After years of not feeling well, Jane McLelland was diagnosed in 1994 with stage 3 cervical cancer. What made the diagnosis more devastating was that her doctor had misdiagnosed her for years and by the time it was found it had spread into her lymph system. She underwent a radical hysterectomy followed by months of radiation and chemotherapy. She says, “I was massively depressed. With cervical cancer, it’s not just about having a lump cut off,” she said. “Knowing that I would never have my own children was utterly devastating.”
Following these treatments Jane believed she was in the clear, but two years later her mother was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer that was stage 4. Her mother had received treatments years earlier but the cancer had come back and she died within a few short months. Jane says that her mother’s death was devastating, but it began an earnest quest to find out all she could to prevent a recurrence in herself. “My mother’s cancer was a huge wake-up call to me to re-evaluate the situation I’d found myself in. For the first time ever, I realized I was only one step away from terminal cancer.” She adds. “That’s when I started looking at diet and supplementation in more detail as a way to combat cancer.”
In the early stages of her research, Jane learned that glucose fuels most cancers and that IGF-1 (an insulin-like growth factor that is found in dairy and meat products) also drives its growth. Jane used this information to modify her diet and cut out all simple carbohydrates and removed all dairy and most meat products . She also cut out foods like potatoes and tomatoes (which are nightshades that can cause an inflammatory reaction in the body) since she knew that inflammation was a driving force behind the development of cancer. She also started drinking green tea, juicing vegetables, and taking numerous supplements including curcumin.
Unfortunately, just a few months after implementing this plan, Jane began coughing up blood and found out that her worst nightmare had come true; the cervical cancer had spread to her lungs. This occurred in1999 and she was stage IV. Coincidentally, just as the cervical cancer had been missed years earlier, the lung cancer had also been misdiagnosed 4 months earlier as a chest infection. This mistake gave Jane access to both sets of X-rays so they could be compared and this revealed the slow rate that this cancer was growing.
Jane had been repeatedly been told that diet had no impact on cancer, but the fact that her lung tumor had remained the size of a golf ball and had not spread further gave her reassurance that her dietary and supplement program was making a difference. “You could see that my approach had slowed the tumor’s growth,” said Jane. “I may have had that tumor for a long time. That was actually quite reassuring for me.”
Jane had surgery to remove the tumor, followed by 3 months of high dose chemotherapy, at which time she requested that the dose be lowered over the next 3 months. She also continued to dive even deeper into her research and learned that in order to fully eradicate the cancer, she would have to kill it by starving it.
Starving Cancer of Its Fuel Source
The idea of starving cancer cells is not new. In 1931, Otto Warburg was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery that cancer cells have an altered metabolism that uses fuel very inefficiently. Cancer cells require a tremendous amount of three fuel sources in order to survive: they are glucose, glutamine (proteins), and lipids (fatty acids). Jane also learned that cancer stem cells are resistant to conventional treatments and they are capable of producing new malignant cells that are more difficult to eradicate and this is what leads to cancer recurrence and death for most patients.
She continued with her diet changes and added more supplements, including: berberine, hydroxycitrate, gymnema, curcumin, niacin, and pycnogenol, which she says worked to block some of the fuel sources of the cancer. She also underwent treatment with high-dose intravenous vitamin C. She says, “Intravenous vitamin C has been shown to target cancer stem cells, the original cancer cells that are responsible for chemo and radiotherapy resistance, because it stops a key step in the process of glycolysis, effectively starving the cancer as well as triggering apoptosis, or cell death.”
Nine months later, her cancer blood markers were good. Those months turned into years, but she lived in fear that the cancer would return. Four years later, the cancer came back. It was in 2003 when she began to exhibit symptoms of myelodysplasia syndrome, which is when immature blood cells in the bone marrow do not mature to become healthy blood cells. This is a precursor to leukemia and was a direct result of all of the chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments that she had received over the years. She says, “I couldn’t understand why I was controlling one cancer without controlling the other, but it’s all about metabolism. The metabolism of my leukemia was totally different from that of my cervical cancer. So, my low glycemic index diet was controlling the cervical cancer, but it wasn’t controlling the leukemia, which instead thrives on proteins.”
Fatty acids, carbs (glucose), and glutamine (proteins) are all used by cancer as fuel. She says there are multiple pathways for each fuel source, including 5 different pathways for glucose, 6 different pathways for glutamine, and 6 pathways for fatty acids. Jane says that you may be able to block one of these sources, but cancer stem cells have the ability to change their metabolic pathways and switch to another source for fuel.
Jane researched further and discovered numerous drugs on the market that are designed to treat other diseases like heart disease, diabetes or infections that could be used to cut off the other fuel lines. Jane believed she had finally found out how to beat the cancer, and her blood tests confirmed this when they revealed that her TM2PK tumor markers (a marker of abnormal glycolysis) had dropped from 397 to 21.5 which is slightly above a normal reading of 15.
Some of the supplements that Jane used to block off various fuel pathways
- IV vitamin c -blocks glucose
- DHEA- blocks glucose
- Exercise- blocks glucose
- Quercetin- blocks glucose
- Genema- blocks glucose
- Luteolin- blocks glucose
- Chromium picolinate- blocks glucose
- Berberine- targets 3 different pathways
- Low dose aspirin-anti-inflammatory, blocks glucose, and amplifies berberine
- Green tea extract-blocks protein
- Curcumin- blocks protein
- Ursolic acid- blocks protein
- IDC-Indole-3-carbinol-blocks protein
- Resveratrol- blocks protein and glucose
- Omega 3 fatty acids- which block the uptake of the bad omega 6 fatty acids
- Hydroxycitrate- blocks fatty acids
- Vitamin d
- Sodium selenite
- Sea buckthorn oil
- Tagamet- which she used to reboot her immune system which had been lowered from all of her conventional treatments
The off-label drugs in her protocol:
- Dipyridamole, which can cut off protein from cancer cells.
- Lovastatin (statin)- that block access to fatty acids and glucose.
- Metformin- which cuts off glucose and insulin and reduces IGF-1 (a growth factor).
- Etodolac (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory)-which would finish them off after the above drugs put them into a weakened state.
The drugs are prescribed off-label, since they were initially developed for other conditions. Jane says. “All of these drugs are cheap and off-patent, which is why they have largely been ignored by the pharmaceutical industry, despite research supporting their effectiveness against cancer.” She adds, “The drugs are necessary because cancer cells rely on the same fuel the rest of your body requires to live. You can cut down on glucose, protein, and fat, but you can’t remove enough from your diet to starve the cancer cells without starving your own body in the process. These drugs solve that problem because they allow your body to access the nutrients it needs, while blocking the cancer’s access to them.”
She created a diagram which depicts her approach to starving cancer that she calls a “Metro Map,” which is based on an underground metro system. If you cut off one fuel source of the cancer, it simply has the ability to reroute itself by using a different source for energy. Her map shows all of the routes that cancer uses for fuel as well as supplements and off-label drugs that can block them. You can Google Jane McLelland Metro Map to view this diagram online
Years later, she discovered the anti-cancer effects of two other drugs and has since added them to her protocol:
- Doxycycline (antibiotic) which could slow the creation of new cancer cells.
- Mebendazole (animal de-worming agent) to stop cancer cells from utilizing glucose.
In 2018, Jane wrote the book How to Starve Cancer Without Starving Yourself. She says she was reluctant to write about her journey but felt she had a duty to share with others what she had discovered.
Notable quotes from Jane:
- “I didn’t want to relive everything, but I knew I had information I had to pass on. It was a social responsibility to provide people with information they weren’t getting elsewhere.”
- “I do believe we already have every drug and every supplement that we need to beat cancer. The key is getting the right combinations to people at the right time.”
- “In certain circumstances there can be too much damage to the body from the cancer itself. But if you can get to people before that, I cannot see why patients can’t be rescued even from advanced malignancies. Stage IV cancer should not be a death sentence, in my view.”
Jane says there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Her own experience with various forms of cancer highlights that fact. She says to focus on learning the fuel sources of your particular cancer and then creating a targeted treatment plan based on that information.
- Leukemia generally utilizes proteins
- Melanoma generally utilizes fatty acids
- Endometrial generally utilizes glucose
- Prostate cancer uses fatty acids and proteins
- Breast and ovarian generally use fatty acids and proteins
Some patients have been able to take Jane’s book and research and request that their doctors prescribe them the off label drug cocktail. Others have used the Care Oncology Clinic website for information on obtaining prescriptions. You can join Jane’s Facebook Group to learn more about creating your own metro map and find the care and support from fellow members.