Any type of non-conventional mesothelioma treatment, which includes chemotherapy, radiation, and tumor-removing surgery, is commonly considered alternative. Iscador is the brand name given to a European plant, viscum album, more commonly referred to as mistletoe. This plant has been used to treat and cure ailments for thousands of years, and is still considered to be sacred in many cultures. Though the plant is not found in the United States, it is prominent in Switzerland, Germany, and England and used by many holistic practitioners in those countries. Iscador is in fact one of the top prescribed drugs for cancer patients in Europe. In recent years, complementary and alternative treatments are gaining in popularity, as the number of mesothelioma cases continues to rise.
The National Cancer Institute affirms that iscador is one of the most extensively studied alternative methods for cancer patients. Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelial tissue, most often affecting the lining of the lungs, heart, and abdomen. The cancer is one of numerous diseases directly attributed to asbestos exposure, and is for the most part incurable. Mesothelioma attorneys are hopeful, however, that iscador can provide some solace for victims of the disease, as positive reports from those using the extract continue to surface.
Some mesothelioma patients are able to have the iscador injected directly into their tumors, where it is believed to stimulate the immune system, promote reversion of cancer cells, improve adverse side effects, and heighten survival rates. Advocates also believe that mistletoe improves the general condition in cancer patients (such as improving appetite), restores normal sleep patterns, and improves negatives mental states (depression, anxiety, etc.).
Because iscador is not approved by the FDA, it is prohibited from being imported, sold, and used in the United States except in clinical trials. There are currently over 100 clinical studies using iscador as an experimental cancer treatment. Some proponents recommend the use of mistletoe preparations derived from specific trees or modified by the addition of very dilute concentrations of metals such as mercury, silver, or copper, depending on the type of cancer diagnosed.
Several experiments in tumor-bearing animals showed impressive reduction of tumor growth and/or increased survival with the application of mistletoe therapy. Due to the diversity of mistletoe products, however, the interpretation of clinical studies is difficult. Consequently, it is not too surprising that preceding reviews on the clinical effects of mistletoe extracts in cancer patients, which summarizes a mixture of studies with different designs and plant extracts used, are conflicting in their results.
Doctors advocate for the use of iscador in conjunction with more conventional cancer treatments. Perhaps iscador’s most famous activist, Suzanne Somers, announced on Larry King Live that she used iscador in treatment of her breast cancer more than ten years ago. Somers used iscador after radiation and surgery to prevent tumor recurrence.
Recent reviews of iscador clinical trials confirm what Somers is advocating
– that post-operative iscador treatment is associated with better
survival. Researchers can no longer ignore the fact that studies with
positive effects of iscador on survival of cancer patients are accumulating.
The European white-berry mistletoe is also widely used to treat patients with arthritis, hypertension, and diabetes. European and Canadian doctors offer a variety of other components in conjunction with iscador, such as dietary, artistic, and movement therapies. The treatment regimen is adjusted according to the patient’s general condition. A typical course of treatment lasts several weeks and requires that injections be given early in the morning 3-7 times per week, with gradual increases in the concentration of iscador.
There is usually some local inflammation at the injection site and an increase in body temperature that is sometimes accompanied by headache and chills. There is no other evidence of toxic effects from mistletoe preparations when used as directed. Mesothelioma attorneys look forward to reading more in-depth reviews of clinical trials and research on iscador, and how they can be used to increase the quality of life and survival rate of mesothelioma patients.