A Discussion of Survival Statistics for Hope4Cancer

Understanding cancer survival rates and what the data means for you.

We are asked by many prospective patients: “What are your survival statistics, compared to conventional treatment?”

While it is natural to seek an answer in statistical data, it is important to know that these are simply averages, and each patient’s individual outcome depends on a variety of factors.  In this article, we discuss how cancer survival statistics are collected and how best to derive meaning from them. We will also explain the inherent dangers of associating yourself to a statistical average – because, as an individual seeking integrative medical care, your treatment success will be determined by your unique condition, your personalized treatment plan developed by your medical team, and your adherence to the long-term healing program.

So, let’s dive in.

1. How are cancer statistics collected and what do they really mean?

The collection of cancer survival statistics typically happens at the national level in different countries as part of massive public health programs funded by extensive tax dollars that leverage the combined efforts of hundreds of institutions and thousands of researchers. Having large numbers of patients who are being closely tracked from diagnosis to resolution is essential for the statistics to be relevant.

In the United States, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) publishes survival statistics for conventional cancer therapy in the SEER database (website: https://seer.cancer.gov).  NCI-SEER surveils about 48% of the total U.S. population through its 21 regional registries, leveraging various government organizations to track each patient’s complete survival journey.

It is not surprising, then, that individual hospitals/institutions, whether conventional, integrative or alternative, hardly ever publish their survival data independently. Conventional treatment centers rely on the collective data from NCI-SEER, which does not provide survival rates that are directly related to your specific condition or associated with the hospital that you may be considering.

Generally, improvement in statistics is more about improving the average survival rates, while individual survival rates can vary significantly from the average. In fact, NCI states that “statistical trends are usually not directly applicable to individual patients” 1

Additionally, there can be outside factors that affect survival rates across a large population.  For example, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there was a significant improvement in cancer mortality rates for lung cancer in men (@ 1.7% per year) between the years 1990-2000. That improvement, however, was largely related to public health measures that successfully reduced tobacco consumption across the country, and not to improvement in the treatments themselves. In that same time period, statistically significant increase in mortality were recorded among women, which coincided with increased consumption of tobacco products in that demographic.2

2. Everyone’s individual situation is different

Statistics have inherent limitations. To obtain a better understanding on the topic of cancer survival statistics, we highly encourage you to read an excellent article written by the renowned integrative physician, the late Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, M.D. entitled, “Statistics: Why Meaningful Statistics Cannot be Generated from a Private Practice.”

Most cancer survival statistical data are reported based on the organ affected (e.g., lung, breast, prostate, etc.) and a generalized measure of the extent of progression (localized, regional or distant/metastatic). However, there is a lot more to a cancer diagnosis that can determine your unique outcome. For example:

  • What is the nature of your cancer cells (based on histology reports)?
  • What does your medical history say?
  • Have you had any prior toxic therapies?
  • What is your immune and nutritional status?
  • How do you manage your diet, exercise, and stress?
  • What is your overall emotional and spiritual outlook?
  • … and so much more.

No two cancer patients are alike, and the path to their eventual outcomes may be far off the mark from what the statistics may suggest. In our experience, that path can be molded in the desired direction by following the concepts embodied in Dr. Jimenez’s 7 Key Principles of Cancer TherapyTM.

We have designed our treatment protocols based on the 7 Key Principles to treat ALL CANCER TYPES. Unlike mainstream treatments that target specific cancer cell types or seek to block certain biochemical pathways, Hope4Cancer’s methodology targets both the disease and its underlying causes. We go beyond simply treating the tumor by normalizing the tumor microenvironment and stabilizing the body’s bioregulatory mechanisms. We also understand that ultimate healing happens at three levels—the body, the mind, and the spirit—and address all those areas as part of our treatment program.  As Dr. Jimenez often says, “We do not treat the cancer in the person, but the person with cancer.”

So, please know that statistics do not determine what lies ahead in your future—you do.  Through your well-informed daily actions and positive outlook, you can choose to improve your odds not only to survive longer, but to thrive with a high quality of life!

3. Patient Success Stories at Hope4Cancer

Hope4Cancer has been treating cancer patients since Dr. Jimenez founded the center in Tijuana in 2000, and has continued to grow and treat patients from all over the world, in our two treatment centers – our hospital in Tijuana and our outpatient facility in Cancun.  Both centers are licensed by the Mexican health authority (COFEPRIS), and receive regular inspections, which we have always passed successfully.

Our most recent data shows that 65-70% of our patients approach Hope4Cancer after their cancer has spread to become Stage III or Stage IV, with many showing significant progression from their original diagnosis, and thus indicating the failure of previous treatments.

Our data also shows that 65-75% of our patients have a prior history of having received conventional treatments (such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, targeted therapies and/or immunotherapies). This medical history creates a significant challenge for the patient to overcome because of additional treatment-related toxicities that add to the disease burden, with a long-term impact on the body’s biological terrain.

As a result, instead of starting treatment at Hope4Cancer as a relatively healthy person who has been recently diagnosed, many of our patients start their Hope4Cancer treatment journey in relatively poorer health and with compromised immune systems, which may affect their longevity and quality of life.

Despite these challenges, we have a large number of documented patient success stories available for you to review, in a variety of forms:

4. Preserving and Improving Quality of Life

At Hope4Cancer, we believe that every day has tremendous value and, therefore, another metric of treatment success is Quality of Life.  The 7 Key Principles of Cancer TherapyTM provide the foundation for safe, non-toxic, integrative treatment protocols that target cancer cells and treat dysfunctions in the biological terrain that affect overall health and wellbeing. Combined with empowering education, we can significantly help our patients take back control and enhance their quality of life (QOL).

Conventional approaches tend to miss the bigger picture by primarily focusing on treating the tumor. As a result, many patients find that mainstream treatments adversely impact their quality of life to the extent that many choose to quit because of intolerable side effects.

The importance of sustaining a high quality of life through your treatment is illustrated in the following study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Harvard University. For a total of 464 lymph-node positive breast cancer patients on a multi-chemotherapy protocol consisting of five drugs, it was established that discontinuation of treatment was strongly correlated with a decline in quality of life.1 Studies on tamoxifen have also reported early discontinuations ranging from 15 – 50% of patients taking the drug because of the combined side effects.2-4

In our clinical experience, most Hope4Cancer patients demonstrate a visibly improved quality of life even after their very first treatment visit. According to a quality-of-life assessment study conducted on 223 randomly selected patients with different cancer diagnoses, we found that over 70% of our patients demonstrated sustained or improved quality of life in all four categories—functional, emotional, social, and physical—as illustrated in Figure 5. Over 80% of this group comprised Stage IV cancer patients, making this data even more significant.

Figure 5. Improvements in quality of life of patients following three weeks of therapy at Hope4Cancer Treatment Centers.

In the coming years, Hope4Cancer will be collecting more extensive and descriptive quality of life data from our patients as part of our continued commitment to deliver the best possible care and improved outcomes.

5. Moving Forward – Data Collection

Despite the inherent limitations discussed above, we recognize the value of survival statistics and related information, and we are taking action to work towards being able to provide this info in the future.  In early 2021, Hope4Cancer launched an innovative and proprietary system to stay in touch with our patients, collecting information on a recurring basis throughout their 1-year Home Program period and onward.

This system, named SPROUT, incorporates industry-standard and customized patient surveys to collect information on “Patient Reported Outcomes” – the medical and quality of life results that our patients are experiencing.  SPROUT surveys, along with ongoing medical record audits, will allow us to track our patients’ results more accurately over extended periods of time.  In addition, our Home Program doctors, and thereby our patients’ attending doctors, have access to this information – helping them to track our patients’ progress and provide helpful guidance based on actual data when needed.

We’re very proud of this innovative system, and are not aware of any integrative or naturopathic cancer treatment centers in North America who are tracking patient outcomes at this level.

6. Frequently Asked Questions

Why are integrative therapies preferred, instead of conventional treatments—like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery?

Researchers have shown that the overall contribution to survival rates of toxic treatments such as first-line and adjuvant chemotherapy is minimal5; their simultaneous induction of toxicity has been compared to a “double-edged sword.” 6 Stimulation of cancer stem cell activity,7-9 declining immunity10 and induction of treatment resistance11 remain significant problems in mainstream oncological therapies as well. All these aspects disproportionately affect patients with advanced, metastatic cancers. Yet, the role of these treatments as the oncological standard of care remains largely unchallenged. That is why Hope4Cancer embraces the ideas of integrative cancer therapies based on Dr. Jimenez’s 7 Key Principles of Cancer TherapyTM, which provide a better opportunity for cancer patients to overcome the challenges of the disease.

Do you not recommend chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery at all?

While we prefer to focus on non-toxic, natural treatments for most of our patients, in some instances, it may become necessary to recommend targeted conventional approaches to accomplish specific goals. As an integrative cancer treatment center, we are equipped to provide chemotherapy (in low doses) in those scenarios. We also refer patients to licensed providers who specialize in radiotherapy and surgery, if needed. Any conventional treatment recommendations are made in the patient’s best interest to improve their chances to survive and heal. Sometimes, the benefit from a conventional treatment can help us get the patient to where our non-toxic approaches can become more effective.

If I have early-stage cancer, would it be better for me to seek conventional treatments first?

From our experience, the earlier you approach us, the better your chances of success. We also encourage you to weigh the consequences of side effects from conventional treatment approaches on your long-term wellbeing. If you have already received conventional treatments, a Hope4Cancer integrative treatment program is a great choice to help you reduce treatment-related toxicity and manage side effects. At the same time, you can strengthen your immune system to protect from disease progression or recurrence.

If you have any questions, please feel free to request a free consultation with one of our patient counselors. Please be assured that we fully understand and respect that your treatment choice is your personal decision—our goal is simply to support your due diligence efforts with quality information and recommendations.

Disclaimer and Copyright Notice

The material in this document contains copyrighted information that may not be in any way—in whole or in part — copied, extracted, reproduced, or posted or published in any form of media without official written permission from Hope4Cancer, Ltd.  (“Hope4Cancer”). The information contained on this webpage is not presented with the intent to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease. Instead, we present this information solely with the purpose of educating readers about Hope4Cancer’s experience in treating patients with integrative cancer treatments, and not with the intent of facilitating treatment decisions. You should not use it in lieu of the recommendations of your physician/health care provider, who you should consult for any personal health-related questions.

 

References:

  1. National Cancer Institute. (2020, September 25). Cancer Statistics. Cancer Statistics. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics
  2. Stewart, S.L.; King, J.B.; Thompson, T.D. et al. (2004). Cancer Mortality Surveillance — United States, 1990-2000. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 53(SS03), 1-108. Web: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5303a1.htm
  3. Richardson LC, Wang W, Hartzema AG, Wagner S. The role of health-related quality of life in early discontinuation of chemotherapy for breast cancer. Breast J. Nov-Dec 2007;13(6):581-7. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4741.2007.00512.x
  4. Henry NL, Azzouz F, Desta Z, et al. Predictors of Aromatase Inhibitor Discontinuation as a Result of Treatment-Emergent Symptoms in Early-Stage Breast Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2012-03-20 2012;30(9):936-942. doi:10.1200/jco.2011.38.0261
  5. Hershman DL, Kushi LH, Shao T, et al. Early Discontinuation and Nonadherence to Adjuvant Hormonal Therapy in a Cohort of 8,769 Early-Stage Breast Cancer Patients. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2010-09-20 2010;28(27):4120-4128. doi:10.1200/jco.2009.25.9655
  6. Pan H, Gray R, Braybrooke J, et al. 20-Year Risks of Breast-Cancer Recurrence after Stopping Endocrine Therapy at 5 Years. New England Journal of Medicine. 2017-11-09 2017;377(19):1836-1846. doi:10.1056/nejmoa1701830
  7. Morgan G, Ward R, Barton M. The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). Dec 2004;16(8):549-60. doi:10.1016/j.clon.2004.06.007
  8. Sulciner ML, Serhan CN, Gilligan MM, et al. Resolvins suppress tumor growth and enhance cancer therapy. J Exp Med. Jan 2 2018;215(1):115-140. doi:10.1084/jem.20170681
  9. Lagadec C, Vlashi E, Della Donna L, Dekmezian C, Pajonk F. Radiation-induced reprogramming of breast cancer cells. Stem Cells. May 2012;30(5):833-44. doi:10.1002/stem.1058
  10. Lagadec C, Vlashi E, Alhiyari Y, Phillips TM, Bochkur Dratver M, Pajonk F. Radiation-induced Notch signaling in breast cancer stem cells. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. Nov 1 2013;87(3):609-18. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2013.06.2064
  11. Lagadec C, Vlashi E, Della Donna L, et al. Survival and self-renewing capacity of breast cancer initiating cells during fractionated radiation treatment. Breast Cancer Res. 2010;12(1):R13. doi:10.1186/bcr2479
  12. Chidambaram R, Terunuma H, Balamurugan M, et al. Cell-based immunotherapy in stage IIIA inflammatory breast cancer with declining innate immunity following successive chemotherapies: A case report. Mol Clin Oncol. Sep 2017;7(3):493-497. doi:10.3892/mco.2017.1333
  13. Sun Y, Campisi J, Higano C, et al. Treatment-induced damage to the tumor microenvironment promotes prostate cancer therapy resistance through WNT16B. Nat Med. Sep 2012;18(9):1359-68. doi:10.1038/nm.2890

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The Seven Key Principles of Cancer Therapy

Our multi-dimensional, holistic whole-body approach to cancer treatment

Holistic, Non-Toxic Cancer Therapies

In the process of killing cancer cells, traditional treatments often end up destroying healthy cells as well. Our non-toxic cancer therapies target only cancer cells, keeping vital tissues and organs healthy while avoiding the debilitating side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation.

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ImmunoModulation

Your immune system is a natural healing mechanism designed to protect your body against all kinds of harmful agents. Our enhancement program uses biological vaccines to strengthen and stimulate the immune system, restoring its natural ability to recognize and fight cancer cells after being compromised by disease or toxic treatment methods.

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Full Spectrum Nutrition

In order to function and fight cancer at its full potential, you must support your body’s nutritional needs. A central part of your Hope4Cancer treatment plan involves a personalized meal plan developed by our in-house nutritionist, assuring balanced caloric intake and introducing an alkaline diet of leafy greens and low-glycemic fruits for optimal cellular health.

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Detoxification

On a daily basis, our bodies are exposed to a number of pollutants. From heavy metals found externally in our food, water, and air supply, to the dead cancer cells processed internally, these toxins prevent proper functioning and inhibit the body’s natural ability to repair itself. Our detoxification therapies act to complement your personal treatment plan, removing harmful metals and minerals, and enhancing your overall recovery.

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Oxygenation

Oxygen forms the basis of both life and recovery. When the oxygen level of a cell drops below 40%, an acidic environment that promotes the growth of cancer cells is created. From simple deep breathing techniques to topical ointments delivering ozone directly to tumor sites, we incorporate oxygen therapy into each treatment plan to simultaneously support the healing of healthy cells and prevent toxic buildup.

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Restore Microbiome

Bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa all make up a complex ecosystem of microbes within our bodies. When this ecosystem is healthy and in balance, microbes play a positive, functioning role in our bodies. Unfortunately, many factors of modern life upset the delicate balance of the microbiome, causing microbes to become aggressive and pathogenic, and leading to higher incidence of disease. A key factor of each Hope4Cancer treatment plan aims to eliminate these infectious agents and restore the balance of healthy microbes in the body.

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Emotional and Spiritual Healing

The medical community has long recognized that there is a link between emotional and biological functions. Whether it be identifying potential mental roots of the illness, or increasing positive emotions to aid the body’s physical response, support therapies focusing on healing both the mind and spirit play an integral part of every Hope4Cancer treatment plan.

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All 7 Principles

Developed by Hope4Cancer's founder and medical director, Dr. Antonio Jimenez, "The Seven Key Principles of Cancer Therapy" are the foundation for our unique whole-body approach to fighting cancer. Each principle addresses one aspect of the mind, body, or spirit, that is affected by cancer either directly or indirectly. Representing one individual part of a functional whole, it is essential for all of these principles to work together to achieve true recovery and improve overall quality of life.

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