Thursday, November 12, 2009 by: Kerri Knox, RN, citizen journalist
Gardasil, a vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer in women, has recently been the target of debate about its safety and efficacy. While young girls have been dying and key researchers are saying the vaccine doesn’t work, there are dozens of studies using natural compounds in broccoli that DO work to not only PREVENT but possibly TREAT cervical cancer as well.
Cervical cancer is very slow growing and is generally treatable with minor interventions when caught early; hence, pap smears have been recommended as a routine part of an annual physical exam for decades. But a paradigm shift in cervical cancer thought occurred in 1984 when it was discovered that the Human Papilloma Virus causes cervical cancer. Drug researchers immediately went to work on a vaccine and their dream came true when Gardasil, the first cervical cancer vaccine, was released in 2006. A disease mostly controlled with routine screenings became the new public health threat that immediately required mandatory vaccinations for every young woman in the US, whether at risk or not.
But while new evidence is coming to light that young women are suffering serious health effects and even death from a vaccine that may not even do what it is intended to do, readily available strategies for prevention of cervical cancer are being completely overlooked. Broccoli and other ‘Brassicas’ like cabbage and Brussels sprouts have long been touted as health foods- and with good reason. Antioxidants and anticancer agents are continually being isolated from this family of vegetables, making them some of the biggest health powerhouses available. One particular compound in broccoli called Indole-3-Carbinol, also called I3C, has been isolated and studied for over 2 decades for its anti-cancer properties.
“Studies increasingly indicate that dietary
indole-3-carbinol (I3C) prevents the development of
estrogen-enhanced cancers including breast,
endometrial and cervical cancers”
‘Indole-3-Carbinol Is a Negative Regulator of Estrogen’
I3C’s chemoprotective properties are unquestioned in the many animal and laboratory studies that have been done. And with only two adverse reactions having ever been reported, human studies have proven it to have an astonishingly good safety profile. The research using I3C against cervical cancer is extremely promising as well. In one double-blind placebo controlled trial, a full one-half of women with biopsy-proven early stage cervical cancer had COMPLETE REGRESSION of their cancer where NONE in the control group did. That means that simply by supplementing once daily with I3C, 50% of these women’s cancers were completely reversed. In addition, animal studies not ONLY show that supplementation with I3C can prevent cervical cancer in the animals taking it, but it ALSO prevents cervical cancer in their offspring!
“Addition of chemoprotective agents to the maternal diet
during pregnancy and nursing may be an effective new approach
in reducing the incidence of cancers in children and young adults.”
‘Indole-3-carbinol in the maternal diet provides chemoprotection
for the fetus against transplacental carcinogenesis’
The benefits of I3C don’t stop there, though; other studies have shown that it can help to prevent and treat breast, endometrial, vulvar, skin and prostate cancers as well. But even while I3C is being ignored as a natural supplement, drug researchers are feverishly attempting to reproduce its properties in the lab in order to create a patentable synthetic anticancer agent. In the study ‘A potent indole-3-carbinol-derived Antitumor agent’ , the researchers called its anticancer effects “weak” and therefore they are “…exploiting indole-3-carbinol to develop potent antitumor agents”. But “weak” is not the first word that comes to mind when discussing this natural substance that reduces cancer by:
Like most natural substances, doctors’ offices and medical centers are ignoring this research and, instead, are having teenage girls line up for a shot with a nebulous safety profile that may not even be effective. Yet, it would be far safer, less expensive and likely more effective if public health campaigns were directed at teaching women the benefits of eating foods like broccoli and cabbage that are naturally rich in anticancer compounds like I3C.