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Understanding Pancreatic Cancer Causes and Treatments

by Dr Mark Sircus(more info)

listed in cancer, originally published in issue 263 - June 2020


Republished from


 “The pancreas is the first organ to develop inhibited function from varied stresses,”[1] writes Dr William Philpott and Dr Dwight K Kalita in their book Brain Allergies. Recent studies have shown that virtually 100% of all Americans have an enlarged pancreas by the time they’re 40 and the incidence of pancreatic cancer has been rising 1.5 percent each year since 2004, according to the American Cancer Society. It is a notoriously lethal illness, in which less than 5 percent of patients survive 5 years. Meaning about 95% of people with pancreatic cancer die from it.




Stage 4 pancreatic cancer is incurable. The median survival rate is around 3-6 months after diagnosis. This is the type of cancer that oncologists should just admit they are useless in treating and give their blessings to treatments that might give these patients a chance. To administer chemo or radiation therapy to dying patients is inhuman.

Though oncologists are miserable failures when it comes to treating pancreatic cancer they still want us to trust them and believe, in the specific context of pancreatic cells on the road to cancer or already in a malignant state, the last thing one wants to do is to raise antioxidant levels.

Amazingly they ignore the research that concludes higher intakes of the antioxidants selenium, vitamins C and E reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67%. That is according to a study published July 2012 in Gut, the journal of the British Society of Gastroenterology. Researchers found that people with the highest dietary intake of selenium were half as likely to develop pancreatic cancer as those with the lowest intake. Those who consumed the highest dietary intake of three antioxidants – selenium and vitamins C and E – were 67 percent less likely to develop pancreatic cancer compared to those with the lowest intake.

The Great Controversy Over Antioxidants

Thus there is a lot of confusion among patients about who to listen to or believe. Oncologists say, “oxidizing and anti-oxidizing agents are created in every cell, and are kept in a very precise balance when cells are healthy.” Though this is true for perfectly healthy cells, the fact is that perfectly healthy cells do not exist in the pancreas in most adult people.

Most patients are faced with toxic hurricanes of chemicals, heavy metals and increases in exposure to radiation as well as higher levels of stress so it is irrational to pretend that doctors are treating patients with healthy cells. There is a great divide between cancer cells and relatively healthy cells but most people’s physiology is under stress.



Pancreas Anatomy staff (2014). "Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014". WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436


When one of many possible biological stresses weigh down on the pancreas it will, as any other organ will, begin to function improperly. When this happens the first thing we see is a reduction in pancreatic bicarbonate production. Once there is an inhibition of pancreatic function and pancreatic bicarbonate flow there naturally follows a chain reaction of inflammatory reactions throughout the body. Under such conditions infections and fungi are known to proliferate.

Dr David Tuveson, Director of research for The Lustgarten Foundation, says that, “proliferating cancer cells present a special case: more oxidants are being made in malignant cells, but more anti-oxidants are being made, too, countering the impact of rising oxidation. Without commensurately more anti-oxidants, malignant cells will die due to excessive oxidation.”

Excessive oxidation causes cells to commit suicide is the basic principle oncologists follow, yet what they hide is that excessive oxidation causes healthy cells to become sick, die or turn cancerous. “Treatments for cancer such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy destroy cancer cells by promoting oxidation. Although antioxidants protect cellular DNA from damage by oxidative stress, they likely protect cancer cells, too.” They believe it rational to increase oxidation in cancer cells and to decrease antioxidants within the same cells. Unfortunately, this does not work with pancreatic cancer.

A review encompasses a total of 174 peer-reviewed original articles from 1967 till date comprising 93 clinical trials with a cumulative number of 18,208 patients, 56 animal studies and 35 in vitro studies suggests these oncologists are wrong. Not only have antioxidants repeatedly shown superior potential for ameliorating chemotherapeutic induced toxicity, antioxidant supplementation during chemotherapy has demonstrated higher therapeutic efficiency and increased survival times in patients.[2]

Magnesium and Pancreatic Cancer

Taking magnesium may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly cancers, according to a study in 2015. Magnesium is known to reduce the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (T2D), which are risk factors for pancreatic cancer. In fact, between 65 to 80 percent of pancreatic cancer patients have some form of glucose intolerance, including prediabetes or T2D.

Until now, it was not known whether magnesium indirectly reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer (by reducing the risk of diabetes) or whether it had a direct impact on cancer formation. Findings of the VITamins and Lifestyle study published in the British Journal of Cancer, looked at more than 66,000 patients in a health database from Washington State. Of those studied, 151 people developed pancreatic cancer.

Researchers found that those who met the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for magnesium had a lower risk of pancreatic cancer compared to those who did not meet the RDA for this mineral. More specifically, there was a 76 percent increase in the incidence of pancreatic cancer in those who took in less than the RDA for magnesium compared to those who met or exceeded the base level recommended. 

For every 100 mg a day decrease in magnesium intake, it resulted in 24 percent increase in the incidence of pancreatic cancer. However, when the researchers compared those who took a magnesium supplement with those who didn’t, the benefits disappeared in non-supplement takers.

“The strong effect was only observed in those taking both dietary and supplemental magnesium indicating supplementation was beneficial,” says the study author Daniel Dibaba, a PhD candidate, in the School of Public Health at Indiana University in Bloomington. This suggests that supplementation may be advised for individuals at risk to boost their magnesium levels to at least meet the RDA recommendations for this mineral.

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most deadly cancer in the US. for both men and women. “For those at a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, adding a magnesium supplement to their diet may prove beneficial in preventing this disease,” Dibaba said.

Pancreatic Cancer and Fungal Infections

On October 3 2019, The New York Times published an article titled, “In the Pancreas, Common Fungi May Drive Cancer,” reporting on findings of a study published in the prestigious Nature journal. According to this study, fungi migrate from the gut lumen to the pancreas, and that this is implicated in the pathogenesis of Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), which is a malignancy of the exocrine pancreas with the worst prognosis among all solid tumours, and soon to become the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

PDA tumours in humans and mouse models of this cancer displayed an increase in fungi of about 3,000-fold compared to normal pancreatic tissue. Solid tumours excrete acid and the spread of cancer cells is stimulated by acidic conditions in the surrounding tissues. Acid is a by-product of glucose metabolism, which ties in with research showing cancer feeds on and is accelerated by a diet high in sugar.

According to the researchers, PDA tumours had far greater amounts of a common fungal genus called Malassezia. Killing off the mycobiome [fungal microbiome] with an anti-fungal drug was found to be protective, slowing down the progression of the tumor. The team found that treating mice with a strong antifungal drug called amphotericin B reduced tumour weight by 20–40%. The treatment also reduced ductal dysplasia, an early stage in the development of pancreatic cancer, by 20–30%. Sodium bicarbonate, for many reasons, is a far superior anti-fungal than amphotericin B for it also addresses the conditions that lead to pancreatic distress while it kills fungi.

To further sustain the connection between pancreatic cancer and fungus these researchers found that repopulating the tumour with Malassezia accelerated tumor growth, except when Candida, Saccharomyces or Aspergillus genera were used. This suggests Malassezia is the main culprit in this kind of cancer. When other genera were included, tumour growth was much slower.

In summary, the fungi trapped in the pancreas appears to drive tumor growth. Fungus infections are now officially one more factor to consider in the alphabet soup of factors affecting cancer proliferation. The fungal population in the pancreas is a biomarker for who’s at risk for developing cancer because it is part of an army of infections well known to cause cancer.

Bicarbonates happen to be excellent anti-fungal agents. Julia Roberts is famous for her bright smile and the actress says she owes it to her grandfather’s tip of using baking soda. “I brush [my teeth] with baking soda. [My grandfather] would put a big heaping mound of it on his toothbrush. He had only one cavity in his entire life,” Roberts said.

Yes it keeps her teeth white but it does much more than that. Sodium bicarbonate, used in toothpastes and in dental teeth-cleaning devices, is the very best agent for the maintenance of oral health because it changes pH, radically disrupting the constantly rising tide of bacteria and fungi that threaten the health status of the entire body.

With ample brushing, sodium bicarbonate has the power to break through pathogen films, called biofilms,[3] that sticky stuff that turns into hard tarter that your dentist has to remove while you grin and bear it. Studies have shown that bicarbonate inhibits plaque formation on teeth and, in addition, increases calcium uptake by dental enamel. Sodium bicarbonate increases the pH in the oral cavity, potentially neutralizing the harmful effects of bacterial and fungal metabolic acids.

Why Is This Important?

Through the years scientists have discovered a conclusive link between gum disease and both cancer and heart disease. “Our study provides the first strong evidence that periodontal disease increases the risk of pancreatic cancer,” said Dr Dominique Michaud of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who led the research. Men with a history of periodontal disease had a 64% increased risk of pancreatic cancer than men with no such history.

People with increased severity of periodontitis with recent tooth loss had the greatest risk. People with periodontal disease have an increased level of inflammatory markers such as C reactive protein (CRP) in their blood. These markers are part of an early immune system response to persistent inflammation and have been linked to the development of pancreatic cancer. It is the high levels of carcinogenic compounds that are present in the mouths of people with periodontal disease that increases risk of pancreatic cancer.[4] And what is the most prevalent carcinogenic compound in many people’s mouths? Mercury from dental amalgam! Selenium binds strongly with mercury protecting us from its damaging effects.

The Sun

Three factors related to sunlight exposure reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer by as much as 49%, adding to a fairly substantial volume of evidence supporting a role for sun exposure in pancreatic cancer risk, a case-control study showed.

Investigators, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Pancreatic Cancer Conference that those born in areas with the most sunlight had a 24% lower risk of pancreatic cancer than the individuals who lived in areas with the least amount of sunlight.

The risk of pancreatic cancer spanned the spectrum of skin types. However, participants with the most sun-sensitive skin had almost a 50% lower risk of pancreatic cancer than those with the least sun sensitivity. Sunshine may help protect against pancreatic cancer regardless of whether a person takes vitamin D supplements.

One of the study authors, Dr Rachel Neale of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, said that “Given the findings of studies examining circulating vitamin D, it is possible that if exposure to ultraviolet radiation does decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer, it is acting independently of vitamin D.”

Intravenous ALA/Low-Dose Naltrexone Cancer Protocol

Dr Burton M Berkson, who was licenced by the FDA to study intravenous use of ALA [Alpha Lipoic Acid] described the long-term survival of a patient with pancreatic cancer without any toxic adverse effects. The treatment regimen includes the intravenous lipoic acid and low-dose naltrexone (ALA-N) protocol and a healthy lifestyle program. The patient was told by a reputable university oncology center in October 2002 that there was little hope for his survival. As of January 2006, he was back at work, free from symptoms, and without appreciable progression of his malignancy.

There are treatment designs that demonstrate the possibilities of extending the life of a patient who would be customarily considered to be terminal. Dr Berkson writes, “People with metastatic pancreatic cancer more often die from their disease or complications thereof within 6 months and usually after a very stressful and painful course.”

Selenium is an Antioxidant

Dr Richard Donaldson of the St. Louis Veterans’ Administration Hospital conducted a clinical trial with terminally ill cancer patients. He found that when he could raise the patients’ blood levels of selenium into the normal range, their pain and tumour sizes were often reduced. In a 140 patient study of cancer victims treated with selenium, Dr Donaldson reported in 1983 that some patients deemed terminal with only weeks to live were completely free of all signs of cancer after four years; all the patients showed a reduction in tumour size and in pain.[5]

Selenium, especially when used in conjunction with vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene, works to block chemical reactions that create free radicals in the body (which can damage DNA and cause degenerative change in cells, leading to cancer).


Would anyone buy a car knowing there is only a five percent chance it will work. For stage four pancreatic cancer, patients doing chemotherapy or any treatments delivered by orthodox oncologists is like buying an expensive car guaranteed not to work.

There are many possibilities for treatment that would raise the chance of death from absolute certainty to something more hopeful. Taking magnesium, antioxidants selenium, vitamins C and E, taking bicarbonate and getting plenty of sun make sense because all of these help people avoid pancreatic cancer. Agents that reduce cancer incidence are better to employ than agents that increase cancer incidence, which chemotherapy does.

According to Hwyda Arafat MD PhD associate professor of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, found that found that thymoquinone, an extract of nigella sativa seed oil, blocked pancreatic cancer cell growth and killed cells by enhancing programmed cell death. Previous studies also have shown anticancer activity in prostate and colon cancers, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Using a human pancreatic cancer cell line, she and her team found that adding thymoquinone killed approximately 80 percent of the cancer cells.

Mayo Clinic’s multidisciplinary approach involves helping patients get in the best mental and physical shape to battle cancer treatment. Their treatment sequencing includes looking at the entire patient and addressing their weight loss, malnourishment, jaundice, depression and other medical problems at diagnosis. Yet their motive to boosting patients’ health is to help them endure the harsh treatments.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which specializes in pancreatic cancer compared patients with pancreatic tumours from people who had low survival rates, with patients long-term survivors (average survival of six years) and noticed that long-term survivors had nearly 12 times the number of immune cells called T cells inside them. My recommendation would be Natural Immuno-Oncology.

Curcumin, the natural yellow pigment in the spice turmeric does seem to help some patients with pancreatic cancer, and most importantly, there appears to be little downside like most natural treatments. No curcumin related toxic effects were observed in up to doses of eight grams per day.

Facing almost certain death it is better to take one’s chances with many non-threatening options that increase immune system strength. And without doubt, like for all cancers, the body should be flooded with bicarbonates, which will make the most resistant cancer cells deep inside of tumours more vulnerable to all other treatment.

There are rare pancreatic cancer survivor known as “extraordinary responders,” who have dramatic response to chemotherapy and have their tumours completely disappear, so we know it is possible to cure pancreatic cancer.

Chronic metabolic acidosis primarily affects two alkaline digestive glands, the liver, and the pancreas, which produce alkaline bile and pancreatic juice with a large amounts of bicarbonate. Even small acidic alterations in the bile and pancreatic juice pH can lead to serious biochemical/biomechanical changes. The pancreatic digestive enzymes require an alkaline milieu for proper function, and lowering the pH disables their activity.[6] Here we are at the beginning of digestive orders and even of cancer. This can be easily reversed with bicarbonates and suggests why magnesium bicarbonate in particular, and sodium and potassium bicarbonates should be used in all pancreatic cancer treatments.


[1]. Brain Allergies: The Psychonutrient and Magnetic Connections.By William Philpott, Dwight K. Kalita Published by McGraw-Hill Professional, 2000.

[2]. Antioxidants as precision weapons in war against cancer chemotherapy induced toxicity – Exploring the armoury of obscurity. Saudi Pharm J. Feb; 26(2): 177–190. 2018.

[3]. A complex structure adhering to surfaces that are regularly in contact with water, consisting of colonies of bacteria and other microorganisms such as yeasts, fungi, and protozoa that secrete a mucilaginous protective coating in which they are encased. Biofilms can form on solid or liquid surfaces as well as on soft tissue in living organisms, and are typically resistant to conventional methods of disinfection. Dental plaque, the slimy coating that fouls pipes and tanks, and algal mats on bodies of water are examples of biofilms.

[4]. “A Prospective Study of Periodontal Disease and Pancreatic Cancer in US Male Health Professionals.” Dominique S. Michaud, Kaumudi Joshipura, Edward Giovannucci, and Charles S. Fuchs. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 99: 171-175; doi:10.1093/jnci/djk021. 2007. 

[5]. Richard A. Passwater, Cancer and Its Nutritional Therapies (New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, p. 149. 1983.

[6]. Chronic Metabolic Acidosis Destroys Pancreas. Peter Melamed and Felix Melamed

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About Dr Mark Sircus

Dr Mark Sircus Ac OMD DM(P), prolific writer and author of medical and health-related books, has distilled many divergent medical systems into a new form of medicine that he has coined Natural Allopathic Medicine, representing a new therapeutic principle revolutionizing both allopathic and naturopathic medicine. Dr Sircus’s protocol addresses foundational physiology and focuses on pH management, cell voltage, magnesium and iodine medicine, cannabinoid medicine, carbon dioxide medicine, re-mineralization of the body, increasing oxygen transport and oxygenation of the tissues, opening up of blood vessels, saturation and healing of cells with concentrated nutrition via superfoods, breathing retraining, emotional transformation processing, detoxification and removal of heavy metals and radioactive particles.

With cancer, Dr Sircus pays attention to the terrain, surrounding cells and the surrounding extracellular matrix, which interacts and shapes cancer cell growth.  Cancer cells cannot turn into a lethal tumour without the cooperation of other cells nearby. It is not just the friendly healthier cells but also the interstitial environment (pH, oxygen and CO2 levels) that plays a role in determining what will happen to a person when they have cancer. It’s a long road to win the war on cancer for some people, especially if they have been devastated by mainstream oncology. Others, especially if they have caught their cancer in its early stages can cut through to a cure quite quickly if they are willing to follow the discipline of doing the full protocol. For cancer there is a suite of books by Dr Sircus that cover the full territory patients need to travel which can all be accessed at

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