by Walter Last

It is generally accepted in cancer research that the vast majority of patients or about 90% die from metastases or secondary tumours, and only a small minority from a primary tumor. Therefore it should be of great concern to therapists as well as patients that already more than 30 years ago it was conclusively shown that cancer surgery is the main cause of metastasis (Krokowski, see below). However, this research was completely ignored by the profession, it was just too awful to contemplate, and patients never got to know about it (1).

Since then more and more disturbing data and reviews have been published, the latest one is a comprehensive review by an international team of leading cancer researchers with the conclusion obvious from the title: Surgery Triggers Outgrowth of Latent Distant Disease in Breast Cancer: An Inconvenient Truth? (2).

Because of the undisputed status of the members of this team, their conclusions can no longer be ignored by the medical profession and cause much consternation, especially as the review is an open access publication. I expect that efforts are being made to prevent this information from becoming widespread public knowledge.

The review also found that future organ metastasis is independent of the size of the primary tumor and its apparent malignancy or the involvement of any lymph glands. Metastasis seems to depend mainly on the degree of stress for the tumor and the patient, growth stimulation due to the wound-healing mechanism initiated by surgery as well as on the quality of the immune system.  

Furthermore, as the following examples show, surgery is not the only medical procedure that increases metastasis. In recent years there has been a steady stream of research showing that basically all medical interventions can trigger metastasis while a growing number of natural remedies and methods tend to inhibit metastasis.

Recent Research Findings

While most cancer research is funded by drug companies with the aim of increasing their profits, there are now also a growing number of independent studies that show the negative side of conventional cancer therapy. Here is a small selection of interesting research findings.

Conflict of Interest in Cancer Research: This analysis shows why it is so difficult to get to the truth in medical research. Conflicts of interest exist in a considerable number of cancer research articles published in medical journals, and there is a high degree of financial connections between researchers and pharmaceutical companies. This produces biased results with a more favourable outcome for investigated drugs and technologies (3).

Experts want to stop screening: Screening for breast and prostate cancer has not brought a decline in deaths from these diseases. Instead screening programs lead to tumor over-detection and over-treatment (4).

Morphine stimulates cancer and shortens life: Morphine has been used in cancer treatment for two centuries. Now research shows that it stimulates the growth and spread of cancer cells and shortens the survival time of patients (5).

Diagnostic X-rays cause cancer: It has been estimated that diagnostic X-rays over a lifetime cause up to 3.2% additional cancers in a population. Germany ranks among the countries with the highest X-ray cancer rates while with 0.6% the U.K. and Poland have the lowest lifetime risk, in Australia it is 1.3% (6).

Radiation therapy damages bones: The scientific world has been shaken by a report that a single therapeutic dose of radiation can cause appreciable bone loss. Years later osteoporosis, bone necrosis or bone cancer may develop (7).

More radiation danger: Exposure to ionizing radiation is known to result in genetic damage that can make cells cancerous. Now a new study has revealed that radiation can alter the environment surrounding cells so that future cells are more likely to become cancerous (8).

Chemotherapy promotes metastasis: Taxol, a chemotherapy drug, causes cancer cell micro-tentacles to grow longer and tumor cells to reattach faster. If treated with taxol before surgery to shrink the primary tumor, levels of circulating tumor cells go up 1,000 to 10,000 fold, potentially increasing metastasis (9).

Tamoxifen increases aggressive tumors: Tamoxifen use for breast cancer patients decreases their risk of developing a more common and less dangerous type of second breast cancer but has a more than four-fold increased risk of causing a more aggressive and deadly tumor (10).

Biopsies cause metastases: Biopsies may actively encourage the spread of metastases. Needle biopsies caused a 50% increase of metastatic spread to nearby lymph glands of breast tumours as compared to lumpectomies (11).

Stress promotes cancer: Stress hormones protect cancer cells from self destruction, promote the spread and growth of tumours directly as well as indirectly by weakening the immune system and encouraging new blood vessel growth. Patient stress  was associated with faster disease progression (12).

Stress kills: Stress hormones are released in high amounts with fear and during surgery. They greatly impair the immune system and promote the spread of metastases. Blocking stress hormones increased long-term post-operative cancer survival rates in animal models by 200-300 percent (13).

Breast cancer metastasis after hormone replacement therapy: Previously it had been shown that hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of breast cancer. Now a new study has found that it also increases the chance of the cancer metastasizing, or spreading to the lymph nodes (14).

Sharp drop in breast cancer rates: In recent years breast cancer rates dropped sharply due to a corresponding sharp drop in the use of hormone replacement therapy (15).

Ernst Krokowski

Ernst H. Krokowski, M.D., Ph.D. (1926 - 1985) was a German Professor of Radio­logy. His research provided the first convincing proof that cancer surgery triggers metastasis. While many of his articles on different subjects are still on public record, his research on the relationship between surgery and metastases is difficult to find, even in German. His only paper on this subject in English is not listed in PubMed, and the journal in which it was published does no longer exist (16). Because of the obvious importance of this research I have now made this article available on my website (1). Also a related lecture in German can still be downloaded (17).

The Summary of his article reads: 'It can no longer be doubted that under certain conditions diagnostic or surgical procedures can result in metastases. Analysis of metastatic growth rates has shown that from 30 percent (in hypernephroma) to 90 percent (in sarcoma and seminoma) of the diagnosed metastases were provoked by such procedures. This has been established by numerous animal experiments and clinical observations, and necessitates a change in the currently held concept of cancer therapy. The previ­ously applied and proven treatments by surgery and radiation must be preceded by a metastasis prophylaxis. Three different ways to achieve such a prophylaxis are proposed.'

With radiological imaging he measured the growth rates of 2,893 metastatic tumours in 568 patients with different cancers. From these he derived the following conclusions:  

1. Metastases arise only from primary tumors or from their local recurrences; they disseminate at one time or only in a few shoves.

2. Lymph node metastases behave biologically differ­ently from organ metastases [lymph node metastases are relatively harmless, organ metastases are very dangerous]. 

3. The more than 3,000 growth curves (including exper­imental data from animals) can be described by a growth formula. The growth curves of a very large number of meta­stases, from 30 to 90 percent depending on the type of tumor, can be traced back to the time of the first treatment.

Here are some key observations from his article:

  • Inflated success rates [of cancer surgery] are the result of either selective composition of the groups of patients studied or of correspondingly adapted, i.e., corrected, statistics.

  • Cures related to the same stage and tumor size have not improved in the last 20 to 25 years [more recent findings state that the cure rate has not significantly increased since the 1970's, which means that overall there was no significant improvement since the 1950's].

  • Untreated postmenopausal women with breast cancer live longer than medically treated patients.

  • Metastases occur sooner in fast-growing tumours than in slow-growing tumours. This suggests that these metastases begin their development at the same time as the first treatment.

  • Present cancer surgery may be regarded as a second Semmelweis phenomenon! (Dr Semmelweis campaigned for surgeons to wash and disinfect  their hands to stop them killing women during childbirth). 

  • Manipulation of a tumor, such as severe palpation and pressure [mammography!], biopsy or surgery, results in a sudden increase of tumor cells released into the blood with a higher probability of metastasis.

  • The connection between surgery and formation of metastases was particularly impressive in single observed cases: in a patient with a sarcoma, formation of metastases occurred after surgery of the primary tumor and each time after four further surgeries of locally recurrent tumors.

  • It has long been taught in medicine that a melanoma should not be injured since lesions would cause an almost explosion-like growth of metastases.

  • Not only disturbance of a tumor but also unrelated surgery at a different location can trigger metastasis.

  • The larger a tumor becomes the slower its growth, and some observations suggest that it eventually stops growing.

  • Radiation and chemotherapy of the tumor before and after surgery were both unsuccessful.

  • The chance to decisively improve the cure quota occurs only once during the course of cancer, namely at the time of the first treatment.

An Inconvenient Truth?

The following review cites a steady stream of studies showing that it is better for patients to leave tumours alone. But that is not in the interest of the cancer industry for which invasive treatment is the financial life-blood. There were always new drugs and new ways to combine chemotherapy and radiotherapy with surgery, and claims that now a way has been found to prolong the lives of  patients. With new methods of early detection and small, precancerous, non-invasive and dormant tumours classified as cancer - tumours that would not have become malignant if left alone - some statistics indeed showed improved cure rates. This has now changed with a comprehensive review by this international team of leading cancer researchers.

Here is the Abstract of Surgery Triggers Outgrowth of Latent Distant Disease in Breast Cancer: An Inconvenient Truth? (2):

'We review our work over the past 14 years that began when we were first confronted with bimodal relapse patterns in two breast cancer databases from different countries. These data were unexplainable with the accepted continuous tumor growth paradigm. To explain these data, we proposed that metastatic breast cancer growth commonly includes periods of temporary dormancy at both the single cell phase and the avascular micrometastasis phase. We also suggested that surgery to remove the primary tumor often terminates dormancy resulting in accelerated relapses. These iatrogenic events are apparently very common in that over half of all metastatic relapses progress in that manner. Assuming this is true, there should be ample and clear evidence in clinical data. We review here the breast cancer paradigm from a variety of historical, clinical, and scientific perspectives and consider how dormancy and surgery-driven escape from dormancy would be observed and what this would mean. Dormancy can be identified in these diverse data but most conspicuous is the sudden synchronized escape from dormancy following primary surgery. On the basis of our findings, we suggest a new paradigm for early stage breast cancer. We also suggest a new treatment that is meant to stabilize and preserve dormancy rather than attempt to kill all cancer cells as is the present strategy.'

The bimodal relapse patterns referred to in this abstract mean that there are two time peaks when metastases appear after surgery for the primary tumor. The first peak is after 18 months, then follows a dip at 50 months and a broad peak at 60 months with a long tail extending for 15 to 20  years. About 50 to 80% of all relapses are in the first peak. Patients with large tumours relapse mainly in the first peak while with smaller tumours relapses are equal in both peaks.

There is also a structure in the first peak. Relapses in the first 10 months are due to micro-metastases that pre-exist with the primary tumour and that are stimulated to grow. This mode is most common for premenopausal patients with positive lymph nodes, over 20% of whom relapse. The rest of the first peak is due to single cells that are initially dormant but are induced to divide as a result of surgery. The second peak is then due to single cancer cells that have been seeded during surgery and are subsequently gradually developing into metastases.

This dynamic also accounts for the persistent excess mortality of premenopausal women in the third year of long-term mammography screening trials: metastases appear after 10 months and the time between relapse and death in breast cancer is approximately 2 years, which then results in death about 3 years after screening. I remember a young and apparently healthy patient who just had her breast removed after a mammogram showed a tiny tumor. She was confident that she had been saved because it had been caught so early, but 3 years later she was dead.

Other interesting evidence in this paper is from a Danish report: forensic autopsies show that 39% of women aged 40–49 have hidden and dormant breast cancer, while the lifetime risk of clinical breast cancer in Denmark is only 8%. This means that only about 20% of positive mammograms are for real and would have progressed to a clinical stage. The rest are either completely harmless and boost the medical cure rate, or in others subsequent surgery does trigger metastases and these women eventually die due to their treatment.

Here are some more highlights from this article:

  • Getting women screened with mammography is a major goal of some organizations so this information (about possible harm) is withheld as its release will be contrary to achieving their goal.

  • During most of the 20th century radical mastectomy was the accepted therapy. Unfortunately, only 23% of patients survived 10 years. The natural response to this failure was even more radical surgery.

  • The next step by medical oncologists was similar to that by surgeons: if a little doesn‘t work then try a lot! Needless to say the high dose chemotherapy with bone marrow rescue was a failure and the least said about this sorry episode in the history of breast cancer the better.

  • Pathological and autopsy studies have suggested that most of the occult tumours in breast (and prostate cancers) may never reach clinical significance.

  • Cancer cells and micro-metastases remain in a state of dormancy until some signal, perhaps the act of surgery or other adverse life event (emotional shock according to Dr Hamer) stimulates them into fast growth. The act of wounding the patient creates a favourable environment for the sudden transfer of a micro-metastasis from a latent to an active phase.

  • A large primary tumor inhibits the development and growth of any distant metastases! Removal of the primary results in the establishment and rapid growth of large numbers of latent metastases, the majority of which would have remained dormant or would have disappeared if the primary tumor had not been removed. The growth-stimulating postoperative effects on pre-existing latent metastases are due to removal of the primary tumor.

  • Other cancers also need to be carefully examined. There are data showing similar activity especially in melanoma and osteosarcoma.

Inhibiting Metastasis

The authors of this review suggest that angiogenesis inhibitors at the time of first surgery could be an answer. These drugs inhibit the development of blood vessels in the body, including inside tumours so that they cannot grow.

But now it has been found that these drugs shrink tumours only initially. Then they start a surge of forming local and distant metastases. One of the researchers said: "A well vascularised tumor is well fed and happy, it has no driving force to become more invasive... (but) if you cut off the tumour’s blood supply this drives the cancer to become more invasive, more metastatic, as it seeks more oxygen and nutrients" (18).

Still, there is a way out. An increasing number of natural methods are turning up that inhibit metastasis and keep tumours happy. Here are a few examples of research that confirm holistic principles about the cause and cure of cancer:

 Vitamin D improves surgery outcomes: Patients with the highest vitamin D intake who had surgery in the summer had a three-fold better disease-free survival and a four-fold better overall survival than patients with the lowest vitamin D intake who had surgery during winter (19).

Antioxidants inhibit metastasis: Reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide as generated inside cells, play a key role in forming cellular protrusions implicated in cancer cell migration and tumor metastasis. Antioxidants inhibit such invasive behaviour of cancer cells (20).

Bicarbonate inhibits metastasis: Oral sodium bicarbonate inhibits the growth of tumours and the formation of spontaneous metastases in mouse models of metastatic breast cancer. It also reduces the rate of lymph node involvement and hepatic metastases (21).

Bicarbonate makes the lymph fluid more alkaline which then inhibits inflammation. For a tumor to spread it needs to dissolve the surrounding connective tissue but that happens only if this tissue is sufficiently acid to activate the proteolytic enzymes of the tumor.  

Papaya against cancer: Papaya used as a tea from dried leaves has a dramatic effect against a broad range of lab-grown tumours, including cancers of the cervix, breast, liver, lung and pancreas. The anticancer effect was stronger with larger doses of the tea (22).

Ginkgo biloba against stress: Ginkgo biloba extract significantly slowed the growth of aggressive breast cancer cells and inhibited the growth of implanted tumours by more than 80 percent. Ginkgo biloba also reduces the stress hormones released by the fear due to a cancer diagnosis so that a tumor may not become invasive (23).

Meditation against stress: Women with breast cancer were able to reduce stress and improve their mental health and emotional well being through Meditation (24) .

Environment causes cancer: The President's Cancer Panel (USA) reported that "the true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated" and strongly urged action to reduce people's widespread exposure to carcinogens. Exposure to carcinogens promotes not only the formation of primary tumours but also the probability of metastasis (25).

Cancer risk inherited: Daughters of pregnant rats fed an unhealthy diet are more likely to develop breast cancer. But even if these daughters then eat healthily, their offspring are still at greater risk of this disease (26).

Periodic dieting best with cancer: Periodic dieting is much more effective than permanent calorie restriction while unlimited food intake is the worst option for preventing experimental breast cancer. In this dieting experiment calories were reduced by 25% compared to control mice. Mammary tumor incidence was 71% in the control mice who ate all the food they wanted, 35% among those who were chronically restricted and only 9% in those who intermittently restricted calories (27).  

Intestinal sanitation: Recent research suggests that intestinal dysbiosis or unhealthy microbes in the gastro-intestinal tract can cause cancer (28).

'Auto-antibodies' created in response to hidden bacteria: It has now been shown that in autoimmune diseases the immune system does not attack healthy cells but rather microbes hiding in these cells. These are also a main cause of cancer and earlier researchers have called them 'cancer microbes' (29).

Cancer caused by protein waste inside cells: Cells need to remove damaged proteins or the accumulating waste may cause them to develop into a cancer tumor. Failure to dispose of this waste can result in toxicity, genome damage and inflammation, which in turn can promote tumor progression and other degenerative diseases (30).

Fasting helps treating cancer: Fasting reduces tumor growth, sensitizes cancer cells to chemotherapy and protects normal cells from toxic effects of chemotherapy. Fasting for 48-hours was found to be sufficient to markedly suppress tumor progression in mice models of breast cancer. In one mouse model of breast cancer, fasting alone (without chemotherapy) caused more than a 50% decrease in tumor growth. When fasting was combined with chemotherapy, it reduced tumor growth up to 90% compared to untreated controls. In vitro studies using breast cancer cells found similar results. Comparable results were found with glioma, neuroblastoma and melanoma, also survival time increased, and metastasis decreased. Now researchers want to find and use a drug to mimic the positive effects of fasting (31).

The Natural Solution

These recent research findings about the value of nutrients and natural remedies in preventing metastasis and improving cancer treatment are in full agreement with the methods used in holistic cancer programs.

One of the mainstays of holistic cancer therapy is intestinal sanitation in addition to systemic antimicrobial therapy. These new finding not only confirm the value of intestinal sanitation but also the need for antimicrobial therapy. The latter is directed against a pleomorphic microbe that can cause autoimmune diseases as well as cancer. The evidence for these microbes had not been accepted by mainstream medicine, which maintained that in these cases the immune system is just wrongly programmed and attacks its own healthy cells.

The leader of the team which made the aforementioned 'auto-antibodies' finding stated: "What we thought were auto-antibodies generated against the body itself can now be understood as antibodies directed against the hidden bacteria. In autoimmune disease, the immune system is not attacking itself. It is protecting the body from pathogens" (29).

Another fundamental aspect of holistic cancer therapy is the use of dieting or fasting to remove protein sludge and oxidized fat stored in cells, which then give rise to pleomorphic microbes and blockage of the oxidative energy metabolism in cancer cells and autoimmune diseases. Both of these principles have now been confirmed by conventional research.

In addition we also see evidence of the benefit of reducing emotional stress by using meditation and replacing fear with positive emotions. All of this gives mainstream research support for an important principle in holistic cancer therapy:  Rather than stressing a tumor by trying to destroy it, keep it happy by fulfilling its needs so that it can rejoin the community of healthy cells.

For a better understanding consider the following allegory: There is a mythical country with many dissatisfied inhabitants. One city has declared its independence and walled itself for protection. The ruler now has the option of destroying the city or to pacify it so that it rejoins the rest of the country in peaceful cooperation. If the city is being destroyed, the fleeing rebels may try to initiate uprisings in other parts of the country. The ruler does not know how much support the rebels would find elsewhere. If they do not get much support, then it does not matter whether the rebellious city is being destroyed, it is harmless either way. But if there is sufficient support the ruler will probably be deposed. Which one is the wiser option, destroying the city or pacifying its inhabitants?

The same choice exists in cancer therapy. Conventional treatment opts for all-out destruction no matter the consequences, while holistic therapy tries the pacifying approach. Initially most tumours probably start out with low malignancy which can be easily reversed, but excessive or persistent stress will push it towards increasing malignancy and generate support in other parts of the body. This stress may be from fear, bitterness, emotional shock, poor nutrition, radiation or chemical assault. The opposite approach will decrease malignancy such as normalising the metabolism of cancer cells, strengthening the immune system, and reducing stress with meditation and emotional therapies (32).

Recently even a chemotherapy protocol has been proposed to come to a truce with a tumor. This is based on the idea not to destroy the tumor but just give enough chemotherapy to keep it from growing any further. The researcher stated: "With a mouse ovarian cancer model, if you treat it with a very high dose, the tumor goes away. It looks like you’ve cured it. But a couple weeks later it comes back and starts killing animals. This is a standard outcome. What we did is use smaller doses of drugs and applied them when necessary. We were able to keep tumours stable and mice alive indefinitely " (33).

Instead of using chemotherapy, alkalizing is the method of choice in holistic therapy to stabilize a tumor and keep it from growing any further. Then you may increasingly make your tumor happy by fulfilling its other needs: normalize its metabolism by restarting the oxidative energy production, remove the toxic sludge that started all these problems, keep the pleomorphic microbes at bay, and also reduce stress hormones with meditation and emotional therapies. See the tumor as a part of your body that you have unwittingly abused, and like an abused child, it needs to be nurtured back to health.

Now the previously malignant cells will either resume normal functions or if they are too damaged they will voluntarily die (a process called apoptosis). With this the tumor can gradually dissolve during repeated periods of raw food cleansing. But as long as the tumor remains present, especially as a stress-free primary, it will be your friend by suppressing the development of dangerous metastases. Even after removal of the primary due to ignorance this co-operative approach remains the only viable option. For details see my website and cancer book (34).

From the available data I conclude that most of the cancer-related suffering and mortality are due to medical treatment rather than inherent in the disease itself. With so much effort presently devoted to put medicine on an evidence-based footing I am confident that it will not take another hundred years until present ineffective and harmful mainstream cancer treatments are being replaced with co-operative and effective natural therapies. 



2), 30 March 2010

3), 11 May 2009

4), 24 March 2010 and, 22 October 2009

5), 18 November 2009

6), 30 January 2004 

7), 29 October 2006

8), 13 May 2010

9), 15 March 2010

10), 26 August 2009

11), 16 April 2005

12), 13 April 2010

13), 27 February 2008

14), 07 May 2010

15), 8 January 2010 

16) Krokowski, E.H.: Is the Current Treatment of Cancer Self-Limiting in the Extent of its Success? J Int Acad Preventive Medicine, 6 (1) 23 – 39, 1979

17) -  Krokowski, E,H.: Verändertes Konzept der Krebsbehandlung. Lecture at the 'Kongress der DEUTSCHEN AKADEMIE FÜR MEDIZINISCHE FORTBILDUNG 1978 in Kassel'

18), 15 March 2009

19), 19 April 2005

20), 15 September 2009

21), 10 March 2009

22), 10 March 2010

23),24 February 2006

24), 14 October 2009

25), 6 May 2010

26), 20 April 2010

27), 4 August 2009

28), 1 February 2007, and also, 9 May 2010

29), 27 April 2009

30), 11 June 2009

31), 6 May 2010

32) Last, Walter: The Holistic Solution to Overcoming Cancer. NEXUS 2008; 16(1); also at


34)  Websites:, or Books: Overcoming Cancer, and Heal Yourself the Natural Way