"O proud death, What feast is toward in thine eternal cell, ...
(Hamlet, Act V, scene 2, line 375)
Ultimately all cancer treatment is geared to one end. Killing the Cancer without killing you in the process. The Business of Cancer Treatment is also Big Business. Chemotherapy is very expensive. Except for a few types of solid tumor Cancers (Testicular, Ovarian and Hodgkins) it's usefulness is quite limited.
Considering it's poor track record, why is it the only game in town? And why is every other treatment considered an add-on (adjuvant) to Chemo. (It's like Amazons add-on program, you need to spend $25 to buy a small item and get free shipping or they won't let you buy it.) They don't want to treat you with anything else unless they can attach it to the Chemo. How did we get here?
Otto Warburg (a German Jewish Nobel Prize winning biochemist) postulated since the 1920's that Cancer cells can only live and reproduce by fermentation, while healthy cells live and reproduce by respiration as well. (Remember your high school biology?) American doctors of that era didn't buy his theory. He had two strikes against him. They thought this idea was too simplistic and they favored the genetic model for cancer. They felt that this Jewish Doctor was a Nazi sympathizer. (Hitler removed him from from his teaching post and kept him in his research lab, while his other Jewish colleagues were removed and taken away. The Fuhrer was a hypochondriac and figured it was a good idea to hold on to Warburg in case he developed cancer. I doubt that Warburg had any choice in the matter.) The Americans favored Theodor Boveri's theory (also a German biologist whos claim to fame was, "I think cancer is a chromosomal disease"). After all, eugenics was so in vogue at the time and the assumption was that all non infectious diseases where inherited. For example, if your father was a drunk....... Do you get the irony? Of course the double helix and twisted-ladder structure of DNA wasn't really discovered until 1953 by James Watson and Francis Crick so it was a leap of faith then (and now).
Recently, everyone (and by everyone I mean medical scientists, practitioners and governments) expected that once we mapped out the entire DNA sequence through the Human Genome Project, (which took 13 years and happened in April of 2003), breakthrough treatments would be discovered for all the major diseases. After spending $2.7 Billion of US taxpayers money, $75 million from the UK, $30 million from China and various amounts from Japan, France, Germany and Spain. The total cutting edge treatments for cancer, 11 years after the projects completion are: (ready?)
"For biologists, the genome has yielded one insightful surprise after another. But the primary goal of the $3 billion Human Genome Project — to ferret out the genetic roots of common diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's and then generate treatments — remains largely elusive. Indeed, after 10 years of effort, geneticists are almost back to square one in knowing where to look for the roots of common disease."
Does the phrase barking up the wrong tree mean anything to you? And here we are, 80 plus years later going full circle back to the Warburg metabolic theory of cancer because the genetic theory of cancer has been a big bust! (Would the medical establishment catch up already?)
Can you imagine where we might be today if that amount of money had been available to make the study of the "Warburg Effect" central to Cancer Research? Can you imagine how many metabolic drugs and therapies we might have by now that would help the mitochondria do it's job correctly and force the malignant cell to commit suicide? There would be books like, "The complete idiots guide to not feeding your Cancer" or "The Dummies Guide to Cell Apoptosis". The sad fact is that even today, with the results (or lack of them) staring them in the face, most Oncologists will look you right in the eyes and tell you that Cytotoxic Chemotherapy is your only hope. The truth is that they feel this way because the tools they have are so limited that they have very little else to offer.
On the up side survival is getting better. Not because of Chemo but because of other treatments. Surgery, Cryo, Radiofrequency and Microwave Ablations. Insightec in Israel has even invented an ultrasound targeted ablation where the surgeon doesn't use a knife but an MRI and ultasound. Hormone, Hyperbaric, as well as Metabolic and it's adjuvants. Anti DC-47 antibody therapy, anti-tumor Sapinon based vaccines and even Measles vaccines are on the horizon. Still all of them are considered Adjuvant Therapies to the Oncologist. I guess it's hard to let any other therapies become primary once you've got a monopoly. After all Business is Business.
To understand the history of the problems with the "Genomic cause of Cancer", please read this very important, plain english version article below. (Especially if you are a physician.)
What is the Origin of Cancer? by Travis Christofferson
(Yes, I've taken Shakespeare out of context.)