[Transcript] – Everything You Need To Know About Colon Cancer Early Detection, Preventive Remedies, Cutting-Edge Medical Treatments & More With Dr. Ahvie Herskowitz.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/ahvie-herskowitz-cancer-podcast/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:48] Why has there been an increase in cancer incidence lately

[00:09:56] Dr. Ahvie's hypothesis on why there is an increased incidence of cancer

[00:17:57] Is there a specific type of inflammation that might lead to an increased cancer risk?

[00:21:06] What early detection methods are out there, and how do they work?

[00:36:08] The testing that Ben underwent at Anatara Medicine

[00:45:43] How more complex markers like the effects of pollution, chemicals, and toxins on the body's biome and natural immune system

[00:50:32] How Dr. Ahvie treats cancer patients

[01:09:09] End of Podcast

[01:09:32] Legal Disclaimer

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Ahvie:  We know that people in the developed world have higher rates of cancer than in the underdeveloped world. And, that may be an issue of simply reporting. We just don't know. Something is causing this, but the trends have already been present in the past. So, the younger population has involved more so.

Ben:  Fitness, nutrition, biohacking, longevity, life optimization, spirituality, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the Ben Greenfield Life Show. Are you ready to hack your life? Let's do this.

Alright, folks. Everything you need to know about colon cancer and cancer in general early detection methods, preventive remedies, cutting edge medical treatments and a whole lot more with a three-repeat guest now, Dr. Ahvie Hershkovitz of Anatara Medicine in San Francisco. Pretty cutting-edge facility that does all sorts of molecular immunological and genomic treatments for inflammation, for cell injury, autoimmunity, heart failure, myocarditis, cancer, you name it. They have a ton of experience. They work with some of the Bay Area's top biohackers, celebrity, actors, longevity enthusiast. And, Ahvie Hershkovitz is just a wealth of information. Just a OG of functional medicine. So, I hope you enjoyed today's show. Shownotes are going to be at BenGreenfieldLife.com/CancerEpisode.

Alright, here we go, recorded straight from Ahvie's clinic and there's going to be quite a bit of extra video content that you can tune into also at BenGreenfieldLife.com/CancerEpisode.

Well, Ahvie, it is good to see you. It's good to be back in San Francisco.

Ahvie:  Same here.

Ben:  We've podcasted now, well, twice even though our last podcast was so big and long and hairy and audacious, we split it into a two-parter. And, by the way, for those of you listening in, I'll link to all of the podcast I've done with Ahvie if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/CancerEpisode. And, indeed like we've talked about all sorts of stuff in the past, Ahvie, like constitutional assessments, which is how you first met me eating a giant pork chop that was not conducive to my constitutional assessment and then you fed me through the fire hose about that and I learned a ton. We've talked about advanced blood and biomarker testing and nerve blocks and joint treatments and stem cells, but this whole idea of cancer is something that you and I haven't taken much of a deep dive into besides briefly talking about these biopsies, these liquid biopsies, which I think we'll talk about a little today. 

But, I've been very interested in in cancer for a couple of reasons and I'll have a chance to fill you in here. But, one reason is that seems to me I've been reading a lot of articles, a lot of news reports that people are getting cancer with increasing frequency often at younger ages. I doubt that it's just we have better detection methods and people are just catching things earlier, but why is it that cancer seems to be on the rise across the board?

Ahvie:  I agree that there's data sifting in now because now we can look at data from 2022. 

Ben:  Okay.

Ahvie:  A year behind, of course, there's no data yet for 2023 with a trend that predated COVID of getting certain types of cancers in younger populations. So, cancer used to be, aside from leukemias and certain other cancers was a disease of the aged with spectacular rises after the age of 75 and incident rates. But now, the group that seems to be targeted disproportionately is the 40 to 49 years.

Ben:  So, when you say young, we're not talking about 18-year-olds getting cancer but people 40 to 49 remarkably younger than this 75 plus we've seen in the past.

Ahvie:  Right. I mean, it starts rising after 60 traditionally but now, 30 to 40 and or 30 to 49 is being hit harder. That's what the oncologists that you can talk to for anecdotal information about that they seeing very large rises. And, the more provocative thing is that these are late-stage cancers.

Ben:  Meaning that they have been developing for a long period of time.

Ahvie:  Or an accelerated, an acceleration of that phase.

Ben:  Are developing faster, okay?

Ahvie:  Okay, an acceleration of that phase. So, just a quick anecdote, and anecdotes are just not worth their weight in gold, obviously, but they do heighten your awareness when you have serial studies in the same person which we're seeing now for the first time people with negative PET CT scans or negative MRIs, but good solid imaging for a tumor in one location, let's say a colon, looking at the liver in May, and looking at the liver six weeks later in late June showing multiple metastases in the liver.

Ben:  With a PET scan?

Ahvie:  Yes.

Ben:  Okay.

Ahvie:  So, I mean, PET CT. So, you're seeing it in one study, it's negative and the other study is positive, but only six weeks has gone by, and you know that it was there before but it was to too small to see. But, to go to have a six-week, a mass that's six weeks that you're looking at for six weeks, only after 6 weeks where you can see it at probably 2 or 3 millimeters, now at 10 millimeters is spectacularly aggressive. I mean, this is mutating and this is a very accelerated thing.

Ben:  Even in young people we're seeing that.

Ahvie:  Yes, yes. We've seen it in all age groups of folks that coming in with later-stage disease. So, something is causing this but the trends have already been present in the past. So, the younger population has involved more so; breast, lung, colon. So, lung is the most common cancer in the United States then colon is second but happening in younger people.

Ben:  And, just to address the elephant in the room, this is not because people at younger and younger ages are out getting PET scans and MRIs because Tony Robbins is championing the benefits of a full body MRI and all the biohacking and anti-aging enthusiasts got to go off and get their advanced CT angiographies and everything. It's not a matter of us testing younger people, you think there's actually something going on causing cancer at a younger age.

Ahvie: Right. Well, it's very unlikely that that's the reason. And, during the pandemic, the first year of the pandemic in 2020, 2021, there was a decrease in cancer incidents. And, that was because we weren't identifying people in a timely fashion.

Ben:  People just weren't going to the hospital.

Ahvie:  They weren't going to the hospital, they weren't getting screening tests, so we lost a lot of the folks with earlier cancers at that point. And then, in 2022, it's now back to pre-pandemic levels. So, that's one message. At the same time, there are entities now that'll do whole body MRIs specifically to find that lesion that's early somewhere in your body, some 200 plus cancers that they can identify. And, we've seen a case like that but one case out of hundreds of cases, you need to follow in that particular fashion is very inefficient to take these screening tests willy-nilly. And, we'll talk about that even when you're concerned about cancer and you look at these tests. We'll go over the different findings with the tests but it's unlikely.

Ben:  Okay.

Ahvie:  So, the elephant in the room is also what is the impact of COVID and what is the impact of vaccination on this trend that already was accelerated.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, how do you even know because you have the COVID pandemic but it sounds like the trend was already accelerated. We have vaccinations which have been around for a long time. We have some new ones, but then there is, of course, stress and emotional processing which I know has a very large correlation. I just got done with a book called “Anticancer Living,” which is all about how human connectivity, or the absence of it, and loneliness is one of the biggest contributing factors to onset of cancer or even poor cancer survival. Go back and read books that kind of get an eyebrow raised at them like “The Invisible Rainbow” that talks about increased incidences of chronic diseases with response to excess exposure to Wi-Fi and electromagnetic radiation and radio frequencies and cell towers. We have ultra-processed food and toxins in the food supply. I just interviewed a guy last week who talked about pesticide companies creating small short-chain peptides that replicate cone snail venom, cobra venom, scorpion venom, and that these venoms may cause a steep rise in the instance of cancer. Is it a cluster of a bunch of things you think or is that a crazy idea?

Ahvie:  Yeah. Well, my hypothesis when I first opened up this clinic, Anatara Medicine in San Francisco about a dozen years or so ago was that our area under the curve of these individual risks is now taking a transformational shift and putting us into much higher risks than we had before. It's an area under the curve, so it's multiple factors always as you know, all the different factors you just cited and many, many more with both specific cancers as well as others. Well, we do know. Let's just take it from the top, okay?

Ben:  Okay.

Ahvie:  What do we know? We know that people in the developed world have higher rates of cancer than in the underdeveloped world. And, that may be an issue of simply reporting. We just don't know.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  Now, in the countries that do report well and there are Latin American countries that do that and African countries that do that, it tends to be still higher in the developed world.

Ben:  Undeveloped countries that report well still have lower instances of cancer than developed countries that report similarly.

Ahvie:  They have regional cancers, but overall, as a general trend, there's one thing about the way we live versus the way they live that has to be taken into account. So, of course, there's many different factors and we'll talk about each of them. And then, in the United States, and then when you say, well, what's going on in the United States? Well, the United States ranks in the top 10, 15% of all nations with cancer rates but not as much as Germany and not as much as–Czechoslovakia is the number one, and number two is Australia for some reason. So, are people in Czechoslovakia drinking more alcohol? Are the Australians drinking more alcohol? Are they exposed to some specific regional toxins that we're not aware of? They're not more sedentary than we are. Certain things are clear. They're eating the same food as we are, maybe even a better food supply than we are. So, there are multiple factors going on, but why has lung cancer, for example, still the number one cancer worldwide, even in places that don't have high smoking rates anymore? So, we've reduced smoking rates, and actually alcohol rates in France and Italy are going down.

Ben:  Yeah. Although air pollution is still a pretty hefty issue and a growing issue as well.

Ahvie:  So, you're left with the area under the curve that something else has supplanted what was exposed by smoking and now you remove the smoking from the equation and you still have it because the rates of air pollution over and the rates of inflammatory states in the lung that were constantly inflammatory interacting with the pollution–

Ben:  And, when you say smoking has decreased, at the same time, we've seen a concomitant increase in vaping of nicotine and cannabis. And, from what I understand, that's at this point is dwarfing the rate of decrease of cigarette smoking.

Ahvie:  That's correct.

Ben:  So, that too people sucking down polyethylene glycol all day.

Ahvie:  That's true. And, that's a disaster in the making because again, the exposure to environmental toxins and food toxins and oncogenes and viruses and so on. So, when you say I want to see what the area under the curve is, well, I have to know that on an individual basis. We're not talking about epidemiology now, we're talking about natural history. Natural history of cancers we know are affected by the inflammasome, this inflammatory cascade that's generally much more pro-inflammatory today than it was 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago. We understand that to be a fact.

Ben:  The inflammasome.

Ahvie:  So, this is the pro-inflammatory signaling. So, when I first became immunologically trained, we had three, four cytokines that we knew about: TNF Alpha, IL1, IL2.

Ben:  Those are inflammatory molecules, cytokines.

Ahvie:  These cytokines that talk communicate. So, generally speaking, you'd say certain ones are modulatory. Interferons are modulatory and certain ones are pro-inflammatory. The one that's probably the most commonly known are TNF alpha and the IL1 and IL2 receptors. But, you need them to exist. That means they're not bad they're just constantly activated. So, when you study this today versus and now we know that the cascade is about 300 of these communicating molecules.

Ben:  These inflammatory molecules.

Ahvie:  These signaling molecules that most of them tend towards inflammation. Inflammation and repair overlap, so many of them are useful in repair. Many tend you to autoimmunity. Many tend you to allergic phenomenon. But, they're all in a cascade. No supercomputer today can figure out any. If you measure all 300 in a person, no one's going to be able to figure out the puzzle at this particular point in time. But, we know that the overall inflammatory state is now pretty secured in the population. You know that if you go out drinking and eating junk food, the next morning, you're inflammatory, period.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  You can measure it with the basic, basic, basic stuff like C-reactive protein because it's an acute phase react and it'll go up, but it may–

Ben:  Qualitative measurements like how long you lay in bed watching Netflix when you wake up because everything just feels too hard.

Ahvie:  Right, and has total body effects. We know that if you're sensitive to it. The reason you feel crummy is because a lot of that is because of these inflammatory signaling molecules give you a touch of the flu even though you don't have fever, you don't have a virus. It feels the same way. Your fatigue feels the same way. It's just not as extreme as it is when you have a problem.

Ben:  And so, what you're saying is that you have, because I know you do and we talked about this in our last podcast, a much more comprehensive series of inflammatory marker measurements than you might get on the average blood test. You're saying that an increase in those inflammatory markers is something that has risen in correlation to this rising cancer?

Ahvie:  Yes.

Ben:  And, that could be due to some of the other things we talked about: toxins, electromagnetic soup, ultra-processed foods and ingredients, animal venoms, poor emotions, and lifestyle, and stress, et cetera. Any of those things could cause rise?

Ahvie:  Right. But, the reason I bring it up today because we're talking about cancer is I think that that aspect of things is not discussed in depth as it should be because everyone, “Oh, I know that I'm eating ultra-processed foods and the chemicals, they're bad for me, I understand that. But, it's okay, my doctor said my C-reactive protein is 5 or 4, the upper limit is 3.” But, we want everybody to have it less than 1, less than 0.1. I mean, it should be 0.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  Period.

Ben:  Unless you just got done with a workout.

Ahvie:  Yes. But, by the next morning, you should be back to baseline. So, when you're running around with the inflammasome activated in a proinflammatory way, that's what inflammasome means, it's this proinflammatory. Inflammatory cascade is good and bad. You needed both. You need it to survive. You can't exist only on antioxidants.

Ben:  Yeah. But, why is–because obviously, if you exercise, you know me, that's my jam, my business is exercise science and fitness, to a great extent, you create inflammation. Arguably, even if you do a hefty sauna session or something like that, you could create hyperthermia-based inflammation. But, you don't see people who exercise frequently or lift weights it seems at least getting cancer at as high a rate as someone who develops inflammation from say a toxic lifestyle or ultra-processed food. So, there must be a certain flavor of inflammation or a certain environment in which the inflammation takes place that would cause the rise in cancer, yeah?

Ahvie:  That's correct. So, inflammation and repair go hand in hand. I mean, there's a tremendous overlap. So, when you microscopically injure a muscle by overuse, it requires the same cytokines that also would produce in a chronic state an inflammatory state that is not reparative.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Ahvie:  So, it goes overboard. It's not modulated back. And, why is that? Well, some of the major modulatory pathways are completely off now. What are they? Vitamin D pathway is one of the major immunomodulatory pathways. I mean, it's a hormone, it's not a vitamin. So, that hormone is responsible to modulate your immune system back to the center. It does so not just by acting as an anti-inflammatory, it is not, it goes through sets of hundreds of pathways including anti-inflammatory pathways but it also modulates with the renin angiotensin system that is the target of COVID that's why I bring it up. It's a target of setting the system out of its modulatory pathway.

Ben:  Yeah, okay.

Ahvie:  So, for example, you could argue that the cancer rates have really been pretty flat despite treatments and despite everything. The death rates are pretty flat overall for the last 30 years. Well, we have better treatments, better surgeries, better chemotherapies, more targeted immunotherapies. We have those, but it hasn't really made a huge dent. I mean, certain ones totally. The total number hasn't changed and the total number is anticipated and the modeling today is anticipated based on these other factors that modelers put in like what's the effect of being more inflammatory than we used to be, what's the effect of being more stressed than we used to be? What's the effect of a more miserable biome that we currently treat ourselves with? What is that effect? It's going to rise by 60 to 70% by 2040. So, whatever the numbers are, they're going to go up according to logic and according to the models.

Ben:  Yeah. So, it sounds to me we might not know the exact reason even though there's a cluster of clues as to why it's increasing, but I think that what I'm interested in is how people like me and our young ages can actually know. This morning I got up at the Holiday Inn. Last night the desk called up and said my pee cups were here and I went downstairs and I gave my first-morning void and I brought that in, which I think has something to do along with this needle in my arm with the type of ways that you can detect whether or not a young person or an old person would be getting cancer even before you might see a PET scan or an MRI. 

This is interesting to me because I've even told you this, six weeks ago my dad showed up at my house with gut pain. And, he has a history, he's Ashkenazi Jewish, which I think has a little history of gut issues as well. I even have a princess gut myself. And so, I said, our dad, “Everything you're talking about, it sounds diverticulitis, some inflammation.” I cleaned up his diet for that day and I brought him down to my friend who's a naturopath. We gave him vitamin C, IV, and some ozone. And, as I was driving him home, his pain was just getting worse and worse. And, I said, “Dad, something's not right. I'm going to take you into the ER.” So, I pulled the [00:22:30] _____ on the road, took him to the ER.

Long story short is via series of scans, CT scan, chest X-ray, et cetera, the nurse came into the room and said, “Well, Mr. Greenfield, we thought this was diverticulitis or some type of inflammatory pocket in your colon, but it's instead a pretty massive growth.” As a matter of fact, when we met with the physician for a follow-up a few days later after more scanning, they said that it was likely that the size of the growth, this tumor that was blocking nearly his entire digestive tract had been growing for nearly 10 years. And, I don't know if that is the case. But, regardless went in for emergency surgery because it had progressed to a pretty concerning point, almost died in the hospital three times with sepsis and surgical complications. And, it was very emotional time. Just six days ago, he was discharged from the hospital and he's now at home. 

But, I've been calling up my brothers and saying, “Well, look, three cousins on her mom's side have died of colon cancer, my grandfather died of colon cancer, now we know my dad who was adopted, we didn't know his genetic history, obviously has some issues and there's likely issues on his side. We got to get colonoscopies, guys.” And, we got to start to do some detection and also begin to educate ourselves on the treatment. So, I've been on this journey to learn more and more about why it happens and how we can detect it.

And so, that kind of leads into my next question for you. You got me, you got my two brothers and we're sitting here quaking in our boots. Maybe we have something that even a PET scan or an MRI wouldn't be able to pick up. What do you do? What's your screening method?

Ahvie:  Well, let's just again take it from the top, some factors that we know about. So, you've heard the genetics mediate some percentage of risk whether it's cardiovascular or Alzheimer's risks, so on. So, somewhere in the low range, 5, 10%, something like that. But, for colon cancer, there is a specific genomic alteration called Lynch syndrome. These are the genes that deal with repairing your DNA at night, and mismatch genes. So, these are the genes that repair at night. So, when the copy is not exactly the same as the original, they repair that. So, there's a group of maybe about 10 genes. So, the Lynch syndrome people have an increased risk and for colon cancer, specifically, all the gut cancers but mainly colon cancer. And, that's where you have to be very aggressive in terms of colonoscopies much more often. And, I'll explain why colonoscopy is the better way to go for them but also probably for the entire population. Although, we would all like it to be easier than that and I'll review all that too.

So, that's one thing. So, let's just assume that only occupies a small portion of people. It's probably not your dad because your dad is getting colon cancer at an age that is standard.

Ben:   Yeah, 70.

Ahvie:  A standard colon cancer.

Ben:  The three cousins on my mom's side who are more 40.

Ahvie:  So, that's the risk. The risk is there on that side of the family. So, it's been there for a long time, it's enough to obstruct. And, that's not an uncommon scenario because unless you go to the doctor and/or buy a Guaiac stool test and say that I'm leaking a tiny bit of blood microscopically–

Ben:  A Guai X stool test?

Ahvie: No, it's called G-U-A-I-A-C, Guaiac. It's just a stool test for blood.

Ben:  Oh, okay.

Ahvie:  And microscopic amount of blood. This is not when you're seeing blood in the toilet, this is when you can't see it.

Ben:  Right.

Ahvie:  Typically, someone like your dad may actually have an anemia from that microscopic loss of blood over the years which he didn't notice because ultimately it obstructed him.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  And then, by that point, he may be unfortunate enough to have metastatic disease and local disease, certain local lymph node involvement or metastatic disease. But, the point is, what do you do when you're 40 and 50 to figure this stuff out in advance?

Ben:  Especially if you don't just want to get a series of colonoscopies every year, for example.

Ahvie:  No, no, I understand. Yeah, of course. But, right now, even the trend to younger age groups getting colon cancer just as on a national level to understand that they used to be when they first came out that colonoscopies were only paid for by insurance. It was 50. And now, it's lower to 45. They're not going to go lower than that because it's going to be prohibitive, expensive for them. But, that–

Ben:  There's not enough tubes to go around to shove up people's butts.

Ahvie:  Right. I mean, so ultimately, even if you're asymptomatic, 45, you can get your first, and then another one for 10 years.

Ben:  Okay.

Ahvie:  Unless you find a polyp. You could say, “Listen, I'm willing to take a Cologuard test.”

Ben:   A Cologuard test?

Ahvie:  Cologuard, C-O-L-O-G-U-A-R-D, which is a test that's based on DNA, mutated DNAs that are found in the colon, secreted by colon tumors–

Ben:  I think I've seen this once. Is it a blood test that you send in that has a certain percentage rate of being able to pick up colon cancer specifically?

Ahvie:  Right. So, that has a pretty good positive predictive value. It means if it's positive, it's good. That means you already have it.

Ben:  Okay.

Ahvie:  So, it's not preventative at all, it just is maybe you'll catch it earlier.

Ben:  And, this is something anybody's doctor could order for them, a Cologuard test.

Ahvie:  That's correct.

Ben:   Okay.

Ahvie:  I think you can order it. You may be able to order it soon on your own. It's not going to be covered by insurance.

Ben:  Like one of the at-home test kit type of things.

Ahvie:  Something like that, yes. But, you have to fulfill very strict criteria. They won't run it if you're below 45, they just won't run it.

Ben:  Even if you have high genetic risk and people in your family or–

Ahvie:  No, no. And, they don't want you if you have high genetic risk for some reason. I don't quite understand all the different things so you have to be asymptomatic and you have to be above 45 and not have a family history. So, why they stay away from there? I don't know, perhaps it's something to do with I can't afford to have a false negative test in that population. And, that population really needs to go to colonoscopy. The major advantage of colonoscopy even though you have to be prepared and prepped and then put under anesthesia, of course, is the fact that you're going to find in a higher number of people, not cancer, but you're going to find the precancerous lesions that the blood test can never–

Ben:  And, those are called the polyps?

Ahvie:  The polyps, yeah. 

Ben:  Okay. How big are those, by the way? Because I think polyps, I think about a bunch of mushroom spores when I'm walking through the forest or something like that, but I don't know.

Ahvie:  Right. So, you'll pick it up on a colonoscopy if it's about a half a centimeter.

Ben:  Half a centimeter, okay. Alright.

Ahvie:  It doesn't have to look like a bulbous mushroom like you see in a cartoon.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  But, in any case, at that point, it's precancerous, it's an adenoma, it doesn't have dysplasia and it doesn't have an abnormal cell type in it. But, it also sometimes actually have a carcinoma in situ right there. And, you clip it off and you're done. But then, you owe yourself another colonoscopy in five years.

Ben:  In five years. And so, that's what I'm wondering, obviously, with what you were talking about earlier with this rate of cancer growth. I mean, you cited a figure of six weeks you could do a colonoscopy, get a polyps removed or not. If you don't find one, wait five years and by five years have a pretty massive growth. It sounds the like Cologuard test could be one option as a blood-based screening. Is that the best one out there?

Ahvie:  Probably for colon. Yes. There's the Galleri, G-A-L-L-E-R-I, Galleri test, there's also a blood-based DNA test that can measure about 120 different cancers at one time. Again, very strong positive predictive value. That means that if you have a positive result, 99 times out of a 100, you have cancer.

Ben:  Is that the one you were telling me about that you send off to Europe?

Ahvie:  No, that's different. So, we'll get to that.

Ben:  Okay.

Ahvie:  But, it's poor for early stage. So, stage 1, they only can identify 40%.

Ben:  Okay.

Ahvie:  Stage 2, 60, stage 3, 80, and 95% of stage 4 cancer. So, your father would have a positive Galleri test but he obviously knows he has cancer.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  And, if he knew about it six weeks earlier, it wouldn't have made much of a difference.

Ben:  Probably not.

Ahvie:  But, if he was wanting to predict five years ago when he perhaps had a very early-stage disease, it wouldn't be a great test to use. So, we send the test off. There are multiple German-based tests looking–

Ben:  And, by the way, is this a blood test?

Ahvie:  A blood test, yeah.

Ben:  Okay.

Ahvie:  This, you need a doctor for there's a few German entities. The one we sent moved laboratories over to Greece. We call it the Greek test, the RGCC test. It actually means something. It's the name of their lab.

Ben:  RGCC is the name of the lab in Greece that you send these tests off.

Ahvie:  They're using the German technology that he brought over. So, this is a brilliant, German immunology oncologist who put forward the methodology to look at multiple cancer stem cell receptors on circulating blood and finding it in small numbers.

Ben:  Is this what you would call a liquid cancer biopsy?

Ahvie:  Yes. So, this is the liquid biopsy. So, there's a liquid biopsy revolution happening in the United States which we'll talk about. But, this one is the technologies in Europe currently that are approved there but not here at this point will show you results when you have a circulating marker that's abnormal but you can't find the tumor in that location. It's not visible yet.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Ahvie:  So, you're catching it truly in an early–

Ben:  Even before what you could potentially find in a colonoscopy?

Ahvie:  Oh, yeah.

Ben:  Wow. Okay.

Ahvie:  So, once that polyp turns cancerous and it's more than a millimeter or 2 millimeters in size, it will leak into the bloodstream. And then, in the bloodstream, it has a life of its own because the cancer stem cells are immortal and they're immortalized so that they exist there and they grow a certain amount but even in low numbers they can be picked up. And then, you have to track it down. Sometimes each of the different tests. The one that we use can pick up prostate-specific, breast-specific, squamous cell-specific cancer.

Ben:  So, you don't send off the test and say, “Hey, we want to test this for colon cancer,” we'll just test it for all of them?

Ahvie:  No, it's for everything. You get hematologic because lymphomas are up and leukemias are up and myeloma is up. And then, they run it all, they run it on everyone but they have a different panel for the epithelial for the solid tumors.

Ben:  Okay. And, if someone's listening in, how do they even find a doctor who would run a test like that? Do you just do a Google search for this RGCC test?

Ahvie:  Well, you go to their particular website.

Ben:  The RGCC website.

Ahvie:  Yeah. I mean, obviously, we do them a lot and we do them a lot for other doctors in the Bay Area.

Ben:  But, someone still has to come into the clinic to do it right.

Ahvie:  They have to because it's a real blood draw that you have to take 30, 50, 40, 50 CCs.

Ben:  Is that what they did on me this morning, this blood draw?

Ahvie:  No. That was filling in everything that I'm going to talk about from now on with regards to really having a cancer prevention stack of data.

Ben:  Okay.

Ahvie:  Okay. But, we've already sent your test over there as it was negative. Didn't we send the RGCC test?

Ben:  I don't know. I lose track of all the things you do to me.

Ahvie:  I think we did.

Ben:  Okay. So, what are these other tests that you do then like the ones that you drew from my blood today?

Ahvie:  Well, I figured that if I let the clinic grow organically when we first open that we would learn more than if we restricted it. Coming from immunology and cardiology background, I mean, this never, never came close to becoming a cardiovascular risk reduction type of a place because it was open to everyone and the folks and the inflammatory state sort of came here for the first 10 years.

Ben:  What's that mean open to everyone?

Ahvie:  I mean, we didn't select patients who came through the door. And then, we noticed that we had to find our best care solutions for cancer care patients. And, they were in two different groups; one that was doing traditional chemo and one that had an affinity towards just doing it in an alternative integrative way.

Ben:  Apricot kernels and high-heat saunas and all that stuff.

Ahvie:  Right, right. So, we had this extraordinary data set from cancer care patients and understood what was associated with that and I'll talk to that in a minute. But then, we also were interested because of my own age. I was tremendously interested in longevity and its interaction with the immune system. So, when you look at cancer prevention, it's wise to look at what the drivers of longevity are because it's the same thing. It's an accelerated form area under the curve pushing you into mutational forms. But, when you look at it, we sort of also forget some of the most basic stuff. So, for example, the single most important piece of information that we'll get from your urine, the early morning urine that you and your wife brought in was your urine pH.

Ben:   Your urine pH. 

Ahvie:  Yeah.

Ben:  You can get that from just a pee test strip.

Ahvie:  No, you can get that for $4 from any Walgreens. But, that's a single one of the most important tests you can use every day.

Ben:  For cancer screening?

Ahvie:  Yeah.

Ben:  Really?

Ahvie:  I'll tell you why. So, because you know from your own studies that having a more alkaline urine means that at night, you repaired more DNA, you produce more reparative proteins. You know you'll recover faster if you're acidic. So, most of the people walk in the street have urine pH of 5 or 5.5. They're quite acidic.

Ben:   Which is very acidic, yeah.

Ahvie:  So, that's a pro-cancer environment, period, and the sense that a tumor in microenvironment is acidic. It's also hypoxic. But, that's the information–

Ben:  It's all based off Warburg's hypothesis of cancer growing in hypoxic, anerobic, lactic acid-accumulated environment.

Ahvie:  That's correct. And, most doctors don't think about that that's the most important thing to change. And, that's the one that's also been associated with longer life. If you look at the few things that have been documented in the literature that are associated with longevity, early morning pH between 6.5 and 7.5 rather than lower or higher. Mainly lower is associated with longer life.

Ben:  So, we all just need to get one of those Kangen alkaline water generators, right?

Ahvie:  Well, maybe that would work. I don't know if it would work. The question is, what gives you the effect? And, the effect is mainly from food and from shifting your metabolic system into a better state.

Ben:  Poor kidney function, mineral depletion. There's a lot of things that cause acid-alkaline imbalances.

Ahvie:  That's right. There's a lot there. So, there's a lot there. Yeah.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  And, some of us get it back by just simply taking a different approach to nutrition. But then, what are the drivers, what drives longevity that we know about been proven is vitamin D, hemoglobin A1C for your blood sugar metabolism. We know that from Warburg's days that tumor cells love glycogen and glucose. So, having that under control.

Ben:   So, pH, hemoglobin A1c, vitamin D, glucose; these are all things that you would test. These are basic tests.

Ahvie:  They're very, very basic, but look at them as a stack, you have to include whatever you're measuring, most of us have normal renal function and liver function, okay. But, you have to add C-reactive protein; has been shown to, you live longer. And, that's pretty much about it. That's documented–

Ben:  That's not expensive or fancy series of tests, man?

Ahvie:  No, it's not. No.

Ben:  That's not sexy.

Ahvie:  No, but I think it's lacking. Okay, it's lacking because we've identified a much deeper data set that is much–

Ben:  Oh, so you go beyond just what you just told me?

Ahvie:  Yeah, because the only immunological marker there is, are you inflammatory or not? And, it's one of the more basic ones. I mean, it's just basic, everyone does a C-reactive protein that has their normal, I don't know, cardiac risk factors done. So, you need to go more. 

So, for example, what is the area under the curve of all the toxicity end up doing? What is it doing in everybody? Well, it's affecting everyone's biome and we have to get into that, but it also affects our innate natural immune system, the summation of all the pollution and all the chemicals and so on affects it. So, what that means is our surveillance system looking for foreignness, looking for foreign proteins, looking for mutations which are foreign is suppressed, okay? Then you add the absolute epidemic of toxic mold, which is also a suppressant and then the epidemic of having most people today having a very large viral load over when they were kids.

Ben:  I've also heard in addition to mold and viruses, parasites can also be a contributory factor.

Ahvie:  Yeah, except one interesting thing. Having worked in global health for a long time and traveled all over the world that, again, when you look at the association between countries with heavy parasite loads, they have a lot of stuff but they don't have autoimmunity and they don't have cancer.

Ben:  They also eat a lot of hot peppers.

Ahvie:  Yeah. And, they eat what they eat. Yeah, yeah.

Ben:  Those Thai ghost peppers, no cancer can survive that.

Ahvie: No cancer survived. That's true. So, when you add something that measures some measure, so it's not the fanciest 100 cytokine panel that we can organize here, but you measure something called natural killer cells. So, these are the CD8 NK natural killer cells which are labeled CD57. These what we call here in the office, “Oh, just do a CD57 count,” and everyone knows what we mean. So, that has a huge range of 60 to 360, so the range is really high. It's very, very broad, but if you're less than 100, if that's the number that you have then you're less than that, then you have some work to do. And, that's to me one of the most fundamental reasons I like thymosin alpha 1 as a peptide because it can move that number up. Now, you have a very high number–

Ben:  It can move the killer cell.

Ahvie:  The killer cell.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  So, one thing I find that's a cute story is someone comes in and is proud to tell me that everyone is sick in my family. I never get sick. I'm just the one who's so strong and never gets sick. And, I sit them down and saying, “That's not good news.”

Ben:  It's not good news.

Ahvie:  It's not good news. No, it means your innate system is asleep. I mean, get sick once in a while.

Ben:  But, could it also mean you have good vitamin D status and toxin clearance?

Ahvie:  Yeah. But then, you don't get sick very often. But, the last time I got sick was 12 years ago doesn't make sense to me because you're in everyone else's environment. So, you're right, most people are getting sick too often and their innate system–

Ben:  I was going to say you're making me nervous because I rarely get sick.

Ahvie:  Yeah, I'm saying, but your number is really high.

Ben:  My number of?

Ahvie:  You have CD57.

Ben:  CD57, okay.

Ahvie:  Natural killer cells is really high and we'll see what your wife says today. And, that's to me, when we apply AI to our data set, I think there's a strong likelihood that we'll find that CD57 counts will be associated with longevity.

Ben:  Okay, okay. And, you also said thymosin alpha1 peptide. Is that a peptide that can increase that?

Ahvie:  Yeah. So, this is the thymus, the thymus communicator. The thymus is governing our immune system until we're adolescence; 12, 13, 14 years of age, and then disappears. So, it's a peptide and we always have our–we're right here next to the major street with all the firetrucks–

Ben:  San Francisco, baby.

Ahvie:  San Francisco, but we're in a big city.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  So, that can move the number up. The way you train your thymus gland is when your mom breastfeeds with colostrum.

Ben:  Oh, I love colostrum.

Ahvie:  But, that's real colostrum.

Ben:  And, that's why my levels are so high because I do colostrum almost every day.

Ahvie:  But, I don't believe that that's the case but that's because the colostrum that we take in as a supplement may or may not. I don't know. We have to see, but that's where it comes from. The thymosin can act on it, but you say, “Well, I want to know what my number is.” And, about 90 and 95% of the cancer patients have very low CD57 counts have very low natural killer cell counts. And, the ones that get cured all have them raised up over time. so, they clean up, clean up, and then–

Ben:  So, this is one reason people go and do NK killer cell treatments in Mexico and things like that.

Ahvie:  It's sort of. That's logical. I don't know that everyone's proven that that makes a big difference but that makes sense.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  But, that's where what suppresses it, mold, oral infections, the deep oral infections from root canals, the deep sinus infections that are occult and heavy metals, all of it. And then, you have the biome consistently being a source of inflammation.

Ben:  Yeah. You mean gastric inflammation?

Ahvie:  Yeah, the whole GI system is we have explosion of SIBO, we have an explosion of dysbiosis. So, dysbiosis that's untreated. So, you say, “It's okay, I only pass gas once or twice a day and I have my bowel movements every two days.” It's completely unacceptable.

Ben:  Every two days is a long time.

Ahvie:  Completely unacceptable at all. Even once a day–

Ben:  I can't hit the gym at all in the morning without having a giant dump, giant toilet-filling dump.

Ahvie:  The masters in the developing world that take care of themselves 100% naturally and do it. They're pooping after every meal. But, I think twice a day is quite normal. But again, sometimes we're even suppressing our desire to go to the bathroom because we were too busy.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. I'm a two a day, 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. like clockwork, baby. 

Ahvie:  Well, that means your elimination path, the major one that you're using for toxins. I mean, urinary function is normal in so much of the population, but pooping is not. And so, you have to regulate that. And so, then you have to say, “Well, what's my detox area under the curve? What do I need to get out of my system?” Well, you have to measure it. I can't guess what it is. And, looking at blood tests for heavy metals and all the toxins is not appropriate because these are in the deep tissue, so you have to provoke them out. So, blood test shows you're low in lead and mercury is worthless.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  Now, if it's positive, it's already elevated, you don't need to, you just need to know the provoked level to see where my baseline is, then you could predict how long you're going to need to chelate it out.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  And, to change the subject back to mold, again, it takes time. Mold is not easy. It doesn't happen overnight. You got to take the binders for which you were started on. Probably for 12 to 18 months to get it out.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

There's a couple of good books, one by Nasha Winters and one by Leigh Erin Connealy, both books about cancer screening and much of what you're saying of I've seen some of these same tests in those books all certainly in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/CancerEpisode. So, I'll link to those titles if you guys want to take look at a comprehensive review of some of these labs in case you weren't writing down notes like I am now.

But, I guess it's important beyond testing, I think, to talk a little bit about what you, particularly in your practice, would do. Let's say you find a young person who you've found tests positive with one of these cancer screenings or at least shows a lot of the signs or even shows a significant growth on a PET scan or an MRI or a colonoscopy, I mentioned slightly ingest but slightly not apricot kernels and ivermectin and monoclonal antibodies and drinking your own pee and going off to Mexico for the killer T-cells or off to Paracelsus in Germany for the hypothermia. So, there's just so many remedies out there that it seems you can't swing a cat by the tail without hitting one. And then, with my dad with what's going on everybody's like coming out of the woodwork, your dad needs to do this, your dad needs to do that. I respect you and your opinions on these matters, you're very well-connected in the medical community. So, what's your general approach as far as the things that really seem to move the dial for cancer treatments?

Ahvie:  So, as you know on the big picture side, the earlier the better. So, even with nothing about what we're talking about, when you get into the system earlier at stage 1 versus stage 3 and 4, it's a big survival difference. So, that teaches you. So, when you get super early with these liquid biopsies, then we have never had a person that's been treated here in the 12 years that has had liquid biopsy that showed circulating tumor cells that has advanced.

Ben:  Really? Because of the treatments that you're doing?

Ahvie:  Because of the laboratory screens and then fixing what you're–if you're depleted in something fundamental, then you have to replace it. You have to understand that for some reason you need more magnesium than the person next door. Sometimes you have something going on with the vitamin D receptor, you need more vitamin D and you need to reduce your carb load and to–

Ben:  Yeah, that makes sense. But, so many people talk about you got to cut and burn and get it out of the system the cancer.

Ahvie:  Well, I'm saying, but here, you can't even find the cancer because it's very, very, very early. So, you have that five years in order to–

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  So, no one's ever progressed. And, the great majority of them go back to zero.

Ben:  Wow.

Ahvie:  And, one lesson we learned about that was we used to ask patients to do the test every month. It's an expensive test.

Ben:  Do which test?

Ahvie:  Do this RGCC test every month.

Ben:  The RGCC.

Ahvie:  So, they start off with, let's say, the number was three and then to two then to one then to zero. Zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, three. What happened? Oh, my husband got ill, I went off my routine, tremendous stress.

Ben:  And, when you say they went off their routine, they specifically were going off of the replenishment routine for, whatever, vitamin D or magnesium or anything else you have on.

Ahvie:  And then, you go back on the routine, back to zero. So, you have to be aware that cure, it may take another five years if it was left untreated in some way by you unadjusted but it could come back. But, that's one group and that's the best possible group because it doesn't change your life forever other than making you healthier than you've ever been.

Now, if you're stage 1 or 2, all of this shouldn't be done orally. I mean, you have to replace what you depleted in. You have to detox. You have to get rid of the infections in the root canals. You have to get the mold out over time.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  It's not an emergency.

Ben:  All things you'd probably want to do even if you didn't have cancer.

Ahvie:  Well, that's the point. If you want to live longer, it's the same gig.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  But, if you want to end up to be stronger than you've ever been and be alive and know that you're actually cured, you have to go to intravenous chelation. You have to go to IVs to replenish and get there faster because you don't have an endless amount of time to wait.

Ben:  Yeah, if you've found cancer in its later stages, you use those more aggressive approaches.

Ahvie:  Yeah. And, even with stage 3 or 4 but obviously with stage 4, you have a very limited time and it seems to be that the cancer is going to get a bit more on the aggressive side so you have less time. And then, we have our approach which takes in the German biological medicine approach that subsumes it into our thing here.

Ben:  Which I'm kind of familiar with. I don't know if I told you this I took a whole group of people three years ago, more than that, on a medical tourism trip to the Swiss clinic in Switzerland all places. And, it was up in the Alps. They did a lot of these German European biological treatments. I spent four hours in a hyperthermia chamber just to see what it was like. Lots of IVs, lots of chelation, lots of ozone. And so, these are the types of protocols that you'd have to go to Europe to do.

Ahvie:  No, no. You do them here.

Ben:  Really?

Ahvie:  In this particular clinic, in our clinic, we use a surrogate of hypothermia. When you look at the mechanism of action of hypothermia, it induces heat shock proteins and that it runs a cascade that ultimately ends up to have more oxygen in cells and T-cells don't have antioxidants. So, we use the laser frequencies to get the same effect.

Ben:  Oh, so you'll generate heat shock proteins with lasers?

Ahvie:  Yeah, with lasers. Yeah. So, we use that. And, we use obviously all the same IVs. Most of our IVs are–

Ben:  You don't have to go to Europe.

Ahvie:  No, you don't. No more. And, the trouble with going to Europe is very simple and that is you can't stay there forever. You want to be able to do it.

Ben:  Ask my wife, she'd probably like to.

Ahvie:  Closer to home. But, at the same time, your wife's going to go there just to do their version of rejuvenation.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  So, that's fine. But, we can do chelation here, of course. My organization that I'm president of called ACAM, we brought chelation to the United States 50 years ago.

Ben:  With chelation basically being a detoxification protocol?

Ahvie: Yes.

Ben:  Any particular strategy for that, for the chelation?

Ahvie:  Well, when you're chelating orally, you can only do it for, let's say, we start off with three days on the chelating agents and then 11 days off–

Ben:  And, you're consuming a chelating agent orally that's binding toxins and then you're removing them via urine and stool and sweat.

Ahvie:  I'm also binding your minerals. That's right. But, they're also binding your nutrients. You can't run it all the time. But intravenously, you do it once a week.

Ben:  Okay.

 Ahvie:  In Germany, in a cancer protocol even here, you'd probably end up doing it twice a week.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  But, we have a more immunological-based system here trying to get your own immune system to work on your behalf 24/7 than the Germans do. So, we're more focused because of my background in that area.

Ben:  Yeah. Okay, got it.

Ahvie:  So, we're more advanced in that particular area, I guess.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  And, hyperthermia also uses the same type of mechanisms. And, there are the world's best hyperthermia units probably in Germany. But again, you have to stay there and this is not a single treatment, you can go through 20 hyperthermia–

Ben:  And, for people who don't know, it's way more than just a sauna. It's this pod and just your head sticking out and you got a rectal probe in to gauge your temperature and you're getting extremely hot inducing a full body fever basically like 105, 106, something like that.

Ahvie:  Yeah. And then, some of the centers take you so high which is a reasonable thing if you can tolerate it under general anesthesia.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  But, I do want to mention something. There's another marker that I think is going to end up going onto the longevity list, which is a very bad marker to have when you have cancer, and that is ferritin.

Ben:  Really?

Ahvie:  So, ferritin is an iron store marker.

Ben:  Yeah, iron storage protein.

Ahvie:  But, you know about oxidation and you know about lipid peroxides and you've heard that term before, but basically, our oxidative stress state that we're in produces rust from the iron. Now, iron is everywhere. Hemoglobin cell repair mechanisms, all the phosphorylated enzymes that that are working on all the systems that we know are anti-cancer also could contain iron as part of the molecules. But, when you're oxidizing it, it produces a food for tumors. So, the ferritin starts going up.

Ben:  Is that why red meat can be a predisposing factor for cancer?

Ahvie:  Well, I think that red meat has been shown in literature to be predisposing for cancer at a relative risk of, let's say, 1.2 to 1, 1.3 to 1. Smoking is higher. Alcohol ingestion is higher. Red meat countries, yes, I could say.

Ben:  But, do they break that out between processed crappy red meat, there's McDonald's versus like–I've wondered that before because I still limit my red meat consumption. I probably have it one or two times a week. And, I'm careful with pork chops now based on your advice. But, I've been doing a lot more fish and poultry to a limited extent just since my father's cancer battle.

Ahvie:  But, nowhere in the literature does it suggest that eating less than a pound of meat a week is ever been increased in terms of cancer risk.

Ben:  Okay, less than a pound.

Ahvie:  I mean, that's eating meat from our wholesalers. That's eating the meat you get at Safeway and Costco.

Ben:  Right, right, right. Your average processed green-fed high omega 6 meat.

Ahvie:  That's right. So, that has its own toxicity. So, I don't preclude my patients to eat meat. At the same time, the ferritin number, unless it's normal, you're not going to be cured, you're not going to get cured. Something is still quite off, you need more antioxidants, you need a better metabolic system overall.

Ben:  Are you familiar at all with the Root Cause Protocol by Morley Robbins which basically is a copper and mineral-based protocol? And, part of it is designed to limit the amount of oxidation that takes place in iron and ferritin accumulation. It's called the RCP, Root Cause Protocol. You can find it free online.

Ahvie:  Yes. Well, I think those are really good ideas to incorporate both for longevity and for cancer prevention. But, it also has to go on to, I think, the thing you've been talking about more recently and that's the talk about being emotionally stressed particularly when you have family–

Ben:  Yeah, combined with lack of connectivity. Yeah.

Ahvie:  Right. So, all those things that we also know have some connectivity with longevity. But, at the same time, today, do you want to talk about what you're doing today?

Ben:  Absolutely. Sure, we can talk about anything, yeah.

Ahvie:  Yeah. So, we're in fight or flight, so you're measuring it on your people you're coaching with–

Ben:  Heart rate variability.

Ahvie:  Yeah.

Ben:  Yeah.

Ahvie:  Most successful people are running in a sympathetic state, and that's part of why you're successful. But, to modulate your parasympathetics up and to be the equivalent of what some of the masters feel are a thousand hours of meditation and 90 seconds.

Ben:  I want to come to my defense real quick and a lot of people think I'm driven hard charging, high achieving sympathetic. My HRV is extremely high.

Ahvie:  High, sorry.

Ben:  Yeah. I actually am not very stressed despite being a driven guy. Most of my stress factors from brain wave production to HRV, to heart rate, to body temperature, I tend to have very high readiness scores. But, I also do a lot. I do vagal nerve stimulators and meditation and yoga and cold plunges. And, I'm every single day paying a lot of attention to nervous system balance.

Ahvie:  And, I believe you. I mean, I know you well enough to know that that's what you're saying is true. You could also sense it in somebody when they're just out of sorts. But, the stellate gangling block that you're going to get today will modulate it even further. And, we'll see what the subtle effects are. So, we know one of the reasons at minimum that you're going to benefit from is we know that people, particularly the Navy Seals have been studied the most, they get stronger. Their recovery time is decreased. 

Ben:  After doing a stellate ganglion nerve block.

Ahvie:  And, they're massively disciplined people as you are and they're doing a lot every day and pushing themselves to the limits every day. They have documented the metabolic effects and the efficiency effects of muscular skeletal on the muscular-skeletal side and VO2 max goes up, so on. So, you get all those benefits. And, some of the world-class athletes that Dr. Tierney talks about a lot, they know to come in for their next stellate block when they've been leading the world in their fields for a long time. And then, as someone comes closer to them, then they know it's time to get their next stellate block. And, they get pushed further. So, they're back to being 100 meters ahead.

Ben:  It's like block doping.

Ahvie:  Yeah.

Ben:  And, that's just an injection that triggers the vagus nerve to rebalance.

Ahvie:  Right. But, it's unsafe when it's done in the wrong hands.

Ben:  Yeah. I do have to say that I actually have found a great deal of success with what would be considered the baby version of that which are just this vagal nerve simulation. I had one called a Pulsetto that I use. There's another good one called a Truvaga. But yeah, those are those fantastic at home devices for some of this nervous system modulation via vagus nerve.

Ahvie:  Right. So, just for your audience to understand that I've chosen a stack of testing that does biomic tests lymphocyte reactivity assays to 180 or 200 foods to see what you're reacting to heavy metal's immunological studies. They're expensive. And, I think everyone is shocked and surprised by saying when insurance doesn't come in, it may cost 5, 6, $7,000 just for the studies.

Ben:  Wow.

Ahvie:  To finish, to do a job. And, of course, the older you are, I'm concerned just a little bit more, but I don't leave anything unturned. So, for you, the first time we saw you, we didn't run every test known.

Ben:  Right.

Ahvie:  But, that's quite expensive and we that's what it costs to do the right thing. And then, surely over time, what we'll do is we'll identify a landscape for you and say this is the hierarchy of the things you should worry about. These are the things you should measure two, three times a year. And, this is what you depleted and this what you need for now, and then you probably repeat some of those tests, a fraction of those tests once or twice a year after that. And, that's an investment that you do again once when you're younger, big investment and then you do it, you repeat it again five years later and so on.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, what I like about this is it's a lot of pretty simple tests from the get-go that you're recommending some basic protocols like your gut biome, mold, parasites, viruses, C-reactive protein, hemoglobin A1c, urine pH, vitamin D, glucose. I've got some very helpful notes here. And then, like we were talking about earlier, it's kind of a multimodal approach especially if you're concerned about being young, your risk of cancer and a lot of these preventive strategies. I do recommend for anybody listening that book I just finished that I mentioned, “Anticancer Living,” which is also the book that talks quite a bit about connectivity. That's fantastic. Like I mentioned, Nasha Winters is another resource that I've delved into quite heavily. She's good.

For you, I'll of course link to your website in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/CancerEpisode. But generally, someone could just go to Anatara Medicine. Do you have a new patient form or something like that if people are interested?

Ahvie:  Yes. And, ask for that you're interested in the cancer prevention type of stack of things.

Ben:  The cancer prevention stack, the CPS. Alright, cool. Ahvie, as usual, you're a wealth of knowledge. I always learn a ton when we sit down and make the mics hot. So, thanks once again for coming to the rescue for everybody who's been asking me all these questions about cancer screening and cancer treatments.

Ahvie:  You're welcome.

Ben:  I appreciate you, man.

Ahvie: You're welcome, Ben.

Ben:  Alright, folks, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Ahvie Hershkovitz from Anatara Medicine signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com/CancerEpisode. Have an amazing week.

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In the wake of my father’s recent cancer diagnosis, my focus has sharpened on the critical realm of early cancer detection.


This unexpected event injected a surge of urgency into my unyielding quest for preventive wellness, leading me back to the brilliant Dr. Ahvie Herskowitz.

Embark on a journey into preventive health as I reunite with Dr. Ahvie, the founder of Anatara Medicine, one of the most comprehensive IV treatment centers in Northern California. The multidisciplinary integrative center in San Francisco treats some of the most difficult chronic health conditions using a unique integrative approach and a host of modern medical technologies and tools.

Dr. Ahvie is a former Clinical Professor of Medicine at UC San Francisco (UCSF) and the personal physician to some of the Bay Area's top biohackers, celebrities, actors, and longevity enthusiasts, along with a wide range of patients looking for eradication of issues like mold, spike protein, fungus, viral particles, and much more. His training includes a medical degree from The Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a Chief Residency in Anatomic Pathology and Internal Medicine, followed by fellowship training in cardiology at The Johns Hopkins Medical Center

During his 12 years at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Ahvie was co-appointed in the Departments of Medicine and Molecular Immunology and Microbiology. His clinical responsibilities were complemented by directing a multidisciplinary NIH-sponsored research team in the study of molecular immunological and genomic mechanisms of inflammation and cell injury, autoimmunity, transplantation, congestive heart failure, and myocarditis.

You may remember our deep dives into blood oxygenation, ozonation, and stem cell myths on the episode “10-Pass Ozone, Peptides, Blood Irradiation, Constitutional Assessments & Much More!” and the two-part episode that you can listen to here: “East Meets West Medicine Part 1: Blood Oxygenation & Ozonation, Early Cancer Detection, Mold Eradication & Much More With Dr. Ahvie Herskowitz of Anatara Medicine” and here: “East Meets West Medicine Part 2: Stem Cell Myths, Hydrodissection, Vagus Nerve Stimulation Devices, & Much More With Dr. Ahvie Herskowitz.”

Today, Dr. Ahvie is back to impart his wealth of knowledge on colon cancer, spanning early detection methods, cancer screening, preventive remedies, and the vital role lifestyle and diet play in managing and preventing this condition. This episode promises a thought-provoking journey into the intricacies of colon health and its profound implications for overall well-being.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Why there has been an increase in cancer incidence lately…7:50

  • Not necessarily due to better detection methods
  • Data suggests there are more occurrences of specific types of cancers in young people in 2022
    • Cancer used to be a disease of the elderly with a spectacular rise after the age of 75
  • The most disproportionately affected age group today is 30–49
    • Often diagnosed at a late stage
      • Has been developing for a while
      • Progressing at an accelerated rate
      • Spectacularly aggressive mutation
  • The most common cancers are breast, lung, and colon
    • Lung cancer is the most common of the three
    • All three are happening in younger people
  • Not linked to an increase in testing
  • Fewer incidences of cancer in the first part of the pandemic
    • People were not getting checkups and screening tests
  • In 2022, cancer rates returned to pre-pandemic levels
    • Increase in cases is not solely related to changes in healthcare-seeking behavior
  • The impact of COVID-19 and vaccinations
  • Stress and emotional processing in relation to immune system function

-Dr. Ahvie's hypothesis on why there is an increased incidence of cancer…14:44

  • Podcast with Jonathan Otto:
  • Higher rates of cancer in the developed world than in the underdeveloped world
    • Could be an issue of reporting
    • Undeveloped countries that do report well still have lower incidence of cancer
  • The United States ranks in the top 10–15 of all nations with cancer rates
    • Australia ranks in the top 10
      • Could be due to toxin exposure or more alcohol consumption
      • Multiple lifestyle and environmental factors
        • Environmental toxins
        • Food toxins
        • Oncogenes
        • Viruses
  • Lung cancer is the number one cancer worldwide, even in places that don't have rates of smoking
    • Air pollution
    • Increase in vaping
      • Polyethylene glycol
    • Exposure to environmental and food toxins, oncogenes, and viruses
  • Cancers are affected by the inflammasome
    • Inflammatory cascade is much more pro-inflammatory today than it was 20–50 years ago
    • Inflammasome is made up of signaling molecules and cytokines
      • There are about 300 of them
      • Play a role in inflammation and repair
    • Can be assessed using markers like C-reactive protein
    • Inflammation can be measured and influences the body's well-being
      • Feeling unwell after consuming junk food and alcohol
    • There is a correlation between elevated inflammatory markers and increased cancer risk
  • C-reactive protein measurement should be less than one in everybody
    • Might be elevated after a workout
    • Should return to baseline by the next morning
  • One cannot exist only on antioxidants

-Is there a specific type of inflammation that might lead to an increased cancer risk?…23:07

  • Inflammation and repair go hand in hand, with tremendous overlap
    • Muscle repair induces the same cytokine response as chronic inflammation
  • Excessive or unmodulated pro-inflammatory state can be harmful
    • Modulatory pathways are not working
  • The vitamin D (actually a hormone, not a vitamin) pathway helps regulate
    • Modulates the immune system back to center
  • There are better treatments but death rates remain the same
    • Modeling shows that the number of instances will continue to go up by 60% to 70% by 2040

-What early detection methods are out there, and how do they work?…25:00

  • Ben's dad's recent cancer diagnosis
    • Caused Ben to encourage his siblings to do testing on themselves as soon as possible
      • Get educated on treatment options
    • Lynch Syndrome, a genomic alteration related to DNA repair genes that increases the risk of colon cancer
      • There is need for more aggressive colonoscopy screening in individuals with Lynch Syndrome due to their higher risk
  • PET scans and MRIs are valuable tools
    • Have limitations in detecting very early stages of cancer
    • Not cost-effective and readily available
    • A combination of different approaches, including genomic, blood-based, and inflammatory markers give a more comprehensive assessment
  • Dr. Ahvie's clinic, Anatara Medicine has a different approach
    • Morning void urine samples in combination with specific blood tests
      • This combined approach helps identify biomarkers associated with cancer in the early stages
      • Early-stage cancers are detected in approximately 5–10% of the individuals they screen
      • Early detection is key
    • Dr. Ahvie recommends regular basic blood tests such as:
      • Complete blood counts (CBC)
      • Comprehensive metabolic panels
      • Inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein (CRP)
    • Anatara Medicine has an in-depth approach that tests hundreds of markers
      • A personalized approach to patient care
  • Colon cancer isn't easy to detect in the early stages
    • Regular colonoscopies
      • Detect precancerous lesions (polyps) that blood tests can't detect
    • Stool Guaiac Test to detect microscopic blood in the stool
    • Cologuard test, a stool-based DNA test for colon cancer
      • A good positive predictive value
      • Good option for those who want to avoid frequent colonoscopies
  • Blood-based DNA test is capable of detecting multiple cancer types
    • Varying accuracy depending on the cancer stage
      • A method for early cancer detection when the tumor isn't visible
  • Galleri Test for early detection of all cancers
    • Great if you have a positive predictive value — 99 times out of a hundred, you have cancer
    • Poor for early stage detection:
      • Stage 1 — 40 %
      • Stage 2 — 60 %
      • Stage 3 — 80 %
      • Stage 4 — 95 %
  • RGCC Test (Circulating Tumor Cell test) — liquid biopsy

-The testing that Ben underwent at Anatara Medicine…43:19

  • Cancer prevention data
  • The single most important marker for cancer screening is urine pH
    • Reflects DNA repair and the production of reparative proteins in the body
    • Most people tend to have acidic urine with a pH around 5 or 5.5
      • Pro-cancer environment
      • Warburg hypothesis suggests that cancer cells thrive in a hypoxic and acidic environment
    • Maintaining an early morning pH between 6.5 and 7.5 is associated with longer life
  • Basic markers for longevity and cancer prevention
    • Urine pH
    • Vitamin D
    • Hemoglobin A1C
    • Glucose
  • Simple tests that allow for stackable data
    • Creates a comprehensive assessment
  • Ben tested high CD57 count
    • Strong immune system

-How more complex markers like the effects of pollution, chemicals, and toxins impact the body's biome and natural immune system…50:04

  • Cumulative impact of pollution and toxins
    • Suppress the body's surveillance system
    • Mold, viruses, and parasites could also contribute to this effect
  • Toxic mold and a higher viral load are found in many individuals
  • Measurement of natural killer cells (CD57)
    • Key components of the immune system
    • A CD57 count below 100 may indicate immune system suppression
      • Thymosin Alpha 1 peptide can boost CD57 (use code BEN to save 15%)
        • Stimulates the thymus gland
        • Colostrum plays a role in training the thymus gland
  • 90% to 95% of cancer patients have very low CD57 counts
  • All cured patients have raised CD57 counts
  • Excessive infrequent illnesses might indicate an overly suppressed innate immune system
  • Factors that can suppress natural killer cell activity
    • Mold exposure
    • Oral infections
    • Root canals
    • Sinus infections
    • Heavy metal toxicity
    • Gastrointestinal problems like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and dysbiosis
      • Regular bowel movements are essential for optimal health
  • Pooping once every two days is unacceptable
    • Twice a day is normal
  • The Metabolic Approach to Cancer by Dr. Nasha Winters  and Jess Higgins Kelley
  • The Cancer Revolution by Leigh Erin Connealy
  • Podcast with Ian Clark:

-How Dr. Ahvie treats cancer patients…58:09

-And much more…

Upcoming Events:

  • Elements of Vitality: December 8, 2023

Return to the Elements of Vitality: This will be the second time my good friend Dr. John Lieurance and I collaborate to bring you the most effective and cutting-edge health and wellness advice, protocols, and some of our favorite tools. If you’re into health and wellness and want to stay on top of all the cutting-edge, latest, and greatest innovations and protocols, you don’t want to miss this event. Learn more here and use code GREENFIELD for 5% off at checkout.

Resources from this episode:

Dr. Ahvie Herskowitz:

– Podcasts:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Dr. Ahvie Herskowitz or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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