The underlying problem with a for-profit health care industry is that a primary focus has to be on finding medicines and surgical devices that can be patented and sold for a profit rather than focusing exclusively on finding out how to prevent disease or restore healthy function. Finding out how the body works during health and sickness and finding out how to restore health using natural strategies is not as profitable because natural strategies are usually not something that can be patented and sold at a steep mark-up.
Natural processes of the body are studied in health and sickness with the stated goal of learning how to restore health but too often there is also an underlying and unspoken goal to restore health but only with a product that can be patented and sold at a markup. Foods and vitamins and natural hormones can not be patented and therefore it is less profitable to use them as treatments — there is less of a price mark-up.
As most people involved with primary prevention in public health know all too well, prevention is often under-resourced in public agency budgets and virtually non-existent in the private for-profit sector.
The President of the Institute of Medicine, Dr. Harvey Fineberg, addressed this in a 2006 lecture at the UCLA School of Public Health entitled “Why Prevention is a Hard Sell.”146 He listed some of the reasons as follows: “There is no drama in prevention; non-events are not counted; statistical lives don’t have immediacy; prevention is not profitable; prevention often runs against commercial interests; it may conflict with personal preferences or religious beliefs; and there is declining trust in leaders and institutions, challenging people’s willingness to follow guidelines.”
A Forbes magazine story in 2004 quoted a clinician at a cancer treatment center in New York as saying that ten years earlier, he could extend the life of one of his patients by 11.5 months on average with a drug that cost $500; in 2004, he could extend the life of a patient with the same diagnosis 22.5 months, at a cost of $250,000. The goal of many current cancer treatment protocols is to repeat this experience with more and more types of cancer. 
Vegetarian and vegan diets have also been associated with fighting cancer — but by reducing the amount of cancer promoting chemicals (IGF-1) in the person’s blood. Vegans had less of the cancer promoting chemical than vegetarian diners, who had less than people eating a meat based diet.
“Women placed on plant-based diets for just two weeks, for example, were found to suppress the growth of three different types of breast cancer (see images of the cancer clearance).” “Similar results were found for men against prostate cancer (as well as against prostate enlargement).” 
Fighting cancer by preventing it from happening in the first place could extend a person’s lifespan far more than 22.5 months and without causing severe vomiting or hair loss, and at a much lower price than $250,000, and without potentially causing cognitive decline. The bad news is that cognitive decline is common among breast cancer survivors and the good news is that the decline tends to improve somewhat between 18 months and 36 months after treatment, (less of an improvement was seen in survivors with multiple diagnoses). 
However news that a vegan diet stops production of a cancer causing chemical from forming in a person’s blood would probably not be good news for the person who would rather be told that their cancer was a complete mystery which probably had nothing to do with the person’s lifestyle or their food preferences and that some medication, or surgery, or radiation, or a combination of all three, would take care of the problem without the person having to change a thing about themselves — except that that isn’t really true. Some of the treatments might make all food taste metallic, and some may cause severe vomiting which might leave the person not wanting to eat anything at all and may leave them with some lasting food aversions depending on what they were eating before the severe vomiting stage was reached — the dietary recommendation is to plan ahead for the nauseous stage and to eat something anyway because nutrients are still important but choose nutritious foods that aren’t also favorite nutritious foods for meals that are likely to be coming back up again in a short while. A vegan diet, on second thought, probably tastes better than having a metallic taste in the mouth, or worse.
And it doesn’t even have to be a vegan diet — vegetarian diets that include fish have also been found to reduce cancer risk,  — but the information about either study wasn’t in mainstream news outlets. I found the information on virtual news websites — so this is basically top secret news — the cure for cancer has been in the grocery store this whole time — just avoid the meat aisle and maybe the egg and dairy cases and spend more time in the produce section.
It can be a career risk to write about less profitable health treatments. The paragraph about cancer treatments and the 50,000 percent increase in price that occurred over ten years, that was excerpted earlier in this post, concludes with the following statement: “Those who seek to prevent or reduce the magnitude of these profits risk being swept aside by industry representatives and their political and scientific spokespeople.” 
Ginger has over 400 active phytochemicals and humans have been enjoying it for thousands of years — the long term evidence is in on ginger – people keep growing it because they like it — either they like its flavor or its effects or both.  Some of the active phytochemicals in ginger have been found to help reduce arthritis pain as much as the anti-inflammatory pain-killing medication ibuprofen (approximately a 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger powder per day). And even better pain control was found when ginger was used in combination with ibuprofen. Ginger also helps protect against ulcers while long term ibuprofen use can be damaging to the GI tract. And more recently another phytochemical found in ginger, 6-shogaol, has been found to help kill breast cancer cells while at the same time not being harmful to surrounding healthy cells. This is early research rather than clinical trials. [4, 5] The negative side effects from most cancer treatments are usually because the treatments are harmful to both cancer cells and to health cells that grow rapidly.
Ginger has few negative side effects compared to chemotherapy or even ibuprofen. The two risks that I am familiar with: 1) Eating large amounts on a daily basis may increase risk of bruising and bleeding too easily as ginger has blood thinning activity. A half teaspoon of dry powdered ginger per day was the dose found helpful for reducing arthritis pain. I have experienced easy bruising when I was using more than the half teaspoon of powdered ginger on foods, I was also eating chunks of candied ginger regularly and was also using raw ginger in cooked dishes in large amounts. I haven’t had problems with easy bruising when eating only the half teaspoon per day dose. 2) Small amounts of ginger during pregnancy is probably fine and active phytochemicals in the root vegetable may be helpful for reducing nausea, (Folk wisdom example: Gingerale for nausea), but very large quantities of ginger on a regular basis during pregnancy may increase risk of miscarriage.
I didn’t find the ginger powder/ibuprofen study citation when I looked for it, but while looking I did find a more recent study done on cell cultures that found ginger extract effective for reducing cytokine production in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Osteoarthritis (OA). 
In a for-profit industry too often the goal of research is to find a chemical that is effective for some health condition, like 6-shogaol, and then to find a way to chemically make it unique and therefore able to be patented and sold at a larger markup than would be possible for a produce item like ginger root, but without ruining the original chemical’s effectiveness and without making the new chemical too toxic. That can be a risk when fluoride or bromide is added to a medication; the heavy metal can help the medication enter cells — which can make it a more effective or a faster acting medication — but then the atom of fluoride or bromide is not easy for the body to remove from the cell and the heavy metals may be increasing long term health risks. 
My goal in sharing health information is twofold —
— For the general reader who is interested in science and alternative health information: writing easy to read summaries of health information for the individual reader is where I have training and experience. As a patient I am looking for health guidance for my own conditions but as a dietitian I also am interested in learning more about all aspects of health and illness. The entire body needs balanced nutrition in order to function and therefore a dietitian specializes in understanding all of the body’s systems and how they interact.
— For the open-minded science reader: some people read summaries and other people read reference lists. Frequently cited papers or books would be immediately recognized by some readers and they might be interested in clicking on other links that they hadn’t seen yet, or hadn’t seen in relation to the rest of the list. Some readers might read the summary in seconds and skim through the links in a few minutes — and gain ideas for their own research — that is my hope. In some places there may be more funding, and more academic freedom, and more interest in preventative health care, and more interest in the use of natural products for restoring natural function, — I can dream and read and share. Some comments that I’ve received do suggest that at least a few people appreciate my posts for providing research ideas.
/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. Information is not a substitute for individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./
- Richard W. Clapp, DSc, MPH, Molly M. Jacobs, MPH, and Edward L Loechler, PhD, Environmental and Occupational Causes of Cancer New Evidence, 2005–2007, Rev Environ Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2009 Dec 10., [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2791455/]
- Kathy Freston, A Vegan Diet (Hugely) Helpful Against Cancer, 12/09/2012 [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-freston/vegan-diet-cancer_b_2250052.html]
- Zheng Y, et. al., Long-term cognitive function change among breast cancer survivors., Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Aug;146(3):599-609. doi: 10.1007/s10549-014-3044-1. Epub 2014 Jul 9. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25005574]
- Ginger: 10,000x Stronger Than Chemo (Taxol) In Cancer Research Model, Nov. 7, 2015, [http://healthimpactnews.com/2015/ginger-10000x-stronger-than-chemo-taxol-in-cancer-research-model/]
- Anasuya Ray, Smreti Vasudevan, Suparna Sengupta, 6-Shogaol Inhibits Breast Cancer Cells and Stem Cell-Like Spheroids by Modulation of Notch Signaling Pathway and Induction of Autophagic Cell Death., PLOS One, September 10, 2015, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137614 [http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0137614]
- Søren Ribel-Madsen, et al., A Synoviocyte Model for Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Response to Ibuprofen, Betamethasone, and Ginger Extract—A Cross-Sectional In Vitro Study., Arthritis. 2012; 2012: 505842. 2012 Dec 31, [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3546442/]
- Jennifer Lea Reynolds, Vegetarian diet reduces cancer risk by up to 43% in new study., Nov. 6, 2015, [http://www.naturalnews.com/051856_vegetarian_diet_colorectal_cancer_fish.html#]
- by me, “Private: Eicosanoids are made from eCBs from the membrane,” *This is one of my older posts with more excerpted material and a messier format so I have it closed to public view. The post does include more information on the health benefits of ginger for preventing colorectal cancer and prostate cancer. Ginger extract seems to help prevent cell membrane/endogenous cannabinoid breakdown and reduce the release of metabolites of endogenous cannabinoids (eCBs) — which include eicosanoids and arachidonic acid. The pharmaceutical industry charges $2,945 for 1 mg of eicosanoids which we would be able to make for ourselves in the amounts that we need if we are healthy and well nourished. Eicosanoids are also a natural chemical so I’m not sure why it can be sold or how the patent process works in the pharmaceutical industry.