Underneath the Mistletoe, Could We Possibly Kiss Cancer Goodbye?


Could the cure for cancer be found in nature? The quest for a cure is the hope of every person touched by cancer. Perhaps the future cure will be found in a familiar Christmas plant.

Christmas is coming! Shoppers are out in droves and Christmas decorations are everywhere. Many homes hold traditional decorations which include some of the following: Christmas trees, poinsettias, wreaths, garlands, nativity scenes, and mistletoe. It’s a wonderful and festive time of year. Everyone seems to be jovial and jolly, but in the midst of all the merry making, cancer survivors like me, focus elsewhere. All I really want for Christmas is a cure for cancer.

The more I’ve thought about my dreams of one day hearing news of a medical miracle, the cure for cancer, the more I’ve wondered why, after all these years, the world hasn’t come much closer to finding an actual cure for this dreaded disease. If we can figure out how to put a man on the moon, why can’t we find a way to eradicate cancer? It seems to me that there is an answer but perhaps pharmaceutical companies aren’t too keen on allowing the general public to share in the knowledge that one exists.

We all know cancer medications are big business. Every year, clinical trials are performed to test the most recent adjuvant therapies. Medications like Tamoxifen, Aromasin, Arimidex, and Femara bring in billions of dollars annually as more and more cancer patients are prescribed these drugs on a long term basis.

But what if there was a natural cure for cancer? What if there was one literally dangling over our confused little heads? And, what if that cure was a free gift of nature? What if the cure for cancer could be found in that lovely, leafy, green mound of berry laden Mistletoe so many of us choose to use for holiday décor?

In Germany and Switzerland, studies have been conducted on the use of Mistletoe extract for the treatment of cancer. Well-known actress, Suzanne Somers, along with former President Ronald Reagan, traveled to Germany to partake in experimental treatments and both experienced good results. And if such good results were achieved in Germany and Switzerland, why hasn’t America gotten on the band wagon? My curious mind wanted to know!

As I continued to research the medical use of Mistletoe Extract, also known by its brand name, Iscador, (derived from the Greek word for Mistletoe), I discovered John’s Hopkins is currently performing clinical trials in Baltimore, Maryland, on the efficacy of the extract. In order to participate in the trial, patients must meet several criteria and must be evaluated by a member of the John’s Hopkins staff. Finding this information was very encouraging to me. According to their website, the following criteria must be met by each patient to be considered for the phase I trial:

  • Be evaluated in person by a Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center physician
  • Have advanced cancer (solid tumor)
  • Cancer must have progressed on at least one mode of conventional treatment
  • No prior use of mistletoe (injections or IV)
  • Be able to come to The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to receive infusions 3 times a week (for 3-4 hours) for as long as you benefit or choose to be on the trial. Scans will be done every 8 weeks to monitor the size and sites of your disease.
  • This is a Phase 1 trial. This means Johns Hopkins researchers are testing the drug in a small group of participants to evaluate safety, determine a safe dose, and identify side effects. This is the first step of many research steps before mistletoe may be considered for commercial use.

Currently, the FDA has NOT approved the use of Iscador, or Mistletoe Extract, for the treatment of any disease or medical condition although very few harmful side effects have been noted. Mistletoe has been studied and used widely in many European countries. Evidence has shown it is effective in eliminating cancer cells in laboratory settings using mice and other small rodents. While these findings are encouraging, many laboratory tests and clinical trials must be performed before the extract is approved by the FDA in the future.

As I stand beneath the mistletoe, I can’t help but look up. Last year, at this time, I’d already lost several friends to breast cancer. As each face comes to mind, I wonder if mistletoe extract had been approved if it might have been instrumental in prolonging their lives.

It is my hope that medical research will continue and in the days ahead, perhaps we’ll find that missing link to cure all cancers. The cure for cancer could truly be right under our noses or hanging just above our heads. All we have to do is find it. And every person touched by cancer must continue to hope for that elusive cancer cure to one day be found.

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