A natural cure for pancreatic cancer may be at hand. The juice of an Asian fruit called bitter gourd was discovered to have important anti-cancer properties. Tumors, like healthy tissue, need energy in the form of glucose to survive. Bitter gourd, or bitter melon, juice interferes with the ability of tumor cells to use glucose properly, essentially starving them to death.
Bitter gourd has a substantial medical history, having shown effectiveness in earlier studies against other types of cancer, including breast cancer and leukemia, though always in lab conditions. The seeds, though dangerous to children, may help adults prevent heart disease. In addition, various parts of the plant have a long history of use in traditional Turkish medicine, as well as in other parts of Asia and Africa, for gastrointestinal ailments such as stomach upset. It has also been used against malaria and dysentery, and for viral infections such as chickenpox.
It has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity. That means an extract from bitter gourd can improve the efficiency with which healthy cells process glucose, reversing a risk factor for and sometimes early sign of type 2 diabetes. Another chemical in the fruit helps lower blood glucose levels in much the same way insulin does.
That it also seems to affect pancreatic cancer—and diabetes is itself a cause and sometimes symptom of pancreatic cancer, so treating diabetes also helps prevent cancer from developing—is particularly good news because pancreatic cancer is one of the more intractable forms. Surgery is usually the first option if the cancer is caught before it spreads; in advanced cases it may not be possible to cure it entirely with current medical knowledge, and radiation and chemotherapy are used to slow it down.
In addition to diabetes, risk factors for pancreatic cancer include obesity and smoking. People with a family history of pancreatic cancer are more prone to it, as are people with certain genetic mutations associated with breast cancer, meaning that if you have a family history of breast cancer, ask your doctor about pancreatic cancer screening regardless of whether you’re male or female.