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Altern Med Rev. 1998 Jun; 3(3): 174-86.

Ascorbic acid in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Head KA.

Alternative Medicine Review. P.O. Box 25, Dover, ID 83825, USA. [email protected]

Proposed mechanisms of action for ascorbic acid (ascorbate, vitamin C) in the prevention and treatment of cancer include enhancement of the immune system, stimulation of collagen formation necessary for "walling off" tumors, inhibition of hyaluronidase which keeps the ground substance around the tumor intact and prevents metastasis, prevention of oncogenic viruses, correction of an ascorbate deficiency often seen in cancer patients, expedition of wound healing after cancer surgery, enhancement of the effect of certain chemotherapy drugs, reduction of the toxicity of other chemotherapeutic agents such as Adriamycin, prevention of free radical damage, and neutralization of carcinogenic substances. Scottish as well as Japanese studies have pointed to the potential benefit of high dose vitamin C for the treatment of "terminal" cancer. Mayo Clinic studies, however, have contradicted the Scottish and Japanese findings, resulting in accusations of methodological flaws from both sides. Numerous epidemiological studies have pointed to the importance of dietary and supplemental ascorbate in the prevention of various types of cancer including bladder, breast, cervical, colorectal, esophageal, lung, pancreatic, prostate, salivary gland, stomach, leukemia, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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