By W.J. McCormick, MD
Summary: Could a lack of vitamin C be the reason cancer spreads within a body? Nutrition-savvy physician W.J. McCormick thought so, and in this fascinating article from the April 1959 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics, he explains why. McCormick begins by citing the long-known observation that cancer tends to take root mainly in areas of the body that have become depleted in collagen—the elastic connective tissue responsible for “cementing” cells in their place. As collagen diminishes, he says, cancerous cells become free to exercise their natural “amoeboid activity” and move to other parts of the body (i.e., metastasize). Since the body requires vitamin C to produce collagen, Dr. McCormick argues, it stands to reason that a deficiency of the vitamin enables the spread of cancer—a notion supported by the fact that cancer patients tend to be severely depleted in the nutrient. Given the facts, McCormick concludes, the reason for the activity of many carcinogens—including cigarette smoke—may lie in their tendency to destroy the C vitamin. From the Archives of Pediatrics, 1959. Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.