Personally, mushrooms were a large part of me restoring my immune system after cancer treatment. I did this under the direction of a Naturopathic doctor, who was able to monitor various aspects of my immune function, and at the time, my low number of NK cells that fight cancer cells in the body. We could see the results through blood tests over time.
But that is one story, and this is about real research that is ongoing regarding the use of mushrooms in treating cancer.
There has been a lot of interest in the pharmaceutical potential of mushrooms. Mushrooms have been used medicinally for a very long time in Eastern medicine to promote good health and vitality. But mushrooms are now a focus in the search for 'biotherapeutics', since they work in many ways - through nutraceuticals, antioxidants, anti-cancer, prebiotic, immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory, cardiovascular, anti-microbial, and anti-diabetic.
Not only are mushrooms a boost to the immune system, but they are showing anti-tumor activity as well.
Mushrooms are now a focus in the search for 'biotherapeutics'.
I am speaking broadly of mushrooms, but to read the research, you'll see there a many, many different types of mushrooms that have been studied, and they all have various affects on fighting cancer. Although they are safe for healthy cells, they can have anti-tumor, tumor-inhibiting, decreased cell proliferation, increase cancer-cell death (apoptosis), increase NK activity against cancer cells, inhibits tumor invasion and metastais.
Mushrooms seem to show anti-cancer activities at all stages of potential disease. When we are first exposed to carcinogens, the antioxidants help protect healthy cells. It can help repair damaged cells before they mutate. It encourages cell death of mutated cells before they become cancerous. It supports and activates the immune system (NK) in its fight against cancer cells.
Most of this research has been done in labs, so research needs to continue so we can extract clinical data. But I encourage you to read the research yourself. There are specific studies, for specific types of cancer (breast, prostate, bladder, leukemia, and others), so if you want to learn more about which specific mushrooms were studied for a cancer you are interested in, please read more - there's a vast number of articles on the NIH website that documents this research.
Information gathered from the National Institute of Heath - Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3339609/