee was indeed classified as a possible cause of cancer in 1991.

The good news is that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of WHO, reconsidered the evidence about three years ago (ii). It reviewed the many studies and found much to my delight that coffee drinkers have no reason to worry in terms of cancer. Although there were, and are, still concerns about any drink that is too hot; for example it is thought that thermal injury from hot liquids is can lead to cancer of the oesophagus.

The research gets better still - Coffee cuts risk of prostate cancer by half

 Scientists with the IARC also found an inverse relationship between drinking coffee and certain types of cancer. Research particularly showed benefits of coffee drinking regarding colorectal, prostate, breast, liver and endometrial cancers (iii).

One Italian study I like involves 7,000 men who drank more than 3 cups of Italian style coffee a day (eg expresso or cappuchino), amazingly they had a 53 per cent lowered prostate cancer risk (iv).

Another study showed coffee may protect against the most aggressive prostate cancers; nearly 50,000 men drank six cups or more of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee daily and this was correlated with a 60% lower risk of lethal prostate cancer compared with drinking no coffee (v). One limitation to the study was that it relied on men to recall how much coffee they had drunk over the previous year and this information was only updated every four years. There could have been errors in this?

Japanese scientists wrote last year (vi): “Coffee inhibits the progression of prostate cancer; however, the direct mechanism through which coffee acts on prostate cancer cells remains unclear.”

How does it work? Hormones and more

Well we don’t know….there are several thoughts. For example the reason for the impact on cancer in the Italian study above was put down to the intake of caffeine, as decaffeinated coffee didn’t have the same benefit. However this does not always seem to be the case as in some studies like the second one mentioned above, decaffeinated coffee seemed to also have an impact.

I recently came across a VitaJing video that helps explain some of why caffeine may be a player…

In the video, which is backed by research papers, it explains how estrogen rises under stress and with many other health issues, plus it is a driving force behind prostate cancer (vii). Caffeine has anti-estrogen effects; the caffeine tries to find the estrogen receptors in the body to bind with them and if it gets there before the estrogen it leaves the estrogen nullified.

However, the research indicated that it was also the coffee and caffeine that played a key role together. Interestingly caffeine from drinking green tea, which has lots of research to show how it can help prostate cancer, doesn’t impact on the estrogen, so must work in a different way. While caffeine in high fructose drinks was also found, perhaps unsurprisingly, not to work (blogs here on green tea and sugar sometime in future).

Another bit of research looking at caffeine and its opposite number in tea, theobromine, found that they both enhance the effects of chemotherapy against some cancer cells. Again the mechanisms aren’t clear.

In fact, coffee can contain more than 1,000 nonvolatile chemical compounds and in excess of 1,500 volatile ones! Both decaffeinated coffee and caffeinated coffee contain many phytochemicals that have demonstrated anticancer properties. For example kahweol and cafestol have particularly been considered recently and shown to prevent cancer in lab studies (viii).

Lastly in this rather confusing, and by no means complete picture, the 2019 edition of the DeVita cancer textbook suggests that beneficial effects of coffee come from it reducing the availability of blood glucose to cancer cells. 

Why Italian? How to have coffee?

Well, Italians know how to make coffee - espresso shots are 5 to 8 times as concentrated as American drip coffee and unfiltered (ix). As a result it contains more of the beneficial natural compounds that are removed from filtered brew. Again I am delighted to learn this! It is also good to read that unfiltered coffee is not worse than filtered when it comes to heart attacks. I had bought an Aero-press (which has a filter) and it makes a very nice coffee which I still occasionally have, but it is a different drink to my usual very strong espresso or cafetiere that I love.

Coffee varies so widely it is no wonder it is hard to unpick the evidence. There is some suggestion that darker roasts like Starbucks may be less good in terms of the benefits, but then Starbucks is higher in caffeine? Then again I don’t like the taste of their coffee - and much, much prefer supporting independent and artisan coffee makers.

Another interesting aspect is chlorogenic acid which is the main ingredient in coffee beans.  It has long been known as an antioxidant that slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream after a meal - and one of the reason why DeVita talks about beneficial properties of coffee. However there are a limited number of studies that have investigated its anticancer properties, but those that have been done are promising - it was also interesting piece to learn that it seems adding cow’s milk to coffee (or indeed tea) means that the chlorogenic acid benefits are lost completely (x).

On the other hand it seems soy milk doesn’t block the nutrients so is OK to add. Similarly dark chocolate is good but milk chocolate doesn’t have the same good effects.

Organic coffee wins over non-organic - the organic coffees are not made with synthetic types of fertilisers and no pesticides or herbicides. Of course some non-organic coffees are made with lots of care but you need to know more about their production.

The time of day can also be key and the advice is to limit coffee later on in the day as it takes the body over 8 hours to remove caffeine from the body.

Lastly there is lots of info about coffee and Ketogenic diets and even a Keto Coffee made with butter. I’m not going to get into that here as I am not following Keto largely because prostate cancer likes to feed on fats - that will be a blog sometime (xi).

How much coffee?

In short more research is needed but I am persuaded to continue with my espressos! We are all so different and coffees are so different that I think it would be unhelpful to suggest numbers. Goditi il tuo espresso! Ciao!


(iii) and  
(v) Wilson 2011:
(vii) More from VitaJing about daily coffee impact on thyroid: Update 1/08/19: and great piece looking at some of the bad research about coffee:
(xi) Keto Coffee: and

Trew Fields Festival - my long film

The amazing Trew Fields Festival Season 3; here is my film attempt to capture some of the wonderfulness. This is the 16 minute version - s...