Standard Cancer Treatments side effects
Surgery – Efficacy of Surgery
A study (The efficacy of surgical treatment of breast cancer.) found:
The conclusion from the previous analysis, that surgery has not been shown to reduce mortality for any form of cancer, is therefore still valid.
A study (The efficacy of surgical treatment of cancer – 20 years later) published in 2014 concluded:
Caution: No benefits can be expected to be achieved from using cancer surgery except in a few immediately life-threatening situations. Surgery appears to be based on an invalid paradigm of what cancer is. Cancer appears to be a systemic disease and therefore standard treatments need to be reassessed in this light.
Dangers of Surgery
Possible complications for any surgical procedure include:
Source: Mayo Clinic
- Complications related to anesthesia, including pneumonia, blood clots and, rarely, death
- Infection at the incision site, which may worsen scarring and require additional surgery
- Fluid build up under the skin
- Mild bleeding, which may require another surgical procedure, or bleeding significant enough to require a transfusion
- Obvious scarring or skin breakdown, which occurs when healing skin separates from healthy skin and must be removed surgically
- Numbness and tingling from nerve damage, which may be permanent
Atrial fibrillation after surgery increases risk of heart attacks, strokes
Source: Science Daily / University of Toronto
An irregular heartbeat following surgery known as post-operative atrial fibrillation (POAF) often is dismissed as a transient phenomenon. But a study has found that POAF can significantly increase the risk of heart attack or stroke during the first 12 months after surgery.
Biopsies and surgery can – and do – spread cancer cells.
Biopsies and surgery can promote metastasis in a number of ways, including neoplasm seeding.
The unintentional release of cancer cells from a tumor by a biopsy needle or surgical instrument, which then spread to other parts of the body resulting in new tumor formation.
This published review found:
Risk of tumor cell seeding through biopsy and aspiration cytology
Cancer cells, besides reproducing uncontrollably, lose cohesiveness and orderliness of normal tissue, invade and get detached from the primary tumor to travel and set up colonies elsewhere. Dislodging neoplastically altered cells from a tumor during biopsy or surgical intervention or during simple procedure like needle aspiration is a possibility because they lack cohesiveness, and they attain the capacity to migrate and colonize.
Repeated penetrations during needle procedure associated with increased seeding risk: Many a times to obtain sufficient amount of sample during needle biopsy for diagnosis the tumor may need to be penetrated several times. This repeated puncturing and manipulation inside the tumor mass with needle may seed tumor cells into the needle track and also may spill the cancerous cells directly in to the circulation.
This study found:
Useless and dangerous—fine needle aspiration of hepatic colorectal metastases
Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) is an established tool for diagnosing liver tumours. It has recognised complications, however. Use of the procedure in abdominal tumours is fatal in 0.006 to 0.031% of cases. Most deaths occur with liver tumours and are due to haemorrhage. Another complication is that metastases can seed along biopsy needle tracts, although this has been reported to be rare, with an incidence of 0.003% to 0.07%, mostly from pancreatic tumours. More recently, much higher rates (0.4% to 5.1%) of needle tract metastases have been reported when FNAC is used in liver lesions, usually for primary liver tumours.
Here are more studies :
Surgery for Cancer: A Trigger for Metastases
Metastasis is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in cancer patients. Both experimental and clinical evidence lend support to the idea that surgery which is intended to be a curative option to remove and reduce tumor mass, can paradoxically also augment development of metastases.
Surgery Triggers Outgrowth of Latent Distant Disease in Breast Cancer: An Inconvenient Truth?
We have shown indirect but compelling evidence that there is dormancy in breast cancer and that surgery to remove the primary tumor does occasionally break dormancy.
Tumor dormancy and surgery-driven interruption of dormancy in breast cancer: learning from failures
Primary tumor removal, usually considered intrinsically beneficial, can perturb metastatic homeostasis, and for some patients results in the acceleration of metastatic cancer.
Distant metastasis dynamics following subsequent surgeries after primary breast cancer removal
The role of breast tumour removal is different from the role of surgery by itself. Our findings suggest that the major effect of reconstructive surgery is microscopic metastasis acceleration, while breast tumour surgical removal (either primary or IBTR or CBC) involves both tumour homeostasis interruption and microscopic metastasis growth acceleration.
Ways surgery encourages cancer spread
This is published on the respected website canceractive.com
Apart from physically disturbing and releasing cancer cells around the body, other cancer-proliferating activities happen with surgery.
- Surgery involves fundamental biochemical changes in the body, from the effects of stress to inflammatory response to the production of healing hormones. On top of that, Doctors give you drugs at the same time – anaesthetics and antibiotics. You simply cannot think of surgery as an isolated incident in the body.
- Anyway, your cancer may well not be an isolated island in your body. Far more likely is that the conditions of cancer exist all over your body. Research covered in icon Cancer Watch [a magazine published by canceractive.com] have shown that cancers produce secondary pre-cancer cells much earlier than previously thought. These rogue cells pass round the body to other tissues where they and their oncogenes lie dormant.
- Research has also shown that tumours actually produce chemicals that stop vascular growth to these dormant cancer cells lying in other parts of the body. In other words the cancer cells need a blood supply in order to grow into a tumour but the main primary tumour actually stops rivals forming. Remove the primary and the others can come out to play. A great deal of research has focused on Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). You can suppress VEGF with bioactive natural compounds like curcumin, green tea (EGCG), resveratrol, milk thistle and genistein (in soy and red clover).
- Indeed, the actual healing process from any surgery see an increase in growth hormone levels in the body. Major surgery will produce a large growth hormone response. (This is one reason why I believe strongly that people with cancer should not touch one drop of mass market cows´ dairy. Because of the way the cows are kept, it increases blood levels of IGF-1, a growth hormone). Surgeons know this and have been trying to minimise surgery – for example using more lumpectomies or key hole surgery.
- Surgery can cause localised inflammation through eicosanoids, short-lived but highly active hormones. Especialy if steroids are used at the same time. Cancer likes inflammation, it encourages its spread. Omega-3 from fish oil, a small aspirin, ginger, garlic, aloe vera, curcumin, and resveratrol can reduce the inflammation in the body. (Vane and others)
- The antibiotics and drugs administered will damage your microbiome, the crucial bacteria in your gut that control your immune system, and keep pathogens and yeasts in check. Friendly bacteria in your microbiome also produce your B vitamins, vitamin K that protects your liver and short-chain esters that prevent build up of bad triglycerides and inflammatory compounds in the blood stream. We suggest you read our article ´Heal Ur Gut´ with some urgency and take probiotics and B complex during the period of the surgery.
- The antibiotics and drugs actually reduce plasma levels of vitamin D. Yet it is known that people with cancer and low levels of vitamin D, survive least. Take 5000 IUs per day of vitamin D, at least.
- Surgery uses anaesthetic., which is also known to reduce the immune system via the gut microbiome. Doctors typically measure the white cell count, but as we continually point out, there are many different types of white cells (T-cells, B-cells, macrophages etc). Research has shown that surgery greatly reduces the numbers of Natural Killer (NK) cells circulating in the blood you will have a much harder job to kill off a cancer cell after surgery. Readers will know that we have always advocated going into surgery with a strong immune system we have suggested a combination of astragalus, cats claw, turmeric, echinacea, total natural vitamin E, zinc, selenium, grape seed extract and natural vitamin C with bioflavenoids. Vitamins D and K have also been shown to help fight cancer cells in research.
- The drugs and anaesthetic used during surgery, and the stress involved, can make the body more acidic. Cancer tumours are highly acidic. Research from Arizona, Chicago and H. Lee Moffitt has shown that acid conditions in the body increase metastases from tumours and that acidic conditions favour these metastatic cells ´taking hold´ and forming new tumours.
How to prepare for cancer surgery naturally
Ten ways to prepare for surgery: Surgery can be daunting but there are definitely things you can do to manage your way through it without major issues and side-effects.
- Prior to surgery you may be advised to change your diet. You should certainly aim to lose a little excess weight if you have it, and eat healthily. Avoid sugar and bad saturated fat, which both compromises the immune system, avoid alcohol, quit smoking and instead nourish yourself with plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds and olive oil and fish oils.
- Consider doing yoga to encourage core strength and calm your body. In the USA, research from the New York Presbyterian Hospital showed that those patients who meditated before surgery lost 40% less blood than those who did not.
- Be clear what your surgery entails, how long it lasts, likely side- effects, the medications you will be given and will need afterwards.
- The antibiotics you will surely have will make a major dent in the volume of your good gut bacteria; you may even lose certain strains forever. With the good bacteria compromised, both yeasts and pathogen levels will rise. These can compromise your immune system, increase toxin levels, cause fatigue, gut issues, mouth ulcers and more.
a. Two days after the operation start to take a yeast killer such as Oregano oil (300 mg) – as a pill or by rubbing Essential Oil on your wrists. Continue this for 8-12 weeks.
b. Also take Artemisinin (Sweet Wormwood), 200 mg a day before bed for 10 days. Then have 10 days off, and repeat. In all take artemisinin for 5 rounds of 10 days on, 10 days off.
- Take a Total Vitamin E – all 4 tocopherols and all 4 tocotrienols – to help you heal quicker. It is also an antibiotic. Take from two weeks before until about 6 weeks after. It works!
- Take a multi-strain probiotic before and after surgery.
- Buy some Aloe Vera gel 99.9% pure (or use the real thing if you grow it!). After the would has joined, you can gently rub it on the scars – it acts to kill microbes and it will help you heal better, and reduce scaring.
- Will you be in pain after the operation and for how long. Consider alternative pain relief rather than taking yet more drugs. Hemp oil with at least 60% CBD content has been approved as pain relief.
- Remember there are natural compounds that can really help post-operation.
a. Bioactive compounds like pau d’arco, garlic, ginger root, goldenseal/berberine, cloves, probiotics can attack and kill infections. You don’t have to have more drugs.
b. Natural compounds like echinacea, cat’s claw, astragalus, essiac will boost the immune system.
c. Melatonin, ashwagandha, frankincense are natural anti- inflammatory compounds.
d. Foods such as olive oil, fish oils, berries, apples, carrots, chicory, onions, and red grapes can boost good gut bacteria and in turn boost the immune system.
e. There is some research showing arnica and bromelain can reduce swelling and bruising. You can take before and after surgery.
- About 6 weeks afterwards, start eating probiotic foods to replenish lost gut bacteria more quickly – a little unpasteurised cheese, kefir products (UK – Chuckling goat), apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, kombucha, kempeh.
Source: Accuray (manufacturer of radiation therapy equipment)
Important Safety Statement: Most side effects of radiotherapy, including radiotherapy delivered with Accuray systems, are mild and temporary, often involving fatigue, nausea, and skin irritation. Side effects can be severe, however, leading to pain, alterations in normal body functions (for example, urinary or salivary function), deterioration of quality of life, permanent injury and even death.
Radiation therapy side effects
Manage Radiation Therapy Side Effects
Source: National Cancer Institute
Practical tips and advice to manage side effects from radiation therapy. Learn about steps to take, problems to call your doctor about, and questions to ask.
- Diarrhea (PDF)
- Fatigue (PDF)
- Hair Loss (Alopecia) (PDF)
- Mouth or Throat Hurts (PDF)
- Nausea and Vomiting (PDF)
- Sexuality and Fertility (Men) (PDF)
- Sexuality and Fertility (Women) (PDF)
- Skin Changes (PDF)
- Urination Changes (PDF)
Radiation therapy to the chest can cause:
Source: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
- Lung damage (scarring, inflammation, breathing difficulties)
- Heart damage (scarring, inflammation, coronary heart disease)
- Osteosarcoma (bone cancer)
- Breast cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
Radiation therapy may double the incidence of solid cancers
Source: International Journal of Radiation Oncology
Study: Intensity-modulated radiation therapy, protons, and the risk of second cancers
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) allows dose to be concentrated in the tumor volume while sparing normal tissues. However, the downside to IMRT is the potential to increase the number of radiation-induced second cancers…
…Intensity-modulated radiation therapy may double the incidence of solid cancers in long-term survivors.
Dangers of Radiation treatment
Study: Radiation Therapy Can Make Cancers 30x More Malignant
Following on the heels of recent revelations that x-ray mammography may be contributing to an epidemic of future radiation-induced breast cancers, in a new article titled, “Radiation Treatment Generates Therapy Resistant Cancer Stem Cells From Aggressive Breast Cancer Cells,” published in the journal Cancer July 1st, 2012, researchers from the Department of Radiation Oncology at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center report that radiation treatment actually drives breast cancer cells into greater malignancy. Read more
Radiation increases cancer
This study done at UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found radiation actually induces breast cancer cells to form more tumors. Plus, malignancy in radiation treated breast cells was likely to be 30 times more probable. Radiation actually promotes malignancy in cancer cells instead of killing them, and it allows cancers to grow back with even greater force.
Radiation treatment generates therapy-resistant cancer stem cells from less aggressive breast cancer cells
Source: Wiley Online Library
Researchers from the Department of Radiation Oncology at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center report that radiation treatment transforms cancer cells into treatment-resistant breast cancer stem cells, even as it kills half of all tumor cells.1
“When we look at early-stage cancer patients, we compare patients receiving exactly the same treatment, and some fail and some are cured, and we can’t predict who those patients will be,” says Frank Pajonk, MD, PhD, the study’s senior author and an associate professor of radiation oncology and Jonsson Cancer Center researcher.
In some cases, cancer stem cells are generated by the therapy, but scientists do not yet understand all the mechanisms that cause this to occur. If they can determine the pathway and remove the reprogramming of cancer cells, they ultimately may be able to reduce the amount of radiation given to patients along with its accompanying side effects, says Dr. Pajonk.
The investigators found that induced breast cancer stem cells (iBCSCs) were generated by radiation-induced activation of the same cellular pathways used to reprogram normal cells into induced pluripotent stem cells in regenerative medicine.
In the study, Dr. Pajonk and colleagues eliminated the smaller pool of BCSCs and then irradiated the remaining breast cancer cells and put them in mice. They were able to observe the initial generation into iBCSCs in response to the radiation treatment through a unique imaging system. These new cells were highly similar to the BCSCs that had been found in tumors that had not been irradiated. They also found that these iBCSCs had a more than 30-fold increased ability to form tumors than the nonirradiated breast cancer cells.
Their findings show that if tumors are challenged by certain stressors that threaten them (such as radiation), they generate iBCSCs that may, along with surviving cancer stem cells, produce more tumors.
The researchers’ work continues as they begin to identify the pathways and several classes of drugs to prevent this process from occurring. To date, they have identified 2 different targets and drugs that could prevent it. The group has published their results of the study in breast cancer but also has made similar observations in both glioblastoma and head and neck cancer.
Dr. Pajonk says the study does not discredit radiation therapy. “Patients come to me scared by the idea that radiation generates these cells, but it truly is the safest and most effective therapy there is.”
1 Lagadec, C, Vlashi, E, Della Donna, L, Dekmezian, C, Pajonk, F. Radiation-induced reprogramming of breast cancer cells. Stem Cells. 2012;30:833–844.
Breast irradiation causes breast and lung cancer
Young women treated with radiotherapy for Hodgkin’s disease (HD) experienced a threefold increased risk of breast cancer, which rose with higher radiation doses to the breast. HD patients treated with radiotherapy had a sixfold risk of lung cancer, with risk related to dose of radiation received.
Women who received pelvic radiotherapy for cervical cancer were found to have a twofold risk of new cancers in organs that were heavily irradiated.
Source: Second Cancers – Landmark Studies
The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute
Radiotherapy treatments and their impact in reproductive health
Radiation therapy is a component of curative therapy for a number of diseases, including those presenting frequently in young patients such as breast cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, head and neck cancer and gynecologic cancers. It is often indicated for the treatment of prostate cancer as well.
It is known that cancer cells present with defects in their ability to repair sub-lethal DNA whereas normal cells have the ability to recover. Although radiation therapy is aimed to a loco-regional application and although cancer cells are the target, radiation may also induce damage to normal cells in the tissues.
The response to radiation therapy depends on various factors such as the phase of cell cycle the cells are (cells in late G1 and S are more resistant), the degree of cell ability to repair the DNA damage and other factors such as hypoxia (hypoxic cells are more resistant), tumor mass and growth fraction. Non-dividing cells are more resistant than dividing cells.
Except for the bone marrow, the most sensitive organs to radiation therapy in the body are the gonads, both the male testis and the female ovary. The extent of damage in the female and male gonads depends on the dose, fractionation schedule and irradiation field  . Radiation therapy can be administered as teletherapy, which aims at treating a large volume of tissue. For small volumes of tissue, such as in the case of cervix cancer in the female, radiation therapy can be administered in encapsulated sources of radiation that can be implanted directly into or adjacent to tumor tissue.
Whenever female reproductive organs are involved in the irradiated field, i.e., the ovaries, the uterus and the vagina may be compromised and damaged by direct irradiation. Scattered radiation may also damage reproductive organs. In the female, radiation therapy results in dose-related damage of the gonads by the destruction of primordial follicles, which constitute the nonrenewable follicle pool. In women, the degree and persistence of the damage is also influenced by age at the time of exposure to radiotherapy and due to a reduced reserve of primordial follicles in older women, the number of follicles remaining may be also be reduced at older ages . Table 2 presents a compilation of current knowledge on the impact of radiation doses and age at radiotherapy in male and female gonadal function . In general, a dose of about 2 Gy applied to the gonadal area destroys up to 50 % of the ovarian follicle reserve. In pediatric patients, failure in pubertal development may be the first sign of gonadal failure in both sexes. Total body irradiation (TBI) given in conjunction with myeloablative conditioning prior to bone marrow transplantation is one of the most toxic treatments for the gonads and it is highly related to gonadal failure in both sexes  .
In men, the gonadal stem cells responsible for the continual differentiation and production of mature spermatozoa, the spermatogoniae, are extremely sensitive to radiation. The Leydig cells, which are responsible for the hormonal production of testosterone, are on the contrary more resistant to radiotherapy and adult patients may thus preserve hormonal production although becoming infertile. In prepubertal boys, the sensitivity to radiation therapy of Leydig cells is greater than that of older males at very high doses . Prepubertal patients may retain Leydig cell function after radiation therapy during childhood and in those cases they will present with normal pubertal development and well-preserved sexual function later in life. Nevertheless, most of those patients present at adulthood with reduced testicular size, impaired spermatogenesis and infertility.
4.1. Gonadal shielding and ovarian transposition
The standard medical procedure currently offered to reduce scatter radiation to reproductive organs and preserve fertility in male and female patients, both adult and prepubertal, is the use of shielding. When shielding of the gonadal area is not possible, the surgical fixation of the ovaries in females far from the radiation field known as oophoropexy (ovarian transposition) may be considered. It is estimated that this procedure significantly reduces the risk of ovarian failure by about 50% and those patients may retain some menstrual function and fertility . Scattered radiation and damage of the blood vessels that supply the ovaries are related to the failure of this procedure .
4.2. Radiotherapy of the uterus
Radiotherapy of the uterus in young women and girls has shown to induce tissue fibrosis, restricted uterine capacity, restricted blood flow and impaired uterine growth during pregnancy, as shown by follow-up of cancer survivors  . The uterine damage seems to be more pronounced in the youngest patients at the time of radiotherapy. As a consequence, radiotherapy-treated female patients present with a high risk of unfavorable pregnancy outcomes such as spontaneous abortion, premature labor and low birth weight offspring  . Irradiation of the vagina is related to fertility and sexual issues due to loss of lubrication, anatomical impairments and in some cases vaginal stenosis.
4.3. Cranial irradiation and hormonal dysfunction
Cranial irradiation may induce disruption of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, which is a recognized potential complication that can lead to infertility in both female and male patients. Follow-up of female patients treated for brain tumors with cranial irradiation post- and pre-pubertally has evidenced a high incidence of primary hypothalamic and pituitary dysfunction with consecuent disturbance in gonadotropin secretion. In some cases, precocious puberty may also be induced by cranial irradiation in childhood, which has been attributed to cortical disruption and loss of inhibition by the hypothalamus.
Read the full article at Intech.com
20 tips for people having radiotherapy
Clinical research in 2012 and 2013 has shown that Calorie Restriction improves the results of radiotherapy. But then, so does exercise and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, and melatonin (even the mighty Sloan Kettering says this). And flaxseed, astragalus, milk thistle, mistletoe and others can be important adjuncts to radiotherapy. Improved results, less side-effects. But smoking can increase the dangerous side-effects.
Many people with cancer will be offered radiotherapy which is often claimed to be orthodox medicine´s number 1 weapon against cancer. Radiotherapy uses high-speed ionising radiation, similar to X-rays, to attack the DNA in abnormal (cancerous) cells. If it hits the DNA when it is dividing, a nonsensical code sequence will be produced and the body´s natural defence system will throw the rogue cells out. At least, that´s the theory.
Techniques are being developed all the time to try to kill more of the cancerous cells and less of the surrounding healthy ones (for example the Cyberknife)
The total dosage is very carefully calculated to do the most efficient and effective job. So patients must go to every planned session. It should be noted that radiotherapy can go on working for up to four to six weeks after the treatment has ´officially´ stopped.
Radiotherapy´s effectiveness has to be balanced against the possible risks and a responsible oncologist will explain potential side-effects to you fully. The medical journal, The Lancet cautioned that ´patients should be made aware of possible side effects as these are not insignificant´.
However there is much you can do for yourself:
1: Patients undertaking radiotherapy need to manage their body, and not simply allow themselves to be passive targets. By this we mean patients can take action to protect the healthy organs, the blood vessels and bones; protect the immune system; keep the blood and liver detoxified; and help the immune cells kick out the cancer.
2: Ask your consultant whether they consider there to be active cancer cells in the area, or is the radiotherapy a precautionary measure? Is this the optimum time for this treatment, or would it be better to hold it in reserve? If you have radiotherapy now, can you have further treatment in the future? Is it to be used as a cure or symptom relief? (A lot less radiation is needed for symptom relief).
3: What would the doctor consider to be a successful outcome at the end of the treatment? For example
a) no tumour remaining?
b) a reduction in tumour size? Or,
c) another outcome?
How long will the treatment be? Is it a one-off, or might there be more? Will you be an Outpatient? How often has the doctor personally treated your type of tumour, and what is their success rate? Define success rate and how does it compare to the national average?
4: Ask what exactly the possible side-effects might be and what other organs and tissues will receive radiaton as well as the target area? Will the beam be modulated in any way to minimise damage? What are the chances of it causing long-term damage to surrounding organs and/or bones? 2014 research linked breast cancer radiotherapy to a dangerous form of lung cancer (especially in smokers). Ask whether Proton Beam Therapy would be a safer option; and, if not, why not?
5: Oxygen definitely pre-sensitises cancer cells so that more are killed by the action of radiotherapy. Kansas State Medical School have shown that exercise before and during radiotherapy makes the treatment more successful – and there are several studies for HYPERBARIC OXYGEN (HBOT): it can also help minimise side-effects and even restore healthy tissue by promoting healing. HBOT can be used to help overcome side-effects for up to a year after radiotherapy.
6: Ask Sleep well. There is clear evidence that sleeping well in a dark room increases the production of Melatonin in the body. This is a natural hormone that knocks you into a deeper sleep. However, it is also the largest anti-oxidant we make as animals and it is very anti-inflammatory – all this makes sleep very healing. But there is also research, covered by Sloan Kettering, that supplements of 20 mg of melatonin can greatly improve the success of radiotherapy and reduce side-effects.
7: Diet is important in radiotherapy. For example, in 2011, the University of Pennsylvania showed a diet rich in flaxseed could reduce harm and even repair tissues after damage. Human clinical trials come next. Then Washington State Medical School showed that taking probiotics could reduce damage to the intestines and the intestinal lining. Several American cancer centres advocate using a nutritious diet with radiotherapy, avoiding animal fats, cows´ dairy, and glucose/High Fructose Corn Syrup whilst eating whole foods as part of a Rainbow diet to nourish your body. 2012 and 2013 research suggests Calorie Restriction (of 15 and up to 40 per cent less calories than ´normal´) can improve outcomes for radiotherapy.
What other organs and tissues will receive radiation?
8: Selenium, isoflavones (citrus or soy) and astragalus, a Chinese herb, have all been shown in research studies to make radiotherapy more effective. Indeed MD Anderson had research on their website stating that astragalus ´doubles survival times´ if taken with radiotherapy (they have since removed it). Vitamin D is increasingly recommended by US and some UK hospitals and also seems to improve the success of the treatment programme. It activates the immune system and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the stomach and gut.
9: Go to a cranial osteopath and/or acupuncturist, as soon as you find out you have cancer. They will balance and strengthen your body energy systems. Start taking daily light exercise for about 30 minutes if possible; try a yoga course and meditation.
10: Cut cancer-stimulating common salt, animal fats, dairy and glucose?HFCS as much as possible. Eat whole foods. Replace all chocolate, coffee and tea drinks with green tea. EGCG in green tea seems to have a protective effect on healthy cells and enhances radiotherapy´s success with cancer cells.
11: Essiac, astragalus, cat´s claw, echinacea, grape seed extract, pine bark extract will all boost your immune system. Other supplements such as curcumin, lycopene, natural vitamin C with bioflavenoids, natural vitamin E (with all 4 tocopherols and all 4 tocotrienols), natural beta-carotene (chlorella would be a good alternative but natural source) can help too. MGN-3 Biobran may also be worth looking into. The suppliers have produced clinical trials that show it boosts the immune system significantly.
12: Research shows curcumin (turmeric) can reduce damage to your body. You could also consider cod liver oil and garlic (fresh or supplements) and a vitamin B complex, with 400 mcgs of folic acid. The latter helps protect healthy cells.
13: Next, you could try the amino acid supplement N-Acetyl Cysteine containing glutamine (which stimulates the liver to produce glutathione, which repairs damaged healthy cells), and L-Cysteine, which is particularly important in DNA repair.
14: Instead of taking supplements, you could, of course, improve your diet when having radiotherapy – eat a rainbow of colours across the week: lots of raw carrots, beetroot, asparagus, avocado and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage etc) which are especially strong in glutathione; plus kelp, free-range eggs and garlic for L-cysteine and folate to keep healthy cells safer. And go out in the sunshine for 120 minutes every day for vitamin D (or supplement with 5,000 IUs).
15: To reduce the accumulation of dead cells, toxins and other side-effects in the liver consider mistletoe and milk thistle which have been shown in research (see Cancer Watch) to reduce side effects particularly in the blood and liver. We have an important article elsewhere on this website on the benefits of medicinal mushrooms, which you would be well advised to read. Magnesium will help strengthen the liver and 3gms of soya lecithin a day will help the liver break down the excess fats lying there. Boldo tea and dandelion help eliminate toxins from the liver, as would Epsom Salts and coffee enemas. Drink plenty of clean water.
During the radiotherapy and for 6 weeks afterwards
16: Keep on going to your chosen energy therapist (the cranial osteopath and/or acupuncturist) and practising regular yoga and meditation, though you will probably be too tired to exercise fully. Stay out of bright sunshine, as radiotherapy can “burn” the skin. Wash the area only in cold water and apply cooling aloe vera gel. In clinical trials the herb calendula beat the recommended drug used for such burns.
17: The very latest research from both MD Anderson and UCLA confirms that it is advantageous to keep taking all the supplements. Cancer cells lose their ability to regulate uptake of antioxidants and the antioxidants and the radiotherapy work together to kill more cancer cells, whilst simultaneously the supplements protect the healthy cells.
18: Drinking peppermint or ginger tea or slippery elm powder dissolved with soya milk and hot water may calm the stomach and help with any nausea. Consider taking the supplement carnitine if fatigue is a problem. Italian doctors have identified the cause of fatigue during radiotherapy as low levels of carnitine circulating in the blood stream.
Detox after three, six and nine weeks
19: Keep your liver strong: Detox the liver with a liver flush, after three, six and nine weeks.Eat magnesium-rich foods, take soya lecithin, vitamin K, milk thistle, dandelion and continue drinking pure water and avoiding fats, oils and sugar/glucose.
20: Rebuild your gut as soon as possible. It is ´responsible´ for your immune system. You could, of course supplement to help regenerate a strong, healthy immune system quickly with echinacea, cat´s claw, astragalus, curcumin, beta-glucans and grape seed extract; but research shows that people who eat the highest natural fibre diets have the best immune systems. Of course, you need a good range of bacteria, so take a good probiotic, and top up the ones you lost with raw unpasteurised cheese, Kefir, and sauerkraut.
Many cancer patients experience superficial redness or even burning from radiotherapy during cancer treatment. Several different skin creams containing drugs may be prescribed by your doctor or the radiologist. However, there are two very good natural alternatives for soothing radiotherapy redness, you can buy for yourself.
CALENDULA has a phase III Randomised Clinical Trial behind it as an effective and better alternative to topical steroidal creams (J Clin Oncol. 2004 Apr 15;22(8):1447-53.). The trial took women being treated for breast cancer and concluded that the incidence of skin problems was significantly lower in the group using the herb, than the group using a drug.
Calendula officinalis (also called pot marigold, gold-bloom, maybud). It’s known actions are anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-haemorrhagic, styptic, vulnerary and lymphatic. The cream or ointment is made from the marigold flowers and is known to help heal minor wounds, skin ulcers and rashes. An infusion of marigold flowers is also used as a lotion for burns, including sunburn. There are now a number of research studies on its use. It is considered a safe and non-toxic herb, however it should be avoided where there is a known sensitivity to the Compositae species.
Another option is to use ALOE VERA gel. There are a number of 99% natural gel products on the market. Aloe Vera has been used since Egyptian Times for burns and skin problems. It is known to be highly soothing.
Two foods that can reduce radiotherapy damage
Radiotherapy damage may be prevented by Flaxseed…
Eating flaxseed could help protect patients from the damaging effects of radiotherapy on healthy cells. A 24 June 2011 report in BioMed Central shows that dietary flaxseed can protect against the harmful effects of radiation. The cancer studied was small cell lung cancer, or ED-SCLC. The study was conducted by the Pearlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and used mice. Not only did flaxseed reduce radiation damage, but it was shown to repair damage after radiotherapy ceased. A clinical trial on humans is now proposed. The Flaxseed-fed mice survived doses of radiation that killed the control group.
Amongst other benefits, flaxseed is known to help oxygenate the blood through its short-chain omega-3 content.
… and radiotherapy damage can be lessened by taking probiotics
According to researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, radiotherapy patients who take probiotics prior to treatment may experience less intestinal damage. The research, published in the online journal Gut, looked at the effects of radiation on mice. Those who had been given a probiotic mix that included Lactobacillus rhamnosus before exposure, were protected against radioactive damage in their intestines.
Dr. William F. Stenson and colleague Dr. Nicholas V. Costrini stated “If the epithelium breaks down as the result of radiation, the bacteria that normally reside in the intestine can be released, travel through the body and cause serious problems such as sepsis.” The dose of probiotic was only moderate – in humans it would equate to the amount commonly found in a typical serving of yogurt.
Chemotherapy Efficacy and Side Effects
How effective is chemotherapy?
“Many medical oncologists recommend chemotherapy for virtually any tumor,
with a hopefulness undiscouraged by almost invariable failure.”
Dr Albert Braverman MD, Professor of Oncology, State University of New York.
Chemotherapy and other cancer drugs don’t prolong life for most patients.
As Dr. Ralph Moss (see Dr Mercola article below) points out, chemotherapy is used effectively to treat Acute Iymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, and nonseminomatous testicular cancer. Also, a few very rare forms of cancer, including choriocarcinoma, Wilm’s tumor, and retinoblastoma. – but these only account for between 2% and 4% of all cancers.
Here is the list of those cancers and the percentage of chemotherapeutic effectiveness:
Source: Hope, Medicine & Healing (Available in bookshops)
By Francisco Contreras MD and Daniel E. Kennedy MC
Burketts Lymphoma (stage 1) 90%
Testicular Carcinoma (stages 2-4) 95%
Childhood carcinomas (with rad/surg) 70% – 90%
Nodular Mixed Lymphoma 75%
Childhood Lymphomas 75%
Diffuse Histcocytic Lymphoma 70%
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia 60%
Hodgkins Lymphoma (stage 1) 95%
Hodgkins disease (stages 3-4) 60%
Update: The Childhood Cancer Study has demonstrated that among adults treated for cancer during childhood, late effects contribute to a high burden of morbidity, including the following:
- 60% to more than 90% develop one or more chronic health conditions.
- 20% to 80% experience severe or life-threatening complications during adulthood.
Unfortunately, kidney cancer cells are usually resistant to chemo, and so chemo is not a standard treatment for kidney cancer.
American Cancer Society
Unfortunately, liver cancer resists most chemo drugs. The drugs that have been most effective as systemic chemo in liver cancer are doxorubicin (Adriamycin),
5-fluorouracil, and cisplatin. But even these drugs shrink only a small portion of tumors, and the responses often do not last long. Even with combinations of drugs, in most studies systemic chemo has not helped patients live longer.
American Cancer Society
Chemo is often a part of treatment for Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma, but it isn’t often used for other bone cancers, like chordomas and chondrosarcomas, because they aren’t very sensitive to chemo and so it often doesn’t work well.
American Cancer Society
A group of Italian and German researchers has found that people with a certain type of leukemia can be successfully treated without using chemotherapy, which can cause serious side effects. The study included 156 people with acute promyelocytic leukemia, a type of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is a cancer of the blood.
American Cancer Society
The Failure of Cancer Treatments
Source: People Against Cancer
The inescapable conclusion is that in the existing paradigm, there is no incentive to cure cancer – only to treat it.
In response to claims by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the excellent effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments, Dr. Dean Burk, serving as head of the Cytochemistry Division of the NCI, addressed a letter to his boss Dr. Rauscher, which stated, “I submit that a program of FDA-approved [chemotherapy] compounds that yield only five-to-ten percent ‘effectiveness’ can scarcely be described as ‘excellent,’ the more so since it represents the total production of a 30-year effort on the part of all of us in the cancer-therapy field. Even that five-to-ten percent effectiveness,” he adds, “is suspect, possibly being more than offset (in the majority of patients who do not benefit from chemotherapy) by shorter survival and lower quality of remaining life occasioned by the (widely acknowledged) great toxicity of nearly all approved chemotherapies, most of which, are capable of causing cancer in their own right.”
Chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival
A 14-year study The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies published in Clinical Oncology in 2004 explored the contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to five year survival in 250 000 adults with solid cancers from Australian and US randomised trials. An important effect was shown on five year survival only in testicular cancer (40%), Hodgkin’s disease (37%), cancer of the cervix (12%), lymphoma (10.5%), and ovarian cancer (8.8%). Together, these represented less than 10% of all cases. In the remaining 90% of patients—including those with the commonest tumours of the lung, prostate, colorectum, and breast—drug therapy increased five year survival by less than 2.5%—an overall survival benefit of around three months.
The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.
As the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival…
Graeme Morgan, Department of Radiation Oncology, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, NSW;
Robyn Ward, Department of Medical Oncology, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW;
Michael Barton, Collaboration for Cancer Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Liverpool Health Service, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Read the full article in PubMed
Is Chemotherapy Ineffective?
Source: The Truth About Cancer
According to a 2004 report by Morgan, Ward, and Barton (Department of Radiation Oncology, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia): “The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies. … survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.”
In another study published in the February 2017 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers Rupp and Zuckerman looked at 18 FDA approved chemo drugs, and found that NONE of them actually helped cancer patients live longer.
Interestingly, the American Society of Clinical Oncology has set goals for new cancer drugs of extending life or controlling tumors for at least 2.5 months. Did you get that? Extending life by 2.5 months is the goal for new chemo drugs. Wow. Talk about setting a LOW BAR!
Now get this! In a study published in the September 2016 issue of JAMA Oncology, researchers Kumar, Fojo, and Mailankody found that only 19% of chemo drugs approved from 2014 to 2016 met this abysmally low standard.
The deadly side effects of chemotherapy
Chemotherapy can cause very serious adverse effects – including death.
Breast Cancer drugs Paclitaxel and Herceptin can cause fatal lung disease.
On 16 July, 2019, The Worthing Herald reported on the case Cecilia Francis, known as Celia, died at Worthing Hospital from lung disease induced by the chemotherapy drugs paclitaxel and herceptin, which she was given as ‘add-on’ treatment for breast cancer, on October 28 last year.
An inquest into her death, held at Crawley Coroner’s Court on Friday, July 12, heard that the 61-year-old of Furzeholme, Worthing, had not been informed that pnemonitis, an inflammation of the lungs, was a potentially life-threatening side effect of these drugs in the literature from cancer charities that she was given at hospital.
This 2017 study shows that Paclitaxel promotes the spread of cancer cells to the lungs.
One dose of 5-FU chemotherapy can kill you if you have a DPD enzyme deficiency.
5-FU (5-fluorouracil) includes the following brand names:
This meta-analysis published in 2019 by The American College of Cardiology, reported that cardiovascular disease symptoms and heart attacks were observed in as little as 12 hours of intravenous infusions of 5-FU. Toxic reactions also include heart failure, seizures, and coma.
Dihydropyrimidine Dehydrogenase (DPD) is the liver enzyme largely responsible for deactivating and detoxifying more than 80% of 5-FU from the body. Without the DPD enzyme, fluorouracil-based drugs (5-FU and capecitabine) continue to poison the body indefinitely, resulting in overwhelming toxicity, collateral damage, and for some, agonizing death.
There is a blood test to check for the DPD enzyme deficiency, but most cancer patients are not given this test, or even told about it, before they are given 5-FU.
There is also an antidote to 5-FU poisoning called Vistoguard (uridine triacetate), but it must be given within 4 days, and it is very expensive.
Accidental Chemo spill
More studies showing the dangers of chemotherapy
A study published in The Lancet (Sept. 2016)
30-day mortality after systemic anticancer treatment for breast and lung cancer in England: a population-based, observational study found:
Out of 28,364 patients with Breast Cancer who received Systemic Anticancer treatment (chemo), 700 died within 30 days of treatment start date.
Out of 15,045 patients with Lung Cancer who received Systemic Anticancer treatment, 1,274 died within 30 days of treatment start date.
Some of these patients died of disease progression or from other causes.
SACT = Systemic AntiCancer Treatment
Read the full article in Lancet Oncology
This study published in 2017 says chemotherapy “ may increase cancer cell dissemination and induce a more aggressive tumor phenotype with increased metastasis.”
Breast cancer patients initially treated with tamoxifen have a twofold increased risk of uterine corpus cancer, with particularly high risks seen for rare tumors of the mixed mullerian type.
Source: Second Cancers – Landmark Studies
The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute
Platinum-based chemotherapy for ovarian cancer increased the risk of leukemia three- to fourfold, and risk rose with increasing cumulative doses to reach eightfold.
Source: Second Cancers – Landmark Studies
The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute.
This study Chemotherapy Use, Performance Status, and Quality of Life at the End of Life. published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), concluded:
Although palliative chemotherapy is used to improve QOL for patients with end-stage cancer, its use did not improve QOD for patients with moderate or poor performance status and worsened QOD for patients with good performance status. The QOD in patients with end-stage cancer is not improved, and can be harmed, by chemotherapy use near death, even in patients with good performance status.
QOL = Quality of Life
QOD = Quality of Life near death.
Press Release issued by the US National Cancer Institute:
Study finds elevated risk of certain rare blood cancers after chemotherapy for most solid tumors
The study concluded: We report an increase in the number of patients with elevated risk for developing tMDS/AML [Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Acute Myeloid Leukemia] after cancer chemotherapy in the modern treatment era. … Although the absolute risk of developing tMDS/AML is low, its treatment is often resource intensive and associated with substantial morbidity; overall survival is poor, highlighting its clinical significance.
This study found:
Large-scale, United States population-based data demonstrate excess tMDS/AML [Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Acute Myeloid Leukemia ] risks following chemotherapy for nearly all solid tumor types, consistent with expanded use of known leukemogenic agents in the 21st century. ..Overall survival following tMDS/AML diagnosis was poor (1270 of 1619 patients [78.4%] died; median overall survival, 7 months). For patients treated with chemotherapy at the present time, approximately three-quarters of tMDS/AML cases expected to occur within the next 5 years will be attributable to chemotherapy.
Ulrich Abel, PhD, of the University of Heidelberg, is regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on chemotherapy.
In the 1990s, he conducted a study on the benefits of chemotherapy. He reviewed several thousand publications and sought the views of oncologists in over 350 clinics before publishing his results. Here’s what he found:
“With few exceptions, there is no good scientific basis for the application of chemotherapy in symptom-free patients with advanced epithelial malignancy”.
In his book Chemotherapy of Advanced Epithelial Cancer , he stated:“There is no evidence for the majority of cancers that treatment with these drugs exerts any positive influence on survival or quality of life in patients with advanced disease”
Speaking in Stuttgart in 1990, he stated:
“The success of most chemotherapies is appalling. There is no scientific evidence for its ability to extend in any appreciable way the lives of patients suffering from the most common organic cancer. Chemotherapy for malignancies too advanced for surgery, which accounts for 80 percent of all cancers, is a scientific wasteland.”
This 2017 study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) concluded:
This systematic evaluation of oncology approvals by the EMA in 2009-13 shows that most drugs entered the market without evidence of benefit on survival or quality of life.
This study entitled Lessons from a century of cancer chemotherapy, found:
“… the results of over a half-century of clinical trials have shown that the therapeutic approach of combined/dose-dense chemotherapy has not been successful in achieving its primary purpose, which is the induction of long-term disease-free survival in the majority of patients with systemic disease”.
Risk of stroke
This study concluded: although this study does not provide definitive proof of a causative role of chemotherapy in ischemic stroke, a relation is suggested by the short interval between administration of chemotherapy and the occurrence of ischemic stroke. The risk of ischemic stroke after chemotherapy is predicted by the use of cisplatin-based chemotherapy, the first 10 days after chemotherapy, the first cycle of chemotherapy, but not cancer histologic type. The infarct is usually located in the middle cerebral artery and cardiovascular risk factors are not common.
This study concluded:
The Quality of Life near Death in patients with end-stage cancer is not improved, and can be harmed by chemotherapy use near death…
Chemotherapy worsens outcomes in Stage II colon cancer patients.
This study followed 453 stage II colon cancer patients over a two year period following diagnosis. The study authors concluded:
In this study, stage II colon cancer patients who received chemotherapy treatment were more likely to have poor quality of life, recurrence, and all-cause mortality after 24 months compared to those who did not receive chemotherapy.
While chemotherapy is effective for a very small number of cancers (testicular cancer and childhood leukaemia), this 2017 study shows that a review into more than 1,200 published articles found that
- The average life expectancy of childhood cancer survivors is 30 per cent lower than the general population.
- Childhood cancer survivors are up to six times more likely to develop a secondary cancer, compared with the general population.
In general, cancer survivors are also more likely to develop long term conditions, such as heart problems, lung scarring, secondary cancers and frailty. They will also get age-associated illnesses sooner than the general population, the analysis suggests.
The researchers say much of the illness and accelerated ageing is down to harsh treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which damage the body’s ability to fight back from illness and repair itself.
Some cancer drugs were also found to be associated with hearing loss, reduced thyroid gland activity, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, muscular weakness, arthritis, kidney and liver diseases, chronic constipation, and infertility.
While ageing prematurely is a better alternative to dying prematurely, the use of effective non-toxic treatments would, obviously, be a far better approach.
Proof that cancer patients’ increases in survival is not ‘because of better drugs’
Proof that cancer patients’ increases in survival is not ‘because of better drugs’
A study published in 2018 in JAMA Oncology found that colorectal cancer patients who improve their diet and lifestyle survive longer with a 42 per cent reduced risk of death than those who do not make the changes. This is way beyond anything drugs have to offer…and with only positive side effects!
“…in most cases a patient’s survival depends on whether he dies from the side effects of chemotherapy before the chemotherapy kills the cancer, or vice versa”.
Chemo can cause cancer to return
This study states:
Interestingly, rates of tumor cell repopulation have been shown to accelerate in the intervals between successive courses of treatment, and solid tumors commonly show initial responses followed by rapid regrowth and subsequent resistance to further chemotherapy. Our results indicate that damage responses in benign cells comprising the tumor microenvironment may directly contribute to enhanced tumor growth kinetics.
“Most cancer patients in this country die of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy does not eliminate breast, colon, or lung cancers. This fact has been documented for over a decade, yet doctors still use chemotherapy for these tumors.”
— Allen Levin, MD, UCSF — The Healing of Cancer
New Study Delivers Another Black Eye for Chemotherapy
What if chemotherapy actually helped to spread cancer? Many within the medical and research communities are becoming emboldened to speak out against outdated and failed healing modalities still in use today.
UK Headlines were made in 2015 when a study in the British Journal of Cancer was published claiming 1 in 2 women and 1 in 3 men will develop cancer at some point in their lives. Two years later on June 20, 2017, a report titled Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017 released by the Canadian Cancer Society stated for males, the lifetime cancer risk is 49% and for females it is 45%.
Another study showing the dangers and ineffectiveness of chemotherapy has just been published and it has gone viral. The study titled Neoadjuvant chemotherapy induces breast cancer metastasis through a TMEM-mediated mechanism was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine describing how chemotherapy could allow cancer to spread, and trigger more aggressive tumors. By studying the process of intravasation, or entry of cells into the vasculature, the study’s authors discovered that chemotherapy, in addition to targeting tumor cells, can also increase intravasation. The authors found that chemotherapy increased groups of cells known as tumor microenvironment of metastasis (TMEM) which collectively usher tumor cells into the body’s vasculature. The study discovered that several types of chemotherapy can increase the amounts of TMEM complexes and circulating tumor cells in the bloodstream. Why is this important? The chances of survival dramatically decrease once cancer begins to metastasize through the bloodstream and effect other organs and systems.
Is the recent study the only one painting chemotherapy as a dangerous treatment option? In 2016 a groundbreaking study was commissioned by Public Health England and published in the journal Lancet Oncology. The study represented the first time that national data has been gathered together and analyzed for 30-day mortality after chemotherapy. It found that a larger proportion of patients are actually dying after chemotherapy than in the clinical trials carried out by the drug companies. The death rate in the clinical trials of drug treatments for lung cancer was 0.8%, but in the present study the reality shows it is actually 3%.
What happens when the extended survival rate of chemotherapy as a cancer treatment is studied beyond 30 days? An Australian study published in the journal Clinical Oncology found the contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adult malignancies in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the US. In fact, the study concluded by stating:
“To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required.”
By now, many are beginning to understand that one of the problems with chemotherapy is that it doesn’t address the underlying cause(s) of cancer. Chemotherapy originated from an idea and consciousness that was far from idealistic. The whole generation of chemotherapeutic drugs that are being used today, and there are over one hundred of them, developed from poisonous nerve gas created for warfare. As reported in 2012 by Green Med Info, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the developed world, and yet much of the medical and research communities are still in the dark ages when it comes to treating and understanding it. However, in the age of information, great strides are being made by doctors and researchers who are going against the grain of the failed convention ‘wisdom’ in cancer treatment. In addition, individuals are beginning to take responsibility by educating themselves. GreenMedInfo has been at the forefront with the world’s most widely referenced, evidence-based natural medical resource database containing over 30,000 abstracts and articles.
© [Article Date] GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.
A look at just a few of the chemo (and other) drugs commonly given to cancer patients. The side-effects listed below are only a sample of the full range of side-effects observed. Please see individual manufacturers site for further details.
Generic Name: Trastuzumab
Brand Names: Herceptin
Condition or Diseases treated: Breast cancer
Information source: herceptin.com
Boxed WARNINGS and Additional Important Safety Information
- Herceptin administration can result in sub-clinical and clinical cardiac failure. The incidence and severity was highest in patients receiving Herceptin with anthracycline-containing chemotherapy regimens
Infusion Reactions; Pulmonary Toxicity
- Herceptin administration can result in serious and fatal infusion reactions and pulmonary toxicity. Symptoms usually occur during or within 24 hours of Herceptin administration.
- Exposure to Herceptin during pregnancy can result in oligohydramnios and oligohydramnios sequence manifesting as pulmonary hypoplasia, skeletal abnormalities, and neonatal death.
- Herceptin administration can result in sub-clinical and clinical cardiac failure. The incidence and severity was highest in patients receiving Herceptin with anthracycline-containing chemotherapy regimens. In a pivotal adjuvant breast cancer trial, one patient who developed CHF died of cardiomyopathy
- Herceptin can cause left ventricular cardiac dysfunction, arrhythmias, hypertension, disabling cardiac failure, cardiomyopathy, and cardiac death
- Herceptin can also cause asymptomatic decline in LVEF
- Herceptin administration can result in serious and fatal infusion reactions
- Infusion reactions consist of a symptom complex characterized by fever and chills, and on occasion include nausea, vomiting, pain (in some cases at tumor sites), headache, dizziness, dyspnea, hypotension, rash, and asthenia
Condition or Diseases treated: Breast cancer
Information source Medicines.ie
Pregnancy. There have been a small number of reports of spontaneous abortions, birth defects and foetal deaths after women have taken Nolvadex, although no causal relationship has been established.
An increased incidence of endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma (mostly malignant mixed Mullerian tumours) has been reported in association with Nolvadex treatment. The underlying mechanism is unknown, but may be related to the oestrogen-like effect of Nolvadex. Any patients receiving or having previously received Nolvadex, who report abnormal gynaecological symptoms, especially vaginal bleeding, should be promptly investigated.
A number of second primary tumours, occurring at sites other than the endometrium and the opposite breast, have been reported in clinical trials, following the treatment of breast cancer patients with tamoxifen. No causal link has been established and the clinical significance of these observations remains unclear.
Breast cancer patients initially treated with tamoxifen have a twofold increased risk of uterine corpus cancer, with particularly high risks seen for rare tumors of the mixed mullerian type.
Source: Second Cancers – Landmark Studies
Manufacturer: Roche Group
Condition or Diseases treated: Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
Information supplied by: Genentech USA
Possible serious side effects
Most serious side effects (not common, but sometimes fatal):
A hole that develops in your stomach or intestine. Symptoms include pain in your abdomen, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or fever
Wounds that don’t heal
A cut made during surgery can be slow to heal or may not fully heal.
This includes vomiting or coughing up blood; bleeding in the stomach, brain, or spinal cord; nosebleeds; and vaginal bleeding.
What are the other possible serious side effects?
% = Percentage of patients who had this side effect in clinical studies across different cancers
Severe high blood pressure 18%
Blood pressure that severely spikes or shows signs of affecting the brain.
Kidney problems 7%
These may be caused by too much protein in the urine and can sometimes be fatal
Infusion reactions 3%
Infusion reactions include high blood pressure or severe high blood pressure that
may lead to stroke
decreased oxygen in red blood cells
a serious allergic reaction
Severe stroke or heart problems 2.6%
These may include blood clots, mini-stroke, heart attack, and chest pain.
These can sometimes be fatal
Abnormal passage in the body 2%
This type of passage—known as a fistula—is an irregular connection from one part of the body to another and can sometimes be fatal
Nervous system and vision problems 0.5%
Signs include headache, seizure, high blood pressure, sluggishness, confusion, and blindness
What are the side effects seen most often?
In clinical studies across different types of cancer, some patients experienced the following side effects:
- High blood pressure
- Too much protein in the urine
- Rectal bleeding
- Back pain
- Taste change
- Dry skin
- Inflammation of the skin
- Inflammation of the nose
- Watery eyes
Condition or Diseases treated: Breast cancer
Information source: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
- Non-infectious pneumonitis: Monitor for clinical symptoms or radiological changes; fatal cases have occurred.
- Infections: Increased risk of infections, some fatal.
- Renal failure: Cases of renal failure (including acute renal failure), some with a fatal outcome, have been observed.
- Angioedema: Patients taking concomitant ACE inhibitor therapy may be at increased risk for angioedema.
- Oral ulceration: Mouth ulcers, stomatitis, and oral mucositis are common.
- Impaired wound healing: Increased risk of wound-related complications.
- Laboratory test alterations:
Elevations of serum creatinine, urinary protein, blood glucose, and lipids may occur. Decreases in hemoglobin, neutrophils, and platelets may also occur.
- Embryo-Fetal Toxicity: Can cause fetal harm.
Manufacturer: Eli Lilly
Condition or Diseases treated: Non-small cell lung cancer
Information Source: Eli Lilly
ALIMTA can suppress bone marrow function, which may cause low blood cell counts.
Call your doctor right away if you have a fever, chills, diarrhea, or mouth sores. These symptoms could mean you have an infection, which may be severe and could lead to death.
The most common side effects of ALIMTA when given alone or in combination with cisplatin are:
- Stomach upset, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
Low blood cell counts:
- Low red blood cells. Low red blood cells may make you feel tired, get tired easily, appear pale, and become short of breath.
- Low white blood cells. Low white blood cells may give you a greater chance for infection.
- Low platelets. Low platelets give you a greater chance for bleeding. Your doctor will do blood tests to check your blood counts before and during treatment with ALIMTA.
- Tiredness. You may feel tired or weak for a few days after your ALIMTA treatments.
- Redness or sores in your mouth, throat, on your lips, or in the tube that connects your throat and stomach (esophagus). You may get redness or sores in your mouth, throat, on your lips, or in your esophagus (stomatitis, pharyngitis, esophagitis) or you may feel pain or have difficulty when drinking or swallowing food. These symptoms may happen a few days after ALIMTA treatment.
- Loss of appetite. You may lose your appetite and lose weight during your treatment.
- Rash. You may get a rash or itching during treatment. These reactions usually appear between treatments with ALIMTA and usually go away before the next treatment. Skin reactions or rashes that include blistering or peeling may be severe and could lead to death. These are not all the side effects of ALIMTA. For more information, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
Zoladex (Goserelin acetate)
Condition or Diseases treated: Prostate cancer
Information supplied by: Drugs.com
- Cardiovascular Diseases:
Increased risk of myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death and stroke has been reported in association with use of GnRH analogs in men.
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Bone, muscle, or joint pain
- changes in skin color of the face
- fast or irregular breathing
- numbness or tingling of the hands or feet
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes
- skin rash, hives, or itching
- sudden, severe decrease in blood pressure and collapse
- tightness in the chest
- troubled breathing
- Pain in the chest
- pain in the groin or legs (especially in the calves of the legs)
Minor Side Effects
- Sudden sweating and feelings of warmth (also called hot flashes)
- Blurred vision
- burning, itching, redness, or swelling at the place of injection
- decreased interest in sexual intercourse
- nausea or vomiting
- swelling and increased tenderness of the breasts
- swelling of the feet or lower legs
- trouble sleeping
- weight gain
- Bone pain
- decreased size of the testicles
- inability to have or keep an erection
For a full list of all your treatment options please see Treatment Options
The Man Who Questions Chemotherapy : Dr. Ralph Moss
Dr. Ralph Moss has written the book, Questioning Chemotherapy, which documents the ineffectiveness of chemotherapy in treating most cancers. On November 19, 1977, he was fired for telling the public the truth. At a press conference on November 18th, he and the Second Opinion working group released a well-documented 48-page report that stated the top officials of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center had lied about the results of a study performed at the center regarding “Laetrile” — (a natural, alternative cancer treatment).
Dr. Moss has gained credibility by writing eight books, including his most recent work, Cancer Therapy: The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Non-Toxic Treatment. He also wrote The Cancer Industry, a documented research work telling of the enormous financial and political corruption in the “cancer establishment”. He indicates that the motivating forces in cancer research and treatment are often power and money, and not the cure of cancer patients. He also writes, The Cancer Chronicles, a newsletter reporting on new cancer treatments and preventive measures.
Dr. Moss’ work documents the ineffectiveness of chemotherapy on most forms of cancer. However, he is fair in pointing out that there are the following exceptions:
Acute Iymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, and nonseminomatous testicular cancer. Also, a few very rare forms of cancer, including choriocarcinoma, Wilm’s tumor, and retinoblastoma. But all of these account for only 2% to 4% of all cancers occurring in the United States. This leaves some 96% to 98% of other cancers, in which chemotherapy doesn’t eliminate the disease. The vast majority of cancers, such as breast, colon, and lung cancer are barely touched by chemotherapy. However, there is another category where chemotherapy has a relatively minor effect — The most “successful” of these is in Stage 3 ovarian cancer, where chemotherapy appears to extend life by perhaps eighteen months, and small-cell lung cancer in which chemotherapy might offer six more months.
Effective cancer treatment is a matter of definition. The FDA defines an “effective” drug as one which achieves a 50% or more reduction in tumor size for 28 days. In the vast majority of cases there is absolutely no correlation between shrinking tumors for 28 days and the cure of the cancer or extension of life.
When the cancer patient hears the doctor say “effective,” he or she thinks, and logically so, that “effective” means it cures cancer. But all it means is temporary tumor shrinkage.
Chemotherapy usually doesn’t cure cancer or extend life, and it really does not improve the quality of the life either. Doctors frequently make this claim though. There are thousands of studies that were reviewed by Dr. Moss as part of the research for his book — and there is not one single good study documenting this claim.
What patients consider “good quality of life” seems to differ from what the doctors consider. To most it is just common sense that a drug that makes you throw up, and lose your hair, and wrecks your immune system is not improving your quality of life. Chemotherapy can give you life-threatening mouth sores. People can slough the entire lining of the intestines! One longer-term effect is particularly tragic: people who’ve had chemotherapy no longer respond to nutritional or immunologically-based approaches to their cancers. And since chemotherapy doesn’t cure 96% to 98% of all cancers anyway…People who take chemotherapy have sadly lost their chance of finding another sort of cure.
It’s especially telling that in a number of surveys most chemotherapists have said they would not take chemotherapy themselves or recommend it for their families. Chemotherapy drugs are the most toxic substances ever put deliberately into the human body. They are known poisons, they are designed poisons. The whole thing began with experiments with “mustard gas,” the horrible chemical-warfare agents from World War I.
Dr. Moss’ position on chemotherapy is supported by many major students of the study of cancer treatment. Following are some examples: Dr. John Bailar is the chief of epidemiology at McGill University in Montreal and was formerly the editor of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In 1986 the New England Journal of Medicine published an article by Dr. Bailer and Dr. Elaine Smith, a colleague from the University of Iowa. Bailer and Smith wrote: “Some 35 years of intense and growing efforts to improve the treatment of cancer have not had much overall effect on the most fundamental measure of clinical outcome – death. The effort to control cancer has failed so far to obtain its objectives.
Dr. John Cairns, a professor of microbiology at Harvard, published his view in Scientific American in 1985, “that basically the war on cancer was a failure and that chemotherapy was not getting very far with the vast majority of cancers.”
As far back as 1975, Nobel Laureate James Watson of DNA fame was quoted in the New York Times saying that the American public had been “sold a nasty bill of goods about cancer.”
In 1991, Dr. Albert Braverman, Professor of Hematology and Oncology at the State University of New York, Brooklyn, published an article in Lancet titled “Medical Oncology in the 1990s,” in which he wrote: “The time has come to cut back on the clinical investigation of new chemotherapeutic regimens for cancer and to cast a critical eye on the way chemotherapeutic treatment is now being administered.”
Dr. Braverman says that there is no solid tumor incurable in 1976 that is curable today. Dr. Moss confirms this and claims that the greatest breakthrough in the objective study of chemotherapy came from a biostatistician at the University of Heidelberg, Dr. Ulrich Abel. His critique focused on whether chemotherapy effectively prolonged survival in advanced epithelial cancer. His answer was that it is not effective. He summarized and extended his findings and concluded that chemotherapy overall is ineffective. A recent search turned up exactly zero reviews of his work in American journals, even though it was published in 1990. The belief is that this is not because his work was unimportant — but because it’s irrefutable.
With the extensive documentation in Dr. Moss’ book, and all the statistics developed by the experts, why is chemotherapy still pushed by the large majority of oncologists? Dr. Moss feels that “there’s a tremendous conflict going on in the minds of honest, sensitive, caring oncologists.” They’re in a very difficult position because they’ve been trained to give these drugs. And they’ve devoted many years to reaching a very high level of expertise in the knowledge of poisonous, deadly compounds. They’re really in a bind, because they went into oncology to help the cancer patient, yet the tools they’ve been given don’t work. And they see what happens to physicians who “step out of line” and treat cancer with alternative means.
Armed raids, loss of licensure, professional smearing and ostracism are some of the consequences. These could all be related to the quotation in the book made by Dr. Lundberg, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association. At a recent National Institute of Health meeting, he said of chemotherapy: “[It’s] a marvelous opportunity for rampant deceit. So much money is there to be made that ethical principles can be overrun sometimes in a stampede to get at physicians and prescribers.” You never heard that on the evening news.
The economics of cancer treatment are astounding. Cancer treatment is close to $100 billion annually ($100,000,000,000). The chemotherapy part of that by 1995 will be up to $8.5 billion. Looking from another angle: the Bristol Myers company owns patents on twelve of the nearly forty “FDA-approved” chemotherapeutic drugs. The president, past president, chairman of the board, and a couple of the directors of Bristol Myers all hold positions on the board at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Dr. Moss’ book details the failures (and very few successes) for chemotherapy with more than fifty types of cancer, includes a complete description of the major chemotherapy drugs, and has a section about questions to ask your doctor. All of Dr. Moss’ books and Cancer Chronicles newsletters are available from Equinox Press, 1-800-929-WELL or 718-636-4433.
We are obviously losing ground with conventional cancer treatment, because the death rates keep going up. The reason for this is because conventional treatment is based on a faulty standard: That the body must be purged of cancer by aggressive and toxic methods such as surgery chemotherapy and radiation therapy. This, of course, seemed reasonable back in 1894 when William Halsted, M.D. did the first radical mastectomy, but it has proven to be so wrong over the last 50 years that continuing to adhere to it constitutes more fraud than honest mistake. However, this standard still dominates conventional cancer therapy, and until that changes, we will continue to lose ground with cancer.
Dr. Whitaker, a firm believer in Dr. Moss’ work and alternative cancer therapy goes on to give some of his personal views:
Statistics Don’t Tell the Real Story
What is lost in the unemotional statistic of 500,000 cancer deaths per year is how those people died. Dr. Whitaker goes on to say more about the treatment of cancer: In my opinion, conventional cancer therapy is so toxic and dehumanizing that I fear it far more than I fear death from cancer. We know that conventional therapy doesn’t work — if it did, you would not fear cancer any more than you fear pneumonia. It is the utter lack of certainty as to the outcome of conventional treatment that virtually screams for more freedom of choice in the area of cancer therapy. Yet most so-called alternative therapies regardless of potential or proven benefit, are outlawed, which forces patients to submit to the failures that we know don’t work, because there’s no other choice.
Personal Belief Systems Determine the Choices You Make
Because cancer treatment is such a sensitive issue, I need to set some ground rules before I tell you what I would do if I had cancer. What follows is what I personally would do. It is not a recommendation for you, and should not be considered as such. It is not even what my wife would do(that would be her decision), nor is it what my young son would do (that would be the joint decision of my wife and myself). The choices to be made in treating cancer are not easy ones, because there is so little certainty of cure in any of them. The course that someone chooses to take is very personal, and reflects not only that person’s knowledge of the options, but also his/her beliefs.
Yet, because we are strongly influenced by our natural fear of death, we lineup for conventional cancer therapy, not so much believing that it will work, but hoping that it will not fail. If expensive, debilitating procedures to eliminate acne scars had the same failure rate as cancer treatment, they would be abandoned. It is only because cancer is so often fatal that conventional approaches were not abandoned long ago. We continue to use them not because they work, but because those who perform them have so vigorously eliminated any other choice.
My Imaginary Cancer Scenario
(by Dr. Whitaker)
Though I would approach my own dilemma with hopes of total cure, I would be the first to admit that, regardless of the course I took, the chances of that are small. Consequently, my choices of cancer therapy are a mix of science and philosophy. They are as much a reflection of how I would struggle for survival as of how I would wish to die if the struggle failed. For the purposes of this discussion, let us assume that I have just been diagnosed with cancer of the lung, and a particularly virulent one. (Please understand that I do not have cancer, nor do I smoke.) Before going into what I would do and why, let me say what I wouldn’t do, and why.
I Wouldn’t Take A Passive Role
If I am going to fight for my life, I want to do just that. I am always perplexed by the news stories of some celebrity, doped to the gills with heinous poison, “courageously battling for his life.” What does this mean? The celebrity, who simply accepts conventional cancer therapy, is no more “courageous” than a laboratory mouse. This is not to say that what the celebrity is doing is wrong, only that it is the very opposite of a willful act of courage.
Taking a passive role with today’s conventional therapy is terribly dangerous. Recently Jackie Kennedy, after a “courageous fight,” succumbed to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – or did she? Her early demise, attributed to the cancer, was a shock to cancer specialists worldwide, and brought into question the real cause of her death. She had been given an unproved protocol of very high-dose chemotherapy. The drugs alone could easily have caused her death – and this would not be unusual. There are numerous cases of iatrogenic (doctor-induced) deaths from chemotherapy.
I’d Actively Fight For My Life
On the other hand, the cancer patient who says, “no, thanks” to chemotherapy recommended by large cancer treatment centers, and takes off to Grand Bahamas Island to receive Immuno-Augmentative Therapy (IAT); or to Houston, Texas, to receive antineoplastons from Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski; or who heads to the public library to make a battle plan, has begun fighting and is acting courageously.
Whether I win or lose, that is the course I would take. What have I got to lose? Conventional treatment is toxic and simply doesn’t work, so I would throw my lot with something safe that might work, and folks, a lot of approaches fit that description. I also believe patients who seek alternative therapies are more optimistic. They have only one worry – the cancer- not the cancer and the therapy!
And Now. Here’s What I Would Do
(by Dr. Whitaker)
I’d turn my back on 50 years of institutionalized expertise, because it follows the wrong paradigm. Everything that is done in medicine or in any other discipline fits some paradigm. The paradigm I use for cancer is that it is a systemic problem in which the normal control mechanisms of your body are altered. Your immune system likely bears the largest burden for this control; thus, all techniques that enhance it are promising. Those that damage it are not.
Also, cancer cells are different from normal cells in many ways, including their metabolic profile. At least one non-toxic therapy, hydrazine sulfate, takes advantage of this difference. It has been shown in double-blind trials published in respectable journals to significantly reduce the severe weight loss (cachexia) of advanced cancer, and markedly improve the patient’s emotional state, almost to the point of euphoria. It is also inexpensive. Even though hydrazine sulfate has been shown to be effective and non-toxic, and it makes the patient feel better, it is ignored by every major cancer center. Yet I would take it immediately. (For more on hydrazine sulfate, see Ralph Moss’ book, The Cancer Industry.)
First, I would Change My Diet
I would switch to a mostly vegetarian diet. I’d also take the Nutritional Supplements “Green foods,” such as GREENS+ (800/643-1210) or Green Magma (from Healthy Directions; 800/722-8008, ext. 572). These supplements include the phyto-chemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals required for optimal health.. I would enhance that basic program with the following:
Vitamin C – 10,000 mg per day in divided doses. Ewan Cameron, a Scottish physician, did a study in which 100 cancer patients were given 10,000 mg of vitamin C for the rest of their lives, while control patients were not. The patients on vitamin C lived much longer than the age-matched controls. The Mayo Clinic did two studies on vitamin C, and in both studies found that vitamin C did not help. However, both studies were set up in a manner that almost guaranteed failure. Frankly, I think that this was done intentionally to generate negative publicity for this non-toxic approach.
Cartilage – A three- to four-month trial of bovine or shark cartilage. The mucopolysaccharides in cartilage stimulate the immune system and normalize malignant cells. Ninety percent of patients with a variety of cancers responded to a clinical trial of bovine cartilage; shark cartilage has demonstrated success rates of 25 to 50%. VitaCarte bovine cartilage is available from Phoenix BioLabs, 800/947-8482 (suggested dose is 9 g a day). Shark cartilage can be obtained from MHP 800-647-0074 (suggested dose is 1 g per 3 pounds of body weight).
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – Used as an effective therapy in congestive heart failure, CoQ10 has only recently been studied as a cancer treatment. Cancer patients have been found to have deficiencies of CoQ10. Clinical trials in breast cancer have resulted in no further metastases, improved quality of life (no weight loss and less pain), and partial remission in six of 32 patients. Vitaline makes a chewable CoQ10 with vitamin E (800/648-4755; 503/482-9231, in Canada).
Essiac Tea – 2 ounces 3 times a day. This blend of four herbs -burdock root, sheep’s sorrel, slippery elm and Indian rhubarb root- has its genesis in Native American medicinal folklore. Since it was “discovered” by Canadian nurse Rene Caisse in the 1920s, thousands have claimed to have had their cancers cured by this tea. I’d keep on searching. We have the formula if you are interested in purchasing the individual herbs in bulk.
Finally, you should know that if I were battling cancer – or any serious disease, for that matter- I would be in a constant search for effective, non-toxic therapies. One place to begin that search is with Ralph Moss, Ph.D. He is probably the most knowledgeable writer in the world on alternative therapies for cancer, and has recently published a 530-page book, Cancer Therapy, The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Nontoxic Treatment and Prevention. (Equinox Press, New York, NY, 1995). In addition, Dr. Moss offers a report service called Healing Choices, which ascertains, through a questionnaire, the type and severity of cancer, and suggests alternatives. This costs $250, and it is well worth it. If I had cancer, I would start here for more information. You can get more information by sending a large SASE to The Cancer Chronicles, 2 Lincoln Square, Suite 31A, New York, NY 10023, or by calling Melissa Wolf at 718/636-4433.
Another source of information is People Against Cancer, which provides a comprehensive counseling service called the Alternative Therapy Program. It includes a review of your medical records by a network of doctors using alternative therapies. It also costs $250. People Against Cancer can be reached at 515/972-4444.
This is certainly not my final say on cancer treatment, because it changes as new research is done. I want to say again that what I would do is not a recommendation for you. However, it is not a reasonable belief to think that conventional cancer experts offer the best approaches for most cancers. There is just too much evidence to the contrary. One of these days there may not be a need for ”alternative’ approaches to cancer. Until then, look for the answers to the cancer riddle in the growing field of alternatives, because they are obviously not present in our armamentarium of conventional therapies.
You can order a detailed personal report on promising alternative treatments (and their sources) for your cancer from Dr. Moss. Further details from his website www.cancerdecisions.com